First-time parents grateful for ‘incredible’ AVH maternity care

November 30, 2018
First things first: Kellyn and Erik Wardell’s son, Henry, is now about eight months old, healthy and doing great. However, soon after he was born at the Aspen Birth Center at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), his health wasn’t quite as robust. Because he was delivered more than 24 hours after Kellyn’s labor started, Henry had a high risk of infection.

Initially, everything seemed fine. “He was happy, healthy and a little over 7 pounds,” Kellyn said. “I got to be with him right away, he took to breastfeeding and the first night was normal.”

The next day, Henry’s grandparents arrived and, in keeping with an AVH tradition for new parents, Kellyn and Erik were treated to a sumptuous dinner. Everything seemed primed for checkout Sunday morning.

Given the length of Kellyn’s labor, though, the Birth Center staff had monitored Henry’s health closely. Early Sunday, AVH Hospitalist Mike Goralka, MD, ordered blood tests that showed a high level of infection. Henry also started spitting up and acting a little unusual, so he was moved to the nursery, placed in a warmer and started on intravenous antibiotics.

“That was tough,” Kellyn admitted. “He wasn’t in our room anymore; he was unhappy and on oxygen — and this was 48 hours after we had our first baby. As first-time parents, we were definitely emotional.”

At the same time, Kellyn knew her family was in good hands. “The hospital staff was so incredible, so amazing,” she said. “Erik and I felt so supported throughout. The staff did a tremendous job of making us feel comfortable and confident.”

By Monday, Henry had improved enough that he was moved back into his mom’s room where Dr. Goralka and the AVH staff could continue to monitor Henry’s status. By Wednesday, the family returned to their home in Carbondale.

“Henry’s situation ended up not being that serious, but the hospital staff was really cautious and always five steps ahead,” Kellyn said. “We’re very grateful to them.”

For more information about the Aspen Birth Center, including childbirth education classes, lactation services and other resources at AVH, please call 970.544.1130 or visit
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