Summer’s Story

Birthing Services
“Nurses don’t get the credit they deserve. Elizabeth was gentle and kind. Whenever she came into the room, my husband said my face just lit up.”

‘Dear CentraCare’

A mother shares her birth story and her profound gratitude for nurses who made a difference

When Melissa Lahn clicked on the message, she knew this was no ordinary email. Melissa, the Director of the Birth Center at CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital, read the first line: “Here are my experiences with two of the best nurses I’ve ever met.”

Lahn read the note. It wasn’t unusual for her team to earn praise, but this was extra special.

Summer Coleman, her husband Andy and daughter moved to Sauk Rapids in 2018. A year later, a second child was on the way. Summer was having a normal pregnancy. But still, she worried.

Her first baby, Gwendolyn, was born in Tennessee at 34 weeks and delivered by emergency C-section. When her epidural failed to work, Summer was suddenly told she was being put to sleep and instructed to take deep breaths. When she woke up, her baby was already in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Summer’s room was in a different part of the hospital. She couldn’t visit or hold Gwendolyn for 27 hours.

Now at 34 weeks with baby No. 2, Summer drove to her regular prenatal appointment. And, again — a concern. Her blood pressure was too high, putting her and the baby at risk. She was sent to CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital for further evaluation. Once again, her baby needed to be delivered quickly via C-section. Summer became anxious. Andy was two hours away. Things were happening quickly. She remembered how long she waited to see Gwendolyn five years earlier.

Julie Boser
Julie Boser, RN
Julie Boser, RN, noticed Summer’s anxiety. She listened to her story. She assured Summer the team would do everything possible to honor her wishes. Above all, Summer wanted to be awake to see her baby. A doctor came in and told her that should be fine.

Then another doctor asked Summer when she had last eaten. After she told him, he explained that since she had eaten less than eight hours earlier, she would need to be asleep for her C-section. Summer began to panic. She asked for a minute of privacy.

Another way

Outside the room, Julie asked the doctor if the C-section could wait, as long as Summer’s blood pressure remained under control. This way she could be awake to see and hear her baby. He agreed. Julie informed Summer of the new plan.

“You could just see the relief on her face,” said Julie.

The plan worked, and later in the operating room, Julie stayed near Summer to offer support. In a few minutes, baby Clara was born. “I got to see her and her button nose and blue eyes and touch her chubby cheeks,” Summer said. Soon after, Summer was wheeled over to the NICU, just footsteps away from the Birth Center, to be reunited with Clara.

Elizabeth Cooper
Elizabeth Cooper, RN
Summer met Elizabeth Cooper, RN, on duty that first night after Clara’s birth. Elizabeth helped Summer get to sleep and made sure she had everything she needed. When Summer slept, Elizabeth delivered Summer’s breast milk to Clara and got updates from the NICU team. Elizabeth always shared news about Clara when Summer woke up.

“Nurses don’t get the credit they deserve,” Summer said. “Elizabeth was gentle and kind. Whenever she came into the room, my husband said my face just lit up.”

Elizabeth and Julie were eager to read Summer’s letter.

“It felt good to have a patient go out of her way to acknowledge us for all of our hard work and compassion,” Elizabeth said.

“It’s our job to advocate for the patient,” Julie said. “I read (Summer’s note) again and thought more about it. It made me cry. For her to take time out to recognize us made me feel really good.”

Clara ColemanLife is also good for Summer and Andy. Clara now is a happy and healthy 15-month old, who loves the attention she gets from big sister Gwendolyn. Clara also loves her peaches and pears, no matter where they end up on her face.