Mom Who Was Born at St. Luke’s Delivers Her Five Children Here… And Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way
Maria W., a special education teacher in the Easton School District, could certainly be considered an expert on the subject of having babies at St. Luke’s. Not only did she give birth to all five of her children at St. Luke’s, but she was born there too. And Maria wouldn’t have it any other way.
Maria W., 38, a special education teacher in the Easton School District, could certainly be considered an expert on the subject of having babies at St. Luke’s Hospital. Not only did she give birth to all five of her children at St. Luke’s, but she was born there too. And Maria wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even before her first baby was born, she admired and respected her physician, John Hratko, MD. So when Maria became pregnant with her first child, she knew that Dr. Hratko would continue to be her doctor and she would deliver at St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Hratko and his staff made Maria feel comfortable, cared for and listened to throughout her nine months of office visits. And when her first baby was set to arrive, Maria was just as impressed with the St. Luke’s Hospital staff as she was with Dr. Hratko’s.
As first time moms often experience, Maria had a particularly long labor, but she insisted on sticking to her detailed birth plan which included foregoing an epidural. As labor loomed on, Dr. Hratko and the St. Luke’s nurses always made sure Maria knew that an epidural was ready and available, but they never pressured her. After many hours, Dr. Hratko, as he always did, communicated honestly with her and told her that she desperately needed to rest before it was time to push and if she or the baby became distressed at any point, he would do whatever was necessary for the health of her and her baby, including a possible c-section. Knowing she didn’t want to have to have a Cesarean, she decided to proceed with the epidural. Sure enough, Dr. Hratko was right. She was able to sleep a little and had a renewed energy to push when the time came. Her baby boy was born a few hours later.
“Maria has always been a model patient so it was a pleasure to be able to care for and deliver each of her pregnancies,” says Dr. Hratko. “St. Luke’s has a state-of-the-art birthing facility and the entire staff compliments the delivery experience - we all work together seamlessly to make sure our new moms have the highest level of care.”
Maria remembers how comforted she was with the constant communication and encouragement by everyone around her during labor and delivery. Dr. Hratko knew her, of course, but the hospital nurses had just met her and yet they made her feel like they were old friends - checking on her, supporting her, encouraging her, cheering her on through one of the most significant moments of her life.
Her other four babies were born at St. Luke’s too - each of them with similarly positive experiences. Each time she came to the hospital to deliver, she was happy to see the staff who had been such a significant part of her birth experiences - even requesting some of the nurses she had in the past. “I know that the labor and delivery nurses are taking care of many different patients every day,” says Maria. “But they made me feel like I was the only one who mattered while I was under their care.”
Maria fondly recalls that when her older kids came to visit their new brother or sister, the nurses were always considerate of her kids, making them feel important at a very uncertain time for them. “I loved watching the nurses give my other children care and attention just like they did for me - whether it was a cup of water or a sticker or just a simple smile,” explains Maria. “The nurses were attentive to the whole picture of what it means to be a mother.” Maria believes that one of the reasons she never had to deal with postpartum issues is because, in addition to her husband and family, she had resources at St. Luke’s to ensure she could take care of herself as well as her baby and other children.
While in the hospital, Maria took all the advice of the skilled nursing staff and lactation consultants and took advantage of the parenting classes the hospital offers for new moms. But the care she received didn’t end when Maria and her baby left the hospital; she used the nursing hotline several times and was quickly able to speak to a nurse or lactation consultant. She breastfed all of her children for at least one year, crediting the help of the knowledgeable and accessible hospital staff.
Maria was so impressed with the St Luke’s team that after each of her five deliveries, she wrote a letter to Mr. Anderson, the president of St. Luke’s Hospital, naming each employee who significantly impacted her hospital stay. “I had such an overwhelmingly positive experience that I wanted to thank everyone involved and make sure they were recognized for going above and beyond what they were required to do,” explains Maria. “For me, it was a huge moment in my life. For them, it was a day of work, but they never ever made me feel like it was just work - they made me feel like it was just as significant a moment for them as it was for me.”
While Maria admits that with five kids, not all of the deliveries went strictly according to her birth plan, but overall, every time she delivered a baby at St. Luke’s, it was a positive experience. “Each baby’s birth situation may have been different, but the approach from the doctors and nurses was always the same - compassionate health care,” says Maria. “ St. Luke’s always made my entire pregnancy and delivery about me - my feelings, my thoughts, my concerns and especially, what was best for my baby.”