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Take a Deep Breath and PUSH!

Bringing a child into the world is one of the most joyous occasions a woman will experience. But it can be an anxious time as well.

That’s why Lexington Medical Center offers a free Doula program to help expectant mothers and families through one of life’s most meaningful events.

Hodnette3Recently, Stephanie Hodnette of Lexington delivered her third child at Lexington Medical Center. This was also the third time she had help from a hospital doula.

“I was actually able to deliver all of my children without medication because of the tremendous support from each of my doulas,” said Stephanie.

The mother to three young boys, Stephanie is a patient of Lexington Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. And from her very first prenatal appointment for her first son, she knew she wanted to attempt a non-medicated birth.

“If not for the doula’s coaching and help with pain management, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver my children without medication. Their guidance and emotional support helped my husband and me – especially the first time,” she said.

Doulas are trained to work with a woman’s physician or midwife and her nurse to provide emotional encouragement and physical comfort measures during and after childbirth. They will also visit the new mother the next day, offering additional support, breastfeeding assistance and helpful information. All women, even those who have a medicated birth, can benefit from using a doula.

“With Stephanie, her husband and I took turns fanning her to help keep her cool. And as her breathing pattern changed, I alerted the nurse to her behavior, allowing her to transition into the pushing phase of delivery,” said Irene Brinkmann, a Lexington Medical Center doula. “Even though Stephanie and her husband are experienced parents, using a doula gave them a sense of peace. They knew that they had help,” said Irene.

Importantly, doulas do not take the place of family members during delivery.

“Our doula offered encouragement to my husband, too. She suggested things he could do for me that I couldn’t think of at the time,” said Stephanie.

“We try to recognize the little needs that make the experience more comfortable for everyone: a rocking chair for an alternative laboring position; a warm blanket for a chilly, but excited grandma; an extra pillow in just the right spot; a washcloth on a hot forehead; the first drink of juice after the little one arrives; or taking a picture of the happy new family,” said Irene.

Lexington Medical Center has one of the first hospital-based doula programs in the country and the only doula program in the Midlands. To learn more, please call (803) 791-2631 or visit LexMed.com.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

Ask the Doctor: Coronary Bypass Surgery

Dr. Dee Prastein, heart surgeon at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, was invited to be a guest on WIS-TV to talk about coronary bypass surgery. The topic was in the news after Bob Coble, the former mayor of Columbia, suffered a heart attack and underwent a bypass procedure.

In the first segment, she talked about how bypass surgery is performed.

In the second segment, she discussed recovery.

Lexington Medical Heart Center has performed more than 800 open heart surgeries since the program began in 2012. For more information, visit LexMed.com/heart

Healing Icons: An Art Class for Cancer Patients

Lisa Phillips is a breast cancer survivor. She also works with cancer patients at Lexington Oncology.

Today, she’s taking a break from work to participate in an art class for cancer patients called Healing Icons. She’s making the border of a frame for artwork representing the healing process of her cancer journey.

“It’s so calming,” Phillips said. “And it helps bring into focus feelings about your cancer diagnosis that you were not even aware you had.”

amberg_120802_326Columbia artist Heidi Darr-Hope leads the class. It’s open to any cancer patient at the hospital for free and paid for through the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.

Each week, students meet on the hospital campus.

During a series of six weekly classes, students create art including black and white pencil drawings, masks and paintings. They are in all stages of treatment from the beginning of chemotherapy to grappling with a recurrence of cancer.

“It’s an amazing experience,” Darr-Hope said. “It seems simplistic, but there’s rich information under it,”

Darr-Hope says the artwork helps patients express the range of emotions they often feel about a cancer diagnosis and how it will impact them and their family.

“Once people can freely express the anger and anxiety, they lay them on the shoulders of their artwork and become lighter,” Darr-Hope said.

Darr-Hope calls it a different kind of support group.

“I’m encouraging anyone who feels lost in their cancer diagnosis to consider it because it’s a wonderful group,” she said.

For more information, visit www.lexmed.com/cancer-care or call the Lexington Medical Center Volunteer Services office at 803-791-2573.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.