‘Miraculous.’ A quintet of nurses at Berwyn birthing center expecting babies of their own

Five co-workers at MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center are due in the next few months. It’s the second set of special deliveries at the center, a longtime manager says.

SHARE ‘Miraculous.’ A quintet of nurses at Berwyn birthing center expecting babies of their own

Jannet Avalos, Carolina Echeverria, Vanessa Martinez and Heather Chavez were photographed together at a surprise baby shower organized by the staff at MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center. Alisha Lopez, at right, is expecting a girl in July.

MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center

In a heartwarming announcement, a quintet of nurses at the MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center said they’re expecting babies of their own in the coming months, a serendipitous baby boom the Berwyn hospital staff called “miraculous.”

“I was surprised and happy,” said Heather Chavez, nurse manager at the center. “It’s just really exciting that we’ll all have kids growing up together.”

Chavez, along with Vanessa Martinez, who was the first nurse to announce her pregnancy, are both due at the end of January. Not far behind, Jannet Avalos is due in February, Carolina Echeverria is due in March and Alisha Lopez in July.

All the expectant nurses, with different areas of expertise in the birthing center, have supported each other throughout the shared pregnancies, said Chavez.

“We all work on the same floor, but one is in labor, one in nursery, one in postpartum, one in delivery,” she said. “We have different specialties, and when one has questions about labor or postpartum or, you know, we can just ask each other.”

At MacNeal Hospital, the birthing center is a unit staffed with a team of obstetricians, pediatricians, neonatologists and medical staff with training and expertise in the labor and delivery process.

It takes a village, said Avalos.

Chavez, who is expecting her third boy, said she remembers the first time she announced a pregnancy at the hospital six years ago. The nurse manager said she helps other expectant mothers feel comfortable with the care they’re receiving at the birthing center by sharing her own experience with delivery there.

“I’m able to go in with that experience of delivering here and say that I know that the staff works really hard and that they’re going to be taken care of,” Chavez said.

Echeverria, who is a little over a month away from her due date, said this will be her first baby and that she’s had lots of hands-on training at work.

Another nurse said her pregnancy gave her new perspective on her role as a caregiver to expectant mothers.

“It’s so different when you’re the one that’s pregnant,” Lopez said. “I’m used to taking care of women after they’ve had the baby. So it’s definitely different being the pregnant one.”

Sharing each milestone along the way, the hospital recently celebrated the mothers-to-be by throwing them a surprise baby shower. The nurses said they were thrilled to be able to celebrate together. The caregivers also had their gender reveals as a team.


MacNeal Hospital recently celebrated the mothers-to-be by throwing them a baby shower. The staff also had their gender reveals as a team.

MacNeal Hospital Birthing Center

Chavez, Avalos and Echeverria said they were expecting boys. Martinez and Lopez said they were expecting girls.

Three of the babies will be delivered at the birthing center, Chavez said.

The nurse manager said she was not worried about staffing when the nurses take maternity leave because only one nurse from each unit will be gone at a time.

“There will be staff here to take care of everyone!” Chavez said.

With five new babies on the horizon, veteran nurse Mary Jo Kron, who has worked in labor and delivery at MacNeal for 34 years, said there was an even bigger baby boom at the hospital before.

Fourteen years ago, seven nurses were pregnant at once, she said.

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