Elise's Story

Giving birth with the help of a midwife was ‘empowering’
The Botta Family
Vince and Elise Botta and family

Giving birth to all three of her babies at Rush Copley Medical Center with the help of her husband and a midwife was empowering for Elise Botta. 

“I appreciate how midwives encourage you, as a woman, to know your strengths and listen to your body,” she says. “I love the ownership they put on the mom.” 

Rush Copley offers the only midwifery program in the Fox Valley. Certified nurse midwives are skilled professionals who provide health care to patients of all ages with a focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dedicated to an interactive treatment style, midwives spend time getting to know patients to better understand their health issues and encourage their active participation in decision-making and care. They collaborate with other providers and specialists as needed. 

Caring for the whole person

“Midwives are empathetic, comforting and empowering,” Elise says. “They develop a relationship with you and know what your needs are.”

“Midwives take care of the whole person, assessing, evaluating and moving them to where they need to be,” says midwife Mindee Zilic, CNM. “I love what I do, interacting with the people I am with and having the opportunity to be part of their journey through joyous and difficult times.”

The midwives encourage use of Rush Copley’s alternative birthing suite — the only one in the area. It provides a homelike birth in the safety of a hospital setting. The suite includes special laboring items, such as a birthing sling, seat and ball, to encourage a nonmedicated delivery.

A natural approach

Elise and her husband, Vince Botta, an advanced practice nurse at Rush Convenient Care, chose to have a midwife for their birth experiences because they like the natural approach midwives take and feel that the experience is woman-focused and led. Elise also likes the way a midwife will make a recommendation but then allow the patient to decide what to do.

“You have a say in what’s going on,” Elise says. With the births of their children, Elise and Vince chose to delay cord clamping to allow skin-to-skin contact and bonding with their babies for the first hour after their births. 

Zilic helped Elise and Vince create their own birth plan focused on their goals. She guided their prenatal care, coached Elise through labor and delivered their babies. She also provided post-delivery care, helping them navigate postpartum challenges and lending support through breastfeeding. 

When complications arose, Zilic was quick to respond, partnering with other Rush providers to give their baby the highest level of care but still remaining sensitive to the Bottas’ wishes.

Dealing with complications

During the birth of the Bottas’ first son, Zilic was monitoring Elise’s contractions when she saw the baby’s heart rate drop with each contraction. At birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s head. He was clutching the cord with his hand and he was not breathing. Zilic immediately acted, and the baby let out his first cry.

“Mindee was very calm and collected,” Vince says. “She’s a pro.”

When Elise began hemorrhaging, Zilic again was in control. 

“Mindee said, ‘I’m going to do this. Is that okay?’” Elise recalls. “I really appreciated that even in a period of crisis, she still asked.”

Zilic says, “Communication and consent are very important.” 

Last year, when the Bottas’ second son was born, he was not breathing well. Zilic immediately brought in a specialist from the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, to assess the baby’s condition. Elise and Vince were grateful for the expertise of Rush Copley’s level 3 NICU, and their son was fine.  

Forming a relationship 

Vince thinks the biggest benefit to having a midwife is the patient relationship. 

“You get a provider who takes the time to form a relationship,” he says. He was impressed with how Zilic took the time to listen to Elise at all of the appointments leading up to her delivery. 

The couple chose the Bradley method for delivery of their last baby. “Basically, with the Bradley method, less is more,” Vince explains. It emphasizes that birth is a natural process and mothers should trust their bodies and manage labor through deep breathing with a partner. 

“It’s very hands-off, in a good way,” Vince says. “Elise was in the hallway, moving and doing what she needed to do. We wanted that, and Mindee honored that.” 

 Elise recommends the midwife experience to every mother, when possible. 

“I can’t recommend the midwifery program more highly,” Vince agrees. “It was a great experience.”

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