WAYNESBORO, Pa. – For registered nurse Shelby Oliver, it’s not just work, but something much more personal each time she arrives to Waynesboro Hospital’s Family Birthing Services unit for a shift.
The unit was the backdrop for the births of her five daughters – and 14 of her biological grandchildren.
“I’ve also had the privilege to ‘catch’ 10 of them,” Oliver added.
Being with her daughters as they’ve delivered their babies has been special to Oliver, who admits she’s not someone who would do well just taking a seat in the waiting room.
“I’m not a very good ‘wait outside and hope everything’s okay’ kind of person,” she said. “I get tunnel vision and want to make sure everybody’s safe.”
She noted her youngest daughter hasn’t started having children yet – giving her the opportunity to “catch” even more grandbabies.
“My goal is 20,” she laughed. “There’s something really cool about being the first one to touch your grandchild.”
Becoming a ‘birth addict’
While she was always interested in nursing, Oliver wasn’t sure she’d be able to stomach giving people shots – so, her first bachelor’s degree was in psychology.
However, after having four of her five daughters within five-and-a-half years; becoming a La Leche League leader; and becoming an assistant to a Waynesboro-based certified nurse midwife that facilitated home births, Oliver became a self-proclaimed birth addict.
“It was a wonderful job. I loved it,” she said.
It was that job that helped make clear Oliver’s passion and the path she would take working in health care. She’s been at Waynesboro Hospital for about 16 years – 10 as a nurse for Family Birthing Services.
Oliver said the midwife model utilized at Waynesboro Hospital helps give women who deliver there the personal touch they desire.
“Being small and having the midwife model – the two, together, allow us to give a lot more personalized care. It’s more hands-on,” she explained.
She noted Waynesboro Hospital’s Family Birthing Services nurses work with women to try different methods to help the birthing process progress and also help provide laboring women the emotional support they need – especially when they experience a loss.
“I cry with my patients; I pray with them if that’s what they want. We hurt with them. We can’t take the pain away, but we can help let them know they’re not alone.”
Oliver said she never tires of seeing a woman become a mother, especially for the first time.
“There’s that sense of empowerment. Watching a woman realize that her goals were met, and she had a healthy baby – that’s addicting. It doesn’t get old. It’s always a miracle.”
Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.
As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, urgent care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.