A Joyous Arrival in a Challenging Time

Images by Growing Geggies Photography


That’s how Nicole Loehr describes her experience at Decatur Memorial Hospital where she and her husband, Zachary, recently welcomed their first child.

“With COVID-19, I honestly was really scared,” said Nicole, a 25-year old nursing student who has worked at DMH for the past seven years. “I cried a lot; I was afraid my husband couldn’t be with me in the hospital. I even considered an at-home delivery at one point.

“As a nurse, I tried to be logical,” said Nicole, “but as a new mom-to-be, I was very emotional.”

Two weeks before her due date, Nicole was sent to DMH for a routine check-up. When she arrived for her appointment, staff discovered Nicole was in labor.

“Since I had worked at DMH for several years, I knew a lot of the staff,” Nicole said, “and I knew they were super-competent and were following all of the COVID-19 safety precautions.”

Under the current COVID-19 safety protocols, all staff members are required to wear a mask—either a medical-grade mask, a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) or an N95 respirator mask, depending on their role. Even while in labor and delivery, Nicole was required to wear a mask.

“But even behind all the masks, I could see the smiles; their eyes told me they cared,” Nicole said.

On April 21, following 14 hours of labor, Daxton Charles came into the world weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces.

“My baby didn’t leave my hospital room during my entire stay, not for any reason,” Nicole said. “He was with me the entire time—whether to be circumcised or for any testing; he was with me constantly.

“This was by far one of the best experiences I have had,” said Nicole “They did everything in their power to make sure we were okay. They did an amazing job. I was so impressed. Everyone was amazing.”