Sunday profile: From the local birthplace to the home front, Courtney Pollard is all-around mom
Working as an obstetrics and neonatal intensive care unit nurse in Valley View Hospital’s Family Birthplace, Courtney Pollard has seen it all, literally.
The 36-year-old who assists doctors and midwives in the labor room, over the course of her 10 years at Valley View Hospital, has helped hundreds of mothers bring their newborns into the world.
At times, however, Pollard also finds herself assisting enthusiastic fathers attempting to stomach the sights and sounds that accompany childbirth.
“We have to keep an eye on the dads,” Pollard laughed. “We definitely tell them that, if they are starting to feel lightheaded or dizzy, to sit down because we don’t want them to become our patient as well.”
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Pollard recalled one instance where an excited, soon-to-be dad emulated his wife’s breathing patterns as she was pushing.
“He had to step away into the bathroom,” Pollard said of the first-time father who ended up on the floor shirtless next to the toilet. “He was still telling his wife, though, ‘good job honey you can do it,’ before crawling back out of the bathroom to her bedside.”
“We have to remind dads a lot, don’t hold your breath with mom,” Pollard said.
For her, though, it was just another day in the delivery room.
valley view quintet
A graduate of the University of Wyoming, Pollard and her husband, as well as their 6-month-, 2-year- and 5-year-old daughters, all were born at Valley View Hospital.
Valley View, on average, delivers 50 to 60 babies a month.
In addition to her duties in the labor room, Pollard also works in Valley View’s Newborn Intensive Care Nursery.
“It can be tough at times,” Pollard described of the transition from the labor room to the Newborn Intensive Care Nursery. “Things just don’t go right all of the time.”
Difficult cases where Pollard finds herself working carefully alongside doctors and nurses to save a mother or baby’s life, always take a toll.
“When they come back to visit us and they are healthy and happy… those days are always emotional,” Pollard said. “Those moments are always really moving.”
the best reward
However, the most moving job for Pollard remains being a mother herself.
Not an easy responsibility, especially after a 12-hour shift, the calm and collected Pollard also considers being a mother her most rewarding job.
Although not at an age where they can fully understand exactly what their mother does at Valley View, one of her children still asks one work-related question regularly.
“My five-year-old always wants to know if we had any babies that day and what their names are,” Pollard said. “For the most part, that is what they understand, that I help moms and babies.”
In addition to her studies and 10-plus years on the front lines of childbirth, Pollard discussed how being a mother of three has helped her hone her skills as a nurse working in the labor and delivery rooms.
“It helped me be able to relate to my patients,” Pollard said.
When Pollard began her career she was not a mother herself, at least not yet.
“After having children and having been through labor and that experience I feel that I have more depth of knowledge,” she said.
always a surprise
Whether assisting a doctor or midwife helping a birthing mother, or coaching an excited soon-to-be father how to breathe properly as their baby makes its debut appearance in the world, the job certainly keeps Pollard on her toes.
Calling her work “the happier side of medicine,” Pollard recounted one instance when a mother received surprising news following the birth of what she thought was her fourth son.
“When the baby was born it actually ended up being a little baby girl,” Pollard said of the unexpected twist.
Because of the baby’s unrevealing position during its ultrasounds, although a rare occurrence, while the doctors believed it was a boy they could not say with certainty. When the baby arrived, however, so did that certainty.
“She screamed out with excitement, because she was going to have a daughter,” Pollard said.
With Sunday being Mother’s Day, the obstetrics and neonatal intensive care unit nurse had a message for all of the moms out there.
“I know it’s a tough job,” Pollard said.
“We are made for the child that we have, and thanks for all that you do because raising up our kids is one of the most important jobs there is,” she said.
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“You have all demonstrated through your grit, perseverance and sheer determination to have weathered the storms that have come your way. And, goodness knows you have weathered the most unusual of storms to get to this very day…” — Yampah Mountain High School commencement speaker Diana Andrews