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A Patient Story: Carla Whaley

Posted on November 11, 2022 in Patient Story

Joys (And Challenges) of Motherhood

One Woman’s Journey with Fort Sanders Women’s Services

Adaline Reagan Burchfield
Adaline Reagan Burchfield

The day that Carla Whaley became a mother was one that she will never forget. It was a spring day in 2021, and she arrived to be induced at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. She couldn’t wait to hold her first child in her arms.

While there were some unexpected challenges, the moment finally came: Carla delivered Adaline Reagan Burchfield at 2:49 p.m. on April 8, 2021.  Carla’s physician was Meredith Oruc, MD, OB/GYN.

“I had a wonderful experience with her. She gave me a few moments of “skin-to-skin” time with my daughter, even though they had to resuscitate her right after she came out. That meant a lot to me.”

Dr. Oruc specializes in obstetrics and women’s health. This includes abnormal pap smears and abnormal uterine bleeding, family planning, and pediatric and adolescent gynecology. She is one of several providers at Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists, located on the same campus as the hospital. 

New mom Carla would recommend Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to others. “They are wonderful providers. I had a good labor and delivery process. It was a safe environment and I felt respected by everyone who was there.”

Covered, No Matter What

“I loved the fact that Fort Sanders Regional was directly connected with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. I am grateful I chose that route because we did need to spend several days in the neonatal intensive care until at Children’s because the baby experienced some complications.”

In addition to some medical complications including jaundice, the baby had trouble latching. The new mom later discovered her daughter had both a lip tie and a tongue tie, a condition that can also make breastfeeding (latching) difficult.

Meredith Oruc, MD, FACOG
Meredith Oruc, MD, FACOG

“Carla’s delivery was uncomplicated but the baby did have respiratory distress during the transition from womb to world. We supplemented the baby with oxygen and admitted her to the newborn nursery. She did great during the transition to the NICU for observation of a few medical issues.”

The Need to Feed

Although breastfeeding can be a natural process, it didn’t come naturally to Carla at first.

“The lactation consultants were incredible. They were kind and respectful, and I appreciated that because I was having an emotional experience when breastfeeding didn’t immediately come easily. Breastfeeding is a special bond that I wanted with my baby. Time goes by fast and it seems that in no time, they’re walking and talking. I love everything about becoming a mom. I feel it is my life’s purpose.”

Carla and Adaline
Carla and Adaline

Carla spent time with the lactation consultant in the days following labor, trying to understand her options. With the help of the lactation consultants at Fort Sanders Regional, the baby was able to latch before the family transferred to the NICU at Children’s Hospital. The new parents also used a bottle and Carla learned to use a breast pump. It took a few months of adjusting at home, but eventually, after four months of trying all methods, the baby latched and mom transitioned to breastfeeding full-time.

As her daughter approaches age 2, Whaley says she loves watching her little one “become her own person.”

Women’s Health Advocate

Carla, who has previous experience working as a certified nurse’s assistant, is in the process of going back to school to become a registered nurse. She wants other women to feel empowered in their own birthing experience.

“I want women to be informed of their options and have an advocate during pregnancy, birth, and post-partum. I would never want anyone to feel judged on their decisions they made for their own bodies. I want every woman to feel like they have someone they can tell their history to, feel comfortable with.”

Never Struggle Alone

Dr. Oruc encourages mothers to ask for help when they enter the post-partum phase as they take their babies home and adjust to a new life.

“The ultimate goal for us is healthy baby, healthy mom. In obstetrics as in gynecology, complications do happen. When they happen, I want patients to feel safe and in good hands because of all the services the hospital has to offer. If complications do occur, they are in the right place. Fort Sanders Regional is equipped with the services, technology, and specialists to take care of all our patients.

Some issues can seem normal, and oftentimes women dismiss the post-partum depression as ‘the baby blues,’ or think they are the ones to blame for trouble latching when they might need help with technique, or in Carla’s case, a small surgical procedure to help her baby’s mouth.”

Dr. Oruc encourages new moms that if these issues arise, not to struggle alone. “Reach out to us through the online portal, call the office, and we can always connect you with lactation support.”


Your Pregnancy Team is Just a Call Away

Did you know we’ve delivered more than 20,000 babies at the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center birthing center? Call (865) 331-1122to learn more, or visit www.fswomensspecialists.com/obstetrics.