Having a baby brings a range of emotions to expectant parents – joy, excitement and nervousness to name a few. Add in a global pandemic and going to the hospital for birth comes with a new set of worries. Since the onset of the pandemic, the team in Mount Sinai’s Labour and Delivery unit have been planning and preparing to ensure patients, COVID-19 positive or not, have had the same supports, service and quality care.

“For many of our patients, we know these changes would come with added anxieties,” said Dr. Wendy Whittle, Head of Labour and Delivery. “Our priority was to maintain the level of care our patients know us for and provide them with the best possible experience, no matter the circumstance.”

In anticipation of the first Caesarean section patient with a COVID-19 positive diagnosis, the nursing and medical team met regularly and even conducted a mock run-through.

“On the day of, staff came in early to prepare,” said Gillian Dolan, Interim Clinical Coordinator, Labour and Delivery. “There were many high intensity moments, especially because we were all implementing new processes, but it was wonderful to see the whole team come together, eager to support each other and ready to go the extra mile for the patient.”

Gillian adds that the support went beyond the labour experience. “After the baby was born, the whole team stayed late to ensure mom was comfortable. We also spent some time debriefing and sharing learnings.”

Lisa Gimpel, a registered nurse in Labour and Delivery, was part of the care team that day and a constant throughout the birthing experience. “When I met the patient I had an urge to be by her side and do everything I could to help ease her own fear and concerns. She was also alone because of the support person policy for COVID-19 positive patients at the time. I made sure to have her husband connected through FaceTime.”

When reflecting on being a part of the team for one of the first COVID-19 positive birth moms, Lisa also shares the pride she has for her colleagues. “I took a moment to sit and talk with my patient while she had lunch. She mentioned that she was so thankful for the nursing staff who treated her with care and compassion and didn’t focus only on the virus.” It’s moments like this that remind Lisa, and her colleagues, how much impact they have on a patient’s care.

The Sinai Health Heroes story series highlights our people and their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.