The Carol Suite lets in beautiful diffused light during the day and the calming shade of green immediately makes you feel relaxed when you walk in the door. This is our most spacious suite and has the most comfortable couch (I know because I’ve slept on it more times than I can count). This room only lacks one thing-a tub, which makes it the less used birth suite of the two upstairs options.

The namesake of the suite is also a calming presence and little known to our birth world. She is Carol Osborne-Crow, RN, IBCLC. She was a postpartum nurse at United Regional for many years. As her coworkers learned of her love for all things natural, she was pegged as the perfect fit for families with a more natural philosophy giving birth at URHS. There are stories of a rather earthy aroma filling the halls. Following the scent wafting through the corridors would lead you to a crock pot of steeping herbs for a “natural mama” awaiting a sitz bath. Carol kept the herbs in her locker for just such an occasion. Sometimes they were marked for a friend expecting a baby soon or a random mom Carol had never met. Of course after Carol was your nurse, you knew you were not just any random patient. Carol loved individualized care and her patients delighted in being on the receiving end of that special attention in the first postpartum hours.

I met Carol when I was a doula. Apparently, when I was in Labor & Delivery with a client in my early days of doula work, Carol was alerted that I was there. It went something like this, “Carol, you’ll never believe who is here! A doula! There’s a doula in L&D!” Of course, she found me and we became fast friends. Later I’d text her on my way to births and ask if she was working and if so, my clients would request her. She took care of me many times-once sneaking Martha and me into a quiet room to crash while we were at a multi-day birth.

Carol spent some time doula-ing through the years, especially at community-based births of friends. She knew Wichita Falls needed a birth center and tried to find a way to solve this lack of options for years. She called me one day to ask if I’d like to start a birth center with her. Of course I did- though I didn’t know what I was doing.

Carol was gifted by her friend Gayle Lee with a registration to the How to Start a Birth Center seminar by the organization that would later give us our accreditation. She brought home her notes and we went to work planning. Dr. Guidry and other moms and business leaders in town joined us in our planning and the rest is, as they say, “history.”

We hoped Carol could join us in the daily business of the birth center but about the time we were opening, she was launching the IdeaWF winning business KangaWear Design, which produced the MyRoo Tube that allowed babies to be skin to skin with a parent while in the NICU since it was see-through and the leads and wires could still be seen by the nurses. Of course, families who had babies at home enjoyed the product, too. Carol and her business partner Patrice traveled the country selling the MyRoo Tube at conferences. She stays in touch and sometimes brings us books for our library. She’s a quiet in the background worker who is there when you need her-just like the suite with her name.

Author: Wendy Fowler