It was quite the exciting day at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System’s Eastside campus on Saturday, May 4th! Two mothers-to-be, who had to stay in the hospital as they awaited the arrival of their babies, decided not to let unexpected complications stop them from enjoying pregnancy to the fullest.
The first – Lashonda Brown Lee – had been in the hospital for 20 days (as of 5/4) due to a diagnosis of preeclampsia. This is a pregnancy condition in which there is an elevated blood pressure accompanied by elevated protein levels in the urine. If left untreated, preeclampsia can affect kidney function and even become life-threatening. This condition also affects the function of the placenta and the growth of the fetus, so doctors must monitor Mom and baby very closely to assess when the benefit of early delivery outweighs the benefit or more time in utero for growth and lung maturity.
“I’m ready to go home, but being here is what’s best for my baby so I don’t mind. I just pretend I’m stranded on an island … but in a resort!” said Lee, who admits she loves the size of the rooms because it allows for her husband, Steven, and 7-year-old daughter, Destinee, to stay over.
They’ve used a blow up mattress to sleep on each night, ensuring Lee doesn’t feel homesick. However, she was still feeling as if she was missing out. Two baby showers – one planned by her family in her hometown of Lake City and a second put together by her co-workers – had to be canceled after everyone realized Lee wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital.
“I was pouting about it to the nurses. I was just so frustrated,” she recalled. “Upon hearing my frustration, one of the nurses brought up the idea of holding a shower at the hospital and my husband and I got really excited about that!”
Lee’s family and friends didn’t disappoint, planning a basketball themed shower for the family’s first son – complete with a cake shaped like a Lakers jersey.
“Here at Bon Secours we minister not only to the body, but the mind and soul as well. That’s what we are doing with helping facilitate celebrations like this,” says Lee’s nurse, Shawnda Balliew.
Steven Audwin Lee II (or SJ for short) is due June 19th but will likely come towards the end of this month. Meanwhile, in a room right next door to the Lee family, another couple was facing a similar problem.
“We already had our wedding date picked out. We just hadn’t planned on being here in the hospital when we’d made that decision,” said Kathy Holloway.
Kathy met her other half, Anthony Holloway, in May of 2018 at work. The two are now expecting their first child together, a baby girl. However, Holloway was diagnosed with oligohydramnios which means there’s a deficit of amniotic fluid surrounding the growing child. This can lead to complications such as muscular development issues for the baby due to a lack of space to move and grow or compression of the umbilical cord which could affect the baby’s oxygenation and circulation.
As a result, Holloway has been in the hospital for the past two weeks while she’s monitored closely by doctors and nurses. Rather than postpone their nuptials, the Holloways decided to move forward with the ceremony thanks to a little help from hospital staff.
“She’d told me she was planning on getting married and wanted to have it before delivering her baby. So we helped reserve the chapel so she could still have her special day,” said Balliew, who also serves as a nurse for Holloway.
Not only did staff members provide space for the event, they also helped add their own special touch, putting together a bouquet for Kathy to carry down the aisle.
“Even though it wasn’t her original plan, Kathy told me having her ceremony in the chapel and having a bouquet really helped her feel more like she wasn’t in a hospital and it really made the day special,” said Balliew.
The nurse also admits that while she has helped arrange a few baby showers over her 14 years at St. Francis Eastside, this is the very first wedding she’s ever heard about being held on site. It’ll be a day to remember, and a special story to share, with little Katelynn Marie Holloway arrives later this month.
“Even though these patients are here, we still want them to have every opportunity that they would have if they were having a completely normal pregnancy. That’s why it’s so nice to be able to help out with celebrations like this. We all want the same thing – to have good outcomes … healthy baby and healthy Mama,” said Balliew.