Three of the partners at Buffalo OB/GYN trained together at University at Buffalo Medical School. The fourth was one of their clinical professors.
Combined, they’ve seen 18,000 patients since opening their practice in 2010, and delivered about 2,000 babies.
In the decade that the four partners have known each other, each has had babies of her own – eight children in all, now ages 1 to 10 – and each child has been delivered by their doctor partners.
“All three of us did Dr. Lana’s C-section and all three of them delivered my son together. It doesn’t always take six hands but it works if you’ve got them,” Dr. Lisa Gelman-Koessler said.
Gelman-Koessler and Drs. Rosann Lana, Emme Nylander and Emily Williams recently reached another milestone.
Jacob and Katie Coppola of Dunkirk had their fourth child in December. Each child was delivered at Sisters of Charity Hospital – each by a different partner in the Amherst practice.
“It meant a lot that it meant something to my doctors, that it would be something they remembered for a long time, too,” Katie Coppola said.
The doctors and staff gathered in their Main Street office with the Coppola family this week to celebrate the happy coincidence.
Each of the children got treats that included Buffalo OB/GYN T-shirts – Class of 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 going to Charlie, 5; Mary, 3½; Ronald, almost 2; and Samuel, respectively.
The practice also donated a year’s supply of diapers to baby Samuel, born Dec. 8.
Katie Coppola, who grew up in Central New York, and her husband, a patent examiner with the federal government who grew up in Forestville, moved from Washington, D.C., to West Seneca in the months before Lana delivered Charles, their oldest son, Feb. 12, 2011.
The couple continued to use the practice after they moved to Dunkirk – leaving Jacob Coppola’s parents, Vince and Carole, to watch the older kids during the labor and delivery process in Buffalo.
“I worried more about my parents and what we were going through,” Jacob Coppola said with a smile.
Katie Coppola said she stayed with the practice because of the confidence Lana gave her during her first pregnancy and the overall feel of Buffalo OB/GYN. Each of the four doctors meets with expectant moms during prenatal visits, which offered a familiar face during four of the most meaningful moments in the couple’s lives.
The four partners had broken off from a larger practice in the months before Charlie Coppola was born, because of a desire to offer more consistent, familiar care to their patients and create a greater professional family atmosphere for themselves.
Three nurse practitioners and several office staffers round out the all-woman office.
“People always ask me, how do you all get a along, you’re all women? It’s because we like each other, respect each other,” said Nylander, who left her teaching job when joining her three former student-physicians in the practice.
“We have a tremendous work-life balance, all four of us, and it’s a huge value. We wanted to be in charge of that, said Gelman-Koessler, who delivered Mary Coppola about midnight on Oct. 2, 2012. “We almost didn’t make it to the hospital,” Jacob Coppola said.
Nylander was up next, ushering Ronald into the arms of his parents about 3 a.m. April 1, 2014, after about eight hours of labor.
That was when the Coppolas noticed a trend.
“We thought it was cool,” Jacob Coppola said.
Katie Coppola told Williams on her first prenatal visit while carrying Samuel, “You’re the only one who hasn’t delivered one of my babies.”
Williams told her, “That’s my baby. I want that baby.”
Her partners wanted to do what they could to get Williams into the delivery room for the fourth Coppola child but it almost didn’t happen. Mom went into labor about 7 p.m. Dec. 7 while Gelman-Koessler was on call.
Labor was induced, but stalled. It resumed again the next day, shortly before Williams was about to go on call. She got to the hospital about 3 p.m. Dec. 8, a half hour before Samuel arrived.
“We were willing to do some other things if we had to,” Gelman-Koessler said, “but it just worked out.”
The three older kids took turns circling the office waiting room Wednesday afternoon as the doctors and staff passed around little Samuel. Before they left Dunkirk, Katie Coppola had to explain to her older children that they were going to see the doctors who helped bring them into the world.
Little Mary asked how that worked.
“They knew they were in my belly,” Katie Coppola said. “The rest,” she explained, “was a special mommy trick, mommy magic.”
Then those gathered turned to another question: Would the Coppolas try at some point for Baby No. 5?
“We want to keep providing quality care and feel like a small practice where we get to know patients and they get to know us,” Gelman-Koessler said. “That’s really the most important thing. We don’t want to get bigger – but we’ll have to if they have another baby.”
“It’s up to the boss,” Jacob Coppola replied, glancing at his wife. “She’s told me she’s done after every one.”
“That feeling,” she said, “goes away – but our plan as of now that we’re done.”
On the Web: See a photo gallery of the Coppola family visit to Buffalo OB/GYN at galleries.buffalonews.com