Generations of Care
Growing up fifth generation in Skagit County gave Shalyce Pocock confidence in choosing Skagit Regional Health’s Family Birth Center and staying close to home. When it came time to have her own baby, the choice was simple. Like her and her mother and father before her, the birth of her son marked a third generation to be born at Skagit Valley Hospital.Pocock, a resident of Bow, describes her experience as “flawless,” demonstrating a level of care and comfort the women of her family have experienced for generations. Skagit Regional Health is a family tradition.
She said she had confidence throughout her pregnancy, labor and delivery because the staff felt like family and the hospital felt like being at home. The nurses and staff put her needs and wants first, and created a safe and comforting space for Pocock and her family, allowing her to stick to her birth plan and welcome the next generation.
Arriving two weeks earlier than expected, and with her primary doctor out of town, Pocock attests the birth of her son was still “flawless.” Pocock’s water broke at 2 a.m., but by the time she and her husband, Ian, reached Skagit Valley Hospital at dawn, her labor had stalled. Being induced was the next protocol, yet the progression was slow. At no time did Pocock experience any stress related to her circumstance.
Although there were nerves and uncertainty at the start, “they [the hospital staff] gave a sense that you were the only patient in the hospital that day. And I know well that there were lots of other babies probably being born at the exact same time. And yet every time they came in, whether I had five questions or 20 questions, they took their time to answer. …They just did what I needed, right when I needed it. And so, I would say it was a very calm experience,” Pocock said. After a full day of labor, she was able to have the natural childbirth she’d intended.
Being the first grandchild born into her maternal line, there was a big cheering section stationed at the hospital’s waiting room from both sides of the extended family. This didn’t distract the nurses in maintaining the wishes of the expectant parents. “We also had indicated to the nurses that we didn’t want them to go out and tell them [the family] that he was here until we gave the AOK. I wanted to be sure that, as a family, we could bond, the three of us, with the baby, before our family exchanged and took their turn with him,” Pocock stated.
After the visitors left, the couple were left alone to bond with their son, however, newborn bliss was interrupted by a postpartum hurdle. After two days of coaxing, Pocock’s son struggled to latch and breastfeed. Determined to claim the time she needed with the hospital’s highly skilled lactation consultant, she voiced her concerns and requested to stay at the hospital an extra day.
The hospital staff, putting Pocock’s needs first, honored her request and allowed her to stay as a patient without giving up. “And when we got home he was great and he breastfed for almost a year. So, I’m really glad I stood up and asked for that time because I think that they were happy to keep me there,” she said.
The early support Pocock received as she struggled to find her rhythm with her firstborn would help develop the maternal confidence she’d maintain throughout her second pregnancy and delivery. “I feel like I was empowered when I left the hospital and I was confident that I could make decisions for my baby,” she recalled. By the time she gave birth to her second son, she’d stay in the hospital less than a day before returning home.