By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Babies who are ready to be born don’t care if it’s a holiday.
At North Mississippi Medical Center, the last two weeks of the year are busy with Christmas and New Year’s babies.
Most moms-to-be are calm and glowing if they end up in labor just before Christmas.
“A lot of them are very organized and have gotten everything ready,” said Sandra Cochran, a registered nurse who has worked at NMMC Women’s Hospital for 28 years. “But there are the ones who come in unexpectedly and are still worried” about finishing Christmas for older children.
At Christmas, the usual rules about visiting hours for siblings are relaxed so they can stay over on Christmas Eve – if they are well and their families wish it, said Janice Davidson, certified licensed practical nurse who has worked at NMMC for 34 years.
“We get to see them get up to Santa,” Davidson said. “It’s special for mom because she would miss that.”
Between Christmas and New Year’s, the hospital stays hopping as parents labor to get the tax benefit before the new year begins. There are quite a few babies who are introduced as “our little tax deduction.”
After the New Year rings in, the vibe changes over.
“Usually it’s neck and neck,” to see who will have the first baby of the new year,” Cochran said. “The patients get involved, and their husbands get involved. We have fun with that.”
There are many special holiday moments for the hospital’s staff and physicians.
Obstetrician Dr. C.J. Sanders, now retired, had a habit of suggesting a particular name to parents unsure of what to call their impending arrival.
“I’m real fond of CJ,” he tells them, said Cochran.
One year around Christmas, Sanders and his patient got a surprise during a Cesarean section. A little girl was delivered first, but unexpectedly, there was a little brother, too.
As Sanders delivered baby No. 2, “He said, ‘And here’s CJ,'” Cochran remembered. “They actually named that baby CJ. He said it was the best Christmas gift ever.”
In the spirit of the season, the staff has often found it’s better to give than receive.
One year at Thanksgiving, a patient in labor with her third child was in the middle of a personal crisis. Because of complications with her pregnancy that required bed rest, she had lost her job, Davidson said. As she was laboring, she was trying to prevent her trailer from being repossessed.
“They told her if she could come up with one payment they would work with her,” Davidson said. The patient’s father had $100 of the $198 she needed for the payment. Davidson knew the women’s hospital staff could make a difference.
“I went around to every department,” Davidson said. “When I got back to my desk I had $199. The secretary threw in a $1 to make it even.”
Over the next couple of weeks, family and friends of the hospital staff chipped in to help the family get caught up on their payments. Another women’s hospital staff member helped her find job interviews so the little family could get back on its feet.
“We did Christmas for all her children,” said Davidson, who has remained in contact with the family. “It was a bigger blessing to us to be able to help them.”