Nurse uses tech to include families during pandemic
PHOTO: Jude Anthony Waguespack "meets" his grandparents shortly after his birth at North Oaks Medical Center. Women’s Clinical Nurse Manager Holly Myers took extra efforts to include Jude's extended family during his birth, which took place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HAMMOND---Pre-school teacher Blair Perise Waguespack was raised in a close-knit family, which is why she anticipated having both her mother and husband by her side during the birth of her first baby, Jude Anthony.
But, while Blair and her husband Brennen planned for Jude’s April birth, COVID-19 intervened, creating new expectations due to safety concerns. Not only was Brennen unable to attend Blair’s routine doctor’s visits at Magnolia OB/GYN, but only one support person would be allowed in the delivery room.
“Being a first-time mom, I had a little fear and anxiety and wanted my mother there,” she shares. “What if I had complications? She could talk to me and help me make decisions.”
The concerns were also real for her mother, Julie Perise.
“I have two daughters and I was with my older one during her first delivery. The thought of not being able to do that for Blair was upsetting,” Julie recalls. “I wanted her to have a rich and full experience, and I felt there was going to be a lot lost if I couldn’t be there.”
On April 19, Brennen and Blair came to North Oaks Medical Center where he remained in his truck for 4½ hours until her labor progressed enough for him to join her. Blair’s parents stayed at home, awaiting news of Jude’s arrival.
“I was texting in between contractions, and the nurses were amazing. They were helping me stay in touch with my husband and family,” Blair conveys. “I am so grateful for all of them.”
Aware of Blair’s uneasiness, Women’s Clinical Nurse Manager Holly Myers -- who Blair refers to as her “labor mom” -- came in on her day off to assist. With Brennen now by Blair’s side, Holly used her smartphone to include the rest of the family. She FaceTimed Blair’s parents, who in turn FaceTimed Blair’s sister, who FaceTimed their aunt and cousin so that they all could be part of the baby’s birth.
“By the time they got to my aunt and cousin, it wasn’t the best quality but they were able to ‘be there’ and to hear what was going on,” Blair admits. “It was a real family affair. My aunt thought it was such a cool experience because normally she would have had to be in the waiting room.”
And, Julie adds that Blair’s father would not have experienced Jude’s birth minute by minute in “normal” conditions as he would also have been separated in the waiting room.
“When I got the call from Holly, it was a little bit of a surprise. I was so overwhelmed and so touched that she did this kind and selfless act to include us,” she adds. “The doctors and nurses were so accommodating, and I was still able to coach Blair over the phone. It wasn’t the way we pictured it, but now Jude has a great story. Not everyone can say he or she was born during a pandemic.”
(Story and Photo courtesy of North Oaks Health System)