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There’s No Place Like Southwest General

  • Date Submitted: Jul 9, 2024
  • Category: Maternity

“ We can't thank the staff enough, and we are so grateful for the care we received. Everyone from NPs (nurse practitioners) to nurses, occupational therapists, and speech therapists, they were great at getting us involved in his care and ensuring we had a good experience as first-time parents, despite the situation.”

Employee shares heartwarming story of giving birth at the Cosgrove Maternity Center

In June 2023, Maggie Bloomfield Avalos and her husband Brad were busy young professionals eagerly awaiting the August arrival of their first child. Maggie was feeling well and thriving in her career as a registered nurse at the UH Seidman Cancer Center at Southwest General. The couple was also excited about a milestone in Brad’s career: his upcoming graduation from the Cleveland Fire Academy.

The couple had a birth plan in place, intending to deliver at Southwest General’s Cosgrove Maternity Center, where, as an employee, Maggie felt most comfortable and confident in the care she and her baby would receive. Then at nearly 34 weeks pregnant, after arriving at work one morning, Maggie began to feel unwell.

Trusting Her Instincts

Maggie shared her unease with her supervisor, who encouraged her to contact her obstetrician. Her doctor then sent her up to the Cosgrove Maternity Center for a check-up. Although baby Avalos would be premature, Maggie’s healthcare team decided it was best for both mother and child to deliver at 33 weeks and 6 days gestation rather than wait any longer.

A Surprise Call

As she was admitted to the Cosgrove Maternity Center for the early delivery of her first child, Maggie knew she was in good hands. She understood that preterm delivery could mean complications for the baby, including difficulty breathing on his own. However, she was reassured with the knowledge that the Cosgrove Maternity Center was designated a Level II Neonatal and Maternity Care facility, recognized as a provider of specialized care to premature infants born at or after 32 weeks gestation.

Maggie quickly texted her husband Brad about the sudden change in their birth plan and the imminent arrival of their child. Brad recalled his reaction upon hearing the news that their baby boy would be arriving early. “I thought she meant maybe a couple of weeks early, so I thought I had time to prepare,” he recounts. “I ended up rushing over here.” Like Maggie, Brad felt worried and unprepared for a surprise delivery.

A Successful Delivery

Five hours after arriving at the Cosgrove Maternity Center, Maggie delivered Archie via emergency Cesarean section, who weighed just 4 lbs. 15 oz. He spent 24 days in the Special Care Nursery catching up to his due date. In that time, however, Archie needed only supplemental oxygen and a little help learning how to feed.

Although the birth didn’t go as planned, the family was able to include an important part of their birth plan in their delivery experience—skin-to-skin bonding time for Brad and Archie.

Care That Makes a Difference

As a nurse and firefighter, respectively, Maggie and Brad are used to being helpers, providing medicine, aid, and comfort in times of illness, injury, or emergencies. Last summer, however, they learned that sometimes, even helpers need assistance.

Maggie still gets emotional recalling Archie’s delivery and time in the Special Care Nursery. “We can't thank the staff enough, and we are so grateful for the care we received,” she says. “Everyone from NPs (nurse practitioners) to nurses, occupational therapists, and speech therapists, they were great at getting us involved in his care and ensuring we had a good experience as first-time parents, despite the situation.”

Brad, bouncing a happy and healthy Archie on his knee, added, “It was a scary time seeing her [Maggie] go through all that … but all the nurses did an incredible job and made me feel comfortable during a scary time.”

Treating All Babies Like Our Own

“I tell everybody to come here because of the care he received. When I had to step away, the nurses treated him like their own,” Maggie recalls. She remembers returning to the nursery one day to see a nurse tenderly rocking and speaking to little Archie. “My baby was being taken care of in the way I would take care of him … you don’t get that everywhere,” she says through tears.

Brad appreciated learning the crucial points of infant care as a first-time parent. “They taught me how to get him to sleep, how to wrap him and make him feel comfortable; how to feed him with the bottle, change his diaper, little tips and tricks for how to soothe him.”

Life-Saving Care

When one thinks of hospital heroics, it’s often the emergency department or operating room that comes to mind. But Maggie believes we should think of maternity units, too. “I would say choosing Southwest saved my and my son’s life,” she says, wiping away a tear. “I stand by that. It was the most challenging time, and the people we met … I’m forever grateful for.”

A Very Happy Birthday

At birth, baby Archie was too small to be measured on the newborn charts. As he neared his first birthday, he fell into the 90th percentile for weight and height.

Brad loves watching every new milestone. “All the little things he’s been picking up and learning” have been a thrill for him and Maggie to witness. Maggie is overjoyed as she describes Archie’s transformation from “this tiny, tiny baby” to a “chunky monkey guy.” “It’s just a testament that these babies are resilient,” she says. If she could go back in time, she’d reassure herself of Archie’s resilience. “They’re so strong,” she says.

Brad and Maggie are planning Archie’s first birthday celebrations, which will include a vacation and a big party at their home “to celebrate everything we’ve all been through and celebrate him because he’s been so strong and such a trooper.”

Strong enough to be a helper himself someday? “Maybe,” says Maggie. Archie already has his first firefighter’s outfit.

Level II Neonatal and Maternity Care

Southwest General’s Cosgrove Maternity Center is licensed by the Ohio Department of Health as a Level II Neonatal and Maternity Care facility. It is the only Level II facility in southwestern Cuyahoga County and northern Medina County.

Level II designation adds a higher level of care for moms and babies, including:

  • Level II (32+ weeks of pregnancy) care for appropriate moderate to high-risk maternity patients
  • Neonatal care in our Level II Special Care Nursery for babies who:
    • Are born up to eight weeks premature (at or after 32 weeks gestation)
    • Weigh at least 3.3 pounds (1500 grams)
    • Need special care for temporary breathing problems, feeding issues, jaundice, low blood sugar or other complications.

  • 24/7 access to a team of specialists experienced in maternity and newborn care

Our Level II Center is supported by an experienced team of skilled nurses, obstetricians, neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists and other specialists, equipped with the advanced technology to care for you and your newborn.

At Cosgrove Maternity Center, women can feel confident about receiving high-quality care, even when circumstances require higher-level resources. Should additional needs present, Southwest General has neonatal nurse practitioners and obstetricians on site 24/7 for expert care. Additionally, we work closely with our partner, University Hospitals, to stabilize and transfer mom and baby if needed.

Our state-of-the-art facility and compassionate, experienced maternity staff create a safe and nurturing environment and provide expectant mothers and their infants with the personalized, expert care and information they need.