Patty Brown Gregor knew what to expect. Until it all changed.
Patty was pregnant with her third child. Her sons – ages 14 and 10 – had been delivered in Faribault by their longtime family doctor, David McIntyre, MD . . . now practicing at NH+C.
“We followed Dr. McIntyre to Northfield,” Patty says. “We didn’t really know Northfield Hospital, so it was a little overwhelming. But it turned out so well.”
Dr. McIntyre isn’t delivering babies these days. Patty’s prenatal care was with NH+C’s Women’s Health Center. At 37 weeks, Patty didn’t feel well; lab tests diagnosed preeclampsia, dangerously high blood pressure that poses health risks for mom and baby. The only cure is to give birth. Patty was rushed from the clinic to the Birth Center.
“No one told me my lab results were scary,” Patty recalls. When nurse Jamie Freelove, RN – a high school classmate of Patty’s – entered the room, Patty burst into tears. “Will you please tell me what’s going on?” she asked Jamie. “She broke down all the information and told me, ‘You need to start having this baby.’”
Patty’s care team induced labor. Nurse Amanda Edwards, RN “walked me through all the details and the timing of every step” as labor progressed. “She made it so easy for me.”
Patty used many of the natural childbirth aids – birth ball, sling, hydrotherapy tub – and she walked. A lot. “We couldn’t walk in the halls because of COVID precautions, but our room was so big we could move around really well in there,” Patty says.
Ben was born quickly – and healthy.
Suddenly, Patty couldn’t stop bleeding. She needed surgery, fast. “My husband was holding our new son as they wheeled me out to the operating room,” Patty recalls. “It was amazing how they took care of him and our son.”
Nurse Frankie Stocker, RN “kept telling me about the baby’s details while they were prepping me for surgery,” Patty recalls. “She made sure I knew everything about my little boy so if I had to be transferred, I would carry that with me.”
“The nurses were always so calm,” Patty says. “They told us later that my husband and I were calm and easygoing, but it was because they were so calm, and kept us in the loop. We never once felt scared or worried. I would have trusted them with everything.”
Patty’s surgery went well. The next day, all the staff – and Dr. McIntyre – checked in on her. “The continuity of care is so special,” Patty says. “Those nurses just touched our lives. They know their jobs so well, and also just go above and beyond with loving care. It was like having my sister there.”
“With so much going on due to COVID and your family can’t be there, you wonder how much you’ll feel cared for,” Patty adds. “We felt totally loved.”
Those COVID precautions? They helped, Patty says. “Not having visitors was a godsend, because I wasn’t up to it. The nurses supported us when extended family couldn’t be there.”
Patty’s advice for other families expecting a baby: “Keep an open mind. Take all the helpful hints that your nurses give you. And take that time just to be with your spouse and baby. That time was truly wonderful for us.”
Dr. McIntyre now cares for Ben, along with his whole family. “I just love how straight-up he is,” Patty says. “He doesn’t sugarcoat anything.” Dr. McIntyre cared for Patty’s son Briggs through a liver transplant. “He helped us manage a lot of it so we could get care locally rather than run up to University of Minnesota Medical Center anytime Briggs gets sick. Dr. McIntyre’s spectrum of knowledge is so wide, and his ideas are huge to us. We would follow him anywhere.
“It’s a bit of a hike from New Prague, but it’s worth it.”