One hospital is about to be beaming with more than just patients after 14 nurses in the oncology unit became pregnant at the same time.
Massachusetts General Hospital's director of nursing in the oncology unit, Ellen Fitzgerald, has heard the same three words repeated more than a dozen times: "I am pregnant." Currently, 14 nurses in her unit are expecting, on top of four other nurses in the unit who have already given birth, with all of the babies set to arrive by November of this year.
"A lot of us are in that core age bracket where people are having their first child or have one baby and are planning for another," Caroline Arriggi, who announced that she is pregnant with twins, told Good Morning America. "I think Ellen just has to get used to all these pregnancies all the time."
Whoa Mamas! The Lunder 10 #oncology family at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is growing fast with 14 #pregnant nurses on the floor, one of whom is expecting twins. These #nurse mamas, and the Cancer Center, have 15 new reasons to smile! pic.twitter.com/c1U7P9vWFI— MGH Cancer Center (@MGHCancerCenter) May 21, 2019
According to the pregnant nurses, all of whom are in their 30s, the unusual circumstances have been a blessing, as it has helped them bond as they await the arrivals of their little ones.
"We do serious work but we have a lot of fun together and are very close," Sally Alexander, who is due in June, said. "We're very supportive of each other on a day-to-day basis and now even more so when people may need a little help because they can't walk as fast."
Kathleen Chivers, who is expecting a baby girl in September, added that "it's a blessing because I feel so supported by my manager and colleagues who have become my close friends. I feel so lucky."
Although each of the nurses plans to take an average of 12 weeks maternity leave, when they return to work, their oncology unit will be revamped to help the new moms out, as Fitzgerald said she created a spreadsheet to track the nurses' schedules and she plans to turn a room in the unit into a lactation room so that the new moms can pump peacefully.
"I don't know that you can be anything but joyful about bringing life into the world," Fitzgerald said. "We will take care of our patients and our nurses."
Once their babies arrive, the nurses are anticipating keeping their bond close, as well as forming some early-on bonds among their children via playdates.