By: Rachel Ventura
My journey as a mother began at Signature Healthcare. Both of my babies were born at Brockton Hospital and it was an amazing experience. It’s funny, before I became pregnant for the first time, I had never known anyone who gave birth at Brockton Hospital. My mother actually worked for a different hospital in Brockton for a very long time. Everyone in my family had their babies there, and I assumed that I would too. I honestly had never even thought about how or why people had their babies at one hospital rather than at another.
When I had my first appointment with my OB after finding out I was pregnant, she asked me if I had ever seen the maternity ward at Brockton Hospital. It was at that moment that I realized how doctors and their affiliated hospitals worked. I knew I didn’t want to change my OB, so it was decided; I was taking the path less traveled (by my family, anyways). I was having my baby at Signature Healthcare.
Let me start off by telling you about my OB/GYN, Kristin Ratliff. She is awesome! I’m not even sure how I began seeing her as my gynecologist, since all of my other doctors were affiliated with the “other” hospital, but I’m so glad that it happened. She is such a warm, gentle, caring person, and her office and staff are exceptional. I couldn’t imagine having anyone other than her in the delivery room with me. After having my second (and last) baby, I was sad that I was only going to be seeing them once a year going forward. As a diabetic, my pregnancies were high risk. Weekly OB visits were frustrating and tedious, but it was comforting to go in and see the staff. I have a few friends and family members who I’ve referred to Dr. Ratliff and they are now happy patients of hers. I encourage you to check the office out as well!
When I visited the Maternal-Newborn Pavilion at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital for the first time, I was blown away. It is gorgeous! The rooms are so nice, private and comfortable. I LOVED the fact that they have a Level II Special Care Nursery, as well as on-site Perinatology services, both of which are affiliated with Tufts Medical Center. Not many hospitals in this area have these amenities. It was extremely convenient that I didn’t have to travel all the way to Boston to see my high-risk doctor, and it was comforting to know that my baby would not have to be sent to Boston for specialized care if anything went wrong during or after the birth.
Another HUGE plus of Brockton hospital is the complimentary newborn photos. My only complaint is that they started this after my daughter was born, so we weren’t able to take advantage of the service for our first child. Trust me, these are not the typical newborn hospital photos that you are used to. These are absolutely stunning professional photos, and it’s free of charge. You get an 8×10 photo to take home, as well as a CD with the remaining photos. I was seriously in awe of the photos we received of my son, and I will treasure them forever.
Both of my children were born via planned cesarean section. Because of my diabetes, it was easier to manage my blood sugar this way. The first time around, I was extremely nervous beforehand – especially about the spinal injection. All of the nurses and doctors were very comforting and reassuring, and made the experience as pleasant as a needle in your spine and practically being cut in half can be. By being patient, kind, knowledgeable, and even cracking a few jokes, they made a very stressful and traumatic experience a lot less terrifying, for which I am forever thankful.
As far as pregnancy goes, both of mine were pretty uneventful. Even though I was high risk, I had no complications. To ensure this, my team of doctors watched me meticulously. My OB, high-risk OB and primary care doctor, as well as frequent ultrasounds and non-stress tests (both weekly in my last month of pregnancy!), kept me in check.
But I seriously loved being pregnant. I loved everything that happened to my body and enjoyed feeling every flutter and kick. For both pregnancies, my diabetes was in excellent control throughout the 40 weeks, the cesareans went perfectly, and my beautiful babies were born with zero complications.
It wasn’t until after giving birth that I had any problems. I think my body liked being pregnant as much as I did, and once the pregnancy was over, it was upset. Two days after giving birth, both times, my blood pressure started to rise. Luckily, after having my son, it went down on its own after a few days. I couldn’t have been any happier about that, considering what had happened after my previous birth…
The first time around, my husband and I were so happy to bring our little lady home! We could not wait to bring her into her room, introduce her to the dogs, and begin our life as a family of three. Given that, we were extremely impatient and anxious as we waited for the morning’s blood work results and for the OB to come and discharge me. My blood pressure had been consistently high for three days, but no one had said anything or seemed too worried about it – that is, until the results of my blood work came in.
As we were sitting in the room, waiting to be discharged, bags already packed up and in the car, the OB came in the room to tell me that my liver enzymes were elevated. This fact, plus the high blood pressure, was not good. I had a rare condition called postpartum preeclampsia and was at a high risk for seizures. I was not going home that day. In fact, I was going to have to stay for at least two more days. The first 24 hours I would be given magnesium sulfate through an IV. I would also need to have a catheter again, as they would need to measure everything going in and coming out. Plus, the medicine can make you feel so sick that I may not even be able to get up to go to the bathroom. The second 24 hours would be for the doctors to monitor me. My husband and I were terrified.
If it wasn’t for the nurses, I don’t know what I would have done. This was obviously a frightening situation to come to terms with, and they were extremely understanding and compassionate. They explained everything ahead of time, so I knew what I was in for. The medicine could make me very sick. It may feel like I have the flu or worse. It could make me insanely hot. Before the medicine was even started, they brought in buckets of ice water and a fan.
I was really nervous about throwing up. Not only do I really hate to throw up, I couldn’t imagine the pain it would cause to my just-starting-to-heal belly. I voiced my concerns and they immediately got an order from the doctor to have anti-nausea medicine on hand, just in case.
Luckily, it wasn’t needed. The medicine did make me hot and I felt extremely tired. I also didn’t have any appetite. But it worked. After my 24 hours of monitoring, I was able to go home. I was prescribed a blood pressure medication, but I only needed to take it for a few weeks. I think it was the scariest 48 hours of my life, my husband’s too. It made coming home with our daughter that much more special.
I really can’t thank the nurses, doctors and staff at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital for all they have done for me and my family. Their dedication, experience and benevolence is truly amazing. I still have a few of the old doctors who are affiliated with the “other” hospital, but I am in the process of changing that. With Signature Healthcare’s new location in Easton, the transition will be that much easier. Are you a Signature Healthcare patient yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!