When she was pregnant with her first child, Genevieve Richards admits she was “pretty terrified” of childbirth. But the birth of daughter Naleli Naledi Sylene Malatji at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance in March couldn’t have been a more reassuring and awe-inspiring experience, the new mother says.
When Richards, 37, entered the hospital, she wasn’t sure if she wanted an epidural. “I knew there would be a lot of pain and that it would be a challenging experience, to say the least,” she says. “But a lot of choices that would have been agonizing and confusing were made easier because of the care and explanations we received from the nurses. More importantly, they didn’t make me feel any choice was right or wrong; it was about what was right for me.”
At Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance, our experienced and compassionate health care professionals treat each patient and each birth with reverence, striving to meet all of a family’s needs and desires on one of the most important days of their lives.
“The nurses were able to alleviate my fears,” Richards says. “One nurse, Amanda, was calming and clearly laid out the information. She was able to give me insights in a way that led me to feel safe and comfortable. Another nurse, Bee, supported and encouraged me through the entirety of my labor and delivery. The expertise of my obstetrician, Dr. Alan C. Noel, made the delivery a smooth and overall beautiful experience.”
Afterward, cradling little Naleli, Richards and her husband, Kgothatso “Bruce” Malatji, discussed their good fortune at choosing Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.
“We talked about what a beautiful and safe delivery experience it was,” Richards says. “We were blessed. We couldn’t have asked for better. We had it pretty dreamy at Providence Little Company of Mary.”
LOWERING THE RATE OF C-SECTIONS
Although cesarean (C-section) births can be lifesaving and medically necessary, most first- time mothers want, and should have, a vaginal birth. The risk of complications from a C-section are significant, including abnormal growth of the placenta, uterine rupture, hemorrhage and adhesions with subsequent pregnancies, as well as the risks that come with any surgical procedure, such as infection, risk of blood clots and delayed healing.
At Providence Little Company of Mary, we adhere to a national guideline aiming for a C-section rate of less than 23.9% for first- time moms. “In fact, in 2020, our rate was 18.7%—well below the national average. Not only is this the lowest rate in the South Bay, it is one of the lowest in the state,” said Lisa D. Yauchzee-Gac, executive director of women’s and children’s health. “We have worked to achieve this, as we believe it is best for our patients and keeps our mothers safe.”
Many women want a more natural childbirth without medical intervention, such as an epidural or monitoring, but also want the safety, convenience and accessibility of a neonatal intensive care unit or operating room if there are complications. To help facilitate this, Providence Little Company of Mary has a nurse-midwife on staff who performs deliveries under the supervision of an obstetrician. According to Yauchzee-Gac, the hospital is also expanding its roster of physicians who work with certified nurse-midwives.
A doula is a support person who provides guidance, encouragement and support throughout childbirth. “At Providence Little Company of Mary, we endorse the use of doulas and welcome their presence,” says Rená Koerner, obstetrical care coordinator. “Incorporating doulas into our care team has contributed to our decreased C-section rates. We definitely see them as an integral part of the team.”
“Laborists are obstetricians who stay in the obstetrical unit 24/7. These physicians ensure the safety of our obstetrical patients in all kinds of circumstances,” says Yauchzee-Gac.
Laborists provide a backup for the attending obstetrician, particularly if he or she is unable to get to the hospital on time. They are also able to quickly intervene in the case of an emergency. Laborist programs allow more women to choose a vaginal birth (VBAC) after cesarean. Since a physician must be present during the labor process, on-site laborists are able to monitor the labor as well as be ready to manage a crisis. “Along with in-house anesthesiologists specializing in obstetrics, we are always ready for any emergency,” says Yauchzee-Gac.
Families need a serene and comfortable place to deliver and bond with their newborns. We have newly renovated labor, delivery and postpartum rooms. The private rooms are spacious, allowing room for the mother’s spouse or partner to sleep and tend to the newborn. “The new design is about helping patients feel more at home,” Koerner says.
Few families anticipate a medical problem at birth, but it’s reassuring to know that Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance is home to a state-of- the-art, 35-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), if one is needed. The NICU is designated as Level III by California Children’s Services, which provides neonatologists, neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists 24/7 to care for the sickest newborns.
“Our NICU rooms are designed to promote bonding, privacy and a healing environment. Parents may stay in the room with their infant, allowing them to participate in all aspects of care, including breastfeeding and skin-to-skin,” Yauchzee-Gac says.
For more information on our women’s and children’s services, call 844-925-0942.