One Little Bundle At A Time
Melanie Longmore loves her job as Nurse Manager for the Mom/Baby Unit and Special Care Nursery at Riverton Hospital. Her mother and grandmother were both nurses. “It was in my blood,” Longmore said. During nursing school she realized that women’s services and work pertaining to childbirth appealed to her the most.
Fast forward 24 years and Longmore has seen and experienced a great deal. It’s a job that keeps her on her toes. “Often times what you think will happen isn’t what happens, but I don’t think I’d have it any other way,” she said. Each day presents its own triumphs and challenges, but she enjoys the variety.
She’s witnessed trends among women delivering babies that include a rise in women coming in with birthing plans. She noted that the epidural rate for women in labor is about 85%, but that people going to childbirth classes is trending down, so the hospital offers online information as an alternative.
“The trend we have at Riverton Hospital that I absolutely love is repeat customers,” she said.
Longmore noted, “Fridays are the biggest day to have spontaneous deliveries and Tuesdays are the biggest day for inductions and C-sections.” Sometimes the hospital is quiet and other times it’s near capacity. The hospital hopes to have a whole new women’s unit in 2020.
Her most memorable moments include delivering twins when the doctor didn’t make it on time and also managing the delivery of two sets of twins whose fathers were brothers and thus had the same last name. “Four babies with the same last name, two moms with the same last name, keeping everybody separated on paperwork and making sure they had the right babies was crazy,” she said.
Poignant moments have included witnessing a 57 year old woman deliver a baby which she described as “pretty darn incredible.”
Longmore said 90% of the nurses at her hospital live in the community. “They have a high level of investment in the community they serve, there’s already this connectedness, and a lot of the nurses are child-bearing age so they treat the patients the way they would want to be treated,” she said.
Reflecting on her profession, Longmore said, “Really every single time is an absolute miracle in different ways, even when I’ve done it for 20 years, it’s just that special.” She noted that she often still tears up at the joy a new baby brings.
Alta View Hospital is also part of the Intermountain Healthcare system and it is there that Vicki O’Neal is one of three Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) working at Alta View Nurse Midwives practice. Each is a registered Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) as well.
O’Neal had been a labor and delivery nurse for 13 years before she returned to the University of Utah to study midwifery. “I wanted to be more involved in the birth of babies,” she said.
O’Neal explained that midwives are health care providers for all kinds of women’s health services including menopause issues, birth control, annual exams, Pap smears, pregnancies and deliveries. “You can come to see us for pretty much all your health care needs. Of course our favorite thing to do is pregnancy,” she said.
“They’re going to get comparable care to an OB/GYN, but we feel we give more personalized care. Our appointments are longer, we get to know our patients better, we do all our deliveries in the hospital and we help them through whatever kind of delivery they choose to have from beginning to end,” O’Neal said. She and her colleagues rotate as to who is on shift to be sure that there is always a midwife by the side of laboring patients.
There’s a myth that midwives don’t allow epidurals, O’Neal explained, but that is not the case. She has seen a decrease, however, in the epidural rate at Alta View with her practice. “Our patients think they can do it without medication, so they’re more likely to try because they know we’ll be there with them through the whole thing,” she said.
O’Neal is in practice with Carlie Yearsley and Jacqui Lagana on the third floor of Alta View Women’s Center. She proudly said that they usually get patients in within a week or two of calling for an appointment.
“We enjoy taking care of women’s health care needs, especially pregnancy. We find great joy in every aspect of pregnancy and this little growing being inside of them,” O’Neal said.