Choosing the Familiar

Although she could have chosen any hospital for her son’s delivery, Stephanie Cummings, MD, of Knoxville chose a familiar location: The Childbirth Center at Parkwest Medical Center.

Dr. Cummings is a Parkwest obstetrician/gynecologist and has delivered hundreds of babies there. She and her husband, Matthew, welcomed their own son, Logan Gray, into the world on Jan. 14, 2016. He weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

Today Logan is 15 months old and Dr. Cummings is celebrating her second Mother’s Day as a mom herself.

“There was never a question of where I would deliver,” she said, reflecting on her experience at Parkwest. “Why would I go anywhere else? The nurses there are just amazing.

Dr. Cummings was admitted to Parkwest the morning of her son’s delivery and everything progressed as expected. Logan arrived shortly after lunchtime.

Dr. Cummings said she trusted the Parkwest Childbirth Center staff completely during her labor. “I wasn’t there monitoring the heartbeat myself. I let them monitor it, and I had no concerns. I turned it all over to them. You have to do that as a physician.”

Her co-worker and friend, Kori Cottam, MD, was her obstetrician.

“Stephanie did great. She did everything perfectly,” said Dr. Cottam. “I have a lot of fun delivering all my patients, and I spent the same amount of time with Stephanie as I do with the others. But with her it was very special, because she’s a good friend.”

Dr. Cummings said she enjoyed the all-in-one suites offered at the Childbirth Center at Parkwest. “The facilities are so nice. You stay in the room the whole time; you don’t have to transfer to another room for anything,” she said.

Each birthing suite is beautifully decorated, with medical equipment hidden but conveniently accessible. There is plenty of room for family to be present and even stay overnight if the mother wishes, and a bassinet so the baby can stay in the room with her. State-of-the-art security systems provide unobtrusive protection for mothers and newborns.

Beyond medical and security equipment, the Childbirth Center suites also have the comforts of home, including television, cable, Internet access, and even a whirlpool tub.

“They do everything in the room, like the first bath,” said Dr. Cummings. “It was good to watch my husband bathe him and change his first diaper. It’s good that the nurses teach you how to be a first-time parent.

“The lactation consultant came in and helped with breastfeeding, and the overnight nurse was a huge help. Even as a physician, it’s not like you know how to be a mom. You’re learning everything as you go.”

After six weeks, Dr. Cummings was back at her job, helping other women through labor and delivery. “As a physician you have other patients waiting – I had patients who were delivering around the same time as I was,” she said. “I am lucky to have family who helped take care of my son for the first few months,” she said.

Dr. Cummings said Mother’s Day with a toddler is even more fun than last year.

“Wow! Now that he’s 15 months old, this parenting thing just stepped up a notch,” she said with a laugh. “It’s so quick how they get into everything. He started walking at 10 months.”

Having now been on the patient side, Dr. Cummings said she is more confident than ever about working and providing birth care at Parkwest Childbirth Center.

“It’s such a nice environment in which to have a baby. In fact, this was my first time as a patient in a hospital, ever. I felt very well cared for.”