New parenthood during pandemic helped by rock star nurses

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Couples planning on making tiny additions to their families during the COVID-19 pandemic may now be second-guessing that romantic moment, shared together late last fall, when this health scare was unimaginable, and a child just a twinkle in the eyes.

I got to share this experience with many souls, and it figures each story is worth a quick listen.

For reasons dealing with insurance, and that the due date was looking to pass, our little bundle of joy joined up with us at a fine medical facility, Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, about an hour and change from home in North Mississippi.  This was in retrospect a great blessing.

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Our newborn suffered from complications involving brief suffocation from the umbilical cord – estimated at around two minutes duration.

This led to 11 days at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), with Momma and I camped out on accommodating couches and floors, waiting for miracles to pull little LC through.

The staff of nurses were a crew of rock stars from top to bottom, even offering prayers, and small footprints of encouragement.   

They all had particular specialties, and we were constantly being schooled – in fact, I’m not sure what I would have done without the crash course education.

Finally getting home, and knowing what to do made me reflect on how fortunate I had become for the chance to gain experience, against what a disaster it might have been without, had there just been a normal birth.

Even after watching diapers professionally being changed every three hours at the beginning, I still struggled to get the hang of it – or do it with any skill or finesse, but eventually I saw hope in my diaper ability, thanks to repeatedly observing the nurses.

CPR for Infants was a leisurely lesson, requiring a few DVD videos to watch on the severely important subject. CPR doll manikins were provided by the nurse on duty, which gave hands on training – and that wouldn’t have been, had we gone straight from the delivery room to the house.

The talented Miss Rita taught me how to burp LC effectively – and there was Rhonda, who oversaw our car seat aptitude test, which was the last hurdle before finally reaching the finish line – then heading home with our prize, a week and a half later than planned.

Preparing for labor can be already stressful, but thrilling just the same.  Whatever happens is what’s meant to be, and it’s all intended to be endured and taken with stride.

While my COVID birth experience occurred in late April, when there was an air that the pandemic was seeming at a lull – locally at least, I’m grateful that the Woman’s & Children’s Pavilion where the birth happened was attached to such a talented NICU, and that they both maintained strict precautions, which encouraged me to do the same.

Even though no family or friends were allowed to visit us, to show support during our hard time, it was settling to be among only medical professionals, with only scattered significant others about the facilities.  It was a comfort in light of a trying situation.

What I can pass along to parents to be, is that there’ll be no shame later for having masks on in your first photos holding the baby.  In fact, it reflects a touchstone in history.  When these babies are grown up there’ll be something of a community of those born in Spring and Summer of this trying year – and likely then on.  The credibility of pandemic time birth photos may even be questioned without the masks on.

Parents, you’ll be grateful to have taken extra measures – come hell or high water, because there’s no telling what you might encounter, and when.  All of that just about leaves everything else to the Good Lord above.

I wish y’all the best with your pandemic time miracles!

Write to Davis Coen at