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Her Birth, Her Way: How a Personalized Birth Plan Gave Kristyna Peace and Lasting Memories

December 9, 2019

After moving here from New York, Voorhees resident Kristyna Underwood was hesitant to find a new OB/GYN physician to care for her during her second pregnancy. Recommended by a family member, Kristyna made her first appointment with Dr. Jennifer Hummel, of Jefferson Health West Deptford Women’s Specialty Care.

Kristyna shared that she experienced a cold and callous birth experience with her previous pregnancy in New York, which created difficult memories for her. As a result, she decided to talk to Dr. Hummel about some personal requests she had for this delivery. Knowing how important it was to work with Kristyna on a personalized birth plan to keep her involved and, more importantly, keep her mind at ease, Dr. Hummel was more than happy to listen and accommodate her requests. Kristyna’s journey is something she'll be happy to remember for years to come.

“Dr. Hummel’s compassion and sympathy were clear. Her bedside manner and honesty told me I could trust her," said Kristyna. 

“Personalized birth plans have helped many moms make their birth experience their own. They help ensure not only a great experience, but a safe one,” explained Dr. Hummel. “It’s important to discuss the plan in the office, several weeks prior to your due date. There may be limitations to what requests we can fulfill, but we can always compromise.”

Personalized birth plans contain the basic information of the parents, physician, and delivering hospital. They often cover the atmosphere of the delivery room, delivery method, and postpartum care. Parents may also ask for specific music to be played during delivery, the lights to be turned down lower, to receive or not receive an epidural or other pain meds; to have a photographer or videographer present; and much more.

For Kristyna, her primary request was to have a labor and delivery team of all female professionals, and for Dr. Hummel to deliver her baby.Everything was going as planned. However, when Kristyna’s C-section was moved up, Dr. Hummel was unsure if she’d be able to be there.

“It’s normal for birth plans to change,” said Dr. Hummel. “This can place a lot of stress on the parents, so it’s essential to sit down and talk them through it. We walk through the changes step by step. At the time, I had secured another female doctor for Kristyna.”  

The morning of her C-section, September 24, Kristyna arrived to the hospital, expecting to greet a different OB/GYN. Instead, to her surprise, she saw Dr. Hummel walking toward her with open arms.

“She told me she couldn’t let me go through this without her,” said Kristyna. “I immediately burst into tears, feeling overwhelmed. I felt so cared for and relieved. Doctors like her are rare to come by.”

Everyone on the team was aware and respectful of Kristyna’s wants and wishes, having reviewed her birth plan. Having everyone on board is key to creating a happy and safe environment, adds Dr. Hummel.

“Before I knew it, my husband and I were shedding tears of joy while Dr. Hummel introduced us to our newborn son,” said Kristyna. “I felt joy because of my son, and because of Dr. Hummel, I felt security, peace, and no pain.”

When drafting up your birth plan, be sure to do your research, and don’t leave out any questions.

“No question is a stupid question,” added Dr. Hummel. “Chances are what you want is super easy for us to do! Let’s talk about it! A happy mom makes for a happy baby.”  

For more information on Women's and Children's Services at Jefferson Health in New Jersey, click HERE.