Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare and Carris Health care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to helps us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Welcoming a new baby during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published in Wellness, Birthing Center Tag: Amber Vick, MD  

Author: Staff

Each year more than 650 babies, on average, are born at Carris Health - Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. While a lot of things have changed during COVID-19, one thing remains constant, mothers continue to give birth to new babies.

Hallie Johnson recently delivered her third baby, a little brother to his older sister and brother. Graham Thomas was delivered at 10:20 am on April 15, weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces and measuring 20 inches in length.

We checked in with Hallie to ask about her experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.

How were your OB appointments leading up to your delivery?

Because I was already past 36 weeks when the coronavirus changes started, all of my weekly clinic OB appointments were held as they normally would be. If I had been earlier along than 36 weeks, it’s up to the doctor if the visits would be less frequent, or if an expectant mom required closer follow up. Some appointments might be able to be done through video visits.

Were you concerned about COVID-19 during your pregnancy?

I did do some research ahead of time. I wondered what would happen if I got COVID-19. I had read some instances where babies had to be isolated from their mom after delivery if the mom had coronavirus. So, I knew if I had the virus there was the potential that I would have had to spend time away from my baby.

My doctor also shared the virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid or breast milk. After the baby is born the baby can catch the virus from person-to-person spread like anyone else.

I was also concerned what would happen if my husband got coronavirus – he is my support. But, none of that happened, and thankfully we’re all currently safe and healthy.

Did your delivery plan change at all due to COVID-19?

My delivery plan didn’t change. Dr. Amber Vick is my primary doctor. I had a scheduled c-section with Dr. Stan Antkowiak performing the delivery for me. Everything went as planned. The biggest change for me was that I would normally have had my parents and kids come visit me in the hospital and they weren’t able to visit.

Were you concerned about coming into the hospital for the delivery?

I would say I felt safe. We had to be screened when we entered the hospital, they checked our temperatures and asked questions to make sure we were healthy. Once we were inside the hospital, there were definitely fewer people than you would normally see.

I was only allowed one support person at the hospital with me, so I had my husband. He was allowed to be in the room for my c-section surgery. He had already planned to spend the night in the hospital with me, but if he had left, he might not have been able to return except to pick us up to come home.

During the c-section, I had to wear a mask. That was something I didn’t have to do with previous babies.

It was easy to see the extra precautions that were put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible – things like extra handwashing and wearing masks.

How did the hospital visitor restrictions affect you?

When they called me before coming to the hospital, they told me I could only have one person. Normally I would have had my parents and my kids come to visit, and other friends would have stopped by.

We did FaceTime with our kids to show them their new brother, and so they could see mom and dad.

One benefit is you do get to fit in extra naps – without the kids and other visitors stopping by you can take a nap in the middle of the afternoon if you want to.

Are there any other changes that will affect you after returning home?

I was planning to send my older kids to daycare for the first month of my maternity leave, but now we’ll all be home together.

If I would have had a follow-up visit with Dr. Antkowiak, it would have been a phone visit, but because I will be seeing Dr. Vick for the baby’s first visit also, we will do that in person at the clinic.

Other than that, the biggest change will be adjusting to life with three kids under the age of five. And that would have been an adjustment with or without the coronavirus pandemic!

Special thanks to Hallie Johnson for sharing her obstetrics and delivery experience with us and congratulations on the new addition to their family.