Making each birth a unique story

couple with new baby in hospital

There are more than 5,000 births a year at North York General Hospital (NYGH) and each patient experience is unique and memorable. “There's something so unique about every single birth story even though a birth can only happen one of several ways, the experience for a woman and her family is theirs, and no two can ever be duplicated,” says Sabrina Ashmead, a Registered Nurse on the Labour and Delivery Unit. Every health care provider plays an important part in the patient and family experience from the moment expectant parents register and give birth, to when they're ready to go home.  The team includes nurses, physicians, midwives and health care profession learners.

Sabrina Ashmead

For Sabrina it's important to take time to answer questions or concerns parents have to make sure they feel at ease and less anxious. “Knowing what may be happening physiologically with their body helps parents understand what changes are yet to come, and how we will monitor their symptoms and their baby along the journey,” she says.

Involving patients in their care

Sabrina has seen it all in her more than 17 years working in our Labour and Delivery Unit. “Parents coming in for the birth of their first, second or third child always have some type of worry on their mind. In their interactions with parents, our health care providers ― whether it's their doctor, midwife or nurse — always try to lower anxiety levels, explain everything they are doing and every test or procedure they are performing to ensure parents are involved in their care and understand why everything is being done,” Sabrina says. 

Our vision of Excellence in integrated patient-centred care through learning, innovation and partnerships represents the commitment the hospital has of including patients in their own care, and always putting them first.

Sabrina has been part of hundreds of births and says, “Everyone has a unique story; how they grew up, how they met their partner, how the pregnancy is going. No two people are alike, and no two stories are the same. It only seems appropriate that once we get to know our patients we adapt to what is important to them, and help them achieve a happy and healthy birth experience!”

Catering to a diverse community


A man and woman hold a newborn
There are more than 5,000 births a year at North York General Hospital and each patient experience is unique and memorable.

A key aspect of getting to know patients is communication. “We serve a very diverse community, and English is not always a patient's first language,” says Sabrina. “Luckily at NYGH we have an array of various ethnic backgrounds within our staff members and we learn from each other and utilize each other's expertise to help create a more comfortable patient experience.” 

Playing a role in anywhere from five to eight births on a shift is the best part of Sabrina's job. “Getting to meet people from all walks of life and sharing their birth stories is a beautiful thing because they are shared from generation to generation.” 

Find out more about having a baby at North York General Hospital and view our comprehensive Pregnancy and Birth Guide.

This article first appeared in the December 2018-January 2019 issue of The Pulse.

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