Mother’s Day is every day at Mercy's birth center in Merced

aibarra@mercedsunstar.comMay 9, 2014 

— Nothing can prepare you to be a mom, even labor and delivery nurses who care for newborns on a daily basis can agree with that.

Nurses and obstetrics technicians at Mercy Medical Center’s Family Birth Center know from experience that being a first-time mom can be nerve-racking, but they all agree that it can also be one of the greatest events in life.

The nurses and OB techs work long shifts, all while having to take care of their own growing families, but they assure they would not have it any other way.

“Being part of one of the most important moments in a person’s life, that’s just incredible,” said Jewelene Rezendes, a nurse who is expecting her second baby.

Rezendes, along with other nurses in the birth unit, believe that nothing gives them a better understanding of what their patients are going through than calling upon their own experiences as mothers.

Lindsey O’Banion, nurse and mother of two, said it is especially important for her to make new moms feel at ease. O’Banion recalls how lost and scared she felt during her first pregnancy and uses that experience to connect with new moms.

“Most times they’re scared, so I try to reassure them that what they’re feeling is normal,” O’Banion said, “and I remind them that the pain and the fear will end, and that it will all be worth it.”

“All the nurses know the labor process, but it’s not until you become a mom that you can really relate to your patients and give them advice about how to go forward,” O’Banion continued. “Patients usually seem to feel more comfortable when they know they’re in the hands of someone who knows what they are going through.”

Nurses believe that the input and advice they give first-time moms can really make a difference.

“We have to educate a ton of first-time moms, and that’s a very important part of our job,” said Ryann Freitas, nurse and mother of three. “I remember that with my first baby, no one showed me how to breast-feed, and I almost gave up. Luckily, I found a nurse who made the difference for me. So when I became a nurse, I told myself that I was always going to educate my patients, especially about breast-feeding because that’s the best for the baby.”

Although Freitas and many other nurses will have to work this Mother’s Day, they hope to make some time to celebrate with their own mothers, husbands and children.

Patients at the birth center are also looking forward to Sunday.

This Mother’s Day will be extra special for Holly Lourenco, 26, who gave birth to her second child on Thursday. Lourenco said the timing of baby Luke could not have been better.

“It’s very special because he came a week early, so now I’ll be able to spend Mother’s Day at home with my two babies,” she said.

Even as she looks forward to going home, Lourenco said she couldn’t be happier with her experience at the birth center.

“The nurses are excellent,” she said. “They were very friendly, and they really go out of their way to make you feel comfortable.”

Clinical manager of the Family Birth Center, Dawn Arnsberg, commends the nurses’ work and dedication.

“What these nurses do – it’s hard work, both physically and emotionally,” Arnsberg said. “They’re on their feet for long hours, they have crazy schedules, and some of them are still going to school. It’s crazy, but they do a wonderful job.”

Nancy Yang, an OB tech and mother of three, said the only thing she loves more than her job at the center is her job as a mom.

“Being that person that my children can always count on and being their role model – that’s truly the best thing ever.”

The Family Birth Center currently has more than 80 nurses and OB techs. The center averages about 230 births a month.

Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or aibarra @mercedsunstar.com.

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