Hospital's maternity ward stays busy during storm


MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — As most of Cobb County was still and quiet with residents staying safe indoors, the hallways of a local labor and delivery wing were filled with the first cries of newborn babies.

During the worst of the ice storm, from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday morning, 35 babies were delivered at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, in Marietta.

"We had a high number of babies that decided to be born last night," said Dan Woods, president of WellStar Kennestone Hospital.

Although one new mother, Brooke Wright, underwent a cesarean two days before the ice storm, she was glad to be surrounded by dedicated hospital staff as she and her premature twins recovered.

Wright, and her husband, Matthew, welcomed twin girls who were born a month and a half before their April 1 due date.

Sunday morning, Wright's water broke, with Campbell arriving first at 12:49 p.m. that afternoon, followed by her sister Finley three minutes later.

The Wrights, who are building a house in Canton, had been staying with family in Jasper. However, Wright knew she wanted her friends and coworkers to help deliver the twins.

Wright has been a registered nurse for 12 years and works at Kennestone Hospital in the OB/GYN unit.

"I knew everybody so it made me feel more comfortable," Wright said.

Luckily, Wright feels at home at Kennestone, because after visits by many family members and friends on Sunday, only her mother has been able to traverse the icy roads to be with her new granddaughters.

Although Wright was discharged from Kennestone on Thursday, the twins, who each weigh around 3 pounds, will be treated at the hospital for another three to four weeks.

Woods said the Kennestone hospital was functioning with a high-level of preparedness, given the advanced warning about Georgia's state of emergency.

"Given the circumstances, everyone is locked in," Woods said about the numerous employees who have already spent one night at Kennestone Hospital.

Three hundred cots were delivered before the storm hit, and staff brought in extra mattresses to fill conference areas like dorm rooms.

On Wednesday night, 800 staff members, including 60 physicians, stayed at Kennestone Hospital, which provided 1,440 complimentary dinners to employees and families of patients.

Woods said the WellStar Health System was prepared for the worst.

"Right now, it makes sense until Friday morning," Woods said.

Because of the hazardous conditions, physician offices, urgent-care clinics, out-patient care centers and administrative buildings in the WellStar Health System were closed Wednesday and Thursday. Most facilities were scheduled to open Friday morning.

©2016 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.