Dr. Jenny Butler with Jones Regional Medical Center in Jones County helped to deliver two babies at the hospital recently. JRMC usually sees a few births a year. Recently, they delivered two in just two months. (Photo courtesy of JRMC)
Andrea and Dustin Hall are seen here with their new daughter, Grace, inside the ER at JRMC. The Halls were expecting to deliver their baby in Cedar Rapids, but ended up at JRMC because Andrea’s contractions were too close together. (Photo submitted)
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Expecting parents dream of the day their little bundle of joy enters the world. They plan for their delivery date; making sure it’ll all go smoothly. However, things don’t always go as planned…
Within in the past couple of months, two expecting Monticello mothers, who were scheduled to deliver their newborns in Cedar Rapids, had to change their plans, as they ended up delivering at Jones Regional Medical Center (JRMC) in Anamosa.
Talking with Dr. Jenny Butler, M.D., who delivered both Andrea Hall’s and Billie Barton’s babies at JRMC, she stressed that JRMC “does not intend to do deliveries” and it’s “always best for mom and the baby to deliver at a facility with labor and delivery if possible.”
Both Hall and Barton had full intentions of delivering their babies at Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital respectively, but the onset of labor turned those plans upside down.
Barton’s due date was scheduled for June 23; however, she delivered early on June 13.
As Barton described the situation, she went to a routine doctor’s appointment at St. Luke’s on June 12, but was sent home because she was not dilated enough to warrant staying at the hospital. So, she went back to work at J&P Cycles in Anamosa, until she started having cramps.
“I left early that day and went home to rest,” she said. After falling asleep, she woke up at 11 p.m. and her contractions kicked in all of a sudden. She timed them at a minute and a half apart. She immediately contacted her parents and they headed for St. Luke’s right away.
“By the time we were at Scooter’s in Anamosa, I knew we had to turn around because I could feel the baby’s head pushing,” Barton explained.
As they turned around to head to JRMC, her dad called the hospital to notify them of the situation. Barton said there was no way they would have made it to Cedar Rapids, as she had her baby girl, Austyn Elizabeth Barton, within 11 to 12 minutes after arriving at JRMC. Austyn was born at 1:11 a.m. on June 13.
“I honestly thought I would have made it,” Barton said of trying to get to St. Luke’s as fast as they could.
As JRMC is not a birthing hospital, they are equipped to handle emergency births in the emergency room department. Barton said there were no complications as a result of delivering her third child 10 days early. Austyn weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces, measuring 19 inches long.
“There was no time for an epidural,” Barton said, “because I was too far along for it to do anything.” She said she’s proud to say she had her daughter the natural way.
“JRMC did a wonderful job,” Barton praised the hospital. “Dr. Butler knew exactly what to do and just took over. They were amazing.”
After delivery, Austyn was immediately transported to St. Luke’s in an incubator via ambulance. Shortly after, Barton was also transferred.
“I was just glad that my daughter was healthy,” she said of the level of care she received at JRMC. “Dr. Butler really made me feel good about the whole ordeal.”
Knowing she wasn’t going to deliver with her doctor she had grown comfortable and familiar with, Barton admitted she was scared at first knowing she was going to deliver elsewhere, but “it all went so smoothly. Everything happened the way it needed to happen.”
Andrea Hall, who also happens to work at J&P Cycles, has quite the similar tale to tell. Her due date was scheduled for July 29 and she delivered her second daughter, Grace Kathryn Hall at 6:46 p.m. on July 30.
Hall said she actually started experiencing contractions Monday night, July 29. At eight minutes apart, they decided to head to Mercy in Cedar Rapids at 11 p.m. that night.
“They sent me home because they explained I wasn’t progressing enough,” she said.
Waking up Tuesday morning, the on-set of contractions had gone away, so Hall carried on with her day.
“Throughout the day, I had nothing telling me I was in labor,” Hall said.
At 4:30 that afternoon on July 30, she decided to go for a walk with the dog.
“All of a sudden, the contractions came out of no where,” she said. “They felt pretty close, too.”
She headed for their home and timed her contractions at four minutes apart. She called her husband, Dustin, at work, informing him they needed to leave.
Before the couple could leave town, they tried calling around for an emergency babysitter for their other daughter, Lily.
“It took a while to find a sitter,” Hall said. “We had to call several people.”
With Sue Holmes to the rescue, the Halls fled out of Monticello to Mercy. They were half way to Anamosa when Hall informed her husband that she could feel the baby coming.
“We took the Anamosa exit to JRMC and called them to tell them we were heading in,” Hall said. When they arrived, they were immediately taken into the ER, with her contractions at two and a half minutes apart. Within about 15 to 20 minutes or so, Grace arrived weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces, 20 inches long. Due to the fast delivery, Hall also delivered naturally, without an epidural.
“I wasn’t there maybe 10 minutes and my water broke,” Hall recalled. “It all happened very fast. An epidural was not an option.”
In both Hall’s and Barton’s case, knowing how fast they delivered once they arrived at JRMC, they definitely would not have made it to Cedar Rapids.
“Taking the exit was a last minute decision,” Hall said of deciding to go to JRMC.
Knowing she would not be delivering at Mercy, Hall was not worried at all.
“I had a healthy pregnancy so I wasn’t concerned. There were enough people in the ER, I was confident everything would be fine.”
Dr. Butler also delivered Hall’s baby, and her sentiments concerning the great level of care at JRMC mimic that of Barton. “It was top notch! For only delivering a few births a year or so, there were no concerns at all.”
The only request Hall had of the ordeal was that her husband could cut the umbilical cord and reveal the gender of the baby, which the couple did not know until then.
After making sure mom and baby were doing okay, Hall and her daughter were transferred together in an ambulance to Mercy in Cedar Rapids.
“They had her on my chest, skin-to-skin,” Hall said of the ride to Mercy.
She said it was amazing that everyone on call at JRMC knew what to do for them and was ready as soon as they arrived. “It all happened exactly like it should have,” she said. “Everything just fell into place.”
Hall said everyone in her room and who rode in the ambulance was very friendly and helpful during it all. “They even asked us if we wanted a family picture in the ER.”
Dr. Butler said it’s quite rare for JRMC to see two emergency births so close together like this. “We usually only end up delivering a couple a year, but now we’ve had two in two months!”
As far as how JRMC prepares for deliveries like this, Butler explained, “As a rural emergency department (ED), we have to be prepared for every type of emergency, even though we might only see that specific situation once a year.”
They keep all delivery supplies in a certain area of the ED, including a neonatal warmer, so that everything can be obtained quickly, wasting no time at all.
Hearing the positive comments from both Barton and Hall, Dr. Butler said, “We do what we need to do immediately no matter what the emergency situation coming in is. We are always prepared. We can be ready in minutes and have staff waiting in the room for the patient (when they arrive).”