story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer

As a new mother of a 14-month-old daughter, Bradi Gibson, RN, understands the needs of mothers in labor and delivery. She combines her fine-tuned skills as a labor and delivery nurse with loving care in the newly remodeled Joyful Beginnings Childbirth Center, located at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in midtown Oklahoma City.
“Now that I’ve had a baby on my own, my care is much better. I can describe things and tell them, ‘This is my experience. Your experience may be different, but this is how it should feel,’” Gibson said.
The family oriented space connects with the existing maternal and infant care facilities with 22 inpatient rooms of premier labor and delivery care.
“Families love it. Everybody thinks it’s so great and so nice,” Gibson said.
Whether or not inducing labor becomes necessary, she explains the process to the mother and lets her know how she should start feeling. A delivery can be different so there are questions as to what is normal.
“It’s really a lot of reassurance, especially for a lot of first-time moms,” Gibson said. “Even second and third time moms who have never been induced before — it’s completely different for them, too.” (story continues below)

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A family member might be there. Fathers are often present and very attentive. New dads may be nervous while others say they have been through the childbirth experience with their spouse before.
An affinity between Gibson and her patient develops over the initial 12-hour period. It may be a short-term period, but the warmth she brings in providing comfort makes her feel part of the family. Gibson loves seeing the baby and mother the next day after delivery.
“It’s very rewarding. You know sometimes it’s not always as rewarding. You have situations when you’re there for someone’s worst 12 hours of their life. But being a shoulder to cry on for that person — that makes it worth it.”
Once in a while a mother will bring her baby to Joyful Beginnings Childbirth Center just to say hi, and to offer her thanks for the care that she and her baby received.
“It’s always good to see because sometimes they leave and you don’t see them again,” she continued. Her life is made more meaningful by seeing a new life emerge in the world.
“It’s so cool even after seven years, I’ve seen a ton of deliveries. It’s so cool every single time,” Gibson said. “You get emotional with the family just because you’re so excited for them.”
Up to nine nurses work at Joyful Beginnings Childbirth Center depending on the volume of their patients. There will typically be a charge nurse and a labor nurse in the delivery room to assist in the process with the physician or surgeon qualified to practice in obstetrics.
Nurses from the neonatal intensive care unit will join if there are complications.
Gibson’s impetus to become a nurse was sparked by her grandmother, a nurse practitioner in Watonga who always wanted one of her grandchildren to become a nurse. During high school, Gibson worked with her grandmother as a certified nurse aide checking the patients’ vital signs.
“I always loved when the babies came in. I got to weigh them and love them a little bit,” she said. “And so, I went to nursing school and felt like this was my place.”
Gibson earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree seven years ago at Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing. She worked labor and delivery at then-Deaconess Hospital until it was purchased by INTEGRIS Health, left there, and did some travel nursing. She came to work at the Joyful Beginnings Childbirth Center on her birthday two years ago. After two months on the job, Gibson took a leave of absence for four months following the birth of her baby.
“I really wanted to come back. I love this job and it feels like a family,” Gibson said. “Everybody who works here is so nice and they were really welcoming.”
St. Anthony Hospital offers a lot of continuing education including quarterly basic life support and refresher instruction on neonatal resuscitation.
They also do intermediate refresher courses of monitoring heart rates and contractions.
“You go through the processes of medications because you can have D-cells and all these different things that can happen as they’re in labor and how well the baby tolerates labor,” Gibson said.
St. Anthony Hospital loves to help people bring joy into their life. The 200,000 babies born at the hospital in the last 25 years could populate a city.
Gibson is grateful to have a healthy baby girl who she loves to spend time with.
“She is the best. She keeps me busy on my days off. So really, we just hang out and play.”
Also, Gibson shared more good news. She recently learned that she and her husband are expecting a second child.
For more information about the Joyful Beginnings Childbirth Center, visit: HERE