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Baby boom among Community Hospital East maternity staff

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There’s a baby boom among a group of baby experts.

The maternity and newborn intensive care unit staff at Community Hospital East, who have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic for a year, are bringing a number of their own bundles of joy into the world.

There are nine staff members so far, including seven maternity nurses, that are pregnant. The seven nurses is quite something when you consider there’s just 45 on staff at Community East.

In fact, one nurse couldn’t join the Zoom call Friday because she started having contractions.

Maternity nurse Meghan Biddle assessed the whole situation: “It feels like I’m pregnant with a bunch of sisters.”

Dr. Nabila Zambrano, an obstetrician-gynecologist, said “It feels like a sister’s support group. We commiserate together with our symptoms.”

The first baby has already arrived. Kayden Anthony Fresh was born Monday to patient care coordinator Toni Squire.

Eight more babies are due from now through Sept. 7, including four over the next 50 days.

The women are more at ease now. But nine months ago, maternity nurse Taylor Graham said it was a bit of a different story.

“It’s the time, it’s pretty scary” being pregnant during the pandemic, Graham said.

While the women say they’ve been more sheltered from the pandemic than many in the health care industry, COVID has brought some very tough moments.

“I had personal experiences that were very hard where I was home crying after seeing these moms healthy one moment to passing the next,” Biddle said.

But, there have been plenty of good times, too.

Being a pregnant maternity nurse has its perks — without fail, it’s the first conversation topic with patients, especially during a pandemic when visitors and cheerleaders are limited, it’s a great way to bond.

“I don’t feel like it’s only for us,” maternity nurse Lilia Mena Guerrero said. “We are there also for patients and showing that we can do this. We are pregnant together. We are going to get through this.”

For many of the staff, it’s their first baby. While most said they were planning on having one, the beginning of the pandemic made them wait. But after a few months, they were ready to move forward even in an uncertain time.

“There is never a perfect time,” maternity nurse Dani Sommer said. “If you wait, you are just pushing something out and you don’t know what the future holds. There’s no time like the present.”

So, the present will be bringing a lot of presents to the staff at Community East, and Biddle promised that nine babies is only the beginning.

“Let’s just say I know someone that has not disclosed her pregnancy yet so I’m not the last delivery in 2021 at Community East,” she said and laughed.

The women said it’s really special to go through this as a staff because, especially in the last year, it has felt like they’ve seen each other more than their actual families.

“I think all of us agree that we got into nursing to be caregivers and to take care of people, but on top of that, to be a labor and delivery nurse, we share in some of the most special moments in family’s lives,” said maternity nurse Jessica Tomanski, “So to have all our coworkers get to experience that with them, it’s really special. It’s really special to watch them expand their families while we’re doing it, too.”