posted in Parenting
Just 11 months ago I gave birth to my baby at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital. I can picture the room, the hospital walls, and the nursing station precisely. I might have even had the same room as Dr. Hilary Conway or her patient, Katie.
Dr. Conway (Hilary) recently made headlines when the ob-gyn delivered twins at Virginia Mason just hours after giving birth to her own daughter there in a stream of unplanned, uncoordinated, but perfectly timed events.
Katie wasn’t just any patient. She’s a patient who’d worked with Hilary to become pregnant — meaning they’d been through a few milestones together already. Both of them were hoping Katie would go into spontaneous labor before Hilary’s induction date of 12/12. They both expressed sadness at their last appointment that Hilary would probably not be there for the delivery.
Katie’s care was transferred and she was set to have an appointment with a new provider the day after Hilary’s induction. She missed that appointment because, in the wee hours of the morning, she went into labor. In her hospital room, recovering from her own delivery and nursing her daughter, Hilary saw a text from Katie. She texted back to see if Katie had been admitted, but didn’t get a response. Katie was a little busy.
With her newborn, Verna, sweetly sleeping after her night feeding, Hilary went to the nurse’s station to investigate. She found out that Katie had been admitted in the room right next to hers. When she stepped into the room, Katie was “so glad that I was there,” Hilary told BabyCenter.
Hilary was pleased she likely would not miss the delivery. Hilary’s obstetric partner, Dr. Elizabeth Jacobson, was there to step in if her baby needed her. Her daughter was her main priority so if Verna needed her that’s where she would be.
But serendipity and perfect timing were on their side.
“If my water had broken even 12 hours later, I probably would have been discharged from the hospital and much less able to make it in for the delivery,” says Hilary.
She also notes, “There were so many other people who helped make this happen. My partner, Dr. Elizabeth Jacobson, came in for the delivery so I would have the ability to leave if my daughter needed me. It is quite helpful that I delivered where I practice. I know all of the nurses and, therefore, people were so willing to help. I couldn’t have been there if I didn’t know that my daughter was in good hands and I am so grateful to all of the nurses for making this whole thing possible.”
It’s standard practice at Virginia Mason Memorial to deliver twins in the operating room. As delivery became imminent, Hilary fed her baby again at the nurse’s station while Katie was being prepped for the O.R., so Verna wouldn’t be hungry during the delivery.
Hilary’s husband was sleeping, her son was with their nanny, and Verna was being cared for by a trusted nurse, so the pathway was clear for Hilary to do what she does best. She arrived in the O.R. just as Katie was ready to start pushing. At one point she sent a postpartum nurse to check on her daughter, who was still contentedly sleeping.
After the babies were born Hilary rushed back to the nurse’s station to check on Verna and feed her again, but found her still sweetly sleeping. I can imagine the adrenaline coursing through Hilary’s veins, the disbelief that it all had worked and the elation that it had zero impact on her infant or anyone else working at the hospital.
It was as if a path was cleared for Hilary to be part of this very special birth. Birth can be like that — it can be the worst timing or the best timing. And that can make for pretty amazing stories.
We are so happy both families are doing well and love how the timing here worked out for both of these moms.
Did you have serendipitous moments during your delivery?
Photos by Hilary Conway