Diana Kunce said she never imagined she would end up with lifelong friends through teaching the prepared childbirth class at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne.
And she certainly didn’t expect to receive a goddaughter out of it.
The prepared childbirth course instructor and obstetrician staff nurse of 34 years met Janice Marshburn when Marshburn was pregnant with her first and only child in 1980. The two kept in touch throughout Marshburn’s pregnancy, and when Brandi Gaut was born, Kunce calmed Marshburn’s fears as her new baby underwent blood transfusions.
“We didn’t have home health back then, so I went by there and checked on them,” Kunce said.
Marshburn said she remembers Kunce being compassionate and understanding of her fears, even though Kunce did not have children of her own.
“She was just so sweet and so good to my baby,” Marshburn said. “She was so good to us. She would take pictures with little bows in [Brandi’s] hair. She would do that to let me know that everything was OK.”
Shortly after Gaut was born, Marshburn asked Kunce to be the baby’s godmother.
“I went to all her preschool things ... watched her grow up,” Kunce said. “She graduated and of course she was top of her class and the homecoming queen. She went to college and we stayed in touch. I was her wedding director when she got married. Then, when she and her husband got pregnant, she came to my classes.”
Gaut, now 32 and a probation officer, said Kunce is the perfect person to be teaching the prepared childbirth class because she’s down to earth and nurturing.
“I would definitely tell parents to go to this class,” she said. “I think it was very informative. I was a first-time mother and she was non-judgemental.”
Kunce recently earned her Level 6 certification — the highest in the Texas Health Resources system — which can only be earned by education, research and work. She also serves as an assistant professor at Tarleton State University. At 58, Kunce said she plans to continue teaching at least until she is 65 or as long as she’s needed.
“You build those relationships in a small community like Cleburne,” she said. “I’ve taught people in the community and then their children have grown up and I’ve taught them.”
The prepared childbirth class is held every two months and is recommended for women in their third trimester, about four weeks from giving birth. It focuses on information for use during labor and delivery such as pain management and breathing techniques. Variations of labor and C-sections are discussed, as well as pain medications and anesthesia. Participants also tour the Womens Center.
The next class is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the conference room at Texas Health Cleburne, 201 Walls Drive in Cleburne. Cost is $50 per couple.