Staff at Queensway Carleton Hospital having babies in unprecedented numbers

For staff at the Queensway Carleton Childbirth Unit, the latest baby boom feels especially personal.

Nurses and doctors aren’t just delivering babies for others. They’re having their own.

“So, we’ve had a total of 16 nurses, including some of our physicians as well, having babies in the last year. Most of them within the last six months,” said Shannon Adams, clinical manager for the Mother, Baby and Special Care Nursery at the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

After helping countless other moms for years, the frontline healthcare heroes at the QCH are welcoming their own bundles of joy.

“We all love babies, so why not,” said Tima Hijaza, who just delivered her third child.

The women, now on maternity leaves, gather monthly to swap baby stories, socialize, and take group photos.

Nurses line up for a photo in Andrew Hayden Park. (Joel Haslam CTV Ottawa)

“We love our little babypaloozas,” said Hijaza.

“I love it,” said nurse Dani Grieves.

“These girls are my family. I’m not from here, so they’ve become my second family.”

“It’s like baby fever,” said nurse and first-time mom, Amy Iradukunda.

“It’s really nice to see a colleague going through the same thing as you at the same time.”

Nurses are all smiles as they reconnect with colleagues and learn about each other’s children. They say they consider one another “family”. (Joel Haslam CTV Ottawa)

Sure, nurses and doctors on the unit at the QCH have given birth there before.

“But not to this extent, for sure,” said Adams.

“Some of us just started announcing that we were pregnant, and they just kept coming,” said nurse Grieves with a laugh.

And that has many poking fun at the cause of all these pregnancies.

“We’re concerned there may be something in the water,” said Adams.

“So, if you come here, try not to drink the water if you don’t want to have a baby,” she laughed.

The gatherings are also an opportunity to chat about the health of their workplace after some very challenging years. COVID, long hours, and cuts to hospitals have taken a heavy toll on Canada’s health-care workers.

The outings are fun for new moms and their children, as the nurses get to know each other outside of work at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. (Joel Haslam CTV Ottawa)

“It’s an opportunity to talk about the future for all of us and speak up for what is most important for the future of health care in this country,” said mom and nurse Alandra Brown who has worked at QCH for more than 15 years.

“We’re all concerned with what we’re returning to and really hope that people will look to their political views and parties and speak up,” she said.

While the maternity leaves have led to staffing challenges, the nurses say their colleagues have been understanding and compassionate.

“Everyone is so supportive and they’re just happy for you and cheering you on and excited to welcome you back,” said nurse Kirsten O’Brien, expecting her first baby early next month.

The nurses say being a mother will help give practical advice to patients upon their return to the Childbirth Unit at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. (Joel Haslam CTV Ottawa)

The nurses believe motherhood does equip them with new and valuable tools for their return to the childbirth unit.

“Just knowing what it’s like to go home with a newborn. It makes me feel like I can give some better advice sending them home, or even just getting through labour. I do feel like it does help,” said Grieves.

“It’s completely different than what you read in textbooks, right? The more kids you have, the more you learn. It’s just a non-stop learning curve,” said Hijazi.

“Whenever a patient would ask me, ‘Do you have a child?’ I would say, ‘No, but I wish to have one, one day,’” said Iradukunda.

“Now, I’ve got the experience,” she smiled.

For new parents heading out into the world with their newborns, that shared experience will be something precious to cling to. 

View original article here Source