On a February Friday in 2017, Eric Herbert Christensen entered the world at 9:36 a.m. Nicknamed by his uncle the “blizzard boy,” Eric was born to LeeAnn and Ronald Christensen of Manilla during a typical Iowa snow storm.
“We knew the snow storm was predicted, so we decided to get a hotel in Carroll that Thursday night,” LeeAnn said. “I was already two days past my due date, and we didn’t want to risk being able to get to the hospital. The minute we got on the road, the snow began to come down.”
The couple, LeeAnn originally from Manilla and Ronald of Irwin, took their time traveling to Carroll and even ordered a pizza for delivery on their way to the hotel. But LeeAnn was already beginning to feel “different.” They headed to St. Anthony Regional Hospital where they checked in and nurses on staff coordinated with LeeAnn’s obstetrician, Douglas McLaws, DO, from Manning Regional Healthcare Center.
“I was scheduled to be induced the following Tuesday by Dr. Bella [Isabella Ahanogbe, MD, also of Manning],” LeeAnn said. “But Eric had other plans.”
LeeAnn, a compliance and privacy officer and revenue cycle supervisor at the Manning hospital, made the decision to work with both Dr. McLaws and Dr. Bella
“Throughout the pregnancy, I was able to quickly get to and from appointments,” LeeAnn said. “With each visit, I alternated between Dr. McLaws and Dr. Bella, so each was knowledgeable about my pregnancy. We discussed the delivery process ahead of time, so I knew step-by-step how the process would work and that I would give birth at St. Anthony.”
Though she had not received care at St. Anthony prior to delivering Eric, LeeAnn felt right at home following a tour and meeting with The Birth Place staff at St. Anthony in December.
“St. Anthony has a great program and procedures, which made me feel comfortable,” LeeAnn said. “They offered a tour of the OB and C-section rooms and nurses’ station. We were also able to meet with Pat Hogan, RN, director of the Birth Place to learn breathing techniques and more about the hospital’s free, online resources that walk you through the stages of labor.”
Once there for delivery, LeeAnn said that the little things St. Anthony offered ended up going a long way.
“As my contractions continued and I began to dilate, the in-room whirlpool tub was a Godsend,” LeeAnn said. “It helped me to relax before I was able to get my epidural. The staff members were extremely experienced and the hospital even had a room with beverages and snacks for family members to refuel. The attention to detail was outstanding.”
The nurses at St. Anthony kept a close eye on LeeAnn’s progression and stayed in touch with Dr. McLaws as he drove through the blizzard to deliver the baby.
“I was told it took him an hour to drive the 20 miles from Manning to Carroll in that snow storm,” LeeAnn said. “I had so much confidence in the nurses and their ability, I didn’t worry about that aspect of the delivery.”
“The obstetrics partnership between Manning Regional and St. Anthony works like a well-oiled machine,” said Dr. McLaws. “Patients from the Manning area have the convenience and expertise of OB professionals locally and access to skilled nurses and obstetrics staff at St. Anthony. This means our patients receive the best care possible, with local physicians by their side every step of the way.”
“I am glad we ended up going to Carroll,” LeeAnn said. “We were surrounded by a support network and health care professionals that are skilled and knowledgeable. I had complete confidence in both Dr. McLaws and Dr. Bella. The OB nurses at St. Anthony made me comfortable throughout the entire delivery process. After all, this is what they do all day, every day – they’re in OB for a reason.”
Based on her experience, LeeAnn offers a word of advice to expecting mothers who are deciding where to deliver their child.
“Don’t let the delivery location influence your decision,” LeeAnn said. “If you’re on-the-fence, give your provider and the facility a call. Communicate and talk through your wishes and concerns. Your health care provider needs to know what you’re thinking and feeling so they can give you the best care possible.”
Today, LeeAnn and Ronald are raising their family on the acreage where LeeAnn grew up outside of Manilla, where they remain close to family and continue to receive health care services at the Manning Regional Healthcare Center.
“Following the delivery, we have received all of our health care in Manning,” LeeAnn said. “From well-child check-ups and immunizations to fevers and other health concerns, we rely on our local providers for care, and we appreciate the partnership between Manning Regional Healthcare Center and St. Anthony Regional Hospital.”Share this story.