Bundles of joy are best gifts on Christmas

Bundles of joy are best gifts on Christmas

Parents and staff feel festive spirit taking over maternity ward at North York General Hospital on Dec. 25
Toronto Star; December 26; Section News Page A1; Noor Javed

As families across the city unwrapped gifts Christmas morning, George and Marianna Saites waited patiently at North York General Hospital Thursday morning for their special delivery to arrive.

The couple from Toronto and their 2year-old daughter had celebrated Christmas early, met with family in advance and even put a stocking up for the imminent new addition to the family, anticipating that baby would arrive by his Dec. 20 due date. The baby, however, wanted to give his family a Christmas to remember.

“We are like little kids, waiting to find out what we have in here,” said Marianna, 37, rubbing her belly. The couple had decided to keep the sex of the baby a secret.

“This is really the best Christmas present I could ask for,” she said. “The second best present is the epidural,” she added, laughing.

Down the hall, nurses in the labour and delivery ward were also in a festive mood — wearing holiday sweaters and red bows in their hair. On a day when most people stay home and celebrate with family, nurses said working Christmas had its perks, including lots of appreciation. “Everybody is extra nice to you on Christmas, and they feel bad that you have to work,” said charge nurse Anne O’Connor. “And generally, people are in a much better mood.”

There was also a great deal of food around.

In what has become an annual tradition for the past decade, the team of family doctors who deliver at the hospital host a Turkey dinner for the maternal nursing staff, “to appreciate all they do all year,” said family physician Dr. David Kaplan.

O’Connor said despite being a quiet morning, it was turning out to be a busy day overall — five babies born during the day and a few more expected by midnight.

Among those to receive a hard-to-forget birthday is the Menon family’s as-yetunnamed baby girl, who was born at 7:16 a.m. — only 20 minutes after mom, Usha Parvathy, arrived at the hospital from her home in Richmond Hill.

“I’m glad we made it,” she said Parvathy. “It was all very fast,” she said, as she introduced the 5-lb, 14-oz baby, who hadn’t been named yet, to big sister Meghna Menon, 3.

“On a day like today, everybody is talking about presents. She is a present for us,” said Parvathy, as she gazed lovingly at her baby, wearing a red and white tuque.

Shortly after1p.m., nurse Stephanie Duong made her way to Marianna Saites’ hospital room to check her progress. The baby was coming, she announced. A few minutes later, there were cheers. Then, a baby’s cry.

James Spiros Saites was born at 1:15 p.m. The 10-lb, 6-oz baby was named after both grandfathers, said George. “He looks just like me,” said the dad, beaming.