Perfect Fit: Finding the Perfect Provider Leads to the Best of Birthing Outcomes
For Chelan and Noah Harkin, finding the right doctor to oversee Chelan’s pregnancy and the birth of their first child was very important. In fact, after learning she was pregnant, Chelan (pictured left) took careful pains to visit with various local doctors to find that “perfect fit.” But, instead, she found this wasn’t easy.
“We were ‘shopping’ around a bit, and the first few doctors we saw were fine, but I didn’t feel that quality of care I was seeking,” Chelan recalls. “I was nauseous, throwing up night and day and just feeling so poorly. Because we had not found that good fit in a doctor, I was getting anxious. I wanted to have a deep sense of trust in my doctor.”
A friend recommended Molly Fauth, MD and Orlando Acosta, MD of One Community Health (OCH). Preferring a female provider, Chelan booked an appointment with Molly. However, first, she met with Vicky Valle, community health worker, and Delfina Reyes, community health worker, who offered her support through the OCH Perinatal Program.
“They were so sweet and helped us feel great from the get-go,” she says. “Then when we met Dr. Fauth, it confirmed everything for us. She was respectful, kind and present. I felt like she had her heart in the job. And all along, I felt like she had our best interests at heart, too.”
Hoping for a natural delivery, Chelan told Dr. Fauth she wasn't completely opposed to interventions, but it wasn’t her ideal vision of childbirth. Dr. Fauth totally supported her birth plan for a natural delivery, but when the baby was two weeks past the due date, a discussion around an intervention was in order.
“She pushed the date out as far as she could, and I appreciated that,” Chelan says. “But we went in on Wednesday, April 19 and I was induced. Then nothing happened. I wasn’t dilating. My cervix wasn’t opening. Nothing. And then the second day, that Friday, I got horribly nauseous and spent much of it in vomiting misery.”
Dr. Fauth kept popping in to check on Chelan. That Friday, still nothing had changed with the baby. As his heartbeat remained strong, the provider suspected the head was too large to interact with the cervix, thus was not triggering labor. A Cesarean section was recommended at which point Chelan burst into tears of initial disappointment.
However, when they found out it would take only about 45 minutes to prepare for the surgery, Chelan and Noah took comfort in not feeling pressured or rushed to make a “flash” decision. The vital nature of the situation had been clearly communicated without any negative, judgmental pressure from the provider. The couple still felt in control and hopeful.
“My mom has this great friend who is a recently retired midwife and all along had told me she thought it sounded like I had a great doctor,” Chelan says. “For whatever reason, I felt I needed to call her. I told her what Molly recommended and, again, she said it sounded like our doctor knew what she was talking about.”
Tired, feeling miserable and worried, Chelan knew it was Friday and that the staff would switch out for the weekend. Realizing Dr. Fauth wouldn’t be available if the birth happened over the weekend concerned her—having this provider deliver the baby mattered more than ever to Chelan and Noah.
“We decided to go for it,” Chelan says. “During the epidural, I asked her to distract me, and Dr. Fauth told me funny stories about her ugly dog, and we were laughing.”
The laughing and joy didn’t stop there, however. While on the operating table, Chelan felt giddy and kept expressing her appreciation and gratitude.
“I kept telling everyone in the operating room how much I loved them,” she says. “It was very heartfelt. There were lots of jokes. Dr. Fauth (pictured above, left) walked me through everything she was doing. And Dr. Acosta was great—he was the lead surgeon and I’d actually had another encounter with him prior to all this. He did such an expert job. It felt very quick—maybe eight minutes.”
As it turned out, Dr. Fauth’s theory about the baby was true. When Amari Harkin was born, the baby boy’s head was about three inches larger than most infants his size. That said, looking at Amari today, you can’t tell his sweet, soft head ever gave his mother any challenges. Looking back, she says it just happened in its own special way, one that was fully supported by a “sky-high quality of care across the board.”
“I heard his cry, which was an amazing moment,” Chelan says. “And from the point that I surrendered to the point that he was born, it was all very beautiful. There was just a sacred quality to it.”
No doubt, Amari’s head was a bit large and his delivery wasn’t exactly what the couple had envisioned but—like their provider Dr. Fauth—this baby was and always will be a “perfect fit” for this exceptionally grateful family.