Putting a Twist on New Family Traditions

Mother’s Day is a cherished day for mothers across the nation.

For those who have to spend the special day hospitalized it can be challenging. It certainly will look and feel different with necessary hospital visitor restrictions in effect. Social distancing is important to our patients and our community’s health. And, in many cases, the greatest gift we can give to our loved ones is just to be safe and social distance from others.

On this unprecedented 2020 Mother’s Day, we wanted to share a  unique story from CHRISTUS Health Shreveport Bossier.

This will be the first year that Abigail Florey will celebrate Mother’s Day as a mom thanks to the birth of her son, Boone. Boone was born on April 30 and provided a great example of the great care we continue to provide and not only for Boone and his mom, but also their visiting family. The family didn’t let the strict visitation rules stop them from “meeting” Boone outside of the hospital’s Birth Place room where he, his dad Cody, and his mom Abigail were being cared for .

Jennifer Varnadore, the Administrator of the nearby CHRISTUS Cancer Treatment Center and CHRISTUS Bossier Emergency Hospital describes the encounter with the family.

“I saw a large group of people outside our side door and was wondering what they were doing out there. 

I walked outside a little later to leave, and they were still there.  I saw them all looking upwards towards the Birth Place rooms.  I asked them what was going on, and they said turn around!  I saw a gentleman holding a baby in the window! 

They shared that they were all there to celebrate the birth of their grandson, Boone. They were so kind and excited and seemed to be sending hugs through the window! I know it was hard for them to not be inside the room, but they all seemed to have such a great attitude about the situation. I remember having my first child, and how important it was for my family to be there with me. On the one hand, I was so happy to share this special moment, but I was also sad that they couldn’t be in the room with baby Boone!

I asked who was in charge and a little girl maybe 10 or 12 said, “I am” and raised her hand!  I laughed and said I bet you are!  But then I met the paternal grandfather, shared who I was, and asked for permission to take some photos and  share this family’s story.  They were all so excited to share!

The new grandfather asked me if I could “get me up there” and I had to say no, I did ask if I could put their story on Facebook!

I also met the maternal grandmother who was in from Texas. She joked that she and Governor Abbott were going to have it out if he kept the Texas/LA border closed.  She knew for a few weeks she wouldn’t be able to be with her daughter in the delivery room, but she wasn’t going to let anyone stop her from coming to CHRISTUS to “meet” her grandson! 

The family continued to wave and smile as the new father stood in the window.  At one point he held up the baby and someone played Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life’ while they all laughed and some cried…including me!

It was such a special moment when Dr. Trawick (CEO of the CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier Health System) came to meet them, and he suggested they use the chalk to write some messages. I gave them chalk and they all wrote congratulatory messages on the drive under the window. Someone laughed and said “I bet you meant for us to write messages to the nurses,” and I said “No, I meant for you to do exactly what you are doing and welcome baby Boone! “ I was thrilled that we were able to provide something tangible for them to share with Boone and his parents.

The maternal grandmother told me “it was a God thing” that I came outside when I did.  They were such a fun, loving family and I joked that they needed to send me a birth announcement!  It was a joy to meet this family and share in their celebration of baby Boone. It was one of the moments in my career that I will never forget.”

Learning that Boone was the first grandchild on either side of the family, Dr. Steen Trawick described a rush of emotion for this family and how seeing and meeting the group was truly a bright spot.

“Seeing their response to this situation, the fact that they chose joy instead of frustration and seeing so many generations on our campus to celebrate the new birth truly helped me stay centered,” he said. “This is what we do here at CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier every single day. We extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. That is my prayer that each of us think about as we come to work. I am grateful that they helped me see that and remind me of our mission.”

It’s a challenging time. So many of us are having to put a twist on new family traditions. At CHRISTUS, we are appreciative of all of our families during this time where there can show strength through  restraint and get creative with us as we deliver care in the safest manner possible for all our patients including the smallest and sweetest ones just like Boone.