Pregnant during pandemic: TMH, nurses, mothers navigate COVID-19

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 18:01:43-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Nurses at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare are working hard around the clock to keep moms, babies, and staff safe. They've made a lot of changes to help families rebound.

"Being a first-time mom, I was already anxious about what to expect," said Allison Wilson.

Six days ago, Wilson's life changed forever with a new title and a lot of expectations all in the middle of the pandemic.

"It was definitely an overwhelming thought," Wilson said.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, where she gave birth, made changes months ago to keep moms, like Wilson, and babies safe.

"Before March, nobody wore a mask to work unless you were in the OR," said Kitty Draa, an RN in Labor & Delivery at TMH. "Now, we're wearing them all day every day."

Draa and fellow-RN Jennifer Armstrong have changed the way they're delivering babies in the age of COVID-19.

"It's become the new normal to have all of this and wear it and not have to worry about it," Armstrong said.

The two nurses say the only personal protective equipment mom has to wear is a mask.

"Everyone rises to the challenge I think," said Draa.

Delivering on average 300 babies a month, they have to limit how many people are allowed the delivery rooms these days.

"Now, we're limiting to one core person for mom's support," Armstrong said.

They even have two special rooms reserved for mothers who have COVID-19. Draa has already had to help at least one mom through that situation.

"And if I'm the nurse assigned to that patient, I won't have another patient," she said.

"We're following the guideline where the mom and the baby stay together," said Armstrong.

Which only tightens the bond between mother and child, a mission these two women say they're proud to be part of despite the challenge of COVID-19.

"That power of human connection," Draa said. "I really thrive on that."

It's something Wilson says she's grateful for now that she's home with baby Ella.

"They're there for a reason," said Wilson. "They know what they're doing. Just listen to what they're telling you."

Armstrong and Draa said TMH staff all have their temperatures checked and answer a questionnaire to make sure they're safe to be at work every day. They say if you go into labor, make sure you go to the labor and delivery triage in the women's pavilion.