Giving birth to a child during the best of times is challenging, but labor and delivery during a pandemic is likely even moreso.
Due to COVID-19 health restrictions and Beatrice Community Hospital currently not allowing guests, one family got creative in introducing their newest member.
Early Monday morning, grandparents to be, Tracy and Heather Mullen, joined by niece Hayley Taylor, sat outside the labor and delivery suite windows to offer support and share in the joy of welcoming their first grandchild. After a day of anticipation, Oliver Finn Mullen was born at 10:17p.m. to Ryann Lake and Jacoby Mullen.
Mullen said it was comforting to have his family nearby throughout the day. He said they sat in lawn chairs and listened to music while they waited, and ultimately decided to go home when they thought Oliver would be born on Tuesday.
“They decided they were going to head home out by Holmesville,” Mullen said. “By the time they just pulled in, I called them back and said ‘he’s coming.’ They got here pretty much just after he was here…It was close to 11p.m. by the time I was able to bring him up to the window.”
“We just wanted to be there to support them,” Heather said about the new parents and her first grandchild. “Nobody wants to have a baby alone.”
Lake said she was surprised when the family called to ask what window they were at, but that it was nice to see them out there. She said her parents are from Florida, and decided to wait and visit after everyone returned home since they can’t be in the hospital.
“We can’t wait to bring him home and be able to have everybody together and hugging him…My mom will be here in a little bit. She’s going to be up at that window, I’m sure, the whole time,” Lake said.
Diane Vicars, senior executive for marketing communications at BCH, said that current hospital restrictions allow one support person in a room, but that they’re asked not to come and go. She said both labor and delivery units are on the first floor of the hospital, and families are welcome to visit through the windows for the time being.
“If the number of positive [COVID-19] cases continue to increase, if that continues to stay high, we will keep the visitation rules in place,” Vicars said. “Part of it is limiting those interactions not just for the patients but for our staff, as well. Because if our staff gets sick, then that limits the amount of staffing that we have available to take care of patients. And to deliver babies.”
Vicars said she understands the frustration of not having families in rooms, and noted that technology has been especially helpful during this time.
“Thank God for face time throughout this whole thing,” Lake said. “For a while, [Jacoby] wasn’t able to go to appointments with me, and with my mom and dad being in Florida. Gosh, I think they laid Oliver on my chest, and I’m telling him ‘face time my mom. I’ve got to call my mom right now.’”
Lake said that she was concerned that Mullen wouldn’t be able to be in the delivery room too, and joked that if that were the case she would’ve had Oliver at home.
“I was worried about that, not being able to come in,” Mullen said. “It’s all so crazy right now, but it all worked out…Just hope that he’s happy and healthy, and we’ll do anything and everything that we can for him.”
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