“Push, push, push, push, push, push, push”, I don’t think I will ever get the sound of Dr. Worth’s directive during the delivery of my daughter out of my head. It sounds obvious and simple and like anyone could say it, but that’s not the case, just the same as any Doctor could not have given me the wonderful and unique birth experience that Dr. Worth and Dr. Mussalli did.
I was lucky to have a very easy pregnancy. I had the usual aches, pain,s and heartburn but otherwise really enjoyed being pregnant which I contribute large in part to the relaxed and experienced guidance of my doctors. They gently insisted that I enjoy this time, appreciate what my body was doing, and respect the changes it was going through. It was their willingness to watch and listen to what my baby and I needed that allowed me to do the same.
As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect from labor and delivery. Needless to say, it completely rocked my world. No amount of reading, classes, or videos could have prepared me for the experience. That said, it was an incredible relief knowing that the people helping me make decisions that day were clearly working in my best interest and not those of the hospital, their personal schedule,s or even their own comfort level.
I checked in to St. Vincent’s at around 12pm on April 1st after my labor progressed rather quickly. A few hours earlier, I had decided to go home after being monitored to carry out the rest of early labor in the comfort of my own home but found that impossible when my contractions picked up in time and intensity. I quickly came to the conclusion that I needed help managing the pain and Dr. Mussalli ordered an epidural for me. Once it kicked in, they let me sleep for a few hours to regain my strength. At 5pm, they woke me up and I started pushing. The baby’s head was visible right away and it looked like our little girl would be out in no time. But three hours later, still no baby.
Dr. Worth never left the room in those three hours and encouraged me to try pushing on my side and in a squatting position but unfortunately, still no baby. It was at 8 that she introduced the idea of using forceps. At first, I was hesitant but I was also so exhausted, I just didn’t have it in me to keep pushing much longer. She talked me through the process but didn’t insist and in the end, I felt like she allowed me to make the decision to use the forceps. Once we finally agreed it was the way to go, Dr. Worth and the tireless nurses, resident, and intern that had been holding my legs for the past three hours readied themselves for the procedure and our little girl, Shea Maxwell, was born within minutes.
Miraculously, Dr. Worth was able to carry out a forceps delivery without having to do an episiotomy and the only evidence of birth was a small internal tear that was repaired before my husband returned to the room with our daughter, all cleaned and bundled up and ready to be adored.
From my first visit as a pregnant patient when Dr. Worth walked in to the room exclaiming “this is so exciting” to the morning after I gave birth when they both visited me in my hospital room, Dr. Mussalli claiming to have been jipped because he didn’t get to deliver my baby, I felt they were invested in me, my pregnancy and the delivery of my beautiful baby girl.