When an expectant mom chooses where to have her baby, she usually looks for quality – and proximity. A hospital both highly recommended by trusted friends and conveniently located close to home.
But what if you split your time between cities in two states, nearly 130 miles apart? And you’re constantly on the road, in between those cities?
That was the situation for Erica Hearn, who lives in Lawrenceville, Ga., but spends an equal amount of time in Anniston, Ala., with her extended family. Hearn’s husband, Frankie Hearn II, serves in the Air Force and is currently deployed in Korea.
The mother of two-year-old Frankie III, Hearn wanted her son to spend as much time as possible with his grandparents in Anniston before her Air Force family’s move to Japan in August 2011.
When she discovered she was pregnant with her second child, Hearn faced a dilemma: Where should she get prenatal care? And where should she have her baby?
The 26-year-old mom decided a location midway between the two cities made the most sense. And when a good friend of hers recommended Tawana Morris, M.D., with North Douglas OB/GYN, and WellStar Douglas Hospital, Hearn knew she had found the physician and facility for her.
A True Blessing
“Lots of people – including my husband – thought I was crazy,” laughed Hearn. “But having my baby at WellStar Douglas was the best choice. It was a true blessing. And it was an hour-and-a-half drive from either Anniston or Lawrenceville. “The staff treated me like I was the only person there,” she recounted. “It was like staying at a hotel. It’s hard to find people this genuine, this nice. From the nurses to the cleaning staff, they were all great.”
Hearn says she felt her caregivers really did care. “They would drop by my room and tell me they were leaving for the day,” she said. “They were always so respectful – waiting till I woke up to check on me. It was an outstanding experience. My mom is still talking about how nice everyone was to our family.”
Hearn’s husband made it home from Korea just in time to welcome Tyler Elijah Hearn to the world on May 24. The baby weighed a healthy 6 lbs., 13 oz., and was 21 inches long. Hearn was induced, like she was with her first son, who was born in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I was praying that would be the case,” she smiled, “though I had a game plan for getting to the hospital quickly from either Lawrenceville or Anniston. I had several drivers on standby in both cities in case I went into labor.” Hearn said Tyler’s birth was an emotional experience for her husband, who cried in the delivery room. “He’s a great Dad, who is always there for his kids, even though he’s sometimes halfway around the world,” she said of her high school sweetheart.
Hearn says her husband enjoyed WellStar Douglas Hospital’s close proximity to shopping and fitness centers. “He’s a work-out freak,” she said of Frankie II, who would sneak in a sweating session while she and the baby napped.
Why WellStar Douglas?
Though Erica Hearn’s reasons for choosing North Douglas OB/GYN and WellStar Douglas Hospital were somewhat unusual, most moms have reasons that are more traditional. “Prenatal care is very personal at North Douglas OB/GYN,” said Dr. Morris. “We have a small group of physicians and nurses who really know our patients.
“Also, WellStar Douglas Hospital is a great place to have a baby – it’s small enough that the nurses helping moms during labor and delivery are the same ones caring for them postpartum, providing great continuity.” Dr. Morris said WellStar Douglas has a Level 1 nursery, which handles normal births and those with minor complications. “However, for preterm babies, and full-term babies with severe or potentially life-threatening conditions, it’s easy to transfer them to WellStar Cobb or Kennestone, where we have Level 3 neonatal intensive care units.”
“I would definitely choose to have my next child at WellStar Douglas,” said Hearn. “I just don’t want it to be anytime soon!”