Kathryn N I Never Felt I Wasn’t Heard

“If we decided to have another baby, we would deliver at MMC.”

Kathryn Norton entered Monmouth Medical Center (MMC) to have her first child July 24, 2022, and gave birth July 26. Labor lasted 45 hours—long enough that one of her nurses, Ashley Fava, RN, served two separate shifts on consecutive days. “We tried many different things, but this baby was not coming on his own,” Kathryn says.

Yet Kathryn is upbeat. “We had a fabulous experience,” she says. “I cannot say enough about the labor and delivery nurses who helped us. Ashley’s positivity and realism, and the way she advocated for me and my baby were beyond anything we expected.”

Advocating for patients and shared decision-making are among keys to a new initiative called TeamBirth NJ. MMC launched TeamBirth with two other New Jersey hospitals along with the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, in partnership with New Jersey’s Department of Health.

TeamBirth aims to enhance birthing experiences and improve outcomes. Core tenets include that the person giving birth and their support person are integral parts of the care team, and that all parties should have clear expectations from knowing the patient’s preferences, symptoms and experiences.

A Tough Call

Kathryn’s induced delivery shortly before the initiative launched shows how the program naturally fits MMC.

Even with medications and therapies, Kathryn’s cervix hadn’t dilated enough. Nurses helped her do yoga and use a peanut-shaped ball, and even piped in favorite country music. “They offered anything they thought could help,” Kathryn says. “None of it was working.”

Doctors finally advised delivering by cesarean section. “That was not my plan, especially after working so long for a natural birth,” Kathryn says. Fava recommended the team keep trying for vaginal delivery, emphasizing that mother and baby remained healthy. Doctors agreed.

“That meant so much to me because it showed Ashley and the team knew how much I wanted a natural birth, understood my plan and wanted to help me achieve it,” Kathryn says.

After almost two more hours of labor, the team—including Kathryn and her husband, Matthew—decided to proceed with the C-section. “We had literally exhausted all our options,” Kathryn says.

Baby Charlie was born at 5:50 p.m. “He was perfect,” Kathryn says. “If we decided to have another baby, we would deliver at MMC. Everyone was understanding and accommodating. I never felt I wasn’t heard.”

Nationally Recognized For Women's Care

MMC's TeamBirth Launch

Healthgrades has recognized Monmouth Medical Center (MMC) with the rating organization’s 2022 Obstetrics and Gynecology Excellence Award and Labor and Delivery Excellence Award. MMC has received these distinctions for seven consecutive years, ranking among the top 5 percent of hospitals evaluated for both areas. MMC is also a 5-Star Recipient for Vaginal Delivery, a distinction associated with a more than 45 percent lower risk of complications than in 1-Star hospitals.

MMC is also among 259 hospitals nationwide named to Money’s 2022 Best Maternity Hospitals based on data from an annual survey by The Leapfrog Group of more than 2,200 facilities.

Learn more about maternity services at Monmouth Medical Center.