What to Expecting When You’re Expecting – Amid COVID-19

Alison and Christopher Magoon were supposed to give birth to their baby girl in New York City, but as Alison approached her due date amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple faced a tough decision. With Christopher working as a resident physician in an NYC hospital, they worried about Alison and their infant’s safety.

Ultimately, in March, Alison left NYC to quarantine with her family in Fairhaven – but she continued to consult her NYC care team via telehealth options for the first few weeks. As the pandemic showed no signs of a quick resolution, Alison and Chris realized they needed to consider other options.

“We were deciding between staying with our original plans and continuing care in NYC or finding new care at Southcoast Health,” she says. “We switched around 32 weeks and are so glad we selected Southcoast Health.”

Alison says their experience was “amazing” – even with the stressors of the coronavirus and the fact that Alison and Christopher were apart for most of their third trimester.

“Switching care providers in the middle of a pandemic was not our plan,” she says. “Each step of the way we’ve been impressed – from our office visits to the delivery chapter to postpartum in the hospital to the lactation support now that we’re home.”

Christopher, after working in COVID-19 Intensive Care Units in NYC, took leave from work in time to quarantine and be in New Bedford for Alison’s delivery, and then remain in Fairhaven for the family’s first months together. The trio plan to return to NYC later this year.

Dr. G. Uma Harinarayanan, DO, is a Southcoast Health OB/GYN who is known as Dr. Hari by her patients. Alison says Dr. Hari led the way with a positive birthing experience, along with a team of midwives and nurses.

“From our first appointment with Dr. Hari, we felt seen and cared for, and this feeling remains today. She put us at ease in an incredibly stressful time. She is a great practitioner and we feel so lucky that she was our doctor. We are forever grateful to her.”

Dr. Hari says, “As long as mom and baby are healthy and safe, we will make every effort to give our patients the birth experience that they desire. We’re focused on giving comprehensive women’s care and obstetrical care – from preconception to baby’s first year out,” she emphasizes. “If at all possible, that includes giving every woman the birth and postpartum experience she wants. We also support women during what some call the fourth trimester – the first three months after birth. That’s an important time for the entire family.”

Certified Nurse-Midwife Christine Pereira and Leah Costa, RN, delivered the Magoons’ daughter. “They were amazing,” Alison says. “They made sure I was comfortable every step of the way, both physically and mentally – taking time to answer our many questions and talk through options.”

While Christine and Leah were there for delivery, the Magoons’ care team included many other people. Every person on the care team impressed the Magoons.

“They made us feel like we and our baby were in good hands. We also appreciated how pro-breastfeeding the team was, and were impressed with the lactation support during prenatal visits, in the hospital, and after we left. Being able to call up Michelle Murray and Donna Labelle with our ongoing lactation questions has been very helpful.”

The St. Luke’s Women and Children’s Pavilion felt like a “holistic” experience that met the Magoons’ needs.

“We were very impressed with the level of care, the holistic approach, and the facility. As first-time parents, we had a lot of questions after our daughter was born. Our time in the St. Luke’s Family Centered Unit was instrumental in preparing us with new tools for our life at home with our daughter.”

To the employees of Southcoast Health, Alison says, “Thank you for doing what you do every day. A great community health system is so important and makes a difference in the lives of your patients. Even the nutritional and environmental teams contributed greatly to our experience. Having good meals and clean spaces made a difference.”

Alison also has some words of encouragement for moms-to-be: “To expecting moms who have never given birth at Southcoast Health: You’re in great hands. We can’t imagine giving birth anywhere else. We are truly grateful to Southcoast Health.”

When it comes time to have your baby, you can rest assured that we have everything you need at Charlton Memorial and St. Luke’s Hospitals. From comfortable, spacious rooms to NICUs and on-site specialists, we offer services and care to help make your baby’s entrance into the world a positive and memorable experience.

Take a virtual tour and see for yourself why so many families choose Southcoast health for their maternity care.