Kinsley Williams, a freckled 5-year-old, had dressed up in a pink skirt with shiny, gold polka dots and a pink-striped T-shirt that proclaimed her status as a “Princess promoted to Big Sister.”
“She is the princess of the family,” says Kinsley’s mother, Jonna Williams.
Surrounded by her brothers, Mikhail and Jace, with her father, Zach Williams, she smiled and waved at the family’s newest member as Jonna held him up to the window of her room. She had been hoping to get a chance to hold her baby brother, but to keep hospital patients and employees as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, Parkland Health Center was limiting visitors.
Visitor restrictions are just one part of a comprehensive safety plan in place across BJC HealthCare to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. For Williams and other new moms at the Parkland Women and Infants Center, it meant not only a safe birth experience, but an unforgettable one.
Her baby was to be delivered by scheduled C-section on July 27. To make sure she didn’t have an active infection, Williams had to have a COVID-19 test.
Then, on arriving at the Parkland Women and Infants Center the morning of the birth, Jonna and husband, Zach, were screened and asked to put on masks. Because of breathing issues, Jonna had been apprehensive about wearing a mask. But she wore one throughout the delivery without problems.
After she was prepped and Zach suited up in scrubs, they entered the delivery room at about noon to meet BJC Medical Group OBGYN Dr. Saurabh Kumar. At 12:44 p.m., a healthy baby Leelynn Dennis made his appearance, weighing 6 lbs., 14 oz and 19 inches long. “He was the biggest of my babies,” says Jonna.
“Dr. Kumar was an amazing doctor, and he did an absolutely perfect job with my C-section,” said Jonna. “He made my experience more than enjoyable and was very kind.” Regarding her overall stay, Jonna said, “The café was amazing and had wonderful food, and all staff members caring for me were very caring and helpful. I loved my birthing experience at Parkland!”
Because she had delivered by C-section and to monitor other conditions, Jonna recovered at Parkland for five days. With the visitor restrictions in place, she was able to have limited visitors each day. Her father and Zach’s mother visited throughout the week. And Parkland had a special surprise planned for the rest of the family.
Rather than making them wait for mom and baby to be discharged, room numbers were added to the window exteriors, allowing families to gather outside and peek in, like the Williamses.
Getting a glimpse of Leelynn was enough to keep his brothers and sister happy until they were able to be together at home days later. And, baby Leelynn is enjoying it, says Jonna. “He is a perfect baby.”