Baby BOOM!

Posted: March 11, 2021

Apparently, Not Everyone Socially Distanced

Births at NorthBay on the Rise, with More on the Way

A lullaby tune plays over the speakers at NorthBay Medical Center every time a baby is born, and these days the tune is playing day and night.

NorthBay’s Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby departments are experiencing not just a baby bump, but a baby boom, as births are up more than 8 percent over last year at this time, according to Heather Troutt, clinical manager, Women and Children’s Services. In recent weeks there were days when the maternity department was full, with all rooms in Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby spoken for, she said.  

“We kind of expected it because of the pandemic and people being bored at home,” laughed Christena Wetzel, R.N., “and also because it always picks up a bit just before the holidays. But lately it has been a roller coaster, just off the hook busy.”

And the uptick in expected births extends out for the next several months at least, according to Tina Brazil, R.N., practice manager for Women’s Health.

“We’ve seen a monthly increase of 20 to 30 new OB/GYN patients, who will deliver over the next few months,” Tina said. “For example, in January 2020, we were following 47 pregnant patients; this January we had 79. In February 2020, we were following 51 pregnant patients, and this February we have 83.”

Those numbers will probably go up even more as NorthBay typically receives a lot of transfers from other medical providers and “late-to-care” patients that haven’t even been seen yet, Tina added.

NorthBay also began working in February with Sutter Health, La Clinica de la Raza and Partnership Healthplan California to offer maternal care options to Sutter’s patients after it closed its L&D Michael and Jenny Roark say Carson’s birth during the pandemic was made easier to experience thanks to NorthBay Healthcare’s compassionate care.unit, according to Steve Davis, assistant vice president, Managed Care.  

Jenny Roark of Vacaville learned she was pregnant with her first child on March 17, the very day the state went on lockdown due to COVID-19.

“Knowing we were expanding our family was great news, and at first I was sure that by the time I had my baby in November, it would be all over. But no,” she laughed. “We wondered, would we be able to see anyone, or have family be part of the moment? We just weren’t sure.”

“It was ever-changing in the early days, as we began to wear PPE even to care for COVID-19-positive moms,” Christena said. “As nurses we’re used to the healing touch, so it has been hard to be somewhat at a distance. We’ve also been caring for sicker moms, who may not have had regular pre-natal care as they avoided going to the doctor or hospital. But, we’re finding that these Jenny Roark shared on Facebook her experience having her baby at NorthBay.babies are healthy and overall they’re doing really well.”

Jenny’s pregnancy was going well but she switched healthcare providers to NorthBay after her 20th week, and began seeing Shanna Snow, D.O.

“Right away I noticed a difference and am so thankful I did,” she said. During her early OB/GYN visits, Jenny came alone and wore a mask. Although not able to have extended family members with her for ultrasounds, she appreciated Dr. Snow videotaping them so she could share with her husband, Michael, and others. She also appreciated that Dr. Snow called Michael to see if he had any questions or concerns.

Jenny and Michael, a Security officer at NorthBay, welcomed son Carson on Nov. 13, and strict visitor policies meant only Michael could be present at the birth.

“My mom couldn’t be there, but Kerri Blair, R.N., was caring like a mom would be. I was having a hard time, very nervous, and she was so calm she made me feel comfortable.”

Jenny also appreciated the care Christena showed to her husband, as well. “She kept checking on him, too, to see if he was OK, when Carson had to go to the NICU for a bit, and she said, ‘You go ahead and be with the baby, and I’ll stay with your wife.’”Adam and Kristina Goodrich happily welcome Olivia to the family that includes Elijah, Alexis and Jaxon.

Kristina Goodrich and husband, Adam, knew they wanted to complete their family this year, despite the pandemic, and Kristina also knew she wanted to deliver at NorthBay for several reasons. They had just moved to Vacaville from Napa and wanted something close to home.

“I have three other children, and all births were complicated,” she explained. All required C-sections and one resulted in an extended NICU stay.

For her fourth baby, Kristina did not want to risk being far from the hospital.

“I wanted a hospital with a NICU, and that was NorthBay,” she explained.

“I had the best birthing experience at NorthBay,” she added. “I’ve had my babies at two other hospitals and this was so different. The whole team was so caring. The Kristina Goodrich shared her experience with a community of new moms on a Facebook post.nurses were checking on me and my husband, they even brought him snacks. My CNA, Melanie Callahan, did the nicest thing — she washed my back with a warm cloth, and I’ve never had that before. It was just so caring.”

“I always want to treat people like I’d want to be treated,” Melanie said. “I love being a part of people’s special moments, and since they’re not able to have a lot of family around, we do what we can to fill in. I love to be around happy babies, too, and these days Vanessa Smutnak, R.N., (left) helps Areli Rodriguez position her daughter (a twin), Regina.there are so many of them!”

Areli Rodriguez’ high-risk pregnancy with twins and ultimate natural childbrith resulted in a happy first greeting for dad Rodrigo on March 3.

“He wasn’t able to be with me at any of the prenatal visits because of COVID, so the first time he got to see them was when they were born,” Areli explained. “It was very difficult but everything turned out perfect.”

New dad Rodrigo Rodriguez cuddles with baby Rafael (a twin).“She did so well,” agreed her nurse, Vanessa Smutnak. “It’s not every day that twins are born naturally, and Areli did a great job.”  

While the pandemic tightened visitor policies and changed the post-birthing experience, some new moms found it had an unexpected bonus.

“To be honest, it’s nice to have family support, but it gave the three of us some time to bond,” Kristina said.

“Everyone looks forward to meeting the new baby, but it was nice for our little family to have some uninterrupted time for a few days,” Jenny said. “That was a silver lining, I guess.”

And as for these pandemic babies, “they are going to be strong little kiddos,” Christena said. “They — and their parents — have already been through so much.”


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