Our Patients Say it Best

Your friends and neighbors from throughout southwest Michigan and beyond share their experiences at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Do you have a story to share? Click on the "What's Your Story" button and complete the form. 

A Miracle Birth - Lucia Higgins


Nov, 2018

Physicians: Alissa Conklin, MD

Willow Singita entered the world on June 15, 2018. Her middle name was inspired by an African (Xitsonga) word meaning “miracles” which is exactly how her mother, Lucia Higgins, describes her birth experience. 

At 42 years of age, the pregnancy came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucia. But soon after learning she was going to give birth again, she began to envision what she wanted that experience to look like. Having had two prior C-sections, Lucia knew she wanted this birth to be natural.

“With the birth of my son I wasn’t able to hold him right away after the C-section and I feel like that’s one of the reasons I struggled so much with breastfeeding and had a harder post-partum experience,” said Lucia. “I knew there were risks involved with having a natural birth after a C-section but I was determined to find a care team who I trusted and could provide the experience I was looking for.”

After interviewing a number of providers, from Grand Rapids to St. Joseph, Lucia selected both a nurse midwife and a doula to manage her care. Living in Fennville, Michigan, it was also important her care team be located close to a trusted health system in case complications arose.

As a swim instructor, Lucia remained active throughout the entire pregnancy. She also walked her dog regularly and practiced yoga and meditation to ensure her body was prepared both physically and mentally to give birth.

When the time arose, Lucia was still painting the baby’s room through five days of mounting contractions. Early on the fourth morning, her water broke and contractions intensified. She labored for an additional 20 hours, determined to have a home birth. However, when she began experiencing pain and a burning sensation at the site of her C-section scar, her midwife suggested she go to the hospital.

Upon arriving to the BirthPlace at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph, Lucia was already dilated to 10 centimeters and close to giving birth. That’s when she met obstetrician and gynecologist, Alissa Conklin, MD.

“I was prepped to go to surgery when Dr. Conklin arrived and the first thing I remember was her telling me to push,” said Lucia. “She was so amazing and encouraging throughout the entire process. I could tell Dr. Conklin was a great advocate for the process of natural birth and was committed to giving me the birth experience I desired.”

Willow was safely delivered at 3:45 a.m. and immediately placed on her mother’s chest for skin-to-skin contact.

“Overall, Willow’s birth was just how I hoped it would be and I couldn’t believe it happened in a hospital setting,” said Lucia. “Dr. Conklin made it all very personal while still ensuring both the baby and I were safe. It really was a miracle birth and I am so grateful to Lakeland.”


Continue Watching

We're Ready for You at Spectrum Health Lakeland

While the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in new ways, we want you to know we are here for you.

Lakeland Sets Aside $50 Million to Address Racial Equity and Health Inequities

The Board of Directors of Spectrum Health Lakeland approved an expanded strategy to address racial and ethnic health equity in Southwest Michigan.

COVID-19: Lowell Hamel, MD "The Fight of His Life"

Lowell Hamel, MD, never imagined he would soon be battling for his own life in the fight against COVID-19.

We're Ready for You - Loren Hamel, MD

If you have a health need right now, then it deserves our attention right now. Whether you want to see us virtually or in person, don’t delay your care. We are ready for you.

We Stay Home For You

Thank you to all those serving on the front lines. You are the true heroes. Together, we are strong. Together, we will see this this through.

Lakeland has a Heart to Serve now with Spectrum Health

Improving health, inspiring hope, saving lives. Spectrum Health Lakeland is now part of Spectrum Health offering an expanded care team, additional specialties, and new technology for you and your family.

Spectrum Health Lakeland: Your 100 Top Hospital

IBM Watson Health™ published its 100 Top Hospitals® 2019 study naming Lakeland among the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. based on overall organizational performance.

We Are Lakeland

Video of our team members

© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2020