Trinity’s baby boom could indicate better times ahead

A BEAMING MOM — Amber Thorn of Steubenville smiles as she talks about the birth of her son, Donald III, at Trinity Medical Center West on Tuesday. He is part of a baby boomlet at Trinity, which saw 67 births during November, higher than the average number of monthly births at the hospital for about the past 10 years, with the next few months anticipated to remain at an above-average number of births. -- Paul Giannamore

STEUBENVILLE — Trinity Medical Center West saw a statistical bright spot for the region with November births totaling 67, more than the average of 48 to 52 births per month during the past 10 years.

“We have not seen births at this level since July 2007,” said Yvonne Rozman, registered nurse and clinical manager of the Trinity West Birthing Center.

She said the total represents a bit of a trend, with anticipated births to remain above average for each of the next three months.

“We do have the histories prior to them coming in, so we’ve known since about July that November would be a big month. We really started seeing it in late September and there was a little increase in October with November coming with a big boom,” she said.

Keith Murdock, Trinity community relations director, said the hospital was delivering about three babies a day on average when he started working there about 40 years ago. During November, there were six days during the month that the birthing center brought four babies a day into the world.

Rozman said a slowing birth rate coincided with the closing of the steel mills in Steubenville and Mingo Junction.

Murdock said the increase in births reflects an improving economy.

“With the coal mines and the shale gas, more young people are staying in the area to find employment and they are having babies,” he said.

Murdock said the introduction of telemedicine at Trinity is contributing by having mothers deliver at the local hospital rather than having to go out of the area to deal with potential medical issues.

“All the babies and mothers are healthy and everything went perfectly,” Murdock said.

Among those mothers who used telemedicine is Amber Thorn, whose son, Donald III, was born Tuesday.

“The telemedicine, honestly is great. I had the same kind of issue with my other son, who’s now 6, and I had to drive to Boardman to see the doctor. When they told me they could do this here through Magee-Women’s Hospital (in Pittsburgh), I was shocked. Doing checkups by videoconference, it was all new to me, but it was awesome. It saved me a trip to Boardman or Pittsburgh to see the doctors,” said Thorn. She also has a 15-year-old daughter, so she speaks from experience about dealing with doctors and birthing children.

She said an added benefit of staying at Trinity for her care and delivery is that she knows people who work at the hospital.

“I went to school with one nurse and another, I went to church with, so I was so comfortable when I came up here. It was the best part of my whole experience. The nurses here all are so awesome and they make me feel awesome. I never had a bad experience here. From 32 weeks, for the past two months, I’ve been coming up here twice a week,” Thorn said.

She said not having to leave the city for care was a welcome occurrence as she juggled her other two children, a full-time job and classes twice a week at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

She wasn’t aware until a few days before Donald III’s birth that he was part of a baby boomlet.

“I called Friday (Nov. 24) and they said they had four women in labor. I called the next day and Sunday and they said they had three or four each day in labor. When I came in for my C-section on Tuesday, all the rooms were full. But I didn’t know how busy they have been.

“They are so professional about what they do that I never knew they were working overtime or all the time during the month, delivering all these babies,” Thorn said. “It was great.”

As for the boomlet, it might not have been much related to the weather, with many days in February, nine months ago, ranging from highs in the low 50s to near 80 degrees.

Thorn and Rozman both joked it was Valentine’s Day about nine months ago.

“Everybody was in love for that month,” Thorn joked. “It was quite the surprise to be part of this. I know my son will have a great graduating class.”