SPEARFISH — Over the course of six months, six babies were born to six nurses in the Spearfish Regional Hospital’s surgical department, breaking a record for the hospital.
“We’ve never had two, let alone three (or more) be gone at the same time,” said Mindy Ugland, surgical ward charge nurse that oversees the six nurses who’ve recently had babies.
Between Jan. 7 and July 4, six surgical department nurses were graced with four boys and two girls, now aged from seven months to six weeks.
The six nurses, whose tenure with the hospital range between nine months and seven years, followed by their babies’ names, birthdates, and birth weights and heights include:
Baby Lennyn was born on Jan. 7 to Jacee Apland weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and 18 inches long.
Baby Hayes was born on April 6 to Cali Egerdahl weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and 19.5 inches long.
Baby Brecken was born on May 26 to RaeDell Rubis weighing 8 pounds, and 19.5 inches long.
Baby Logan was born on June 25 to Callie Hulm weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and 19 inches long.
Baby Easton was born on July 4 to Taylor Burr weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and 21.5 inches long.
One of the six nurses, Keena Byrd-Moro, was unable to attend the Friday interview. Her baby ZuZu was born June 26.
The department’s more regular scheduling affords nurses a more stable life, making it easier to start or grow a family. The mothers said the management in the department was also flexible enough to allow them to spend time with their children. That draws family-oriented nurses to the department.
The nurses said they’ve become like family, helping one another out.
The mothers are excited that their children can grow up as friends. At least four of the six babies will likely be classmates, due to the short gap between them.
Although each one had individual experiences, the group leaned on one other for experience and tips and tricks about how to manage pregnancy and birth related issues.
Of the six, three are now back to work.
Staffing seemed to work pretty well until the end when three closely overlapped when four were gone at one time.
Rubis, the mothers agreed, announced her pregnancy to the department in the cleverest way. Rubis said she wanted to wait until the second trimester to announce her news and the company Christmas party fell at just the right time. She arrived at the party with a shirt that borrowed from the lyrics of a Vanilla Ice song called “Ice Ice Baby.”
It read “Ice ice ...,” with an empty space over her blossoming belly.
“Not very many people (in the office) knew unless I was on call with them because I was pretty sick at night,” Rubis said. “But it was fun.”
The nurses had a combined baby shower filled with fun baby-related games.
The department hasn’t been pregnancy free for even one day since May 2016, and with nearly 30% of the department’s total nursing staff at varying stages of pregnancy, birth, and on leave, scheduling wasn’t easy.
Ugland is responsible for scheduling the nurses in her department. Because of that, she said that she was one of the first people at the hospital to know about the growing number of pregnant nurses.
“Some of the surgeries, we can’t have pregnant people in there (during the procedure),” Ugland said. “So I knew pretty soon on all of these ladies.”
“Jacee (Apland) started it, and then a couple weeks after that, then another one, and another one,” she said. “Just a lot of people coming and saying they’re pregnant.”
In her nearly seven years with the hospital surgical department, she said it is typical for one person to be pregnant within the department at any given time.
“Usually we’d have one pregnant ... and then like halfway through that, we’d have another that’s (gotten) pregnant,” Ugland said. “So then by the time they come back from maternity leave, somebody’s leaving (for maternity leave).”
But surgeries still went on everyday so other nursing staff stepped up to fill the void while others were on maternity leave.
“We have a good team back there,” Ugland said.
During the busiest time, in terms of mothers on leave, Ugland said, four of the nurses were gone at one time. The department currently has 14 nurses staffed.
“So that’s a lot (to be gone at once),” she said. “But everybody just kind of backs each other up there.”
Overall, Ugland said, the period went relatively smoothly.
The department had an ongoing game taking guesses when a baby would be born and their stats related to height and weight. They recorded everyone’s guesses on a board in the back.
“As soon as one (name) came down, another one went up because it was boom, boom, boom,” she said. “So that was kind of fun.”
The icing on the chaotic cake, Ugland said, was the six healthy babies that resulted from the process.
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