April 07, 2020

Newborns> Outages force new mothers to stay at hospital

BANGOR – For some new parents, the recent ice storm deferred the dream of returning home with their baby to a gaily decorated nursery.

Around 10 new mothers and their babies were forced to remain at the hospital because downed power lines had left their homes without heat, an Eastern Maine Medical Center spokesman said Jan. 12.

“We’ve been keeping them here as boarders,” said Dr. Larry Beauregard, patient care administrator for women’s and children’s services.

He said new mothers whose homes were affected by the storm and who were unable to find other accommodations either remained on the maternity floor or were moved to the EMMC shelter set up for those with medical needs.

A dormitory at the University of Maine became a makeshift nursery on Saturday, Jan. 10, for resident director Matt Hansen, his wife, Jayme, and their new baby, Hannah.

Soon after their baby was born at EMMC on Jan. 8, the couple discovered that they would be unable to return home to the Doris Twitchell Allen Village because the power was unreliable and the fire alarm system was not working.

The news brought Jayme Hansen to tears, she recalled Jan. 12.

“I thought it was enough of a story to have a baby during the ice storm,” she said as she held Hannah in the cozy room set aside for the family at Oxford Hall. “I didn’t want any more stories.” But, the baby’s homecoming proved wonderful after all, as considerate friends stocked the mini-refrigerator with the couple’s favorite yogurt, left flowers and taped a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.

“Everyone’s been so supportive,” Matt Hansen said. “They knew we needed time to be alone.” The couple said they would likely take up friends’ offers to baby-sit.

“I could see sometime taking a half-hour for a quick dinner at the dining hall,” the new mother said.

Meanwhile, friends had gathered in the room, sneaking peeks at the sleeping baby and offering congratulations to the couple.

“We’ve been waiting for this since August,” said Nikki Beaudoin, a resident assistant.

Later, a cheer went up at the news that the Doris Twitchell Allen Village would be ready to move back into within a couple of hours.

Hannah’s yellow checked bassinet would be back in the new nursery that very night, Matt and Jayme Hansen happily agreed.

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