40 Years of Labor and Delivery at LMC: Amenities, Technology and Decades of Experience

Since 1979, when Lexington Memorial Hospital relocated to Hospital Drive, more than 25,000 babies have arrived in this world at Wake Forest Baptist Health Lexington Medical Center.

 Several physicians and nurses who provide labor and delivery care have been personally involved in a great many of those births at Lexington Medical Center, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary at its current location.

 “I’m seeing the generations come through, and people I helped when they had their babies years ago are now coming back in, and those babies are now having babies,” says Diane Tate, RN, a lactation educator who has worked in multiple nursing roles in labor and delivery over 34 years, where she has witnessed a lot of change.

 “Over the lifetime of the medical center, there have been tremendous changes and advancements in obstetrics and gynecology,” says Andrew Bognanno, MD, medical director of Ob-Gyn at Lexington Medical Center. He is one of five physicians currently delivering care, and that number is growing.

 “Being affiliated with a strong academic medical center offers patients access to cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art care,” Bognanno says. “We now have certified nurse midwives available to provide care and continue to provide local residents with the highest level of care right here in Lexington.”

 Some of those who benefited from that care as babies have grown up and now work alongside some of the staff who helped deliver them at Lexington Medical Center. Cory Holt was born there in 1985, delivered by William Blackeby, MD, and says his sister, Leteshia Holt, was the second child born at the current Lexington Medical Center.

 In 2012, Holt became a dad when daughter Cailyn was delivered at Lexington Medical Center. In 2016, Holt joined Wake Forest Baptist Health as a senior human resources generalist supporting High Point and Lexington medical centers.

 “It was ironic that when I started supporting Lexington in my new role, they took me on a tour around some units, and I was able to go in the labor and delivery suite where Cailyn was born,” Holt says. “I had so many memories and flashbacks from that day.”

 The doctor working with Cailyn’s mom, Crystal, at the time promised Cory that he would be allowed to deliver his daughter. He remembers the delivery as “a life-changing experience … second to none.”

 “I was the first person she laid eyes on!” Holt recalls. “It was a great experience and a feeling I will never forget.”

 According to Clyde Bristow, DNP, RN, CENP, Lexington Medical Center’s chief nursing officer, the depth of staff experience helps provide those memories that families will cherish.

 “Our tenured staff trains those new nurses who come along and really helps create that homey, community feel,” Bristow says. “It’s that personal touch that helps make the environment so special.”

 That personal touch also resonates with Debra Ramsey, BSN, RN, the department’s nurse manager. She has been at Lexington Medical Center for 19 years and previously worked as a NICU nurse and on the Brenner Children’s Critical Care Transport team.

 “From the smiles on our new moms’ faces to the tears that have been shed from my staff and the families that have experienced loss, our nurses form a bond with all the families,” Ramsey says. “Labor and delivery is a unique specialty, and it gives us all satisfaction knowing that we make a difference in these families’ lives.”

 Recent awards attest to the department’s work. In 2018, it received the Golden Bow Award from the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition for its outstanding efforts to support breastfeeding. Ramsey said the unit’s scores for national ratings for breastfeeding have increased by 30 percent, and nurses who previously focused exclusively on either pediatrics or labor and delivery are now cross-trained in both.

 “The care is one-on-one here,” Ramsey said. “For new moms or experienced mothers, they like to know that we are focused on them and their needs.”

 The department offers expanded labor, delivery and recovery suites with private whirlpool baths, postpartum rooms that look and feel like home, board-certified lactation consultants to help moms navigate breastfeeding and rooming-in for newborns.

 There’s also a free childbirth education course for expectant mothers and sibling classes to help children prepare for the new arrival.

 In addition to Bognanno, Drs. Lloyd Lohr, Zineb Mashak, Laura Rankin and Talla M. Widelock work with the experienced nursing staff.

 “Now, especially with our association with Wake Forest Baptist, we have a lot more resources available,” says Tate. “We’ve got nurses who are cross-trained in all areas so they can function in every aspect of a mother’s experience.”

 “You can get all the care and all the technology available at Wake Forest Baptist, but it’s right here close to home.”