I’ve been reflecting on this for a few months now since the birth of our fourth and final addition. I could write a book on our birthing experiences and losses, but I will try to refrain from such a length and get to the point. Those nurses in purple are absolute angels on Earth - from the newer hires we’ve watched seasoned veterans train, to those who have held my hand through all four births and more.
Over the last eight years, my husband, Ryan, and I have lived just about every birthing/family “planning” story in the book. It’s easy to look at our beautiful family and say we’ve had it easy, but the nurses of The Birth Place know our story better because they’ve been there front and center through the peaks and valleys.
- Our firstborn, Eason (2014), was breech. Despite attempting a version to turn him head down, he remained breech, resulting in a scheduled C-section. The procedure went well, and I was blessed with a fairly simple and fast recovery.
- Our second born, Mabel (2016), was my first successful VBAC (Vaginal Delivery After Cesarean).
- Our third born, Hank (2018), was my second successful VBAC.
- Our fourth born, Ike (2022), was born via emergency C-Section.
One Family, Four Different Birthing Experiences
What you see summarized above may seem fairly run-of-the-mill. We all hear about C-sections, even the emergency situations, right? You may hear about VBACs or TOLACs, but what you don’t see is what’s between the lines. The good, bad and the ugly – and those amazing women in purple have seen it all with my family.
Between Mabel and Hank, we experienced two miscarriages – both seemingly quick and without physical difficulty, though very emotionally challenging. Between Hank and Ike, when trying for that final #4, we experienced our third miscarriage. This one, however, was unlike any before. After waiting and waiting, we had to do a D&C (Dilation & Curettage) – during which, I hemorrhaged terribly. Thanks to the quick and skillful hands of my doctor and the team they were able to stop the bleeding…temporarily. I went on to be hospitalized at The Birth Place until they could determine the source of the bleeding to ensure it stopped and I was strong enough to go home.
What was supposed to be an outpatient procedure that had me home by noon, turned into a life-threatening, inpatient situation – but I wouldn’t have rather been anywhere else than with my doctor and nurses in Carroll, Iowa.
We had thought and hoped that our third miscarriage was the last of the traumatic bumps in our family “planning” story. However, in October 2022, it was decided to induce me a few days before my due date to get the third and final VBAC rolling. When my husband and I walked into The Birth Place, it was like a family reunion. Hugs, smiles, comments of excitement and anticipation of our arrival. We were all excited and seemingly ready for “business as usual” to get that fourth Schroeder baby on the outside.
However, after just a few hours of laboring, just after getting my epidural, my uterus ruptured, putting my doctor and The Birth Place staff in a situation where there was no time for thinking or second-guessing, only instinct and action. It was fast. It was a blur - of which much I was awake for. Yet somehow through the mere minutes from the determination of emergency surgery to when I went under anesthesia, I wasn’t scared. Despite the looks of concern around me, I knew I was in the right place, in the right hands – right there in Carroll, Iowa. From the moment we rolled through those doors, Ike was born just three minutes later…healthy.
A Personal Experience
I repeat…the people in those purple scrubs are angels on Earth. They held my hand, hugged me, comforted my husband when he wasn’t allowed by my side, held me up, caught me before hitting the bathroom floor, called me to check in, and answered my postpartum calls. They’ve loved on all of our babies and helped capture those first moments. We know their names, their hearts, their voices out in the hall. They do their jobs well and with grace and confidence to be admired.
Despite how many babies and parents enter and exit their doors, you feel as if you’re their highest priority – always. The same goes for the anesthesia and surgery teams of which went out of their way after my rupture/C-section to check in and see how we were doing. They’ve stayed late and missed valuable time with their loved ones – all to selflessly care for OTHERS.
I’m positive that through our ups and downs inside the St. Anthony walls, doctors and nurses have at times experienced me as my worst self…but they loved and respected me through it anyway – and for that, I am forever grateful.
There’s clearly a reason why so many faces have remained unchanged at The Birth Place in our eight-year, child-bearing time. There’s a reason the staff rarely turns over and only grows. They appear as if they’re family and they love what they do and where they do it every single day. They check their worries at the door and put their most professional foot forward.
Sure, my husband and I could have gone to a “big city hospital,” and if specialty needs were
ordered by my doctor, we of course would have. But we knew deep down that God put us in
their knowledgeable and skilled hands for a reason. In fact, about five months after that third,
terrifying miscarriage, I recall the pivotal moment of my husband and I discussing what to
do…whether to try again or to simply consider ourselves “blessed enough” and not risk it. I
asked Ryan what he thought, begged him to reconcile all of my arguments for both sides of the
matter, and I’ll never forget what he said (much to my surprise after everything he had to
witness that year). As we both wiped away tears, he said, “I think we try one more time, because I believe God put our doctor in our lives for a reason, and there’s no one else we trust more than him and his team.” Leave it to my very logical and rational husband to summarize everything perfectly. The bottom line – we trust them.
We can’t thank The Birth Place staff enough for blessing our family over the last eight years. We would recommend The Birth Place in Carroll to anyone considering it. You’ll feel safe, loved and cared for – and so will your baby."
Ryan, Lexi, Eason, Mabel, Hank and Ike Schroeder