With Triplets on the Way, Couple Finds Comfort at St. Luke’s
As we recognize Patient Experience Week April 22-28, it is humbling to hear about experiences like the one below. These stories serve as testament to the incredible individuals who give so selflessly to provide expert care to our patients day after day. We thank our community for putting their trust in us.
Every patient who enters UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s is on a journey that stirs emotions and, in nearly every case, leaves a lasting impression.
As care providers, we understand. This is why we put a priority on being prepared to serve patients and their loved ones across the spectrum—from those coming to grips with a life-changing diagnosis, to those learning about the kind of pregnancy that will change everything.
Recently, we received a letter from a couple swept up in a whirlwind of anticipation and anxiety after learning their world was going to be turned upside down with an unexpected pregnancy.
“My husband and I had been trying to conceive for almost a year. When we had a positive pregnancy test, we were so excited! We couldn’t wait for the first ultrasound.”
At their ultrasound they learned that wouldn’t be having just one baby…they would be blessed with triplets to join their young child at home. While the news was shocking to the couple, they were quickly put at ease by the compassionate care delivered by Perinatologist Alfred Fleming, MD, and OBGYN Angela Aldrich, MD.
Easing the Anxiety
Facing a complex pregnancy and delivery, the advanced expertise of Dr. Fleming was required. A member UnityPoint Clinic Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Siouxland's only Perinatologist, Dr. Fleming focused his attention on the unique challenges presented by the triplets.
With each ultrasound, the anxiety was high.
Would they identify a health complication?
Would there be something wrong?
Dr. Fleming answered every question, every time, soothing the couple and helping them to grow more comfortable with a birth that would radically change their lives. At 14 weeks, Dr. Fleming shared with them that they would be having two boys and a girl – Mom says she called it! – and that they would deliver at 35 weeks, which is considered full-term for triplets.
Working in tandem with Dr. Fleming, Dr. Aldrich, of Siouxland Obstetrics & Gynecology, monitored the pregnancy closely while ensuring Mom was healthy throughout. It was during these appointments that the couple grew close to the care team at the St. Luke’s Birth Center.
The Ann & Ray Greenberg Family Center for Labor & Delivery, which offers birthing suites, patient rooms for women with high-risk pregnancies requiring specialized care, and rooms for outpatient monitoring and other tests, offered them a warm and welcoming environment.
“My reputation preceded me. All the staff knew me as the ‘Triplet Mom’. Every single time I went in for a non-stress test, I was greeted with so many smiles and so many words of encouragement with how well this pregnancy was progressing.”
Gaining a Healthy Appreciation
Even with the words of encouragement, the couple was understandably worried about the health of their babies. As such, they took advantage of every opportunity to learn more about the advanced birthing and neonatal care services offered at St. Luke’s.
First on the list of tours was the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They knew their new bundles of joy would require advanced care and after seeing the unit at St. Luke’s their anxiety was greatly reduced.
Learning that St. Luke's is Northwest Iowa’s highest rated NICU, caring for nearly 400 babies per year, put them at ease. Meeting the kind and cheerful staff, while seeing the staff delivering compassionate, hands on care with access to the most technologically advanced equipment available, further soothed them.
“On the day of our tour, we were nervous about what to expect. But the second we walked through those doors, we were greeted with smiles and hellos. Tracey, the charge nurse, led our tour and we were immediately comforted by her demeanor. She made us feel so at ease, as did all the staff we encountered that day. I showed up with a list of questions and she answered every single question with kindness and good explanations. We left the tour that day feeling so good about our decision to deliver at St. Luke’s. We knew our trio would be in such good hands.”
Three’s a Charm
Delivery day came with understandable anxiety, but the C-section was handled without issue. The three babies were born within two minutes of one another, and after some warm snuggles with Mom and Dad, they were moved to the NICU.
Under the care of the skilled staff in the NICU, the babies showed steady improvement and grew more independent by the minute. Mom and Dad were able to visit them whenever they wanted. Throughout, the care team applied the same high-touch, loving care St. Luke’s has become known for.
Mom spent four days in the hospital, returning home with Dad while the trio continued to grow stronger under the care of the team in the NICU. Reflecting on her time in the hospital, Mom is thankful.
“During my time there, I did not have one bad experience. All of the nurses were very accommodating. I could list all of the names of the nurses to this day that I interacted with on the Mom and baby floor as they all left a positive impact on me. If I needed help getting up to the NICU that first day, the nurses offered to wheel me up and come wheel me back down. I will forever appreciate their kindness. And it wasn’t just the nurses that made my experience enjoyable, it was the technicians, secretaries, housekeeping and food services staff.”
Today, the couple looks back with appreciation.
“We know that we could have delivered our trio in Sioux Falls or Omaha, but had confidence in the staff at St. Luke’s to provide the care our trio needed to have the best possible outcome. If there is one thing we know about the Labor and Delivery Unit, the Mom and Baby Unit, and the NICU, it’s that every single person we encountered loves their job and takes pride in their job and it shows through their skills and expertise. I truly believe the NICU staff treats our trio as if they were a part of the family. We will be forever grateful for the amazing care that our family received during our time at St. Luke’s.”