Kristen's birth story: A family-centered experience

New mom Kristen Schwanz cradles newborn son Josh Biros at the Family Birth Center

Kristen Schwanz and her husband Josh Biros looked at several options while they were deciding where to give birth to their first child. At the time, the couple lived in the South Loop but had just bought a house in a western suburb of Chicago.

“I was getting my primary care at UChicago Medicine and heard about the new Family Birth Center,” Kristen said. “After Josh and I took the tour, it was a no-brainer. We knew it was the right place for us.

“The staff answered all our questions,” Kristen said. “And I thought the facility was gorgeous. The lounge offered a comfortable place for family and friends to gather and the delivery room was beautiful.”

Kristen also was thrilled to hear that her sister, Korry, could join her and Josh during labor and delivery. “I ended up being in the delivery room for a long time, so it was a big plus for me to have my sister and my husband by my side. They could take turns resting on the giant couch in the room.”

During these hours, the trio passed some of their time watching movies on the room’s entertainment system. “It was particularly nice to see Christmas movies because at home we had been scrambling to prepare for the baby and hadn’t been feeling very festive.”

When Kristen came in for her 39-week check up on December 18, 2017, obstetrician Maryam Siddiqui, MD, told her that, because the amniotic fluid was low, she recommended inducing labor rather than waiting any longer for delivery.

“It was not what Kristen envisioned, but this is how prenatal care works,” Siddiqui said. “When we find something during a routine check, we choose the best course to guide an optimal delivery. As long as the baby is cooperating and mom is okay, we remain committed to preventing a first cesarean section.”

During an induction, which “kick starts” the delivery process, labor typically lasts between 24 and 48 hours. After 33 hours, on December 19, 2017, Kristen gave birth to an 8-pound, 14-ounce baby boy through vaginal delivery. The couple named him Frederick “Freddie” William Biros.

Kristen says she felt totally spoiled by the medical and nursing staff during her labor, delivery and postpartum care. “I was so tired and overwhelmed by the experience of giving birth,” she said. “But the care was amazing and all of the nurses were so patient. It was like I was the only one in the hospital.”

Kristen and Freddie's story is featured in the new UChicago Medicine campaign. Learn more at

Mother and newborn baby skin to skin in the Family Birth Center

Family Birth Center

The Family Birth Center offers a customized birth experience in the comfort and privacy of our nurturing environment. Our team of experts support expectant mothers and families with compassion and respect through pregnancy, childbirth, bonding, breastfeeding and healing.

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Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is a senior communications specialist at UChicago Medicine.