After many Nurses Week celebrations, new mom celebrates first Mother's Day | Ascension

After many Nurses Week celebrations, new mom celebrates first Mother's Day

Over the past 15 years, Maria Endress, RN, has taken part in numerous Nurses Week activities, which kicks off each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

But this year will mark a double celebration for Maria, who is celebrating her first Mother’s Day as a new mom.

As a nurse and the oldest among 10 siblings, Maria wasn’t sure she needed classes to prepare for the arrival of the baby she and her husband, Chris, were expecting.

“I was cocky because of my many nieces and nephews, but there is so much more you don’t see or do when you’re an aunt, like Safe Sleep guidelines and how you care for a sick baby,” says Maria, who works in Ascension Via Christi’s Infection Prevention department.

However, at her 10-week appointment, OB/GYN Janey Maki, MD, and Yenni Rodriguez, PA, encouraged the couple to take part in the free childbirth education classes offered by the NewLife Center at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph.

So three months before their baby, Isaac, was born, they enrolled in a bevy of classes: Childbirth Preparation, Baby Care, Breastfeeding, Happiest Baby on the Block, Infant Massage and Car Seat Safety. The classes were available to them at no cost, thanks to a grant from Children's Miracle Network Hospitals at Ascension Via Christi.

Maria’s found the Baby Care and Happiest Baby on Block classes to be most helpful and appreciated being able to attend virtually.

“Taking the classes gave me confidence to know how to provide ‘mommy care’ instead of just ‘auntie care’ or nursing basics,” she says.

Chris enjoyed the Bootcamp for New Dads class so much so that in April he came back to present as a “veteran” dad about the importance of being a partner and providing postpartum support.

“The classes Maria and I took were eye-opening to me, a first-time dad! I learned so much as to what to expect before, during and after the delivery. One of the best classes for me was the New Dad Boot Camp. It was great to hear about issues affecting fathers while being led by a veteran father,” says Chris, the football coach and athletic director at St. Peter Schulte Catholic school. “I thought the class was important enough that I returned as a ‘veteran dad’ to a future class when I was invited to share some of my experiences."

All prepped and ready, Maria went into labor on Feb. 10. But despite using the skills she learned in the Limber Labor class, after 17 hours her care team determined that a Cesarean section would be required to deliver Isaac safely.

“My nurses were aware that I had taken the classes, so we used many techniques I had learned in class,” says Maria. “Unfortunately, my little guy wasn't tolerating and had two knots in his umbilical cord so we ended up with a C-section.

While it didn’t go as planned, she says, she was prepared for such a situation and was happy to welcome a healthy 5-pound, 12-ounce baby boy.

In her postpartum period, or “fourth trimester” as childbirth educator Toni Howard, RN, calls it, Maria says she appreciated having an educated and supportive husband and the tips they both learned in the Happiest Baby class.

“Toni described a baby’s fussiness going from a warm and wet world to a cold and dry one, so baths and swaddling do wonders for Isaac when he is extra fussy,” says Maria, who says the NewLife Center’s breastfeeding class and clinic, also proved helpful when “everything did not go according to plan.”

Now settled into new motherhood with a healthy 3-month-old, the couple is extremely grateful for their preparation and overall quality of care.

“I'm so happy to have a healthy baby boy and for all the nurses who helped prepare me for his birth and how to care for him,” says Maria. “I also can't say enough great things about my care team at the hospital. They kept both my husband and I informed, advocated for us and answered all of our questions. When the plans changed, they moved quickly and calmly.”


To learn about Ascension Via Christi's Childbirth Education and Maternity Care classes, visit