Tight-knit community makes giving birth a labor of love

Rapp family kids sit on the porchA familiar face can provide a lot of relief for someone going through something stressful and uncertain. Nobody knows this better than Natalie Boyce, of Gladstone.

Natalie and her husband, William, had three children aged 8 or older when they found out their fourth child was on the way. All three of their children had been born at OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group in Escanaba, but it had been so long since the last baby, they didn’t expect to see anybody who had helped them with the previous births.

When it was time for their little Henrik to be born via cesarean section in April, the couple was pleasantly surprised.

“As I was going in for my C-section this time, we noticed the familiar face of one of our favorite nurses, who was there when we had our first child 13 years earlier,” Natalie said. “It just gave me a calmness before the surgery to know that she was there and she would take good care of me and my baby.”

Natalie and William have chosen OSF St. Francis for all of Natalie’s births. They appreciate the comfort of the familiar faces, the way the staff makes the whole family feel at home, the great care and the convenient location.

It has also always been important to Natalie and William that their children get to meet their new sibling as soon as possible in the hospital. This is something the OSF St. Francis team has made a priority, according to Natalie.

“The convenience of being close to home so that family could come and see us when the baby was born, plus the care we’d received in the past – we just didn’t consider anything else because it was so great the first three times,” Natalie said. “My experience at OSF with having children has been great each and every time. Thirteen years ago was just as nice as it was in April.”

A special family moment

While familiarity provided comfort to Natalie and her family, there were some new things this time around that played a significant role in making the birth of Henrik a special occasion.

For one, Natalie was able to have skin-to-skin contact with her baby immediately to start the bonding process.

“It was an overwhelming joy to see our baby boy,” Natalie said. “And to know I was going to be able to spend that time with him right away was really special and important for our whole family.”

Another revelation was the doctor who delivered Henrik. Having arrived three years ago, Casey Sager, MD, is a relative newcomer to OSF St. Francis.

“I hadn’t met Dr. Sager before this pregnancy, but she was awesome,” Natalie said. “She doesn’t even really feel like a doctor, she feels like a friend. It feels like you could just talk to her.”

Dr. Sager is the type of person who finds such joy in her job that it’s almost contagious. “I would deliver every baby in Delta County, if I could,” she said. “It’s just a privilege, and I think it never gets old.”

Dr. Sager said she believes the staff continuity at OSF St. Francis is a great benefit to the community the hospital serves. They care about every patient, because every patient is more than a number – they often are a neighbor or friend.

“There are so many ties bringing this group of people – this community – together,” Dr. Sager said. “We have a lot of longevity here, so we see people that start at OSF and retire here decades later. They love the hospital and the community so much. I can’t imagine coming to a better place. It’s a great place and a great fit that you don’t find everywhere.”

About Author: Ken Harris

Ken Harris is the proudest father and a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.

He has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.

In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.

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Categories: Birth & Maternity, Patient Stories