Her OB/GYN team's collaborative, warm approach made all the difference
Most days, you’ll find Anjelica Yoder working with women. In her profession as a pelvic floor physical therapist, she spends a great deal of time helping women understand their bodies – especially in pregnancy and postpartum. As someone who has spoken to countless women about their childbirth experiences and teaches birth preparation, Anjelica knew what she wanted when the time came for her to have a baby, and even more so, what she didn’t want.
Her understanding of the importance of a personalized birthing experience comes from working with women who had just the opposite — women who shared their stories with Anjelica about feeling as if they did not have as much say as they wanted in different methods of birth, taking certain medications, or just feeling rushed. After speaking to two friends who assist women during childbirth, called doulas, about her need for a sense of control during her own labor and birth, they recommended Dr. Joel Hallam at Lakewood Ranch.
“My friends told me he was friendly and that as long as mom and baby stayed safe, he honored the birthing plans of his patients. I found this to be true,” says Anjelica, who recently birthed her first child, a baby boy, at the Women’s Center at Lakewood Ranch.
Dr. Hallam, DO, FACOOG, is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with the Lakewood Ranch Medical Group OB/GYN team. The team delivers babies at the beautifully appointed, spa-like Women’s Center at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
A Positive Experience from Prenatal to Postnatal Care
“From the beginning, I had a wonderful experience with Lakewood Ranch Medical Group,” Anjelica says. “Upon arrival to my prenatal appointments, I never had to wait in the waiting room for more than a few minutes. The receptionists and nurses were very friendly and attentive to my questions, and Dr. Hallam and Dr. [Terrell] Martin always took their time when
responding to my concerns. I never felt rushed. I also loved when Dr. Hallam shared real-life experiences of his wife’s story from the births of their two boys. It made him very relatable and easy to connect with.”
Anjelica describes Dr. Hallam’s approach to patient care as “calm and personable,” and she especially appreciated the way he worked to allow her to have choices in the birthing room. Since this was Anjelica’s first child, her support system at Lakewood Ranch was especially important. Along with Dr. Hallam, midwife Angie Scarpa, CNM, ARNP, also of Lakewood Ranch Medical Group, was an integral part of her birth experience. She also credits her birth doula, Laura Meyer, of Sarasota Birth, as a key part of her support system, from start to finish.
'I got to have a say'
“When I wasn’t progressing during active labor as quickly as was anticipated, Dr. Hallam offered me a medication to see if it would help speed my contractions up. But I wanted to give it a little more time to see if I would progress naturally, and he said it was safe to wait,” says Anjelica. “Later I decided to take the medication when my contractions were still only coming at four minutes apart. But it was important to me that I got to have a say as to when I took the medication.
“It was also my decision to change positions during labor,” says Anjelica. “Dr. Hallam and Angie did not try to coerce me into a position just because it might be easier or standard. Instead, they worked together in presenting options and always kindly asked me what I wanted to do. They allowed me to do what I was comfortable with as long as it was going well. I felt truly heard and in control.
“Angie stood with me at my bedside throughout the entire birthing process. She continuously did perineal massage [which can reduce the amount of tearing a woman experience during childbirth] even when my contractions were still not progressing much. It was a true sign of her dedication and willingness to go the extra mile for her patient.”
A Team That Cares
After an intense but rewarding experience, Anjelica gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Silas Kai Yoder. Being born three weeks early, his stay was extended to monitor for signs of jaundice and ensure healthy breathing. Anjelica appreciated that both Dr. Hallam and Dr. Martin checked in on her and baby Silas each day of their stay until they were ready to go home.
“How an individual’s birthing process goes is unpredictable,” says Anjelica. “The provider, midwife, nurse and hospital team have a lot to do with how the mama’s experience goes, while equally taking care of the precious baby.
“It was a huge perk that I got to have the same doctors in the birthing room with me that I worked with during my time in prenatal care. I felt comfortable because I already trusted them, and they were already familiar with my birthing concerns and desires.”