Finding Her Fit at Fort Duncan Regional

January 25, 2018
Luisa Stearns And Her Child

Luisa Stearns says she felt at home at Fort Duncan Regional and knew that was where she wanted to deliver her baby. Photo courtesy of Cinthya Salinas.

Looking back on when her baby, Andrew, was born, Luisa Stearns remembers how the staff went out of the way to make sure she was comfortable. “Everyone was breathing with me, encouraging me,” she recalls of the delivery. “I felt like everyone was on my side.”

She knew she wanted to breastfeed, but it was difficult at first. Because of a common condition known as a lip tie, Andrew was having trouble latching on to nurse, and Luisa's breasts became painfully engorged after going home. “That’s when I got in touch with the hospital through Facebook and said, ‘Please help!’” It was 2 a.m., and she got a call back right away from Julie Munoz and Jessica Silva, RN, director of women’s services. They kept in touch regularly after that to make sure she and Andrew were doing well. “It made me want to join their cause for breastfeeding education and help other moms,” she says.

Today, Andrew is doing great, and Luisa is embracing parenthood with her husband, Benjamin. When she is able, she volunteers with staff at Fort Duncan Regional and other community members to support new mothers with breastfeeding. She knows from personal experience that it is not always easy, but it can offer great rewards.

Come See What's New at the Women's Center

Over the past year, renovations have been made to the Women’s Center to create a more welcoming environment for new and expectant moms. The lobby was painted with neutral, spa-like colors, and pictures of moms and their families from a local photographer have been showcased on the walls and hallways. “There’s a very relaxing, healing environment around our moms and families while they’re here,” says Julie Munoz, RN, MSN, OB educator/lactation consultant. “We want to provide the best possible experience.”

Renovations At The Women's Center

The renovated lobby of the Women’s Center has been updated to provide a relaxing, welcoming space for patients and their loved ones.

The hospital has also continued to focus on best practices, which have been shown to be healthiest for both mom and baby, says Munoz. One of these is encouraging skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth by placing baby directly on mom. This can offer many health benefits, including stabilizing glucose levels and maintaining infant body temperature, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For moms who opt to breastfeed, it can also help to initiate breastfeeding, the CDC says.

“Rooming in” is also supported and encouraged for moms who wish to be together with their babies during their hospital stay. During this time, education can be provided about safe sleep habits, nutrition and other topics. New mothers who choose to breastfeed are supported before and after delivery by a caring and knowledgeable staff. For those who choose to feed their babies with formula, the staff provides education about how to prepare bottles and feed their babies safely, Munoz notes.

Fort Duncan Regional is excited to announce that it became a Texas 10 Step designated hospital last October. This program was developed by the Department of State Health Services in collaboration with the Texas Hospital Association as a method to improve maternity care practices through initiatives like policy development, education of staff and provision of discharge resources for breastfeeding mothers. Fort Duncan Regional has also been recognized as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, supporting employees who breastfeed.

Munoz notes that the Women’s Center is focused on providing education and information, and then supporting moms in deciding what is best for them and their babies. “We would love for families to come in and see what’s new and give us a try,” she says.

Learn more about the Women’s Center. To arrange a free tour, call 830-872-2710.

Marie D. James, MD, OB/GYN

We are pleased to welcome Marie D. James, MD, OB/GYN, to the community. Dr. James has over 20 years of experience and is now seeing patients at United Medical Centers located at 2525 N. Veterans Blvd., Eagle Pass.

To schedule an appointment, please call 830-773-5358.