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Hospital Spotlight: It’s a labour of love for nurses in Niagara Health hospital delivery unit

Posted Jul 20th, 2023

This is an opinion column by Niagara Health Communications Specialist Michelle Pressé, published in the St. Catharines StandardNiagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

The birth of Delaney Stire’s second child didn’t go as planned, but support from registered nurse Kyla Reynolds helped smooth the way for daughter Morgan’s arrival via C-section

Delaney Stire dreamt about what the delivery of her second baby would be like.

The 30-year-old Welland resident, already a mom to two-year-old Emmitt, was ready to welcome her baby girl into the world on her terms at St. Catharines hospital.

However, the birth didn’t look anything like what she had planned for.

“I wanted the birth to have as little intervention as possible,” said Stire. “Within two hours of arriving at the hospital, I was being prepped to have a C-section.”

Stire said the reality of a C-section was “terrifying,” and she worried about her son if something were to happen to her.

“Needing a C-section never crossed my mind,” she said. “It was the unknown, the recovery, my toddler at home. I was scared of the surgical part of everything.”

Stire said that in addition to having her fiancé Brad Stinson’s support, her labour and delivery nurse, Kyla Reynolds, made all the difference in calming her nerves.

“She was very friendly and personable,” Stire said of Reynolds. “It was like being in the presence of a friend instead of someone I just met. She was there for me the entire time, holding my hand, asking me questions about my son and keeping me informed every step of the way.

”On Monday, April 17, at 4:12 p.m., her daughter Morgan was born, weighing 5 lbs, 14 oz. and 19 inches long.

I mourned the delivery experience I wanted,” said Stire. “However, having Kyla as my nurse made the experience less painful. She made me feel less alone and less scared about the experience.”

For others preparing for labour, Stire encourages going into the experience with the mindset of “trying to make the best out of it.”

“Once you get home, you almost forget everything that happened to get them here.”

Reynolds, who has worked as a registered nurse in Niagara Health’s labour and delivery unit for three years, knew this was the area of care she wanted to dedicate her skills to ever since she pursued a placement on the unit as a student.

“I love supporting women in labour,” she said. “For people who want to become parents, this is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of their lives. To be able to help make the experience of labour and delivery as positive as possible, and just being a part of that experience, is so rewarding.”

Between 2021 and 2022, 3,629 babies were born at Niagara Health.

Reynolds said a common misconception, both amongst community members and health-care workers alike, is that working in labour and delivery mostly consists of cuddling babies. However, the reality of working on the unit is far more complex, and entails precise skillsets to ensure that moms and babies are as healthy as possible.

One of the most important aspects of working on the unit is the ability to be agile, as labour and delivery is often unpredictable.

“A lot of patients naturally have an idea about what their labour might look like, but things can change very quickly,” said Reynolds.

“Throughout the entire process of assisting with labour and delivery, it’s important to be agile and to have the ability to explain what’s going on to patients in non-medical terms. As health-care workers, we can get so caught up in focusing on a medical situation or emergency that’s happening, but it’s imperative to keep patients’ informed about what’s happening and keep them as calm as possible.”

In addition to the gratitude that patients and their loved ones tend to have for staff and physicians in labour and delivery, one of Reynolds’ favourite parts of her job is the team she gets to work with.

“Our unit works so well together, and because of that, I know that families receive the best care,” she said. “Anyone coming to labour and delivery can be confident that they will be well taken care of. We’re always looking out for each other and for our patients.”

Still, Reynolds occasionally finds herself wondering at the end of the day, “Did I do enough as a nurse?”

“Some things are out of our control,” she said. “It’s a hard job, but also one of the most rewarding. Patients may not always remember your name or what you said to them, but they will always remember the way you made them feel and how it impacted their experience at the hospital.

“I want to give everyone the most positive experience that I can, even if it wasn’t what they expected.”

Niagara Health System