Undaunted By COVID, Jersey City Medical Center Maternity Delivers the Next Generation

Melanie Llanes and her husband had been trying for a child for two years, through fertility treatments and disappointments. Finally, when delivery of her son Caden – meaning “little warrior” in Welsh for his resilience – was coming up quickly, she trusted only the expert maternity care at Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) to help bring him home safe and sound.

With the closure of maternity services at Christ Hospital in August, Jersey City Medical Center was the only hospital in Hudson County that continued to provide comprehensive women’s health services. And while COVID was disrupting access to health care, JCMC did not divert patients to other sites at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Llanes herself is a nurse at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, so along with her husband, she knew JCMC has some of the leading maternity doctors and an all private rooms maternity wing that rivals the best in the tri-state area.

Although baby Caden is doing fine now, the birth was not without some hiccups. Originally, Llanes was scheduled to be induced at 40 weeks to avoid complications from her gestational diabetes, but an impatient baby came two and a half weeks early. After delivery, Caden had a high bilirubin count, the primary cause of jaundice, so he required special nutrients to bring his levels down.

When he was having trouble latching and needed formula, Llanes was worried he would never take to breastfeeding. The Director of Nursing for Maternal Child Services, Leigh Dungee-Maignan, took the time to sit with Llanes and share her personal experience with her baby. Dungee-Maignan’s success story was an inspiration to Llanes.

“Childbirth can be a stressful time at the end of nine months of pregnancy,” said Dr. Patricia Chau, Llanes’ physician. “An elevated bilirubin count is not uncommon, but that does not make parents’ concerns any less valid. I’m proud that we provided an excellent experience for Llanes, as all expecting mothers deserve.”

Dr. Chau is a provider at Women’s Health at Grove Street, conveniently located by the PATH station.  The facility offers a full range of health and wellness services, including obstetrics, gynecology, midwifery, prenatal care, and will soon expand to include maternal-fetal medicine, ultrasound, mammography, and bone densitometry.

“Everyone at Jersey City Medical Center demonstrated a passion for their work, and I always felt supported,” commented Llanes. “I’ve spoken with expecting friends who are concerned about the pandemic and giving birth with a mask, and to them I say you could not be in better hands at JCMC.”

“And as far as the mask,” Llanes added, “you’ll be too busy even to notice it.”


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