When Deanna Ball of Battle Creek went to an appointment at the Family Health Center Sept. 12, she didn't expect to leave with a new baby.
The expecting mom had been experiencing some pain and decided to make an appointment with Dr. Theresa Holladay, obstetrician and gynecologist at the center. About 10 minutes later, Ball knew she was ready to give birth and the staff began to quickly gather the equipment and supplies necessary to assist in childbirth in a medical office building.
"It was just an exciting day and everybody's skills were challenged because we weren't in the settings that we preferred to be in as physicians," said pediatrician Dr. Lesley Reid, who assisted in the procedure that brought Willie Johnson III into the world.
The birth was a first for the organization in its 25-year history. However, despite the unusual location of the birth, there were no complications and both the mother and baby are healthy. Doctors credited not only Ball's high standard of pre-natal preparation and healthy living, but also the simple fact that women have given birth in all kinds of environments for thousands of years. "I've worked in Detroit with deliveries in cars and other places, just because you do what you have to do," Holladay said. "It's not like we haven't done this before."
The Family Health Center is also equipped with all the items necessary to handle a variety of medical emergencies, and the pediatric staff was ready to go with supplies such as blankets and hats for the baby. Despite these assurances, though, new dad William Johnson had some reservations.
"It didn't seem right having him here," he said at the Center Thursday, after the family reunited with the medical professionals that got them through the day. "I was like, 'Oh my goodness. Everything's not right. We don't have the proper equipment. Are they real doctors?'"
Holladay noted that not all facilities have equipment such as fetal monitors, along with staff trained to read them. That was one advantage the team had, as well as having emergency staff coming from nearby Bronson Battle Creek to assist if necessary.
After the birth, Ball and Willie were transported to BBC where they stayed for 48 hours. Willie is Ball's third child and Johnson's first, but their family has grown even past that.
"I think the whole staff was very excited and we all feel like honorary aunts and uncles," said nurse and midwife Kay Jones, who was in the room with the two doctors and two RNs during the delivery.
Andy Fitzpatrick can be reached at 966-0697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.