‘An incredible experience’: Last scheduled baby born at Tobey
On December 27, Elizabeth Arone gave birth to the last baby who will ever be born in the Tobey Hospital maternity ward.
Arone was a surrogate for a family from the midwest, and had previously given birth to another baby for that family at Tobey, as well as her own son on New Year’s Eve in 2017.
Arone was the last scheduled delivery in the ward, which closed on Dec. 31. She said that the ward was completely empty except for her and the family for whom she was delivering the baby girl.
“It is a very quiet ward anyway, which I think people appreciate — they want that intimacy,” Arone said.
“I think it’s hard for people to really understand unless you’ve experienced the love and support [given by nurses at Tobey],” Arone said. “The staff does really go above and beyond for taking care of all their patients.”
Closed after months of controversy, Southcoast says it is expanding the maternity ward at St. Luke’s to compensate, while mothers and staff still rue Tobey’s closure.
“I’d be hard-pressed to believe that I could have that experience elsewhere,” Arone said of delivering the baby for her intended family.
“It was the most fulfilling, surreal experience to be able to have done that for them, and to have done that in an environment that also supported me and my philosophies in my birth plan,” Arrone said. “It was an all-in-one incredible experience for me.”
Because there is very low turnover in the unit, Arone knew almost all of the nurses from her previous experiences in the unit.
“When you’re having a baby, it’s so chaotic — there’s so much going on in the delivery room,” Arone explained. But throughout the chaos, nurses like “little worker bees” would tend to anything she needed. Her family, like many in the area, also has a long history with the maternity ward. Arone’s grandmother was a labor and delivery nurse at Tobey, who assisted in Arone’s birth there.
She described the nurses at the ward as “little angels” who made mothers feel completely cared for. Arone is now resting at home and the baby is with her family.