Miracles on West 25th Street
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Miracles on West 25th Street
Is there anything more miraculous than a bunch of pregnant women having babies? Well, how about a bunch of pregnant nurses helping pregnant women have babies? You're not in a soap opera, but on the fifth floor of at Saint Vincent Health Center, where seven labor and delivery nurses found out they were pregnant last year.
Juggling maternity leaves "I inherited the blossoming group," said supervisor Rhonda Steigerwald, "I was new to the Saint Vincent team as of September. Two of the nurses had delivered and were on leave when I arrived, and the remainder had yet to deliver."
Imagine juggling seven maternity leaves in the first five months of your new job? Steigerwald credits the moms-to-be for their efforts.
"The team always pulls together to fill the gaps," she said. Most of the nurses, however, agreed that the worst part of having so many of them pregnant is scheduling maternity leaves.
"I feel bad for the staff left behind to cover all the open shifts," said Andrea Cole, who was due in January. "I'm glad I am not one of them."
Nursing staff from other floors have cross-trained to help out, and Steigerwald is appreciative.
"Nurses always come to the rescue," she said. "The other associates are very sensitive and protective of the expectant nurses even though they don't necessarily need it."
Some of the expectant nurses don't mind the extra thoughtfulness. They admit they are more sensitive. Dealing with all of those hormones
"I was more easily irritated by lots of things," said Rachel Rodemaker, who gave birth to a boy on Dec. 16.
Holly Klemm, due in February, admits she is "more emotional."
"The worst thing about it is there are way too many hormonal mood swings," said nurse Megan Cook. But she also said it is wonderful having other pregnant nurses to talk to. "I always thought pregnancy was an amazing thing; now I am even more amazed at what a miracle it really is," Cook said.
The benefits of the belly club
What is the best thing about having so many co-workers pregnant at the same time?
- "Comparing what is going on; the time passes faster." -- Andrea Cole
- "People to empathize with what you're going through." -- Rachel Rodemaker
- "Sharing how you feel." -- Holly Klemm
- "The advice was wonderful." -- Megan June Cook
- "It's nice to have others to compare and sympathize." -- Darcie Vroman
- "It's fun. We can ask questions and give each other advice." -- Erin Wiedenheft
8 bundles of joy
When the last of the women has delivered, seven little bundles of joy -- wait, make that eight little bundles of joy -- will have been born. That's right, there's a set of twins. Nurse Holly Klemm had no idea what she was getting into. Six of her co-workers had already announced they were pregnant, and her only sibling, Heather, had just given birth to a little girl, Olivia, when Klemm found out she was pregnant.
"With so many girls in the family, we were all hoping for a boy," she said. "I have a wonderful stepdaughter, Abbey, and even Abbey was hoping for a boy."
So when Klemm visited the doctor with her husband, Kevin, they were anxious to find out the sex of the baby. It was, of course, a girl and then -- surprise -- another girl.
"Abbey was a little disappointed at first that neither was a boy, and Kevin and I, well, we were just in shock."
While Klemm said twins run in her family, she said she had no idea it would happen to her.
"After it sunk in," she said, "I think we were all a little surprised at least one wasn't a boy."
Is there a secret to having a boy or a girl? Don't ask Andrea Cole; she just gave birth to her fifth boy. Yes, fifth.
"I have heard that 70 percent of unplanned pregnancies are girls," said Megan Cook. (Cole may beg to differ.) "And a lot of people believe in the Chinese gender calendar, which claims to predict the gender," Cook said. "But I personally don't think it is possible to plan the sex of your baby."
The Chinese gender calendar claims to predict the sex of your baby by finding your maternal age and month of conception on the chart. (Is this accurate for your children?) There are myriad prediction methods you can read about online, too.
But if you're a realist like Klemm and Cook, you'll have to wait for a clear sonogram. Or, if you enjoy surprises, like Rachel Rodemaker and Darcie Vroman, you can wait it out until the baby is born. (Expect a lot of cute little yellow outfits.)
At each other's side "They are troopers -- involved, enthusiastic, and committed associates," Steigerwald said.
But obviously, they aren't just associates. They're friends.
"I've helped deliver my friend's babies and my wonderful friends have helped me," Rachel said of having her first three children.
All agreed there is comfort in having friends by your side.
"Mindy (Clark) was with me through my labor process and the delivery," Erin Wiedenheft said about the birth of her daughter, Lillian, in August. "Mind you, Mindy herself was eight months pregnant at the time, but she did great. She was a great coach/nurse."
Just as Clark was there to take care of Wiedenheft, Darcie Vroman was there for Mindy.
"I took care of Mindy when she had her son at the end of September," she said.
And by the time this article is in print, someone will have been there for Vroman, Rodemaker, Cole, Cook and, eventually, Klemm.
"It's nice to know that your friends will take care of you," Klemm said, and most of them are looking forward to that final delivery of Klemm's daughters.
"It's exciting to have someone here that is having twins," Cole said. "It adds spice to it."