Variety – The Children’s Charity Gift Enables Better Monitoring of Babies, New Mothers

New monitoring technology enhances care on new Birthways unit

From the top - Photo of the new LDRP suite, hospital bed, recliner and baby basinet. Mom snuggling a newborn in a recliner next to a Panda Warmer. Two casual groups of moms-to-be touring the new unit just before it opened in September 2021.The Mary Greeley Foundation has received a grant from Variety - the Children’s Charity to fund 10 fetal monitors on the new Birthways Unit.

“Moments matter for every mother and baby when a crisis emerges, and this equipment is vital in detecting an emergency,” says Amy Dagestad, Director of Maternal/Child Services at Mary Greeley. “With this Variety grant, we have the best technology and tools to care for the babies and mothers that we serve.”

Last year more than 1,300 babies were born at Mary Greeley. The Variety grant will be used to purchase new fetal monitors that will be located in each room. Because a newborn or mother can decline rapidly and every moment matters, these fetal monitors are a critical tool to determine if medical intervention is needed.

“Mom's contractions are one of the most important occurrences the fetal monitors are recording. If there are too many contractions too often, it can indicate a ruptured uterus,” Dagestad says. “If this happens, the baby’s and mother’s life are jeopardized, and staff need to act very quickly.”

Dagestad says this exact scenario recently played out when a laboring patient was attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section). The mother was on continuous monitoring and her nurse was able to view her vitals from the central monitoring station. When her nurse noticed contractions were getting closer together and there was not ample relaxation between contractions, she immediately intervened.

“The baby’s heart rate was dropping and her nurse was able to take immediate action, calling for help and prepping the patient for an emergency cesarean section,” Dagestad says. “Because of fetal monitoring and this nurse’s quick actions, the baby was delivered safely and quickly via cesarean section, with positive outcomes for both the laboring mother and baby. This is a prime example of how moments matter. For this mother and baby, this equipment was vital in detecting the emergency and allowing us to act quickly.”

Having these fetal monitors is vital on Mary Greeley’s new Birthways unit, on which babies “room-in” with their family from birth instead of being moved to a nursery. Research has shown that keeping moms and babies together at all times is safer for the baby; reducing the risk of infection, pneumonia, unplanned extubations and morbidity, and length of stay in the hospital; while increasing the rates of successful breastfeeding and weight gain.

To make this model of care possible, equipment like the new fetal monitors is necessary.

“We are able to provide for a truly family-centered care experience on the new unit,” Dagestad says.

Variety – The Children’s Charity has long been a key supporter of Mary Greeley Medical Center and the families it serves.

"We are fortunate to have a longtime partner like Variety – the Children’s Charity dedicated to supporting the tiniest patients we care for at Mary Greeley,” says Melissa McGarry, Foundation Executive Director. “Their generosity over the years has helped countless babies in our community get off to the best possible start.”

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