Dear Dr Worth,
We really can’t find the words to express our gratitude for the care we received in your hands for Connor’s birth. He finally came home from the NICU Friday before last – he is doing beautifully well and we are so incredibly happy to have him home and healthy.
Emerging from the haze, we’ve been shocked to realise the position St Vincent’s is currently in. I’ve just emailed the letter below to be posted to the “Save St Vincent’s” blog and will be sending a version to the various officials listed on the website. I hope it helps to express our gratitude and to help in some small way in the fight to save the hospital.
We are shocked and saddened to learn of the threat of closure hanging over St Vincent’s hospital. We very recently experienced at first hand the importance of the care St Vincent’s is able to provide. We would like to share our story in the hopes it can play some part in saving the hospital and allowing others to receive the life-changing and -saving care it has to offer.
Our precious son Connor was born at St Vincent’s Hospital 5 weeks ago today, on December 30th, 2009. After transferring from our planned home birth, we were fortunate enough to be taken under the care of Dr Jaqueline Worth of Village Obstetrics, who delivered our baby by cesarean section later that day.
St Vincent’s has earned a reputation for being a friend to those who choose natural or out-of-hospital birth, which we were happy and relieved to find is, in our experience, well deserved. As our labor progressed, we found ourselves part of the very small minority of home births who need to transfer to hospital and, as such, were concerned that we may encounter hostility or disrespect as too many other home birthers have experienced on transfer. Instead, we experienced the true continuity of care that came from our home birth midwife and the hospital obstetrical team working respectfully together to provide the comprehensive and attentive medical care we needed.
We were treated with the greatest respect, compassion and understanding for our circumstances, even down to precious moments like Milon being allowed a few moments to hold her pregnant belly one last time before prepping for surgery, and Neil being the one to discover and announce our baby’s gender in the operating room. Above all, we never felt that our home birth plans were being scapegoated for the situation in which we came to find ourselves or for our eventual need for a cesarean section.
Connor was born very sick indeed, having inhaled a large amount of meconium in the womb. He was taken directly to the NICU, where he spent the first three weeks of his life receiving intensive treatment which included, amongst other things, intubation on an oscillating ventilator (the “Cadillac” of ventilators), a chest tube for a pneumothorax and nitric oxide for pulmonary hypertension. This was later described to us as “the full artillery” of available care.
We know for a fact that the doctors and staff of St Vincent’s saved our son’s life. Thanks to their vigilant and dedicated care we are lucky enough to have him home with us now, a healthy and happy one month old baby. As well as receiving the highest level of medical expertise, we learned from our experience every day at the NICU that we were leaving him in not only highly skilled but genuinely warm, compassionate and caring hands. This was a great comfort to us during this unthinkably difficult time of separation from our very sick baby.
Connor finally came home just over a week ago. We can never adequately express our gratitude for the care he received, in all senses of the word, and for the gift of being able to bring him home healthy.
In addition, we truly feel that the obstetric care we received as a home birth transfer is an example of the gold standard of care in such circumstances. St Vincent’s is a beacon of best practice in this arena and in our opinion it is essential that it be allowed to continue to set this fine example of what best practice truly means.
With all best wishes,
M & N