Be Empowered

St. Joe’s helped new mother Liz Davila-Ferrall meet her goal of having a natural childbirth

New mother Liz Davila-Ferrall marvels at how she and her husband, Mark, have adjusted to parenthood ever since they welcomed their son, Ezra, in April.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s one of the most challenging things both my husband and I have ever done in our lives, but it’s an amazing experience. Rewarding, beautiful, and challenging,” she described.

Liz delivered her baby at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, where she was determined to have a natural childbirth. Through the remarkable care of the doctors and nurses, Liz said, she was able to accomplish that goal.

After taking a prenatal class at St. Joe’s, Liz and Mark opted to use nitrous oxide – commonly referred to as “laughing gas” – to help ease the anxiety and pain during labor.

“I didn’t really want the epidural, I didn’t really want the extra meds, so this sounded like a good fit,” Liz said.

Approved by the FDA for use in labor, nitrous oxide appeals to women who want minimal intervention during childbirth. And while the gas has long been used during labor in Europe, Australia and Canada, it is now seeing a resurgence in the United States. St. Joe’s has been offering nitrous oxide to women in labor since 2015.

Liz said she was pleasantly surprised at how supportive her entire care team was to her birth plan. She was offered the nitrous oxide soon after she was admitted, and she said no one questioned her desire to forgo narcotic pain relievers. When she winced in pain, no one asked if she had changed her mind.

The nitrous oxide helped Liz relax and breathe through the contractions.

“What I noticed right away is that it took just some of the anxiety away,” she said.

When she delivered Ezra a few hours later, Liz said she felt proud and surprised she did it without medications.

“I felt empowered as well, which was really neat, because it’s not an easy process,” she laughed.

While the couple was grateful for the pain management alternative nitrous oxide provided, Liz and Mark said it was the exceptional care that made it all possible.

They praised the nurses, who treated them with compassion and patience. And Mark said he appreciated the expert way they helped him encourage Liz through labor.

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Liz Davila-Ferrall, and her husband, Mark Ferrall, welcomed baby Ezra in April 2018.

“I was in awe of giving birth, but my second thought immediately was in awe of the nurses,” Liz said. “They were absolutely amazing throughout the entire stay.”

Liz also met with three different lactation consultants who coached her through the basics of breastfeeding, which was also one of her goals.

When it was time to be discharged, Liz said she never felt rushed. Instead, she was allowed to take her time and ask any other questions until she felt ready she could succeed at home.

Liz and Mark thanked the team at St. Joe’s for helping make their journey to parenthood a remarkable one.

“If I had the option to choose somewhere else in the future, I would still choose St. Joe’s.”

Learn more about the Family Birth Center and nitrous oxide at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

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