A Special Birthday

Lacie O’Brien wondered how she and her husband Billy were going to celebrate her birthday. She began to ask him leading up to the big day, but he didn’t seem to have any plans for his pregnant wife. In the early morning hours of October 16, 2017 their plans were decided, when Lacie’s water broke at 37 weeks.

“Although we did not have a formal birth plan, we intended to have a natural, drug-free delivery,” says Lacie. “During labor, we learned that the baby was in a breech position and a cesarean section would be needed to deliver him.”

Once the decision was made to take Lacie into surgery they were amazed how quickly things happened and how many people assembled to care for them. The surgery was lead by Surgeon, Dr. Vicentiu Andrei and included Dr. Kimberly Perttu, the family practice doctor caring for them during their hospital stay.

Even though there was a sense of urgency, and although things did not go quite as planned, staff made them feel at ease and they were confident that everything would be fine. Their son William Michael O’Brien was born three weeks early, on his mother’s birthday, weighing five pounds 14 ounces and measuring 19 inches long.

As for the baby being born on Lacie’s birthday, she says “It is something special she can share with him.”

Lacie and Billy said they chose to have their baby at Hayward Area Memorial Hospital because it is their community. Both are Hayward graduates, Lacie grew up in Hayward and Billy moved to Hayward during high school.

“We both feel fortunate to have found jobs in Hayward after college,” says Lacie. Billy is a fourth grade teacher and head football coach for the Hayward Community Schools. Lacie is the high school’s Guidance and Athletic Secretary, assistant volleyball coach and coordinates the district’s CHASE summer school program.

They are lucky to have their parents living in Hayward and Lacie has extended family in Hayward. Their deep connection made having their baby in Hayward a natural choice. Billy indicates, “At school events you often see physicians, nurses and others who work at the hospital. It means a lot to see them in the community, you know that they care about Hayward and you know they care about you.”

Both Billy and Lacie feel that the familiarity with so many people made their experience in the hospital very comfortable. Billy states, “Everyone was very helpful and encouraging.” Whether they were walking in the halls or receiving a meal in their room, everyone was friendly and extremely accommodating.

“The whole experience exceeded our expectations,” says Lacie and Billy.

Particular services they enjoyed included the room service for meals and the flexibility that was provided. They were also impressed by the quality of food and said that the steak dinner was a keeper. They appreciated staff recommendations to visit the three season porches or directions to places to walk outside.

“The service the OB nurses provided was exceptional,” says Lacie. “In particular I appreciated the comfort they provided and their offer to take Will for short periods of time so I could rest and recover from surgery. They were also invaluable in helping in the early stages of breastfeeding.”

Lacie received her prenatal care from Dr. Julie Kahl of Essentia Health-Hayward. Lacie has been extremely happy with the care she has provided for both herself and Will. The hospital was part of the pregnancy journey with ultrasounds and Childbirth Education Classes, which Lacie and Billy highly recommend.

They were able to take a one-day class, taught by an OB nurse that fit with their busy schedules. The class provided great information on what to expect, a tour of the Family Birth Center, education on breastfeeding and taking your baby home and an opportunity to interact with other expectant parents.

Since leaving the hospital, Lacie has been in touch with lactation consultants, who are specially trained OB nurses. “I have appreciated the ability to text or talk to a lactation consultant when I have a question or need extra support about breastfeeding,”

“My breastfeeding experience is going well, I am surrounded by a great support system including my husband, mother and sister-in-law,” says Lacie. “My sister-in-law has been extremely valuable in sharing her personal experience in breastfeeding two children.”

As new parents the advice they would like to share is to enjoy every moment. They cannot believe how quickly the first seven weeks have gone.

“Make sure you have a great support system in each other and take advantage of the support system your family and friends can provide,” says Billy.

“We are still learning. Reality and perception of what it will be like are two different things. It is not going to go the way you think and that is okay.”

Lacie’s advice to new moms, “You are way stronger than you think. Believe in yourself.” As her mother has told her, you are doing just fine.