In August 2015, Parisa Aliverdi missed her baby shower by mere hours, but it was for the very best reason. “My water broke,” says the 42-year-old first-time mom of the unexpected gift. “I was told to go directly to BC Women’s Hospital.”
Parisa, who was 37 weeks pregnant at the time, was admitted quickly and two days later she delivered her son. He weighed just five pounds, four ounces and following his birth needed his oxygen levels to be closely monitored for a full week in the Newborn ICU (NICU).
Fortunately, Parisa was able to stay with Shayan during this time, thanks to a pilot program at BC Women’s called the Mother Baby Care Rooms.
Located in the NICU, the two dedicated rooms allow mothers and babies to stay together while they both receive care from a full-time, dedicated nurse trained in both maternal and newborn care.
“It was like a small hotel suite,” says Parisa. “It really was a godsend. Not only was I was able to bond with Shayan and be there for him, so was my husband.”
Dr. Keyvan Hadad, medical director of the Intermediate Nursery at BC Women’s, says the Mother Baby Care Rooms — based on a Swedish model and one of the first of it’s kind in North America — provide an environment where mothers, along with their partners, can provide skin-to-skin contact and bond with their newborns, while also receiving the support they need from NICU doctors and nurses.
“The long-term benefits of this kind of bonding, for babies, are the positive medical and psychological outcomes,” says Hadad. “With this model, mom and baby are together all the time.”
This model of care is considered so important to maternal and newborn health and wellbeing that all 12 Intermediate Nursery rooms at BC Women’s will be Mother Baby Care Rooms when the new hospital building opens in 2017.
As for Parisa, she knows first-hand the positive effect of having a dedicated space in which to bond with her baby. “I can’t thank the hospital and staff enough,” says Parisa. “They provided me with peace of mind as well as excellent care.”