McGregor family thankful for OB care at Riverwood

Janae, Kendra and Tony Nistler represent three generations born at Riverwood with the woman who started it all, Grandma Shirley.

The Nistler family is featured in Riverwood Foundation’s annual year-end appeal letter that is inviting donations to support our Birthing Center.  Make your gift at riverwoodhealthcare.org via the GIVE NOW link.

Shirley and her husband Terry Nistler didn’t realize she would be starting a family tradition when she chose where to give birth to her son Tony. All three of Tony’s daughters and two of his grandchildren have come into the world in the same place – Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Minnesota.

Dating back to the Draper Maternity House in the ‘40s and early ‘50s, local providers and nurses have always strived to create the experience each family desires. The Draper Maternity House closed in 1955 when Aitkin Community Hospital opened.

Today, the personalized care given by those early providers remains at Riverwood Healthcare Center with three state-of-the-art, private birthing suites.

While so much has changed over the decades, the standard of care has not. The Nistler family is just one of many local families who have relied on Riverwood for their family’s care for generations.

“We trust the caregivers at Riverwood,” Tony’s wife, Pam, told us. “They are our friends and neighbors.”

Pam gave birth to her first daughter, Brooke, in 1989, in the same hospital where her husband was born. Pam can’t remember the names of her nurses anymore, but she does remember their kindness and support she received. This treatment meant the world to her as a first-time mom.

Pam then had two more girls, Janae and Kaitlyn, just a year apart in 1992 and 1993. Every experience was as seamless as the last, Pam told us, and Tony was present for the birth of each of his girls.

While raising their three daughters, Pam and Tony also built a successful trucking business in McGregor, Minnesota.

When Kendra was born, Janae was finishing her degree in nursing. She moved home to doctor with Dr. Timothy Arnold and give birth to her daughter at Riverwood. She later became an obstetrics and birth nurse at Riverwood where she still works helping to deliver other’s babies.

Pam and Tony’s family continued to grow when their middle daughter, Janae, gave birth to their first grandchild, Kendra, in 2013.

 Brooke and her husband, Luke Sorensen, also doctored with Dr. Arnold as they worked to start their own family. They experienced some complications with their first child, Blake, and gave birth a month early with a C-section in Duluth, Minnesota.

They then got to welcome their second child, Brekkyn, at Riverwood in 2020, almost 50 years to the day after Tony’s birth. The other two Nistler sisters – Janae and Kaitlyn, who lives in Montana – also welcomed new babies in 2020 at different facilities.

Brooke will soon welcome another baby girl – Tony and Pam’s sixth grandchild. With her husband, Luke – who also was born at Riverwood – she hopes to continue the family tradition.

Caring for the Next Generation
Please consider a donation today to support expanding Riverwood Healthcare’s Birthing Center with two essential pieces of technology.

  • Panda Infant Warmer: Direct, comfortable heat to help newborns transition after birth while they are weighed, dried, measured, bathed and assessed for health concerns.
  • The Wellness Network: On-demand educational videos highlighting essential information for new parents, including signs of postpartum anxiety and depression, breastfeeding support and tips for going home with baby.

Your donation is more than a tax deduction. It’s an investment in the future residents of our community.

Riverwood Birthing Center Fast Facts 

  • 66 babies born so far in 2021 (52 babies born in 2020)
  • 10 Obstetric Providers, including one Midwife
  • 9 OB Nurses certified as Lactation Consultants
  • 3 Birthing Suites with excellent amenities
    • Sofa sleeper
    • Wireless internet
    • Large bathroom with whirlpool tub and shower
  • 1 Obstetrics Coordinator serves as the first point of contact for families, guiding them through their prenatal care
  • 5-week Birthing Class helps prepare pregnant women and their labor coaches
  • Baby-Friendly Hospital promotes the highest standards of breastfeeding and bonding with baby
  • New moms receive a swag bag
    • New robe
    • Essential oils
    • Massage gift certificate
  • Moms and their partners enjoy a catered dinner their last night in the hospital