Miranda Hamblin and Baby Madelyn
As a nurse, Miranda Hamblin knows that you have to expect the unexpected in a hospital sometimes. Her ability to understand this, and the nurses and doctors she met while delivering her daughter Madelyn, made what could have been a stressful experience a rewarding one.
“Every single nurse, doctor and support person I met was so supportive,” says Miranda, who delivered at Sentara Leigh Hospital. “I wish I could remember all the names. They listened to me and told me what was happening and did whatever they could to help me.”
Miranda and her boyfriend, Brian, opted for an induction after Dr. Rex Waterbury assured Miranda it was safe because she was a few days past her due date. Miranda’s mother and grandmother drove in from Blacksburg, Virginia, and joined Miranda and Brian at the hospital early on a Tuesday morning.
Everything started off routine: Miranda received some pitocin, a drug that brings about labor, and she was hopeful: She was already about two centimeters dilated and 75 percent effaced, and she had been experiencing light contractions for a week or so.
However, when her doctor checked her four hours later, not much had changed. He attempted to break her water, but Miranda’s body wasn’t ready.
“Finally, a little while later, I could feel it,” Miranda says with a laugh. “I got up, and I could feel about five pounds of water come out! The nurse was so sweet and said it was no problem to clean up the floor.”
At about eight hours into her labor, Dr. Waterbury announced that Miranda was three centimeters dilated – still far away from the desired 10 centimeters. The good news, though: Miranda could get an epidural if she wanted.
“I was still pretty comfortable but I don’t handle pain that well, so I went for it,” she says. “I was concerned the epidural could slow down the contractions though. I turned to the nurse for advice and she said it shouldn’t because I was receiving pitocin. I wanted her recommendation, and I appreciated her sharing her opinion with me.”
Miranda liked how she could control how much pain medicine she received with the epidural: She was given a button to press whenever she felt like she needed more and it would automatically flow into her body.
The good news: Miranda didn’t require much more pain relief until about 9 p.m., about four and a half hours later. The bad news: Her lack of pain might have been due to the fact that she wasn’t dilating that much.
“Dr. Waterbury came in at 10, and I was only about four centimeters dilated,” she remembers. “He said he had expected me to be at least eight and ready to push in an hour, but that wasn’t the case.”
Miranda started to cry when he recommended a cesarean section, noting that her pelvic cavity could possibly be too small to have her baby move through naturally. If the baby were moving down, she would be dilating more, he explained.
The nurse with Miranda reassured her that she would stay nearby, and that everything she was going through was normal. Dr. Waterbury and the nurse anesthesiologist talked with her as well as they got her ready for the c-section, telling her step by step what was happening.
“I asked the nurse anesthesiologist to hold my one hand while my boyfriend held the other,” she said. “Dr. Waterbury was taking his time, making sure he was doing a careful job so it was easier to sew up afterwards.”
A pediatrician was in the delivery room and checked little Madelyn immediately, and Miranda had a little time to recover and make sure she was OK.
Within two hours, Miranda was holding her angel – and both she and the baby were just fine, even though the day hadn’t gone as Miranda once thought it would.
“It’s an indescribable joy to have your baby and hold her,” says Miranda. “I was so grateful to everyone who helped.”
That help continued after Madelyn’s birth, as Miranda tried and tried to breastfeed. She met with three lactation specialists, each of whom offered advice on holding the baby. Because Miranda’s milk didn’t come in and Madelyn was losing weight, Miranda syringe-fed her, holding a syringe near her breast and dispensing formula so Madelyn would associate Miranda’s breast with being fed.
“My mom helped, and it took forever,” says Miranda, “but we were determined.”
Miranda kept at it at home and pumped regularly in hopes that she would start to produce milk, but she could only gather about a half ounce every 24-hour period. She didn’t feel the usual pressure associated with engorged breasts either. After two weeks, she sadly turned to formula-only feeding.
“It wasn’t meant to be this time,” she says, “but we’re hoping to have three or four children total, so there’s hope for the future. It’s really important to me to breastfeed.”
Miranda is also looking forward to coming back to Sentara Leigh Hospital to deliver again:
“They truly went above and beyond,” she says. “Everyone, all the nurses, support staff, even the housekeeping staff, were so sweet to me and my family. They’re not told enough how great they are!”
Learn more about the Sentara Leigh Hospital Family Maternity Center