Nazrina DeZilva and her husband Brad call Zephaniya their miracle baby.

Despite early worries that it could be a complicated pregnancy, Nazrina is so grateful that Zephaniya is “healthy and perfect.”

Conceived with the help of a fertility specialist, Zephaniya’s arrival was truly cause for celebration but dealing with the unknown of giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic was a curveball for the couple. Once they had the all clear from their fertility specialist, they made their plans to go to the Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU) because having a natural birth with the help of midwives was important to them both.

Zephaniya’s birth also marked a big milestone at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), with her being the 1,000th baby to be born in the AMU.

The AMU is Canada’s first midwifery-run birth centre within a hospital’s walls. Since its launch two years ago, the AMU has continued its leadership role, posting one of the lowest C-section rates in the province. The team has also advanced its academic focus with ongoing teaching and educational opportunities and is working towards becoming a Centre of Excellence in midwifery care.

“It’s been hard to not be able to celebrate this pregnancy with our family during the pandemic, but finding out that we had two of the same midwives supporting us at this birth that we did when our first daughter was born three years ago felt like a blessing,” Nazrina says.

Most recently, AMU midwives introduced the early discharge program – an innovative initiative to help provide safe, patient-centred care during COVID-19. A collaboration with paediatricians, obstetricians, family physicians, neonatologists and nursing, the early discharge program allows healthy moms and babies to be discharged from the AMU within six hours and receive follow-up care within 24 hours from a midwife in their own home.

Once home, the new parents have access to a weekly postpartum virtual café to help them throughout the first month with their new baby.



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