Having our baby in Henderson

Last week my wife and I welcomed our fifth child into the world: “Xander” was born in the early evening hours of Jan. 30 at ETMC Henderson.

Regular readers of the Henderson Daily News and/or the Overton News may have noticed my byline had become rather scarce last week, it was no illusion, for I took a much-needed “sabbatical” to help my wife and children with the transition…  and to just exhale.

But if you noticed a marked drop off in the quality of news coverage during this time, you’re imagining things. It was totally the same.

Xander is the first of my children to be born in Rusk County, the rest have been born at various outposts across the country during the “wanderlust” my wife and I experienced during our late twenties. As we have decided to settle down and augment our already strong East Texas roots by raising our children in the same place we grew up.

That said, I felt there was certain symbolic value in deciding to utilize the services of the fine medical professionals at ETMC Henderson, rather than absconding to Tyler or Longview. As my wife and I are passionate about supporting local businesses and services, I wanted to “put my money where my mouth is” so to speak. Yet, in retrospect, the entire experience transcends mere turf loyalty.

My wife saw Dr. Jayshree Patel and Dr. Linda Mughrabi with almost equal frequency, though it was Dr. Patel who was actually the one on-duty when Xander made his swift and sudden arrival. Both ladies did an excellent job of encouraging and challenging my wife throughout the pregnancy, and the nurses who took care of us during labor, delivery, and recovery were superlative.

It was one of the best birth experiences we’ve had thus far, and we’ve had a few.

Though it well deserves its reputation of being a small town hospital in a relatively rural county, my wife and I both feel this is actually a tremendous asset.

Our stay ETMC Henderson proved to be significantly quieter and more relaxing than the Oklahoma City hospital where my elder son was born. It was also far less expansive and cumbersome to traverse than the Annapolis facility where my middle son was born. Parking was easy and I had little difficulty navigating friends and family to our room.

Of course, while it may lack some of the “bells and whistles” that larger, more elaborate hospitals contain, my wife and I prefer a more “hands off” approach to the process.

There were no complications during this pregnancy, so we didn’t need much intervention from hospital staff.

In short, they did an endearing job of staying “out of our way” which, in turn, allowed my wife to have a laid-back delivery and for us to share those first few precious moments with our new son in tranquility and privacy.

All of this to say, if you’re considering your options when it comes to where you’d like your children to be born, I’d encourage you to check out your own hometown hospital.

It’s a great resource for our community, and one I would encourage you to not take for granted.


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