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Heidi Roupp: Childbirth

Heidi Roupp | UPMC

Dawson Roupp of Jersey Shore took his time entering the world. After 41 weeks of pregnancy, with no signs of imminent labor, the doctors and midwives caring for his mother, Heidi, decided to induce labor. Heidi and her husband Donald, arrived at the Birthplace at UPMC Williamsport on Friday, April 10, thinking it would be Dawson’s birthday, but he had other plans.

Nothing happened. After a full day of receiving labor inducing medication, Heidi’s caregivers stopped the treatment so she could relax. She and Donald ate dinner together and took a walk enjoying the beautiful scenery of the mountains just outside the Birthplace windows.

“The atmosphere was so beautiful and serene, it helped keep me calm and relaxed during a stressful and overwhelming time,” says Heidi.

After a night of rest they began the induction again at 5 a.m.

“It was another long morning and early afternoon, but then around 4 p.m., things finally started moving, and I was in labor,” says Heidi.

Heidi was ready to push at 6 pm. After several hours of hard labor, Dawson still hadn’t made his entrance. Angela Huggler, MD, the attending obstetrician, told Heidi that in short time they would need to consider delivery by C-section. With all the time and labor Heidi had already endured, she hoped she could deliver vaginally. Dr. Huggler helped maneuver Dawson to keep labor progressing.

By the time Dawson was born at 11 p.m. she had a small crowd in her room.

“I have this memory of nurses and midwives cheering me on, supporting me and telling me I can do it,” says Heidi. “It was quite amazing and very encouraging.”

After Dawson’s birth, Heidi was exhausted but quickly forgot about that as she and her husband reveled in the “Golden Hour” holding their healthy baby boy skin-to-skin with no interruptions.

“After a very busy 36 hours, it was nice to just breathe and enjoy this quiet time where it was just us and we could hold and snuggle Dawson,” says Heidi. “Watching my husband hold him I just felt like we were already a great team working together.”

Dawson stayed in his crib in their room giving them an opportunity to continue bonding and to learn how to care for him.

“He stayed with me all night. I wanted to sleep, but I just kept rolling over to stare at him all night long,” says Heidi.

The couple enjoyed the spacious post-partum room which was large enough for visitors and included a place for Donald to sleep. Heidi even had time to enjoy a couple of whirlpool baths to relax and recover from her long labor.

“We were just able to enjoy everything and take it all in,” says Heidi. “We are so lucky to have such a beautiful facility right here with excellent care and support.”

The support was critical to Heidi’s success with breastfeeding. Heidi and Donald attended a breastfeeding class a few months before Dawson was born, but as a first-time mom, Heidi appreciated having help from the lactation consultants to make sure Dawson was latching correctly and getting the best possible start.

“I really wanted to breastfeed for the health benefits and the bonding. We were so excited to bring our first baby into the world and looking forward to doing everything we could for him,” she says. “In the class they were great about showing husbands how they can be supportive and involved, too.”

After she went home, Heidi called the breastfeeding help line for support and attended the Baby Café to talk to other breastfeeding moms and get advice from a lactation consultant. The support network was especially helpful when she developed a breast infection when Dawson was about six months old.

“That was a critical time, and they helped me figure out what was going on so I could get it resolved and keep breastfeeding,” says Heidi. “I’m so thankful that I didn’t give up and a lot of that was due to the lactation team’s guidance and encouragement.”

Though Dawson took his time coming into the world, he’s going non-stop now. He started walking by ten months and continues to be a picture of good health.

“He is absolutely the light of our lives,” says Heidi noting that when it’s time for future children, there’s no doubt they’ll be back at the Birthplace.