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Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital team helps N.C. grandmother set up for an all-day Facetime connection to coach daughter through labor due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions

Friday, July 10, 2020

Tomiko Plummer wasn’t about to let a pandemic stop her from being with her daughter during the birth of her first child. But COVID-19 had restricted visitors in Labor and Delivery to one support person, and her daughter’s husband was already planning to be in the delivery room.

So, she did what any tech-savvy grandma would do: She loaded up her phone, tablet and laptop and some extra cords and headed down to Sumter from Goldsboro, N.C.

Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital provided her two portable chargers so that she didn’t have to worry about the batteries running out on her devices.

“We are so grateful for the technology that gives us the ability to help families share in these memorable moments,” said Barbara Kenaway, manager of the Nursery and Family Place.

The hospital uses an iPad to help moms connect with their families before and after delivery. They can use Facetime to give children at home a glimpse of their new sibling or introduce a grandparent to the newest grandchild. The team can also help family members check in on someone who has come from a surgery.

“We had a new mom who had a cesarean section and was unable to see her baby right away,” Kenawy said. “Dad was in the Nursery Facetiming her, so she didn’t have to wait to see her newborn child.”

Kelisia Darden-Artis said she was happy her mom would be close by as she was induced on June 11, two weeks after her baby’s due date. She and husband Xavier Artis were in Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in The Birthplace while Grandmother Tomiko was seated on a bench in the courtyard of the Women and Children’s Pavilion.  

“This is my first one and I wanted my momma to be here,” Kelisia said, “but with Facetime, I’ll feel like she’s right there.”

“It was overwhelming,” Tomiko said. “This baby was going to be born into a world in crisis, with a pandemic and all the protests. I didn’t want to disappoint her, and I wanted to be there to coach her through it. So, I brought my MacBook and iPad and iPhones – two of them! – and my Dallas Cowboys blanket, and I’ve found a place to ‘camp out’ during the laboring. COVID is not going to stop me from being there for my girl!”

Throughout the morning of June 11, Tomiko could be heard talking to her daughter through her laptop. “I’m gonna coach you all the way through,” she said. Each time she could see on her daughter’s face that a contraction was coming, she told Kelisia, “I’m here to the end. Just breathe. Focus. Even though I’m not holding your hand, I’m right here. You’re gonna be a soldier through this. When you hear your baby girl cry, it’s gonna be worth it.”

Kelisia, who is an airman first class stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, gave birth to a baby girl, Nevaeh Artis, at 2 p.m. As promised, Mom, Dad and Grandmom were all smiles.


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