Having a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) provide care and deliver their first-born baby made all the difference in the world to Jenny Shully and her husband. It was a satisfying and positive journey with a wonderful outcome: The birth of a healthy daughter, Tulah.
The Wicker Park mom was eager to get the most out of her pregnancy and birth experience. As a trained birth doula, she was interested in the type of care provided by a CNM - a more personal, holistic approach. Shully is both a birth doula, who provides support to a woman before, during and after delivery, as well as a licensed social worker.
After asking her colleagues for CNM recommendations, Shully, 32, selected the Midwifery and Women's Health practice at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC). A CNM provides prenatal, birth and postpartum care, as well as health care for women from the teen years through menopause.
At four weeks pregnant, Shully and her husband, Enoch, had their first visit with CNM Mary Bauer, MS, who also is the Practice Director.
Thrilled with Care Received
"Throughout my pregnancy, I was beyond thrilled with the care I received," Shully said. "My nurse-midwife Mary always spent lots of time with me, explaining everything with patience and kindness. She was prompt in returning calls, and always made me feel special and joyful about my baby. She reminded me weekly that pregnancy is a very normal, natural process, which I so appreciated."
Her husband was involved at every appointment and made to feel a part of the experience. They never felt rushed during appointments and saw a CNM each visit.
"My labor and delivery was not at all what I had planned or hoped for, but ultimately, it was the most satisfying experience of my life," said Shully, whose daughter is now 16 months old. "I know I have these midwives to thank for it."
Faced Health Challenges
It wasn't an easy nine months. She faced a variety of health challenges during her pregnancy, including prolonged severe morning sickness, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Shully became high-risk and needed to visit an obstetrician at PSMEMC while under the care of the CNMs.
"Mary was amazing at allaying my fears, co-managing my care and helping me plan for a variety of different birth experiences," Shully said. "My little girl and I needed a variety of interventions during the labor process, but each one was explained in detail to my husband and me. I was always made to feel empowered, safe, and that I was participating in the experience."
Shully needed to be induced for health reasons a week before her due date.
'Midwives were Incredibly Calming'
"When I had to be induced at 39 weeks due to my hypertension, Mary Bauer and the other midwives were incredibly calming," she said. "They tried to make me as comfortable as possible with the process while protecting my health and the safety of the baby, and still trying to fulfill some of my hopes for labor and delivery."
After a labor that lasted 47 hours, Shully was able to have a vaginal birth, in a very calm, quiet room with nurse-midwives supporting her every step of the way.
"The highlight was definitely when my husband was able to wrap his hands around Mary's, helping to deliver our baby himself," she said. "We had discussed this beforehand and he was so excited to 'catch the baby.'"
Joining her in The Family Birthplace room were her husband, mom, nurse-midwife and her friend, a doula. Shully said the nurses were supportive, caring and comforting - they were "phenomenal" and "absolutely fantastic."
'Truly a Family Birthplace'
She said The Family Birthplace was very welcoming and she used a bathtub in the room to get relief during labor. "It is truly a family birthplace from start to end," Shully said.
"I tell everyone I know to go see these midwives for their care, and there is no one else I would have a baby with," she said, "I look forward to the next time."