Date Night: One Couple Finds Joy Amidst a Challenging Pregnancy
Kelly Reidel, with Harrison, Olive and husband Tim
Kelly had a wonderful first pregnancy, until she developed preeclampsia in the 35th week and had to deliver early. She was expertly and compassionately cared for by the midwives at Mount Auburn throughout, so when she got pregnant again, Kelly and her husband Tim knew there was nowhere they would rather have their baby than with the Center for Women at Mount Auburn Hospital.
With her first child, Olive, now a healthy 2 year old, Kelly came in on a Monday morning at 35 weeks because she’d gotten an elevated blood pressure reading at home. She and Tim were both dressed for work, and she was packed for a business trip, set to leave the next day. They expected to be in and out. But, it turned out she’d developed preeclampsia with severe features, a condition that can lead to serious complications for the mother such as seizures, liver or renal failure, and future cardiovascular issues, and she was immediately sent to triage. There, she met midwife Arianna Stein, who stayed with her through her labor and delivery of Olive. Kelly says her birth experience felt “calm and beautiful,” and it was “everything we could have wished for,” despite the urgency of her illness. Kelly describes Arianna as a “gift from Mount Auburn to my whole family – she was supportive, kind, capable, strong. She was exactly what we needed.”
After Olive was born, Kelly attended Mount Auburn’s postpartum support group, led by Leslie Mosely (at the time), and found the group’s mix of support and education to be unique in the area. She enjoyed meeting other parents and babies, and appreciated the information offered by guest speakers such as lactation consultants, sleep specialists, and physical therapists. She often encouraged other parents to join, coaxing them with the promise of “cookies and a baby scale” (both offered each week). In addition to the guest speakers, both Leslie and Tali Averbuch (who leads the group now) provide such caring and knowledgeable facilitation – she describes them as “the perfect combination of expert and friend that you need in that early postpartum period.”
Olive with her new brother Harrison
When Kelly got pregnant again, she and Tim were thrilled, but aware of the risk that her preeclampsia might return. She was cared for jointly by midwife Jen Williams and Mount Auburn’s Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Edwin Huang. When the threat of preeclampsia returned at 30 weeks, she was placed on modified bedrest (a challenge for someone with a two year old!), and watched closely for preeclampsia. Kelly had multiple appointments every week with Dr. Huang and the Maternal Fetal Medicine group. Kelly jokes that there were two benefits to this schedule – given the bedrest, it was nice to get out of the house even if just to go to the hospital, and Kelly and Tim genuinely enjoyed seeing Dr. Huang. He became like a member of the family!
Kelly was admitted to the hospital on six occasions for elevated blood pressure, and it often happened to be on a Thursday or Friday night. Kelly and Tim joke that it provided “date nights.” With a toddler at home, one on one time was a rare treat. Despite the serious health risks of her condition, the team at Mount Auburn made it easy to find joy in their last minute, unplanned stays at MAH. “They treated us so well. My husband always felt completely included in my care, which was important to both of us. They say that nurses are the heart of healthcare and that couldn’t be more true at Mount Auburn – those ladies are gems. We got to know so many of the doctors and nurses, and they never made the process seem scary or sterile. Everyone had ‘a heathy respect for the disease’ (as Dr. Zoe McKee put it), but they always allowed some levity to the situation – joking with us and allowing us to stay calm and light-hearted. Plus, the food is actually good!”
On July 11, Kelly, Tim and Olive welcomed a happy and healthy little boy – Harrison – to their family. Kelly says that she got emotional saying goodbye at her last appointment with Dr. Huang. “He was just so much a part of our pregnancy. He kept Harrison and me safe because he is an excellent doctor. He kept us all calm, and hopeful, and sane because he is an even more excellent human. I was grateful not to be sick anymore, but I was honestly going to miss him!”
In the throes of some challenging decisions during labor, Kelly and Tim appreciated the wise advice of Dr. Beth Hardiman. She encouraged them to think, “I accept what my birth delivers to me.” Kelly reflects, “I loved that advice. Truly, both of my births at Mount Auburn Hospital delivered to us caring nurses who we enjoyed spending time with, smart and compassionate midwives, a top notch team of doctors who always treated me like a whole person and a mother and never like a sick patient, and finally, Ariana and Dr. Huang, for whom Tim, Olive, Harrison and I will forever be grateful.
Kelly is now enjoying a healthy maternity leave with Olive and Harrison, and she is back to Mount Auburn’s postpartum group, still learning and enjoying meeting other parents. And, still eating the cookies.