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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI nurse-midwife delivers fulfilling
birth experience for Middletown woman

Mother has 9th baby at URI Nurse-Midwifery Center at Memorial Hospital of R.I.

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 4, 2000 -- It was an extra-special birth, needing an extra-special touch. The mother, Elizabeth Roy, had relocated in her last month of pregnancy, July of 1999, to Newport, Rhode Island, from San Diego. She was 3,000 miles away from her extended family and friends, and away from the midwife who had delivered her last child, and who had been attending this pregnancy. Yes, an extra-special birth, for this was her ninth child, and her last child, Emily, had unexpectedly been born with Down syndrome.

After Emily's birth, Elizabeth's San Diego midwife had asked her to participate in a research study about midwifery care. In writing Emily's birth story for the study, Elizabeth discussed the compassionate care provided by her midwife as she and her husband, Navy Cmdr. Don Roy, struggled to come to terms with Emily's diagnosis. Several times throughout the study, Elizabeth spoke with the study's director, Dr. Holly Powell Kennedy, who is a University of Rhode Island assistant professor of nursing, certified nurse-midwife, and director of nurse-midwifery education at URI. Elizabeth never dreamed that she would ever meet the kind voice on the phone.

But when Elizabeth learned the next year that the Roy family was transferring to Rhode Island, she tracked down that kind voice via the internet. To her delight, Kennedy not only practiced in the Rhode Island area, but had also recently worked to establish the University of Rhode Island Center for Nurse-Midwifery at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

"To be able to count on Holly made what would have been a tumultuous time in our lives a beautiful experience. She never left me during my entire labor."

Kennedy also intimately involved Elizabeth's family in the birth of Molly on Aug. 5, 1999. Elizabeth's oldest child, 16-year-old Melissa, was present at the birth, as were her husband, Don, and her best friend Jeanne.

"Having now had nine children, the last two delivered by midwives, I wished I had known about midwives earlier. I wouldn't do it any other way. And Holly has chosen a wonderfully supportive hospital at which to birth babies! My nurse, Shirley Picard, along with all the staff, made the birth experience a dream come true. I thought I had pretty much seen it all, but Memorial Hospital really raised the standard in the birthing department."

Elizabeth said it was more than just Kennedy's help with the birth that made the experience so fulfilling. "Knowing that Holly would be there eased the move to Rhode Island, and the rapport she established with our family was a lifeline. She was a real trooper to have our entire family in her office on a few occasions."

Don Roy added that his wife has always had great maternity care for their children. "But this was the most rewarding experience because of the emotional support. Holly even let me help deliver the baby. This is not a medical experience; it's a dramatic life experience. Midwives develop a warm family experience."

Melissa, who has witnessed four of her mom's births, said Molly's was very exciting. "This was the most relaxed and enjoyable birth, and I appreciated it that Dr. Kennedy let me cut the cord."


For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 874-2116


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