Six down to wire for first delivery at River Region

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Erika Jones holds her son, Erin Jones, who was the first baby born at River Region Medical Center Sunday morning. Looking on at left are siblings Alundis and Breanna Jones.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[02/19/02]Six babies were in the running to be the first born at River Region Medical Center when it opened Sunday. Erin Jones, son of Bernis and Erika Jones, won the honor.

Erin, weighing in at 8 pounds and 14 ounces arrived via caesarean section at 10:30 a.m. 3 1/2 hours after the new hospital on U.S. 61 North opened its doors.

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“I heard I might be the first,” Mrs. Jones said.

She went into labor about 7 a.m. and her husband drove her to ParkView Regional Medical Center, which had just closed. She was directed to River Region, admitted through the emergency room and assigned a birthing suite.

The new rooms are designed for delivering babies without wheeling mothers down the halls, but surgical deliveries are different. “When they found out the baby was breach, I had a c-section,” said Mrs. Jones, 30. The procedure was performed in one of two caesarean surgical units, also a new feature at the hospital.

“It’s nice, real nice,” she said of the hospital’s maternity facilities. The couple moved here from Nashville, which boasts major medical centers. “It reminds us of Vanderbilt a lot,” Mr. Jones, 35, said of the River Region complex.

Two of their three other children Brandon, 20 months; Alundis, 4, and Breanna, 6 were born in Nashville.

“This will be our last,” she said.

She and the new baby will be released Wednesday.

“Breanna wanted a sister,” Mr. Jones said, but they waited until delivery to find out if it was a girl or a boy. “We wanted it to be a surprise,” Mrs. Jones said.

As Jones was giving birth at River Region, ParkView’s last newborn and mother were being moved from the old hospital to the new the last patients to be served as ParkView closed its doors Sunday.

Weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces, Sederic Thomas Hayes was born to Renarda Hayes, 21 and Sedric Hayes, 21, of Rolling Fork at 4:57 a.m. Sunday earning the honor of ParkView’s last delivery as well as its last new patient.

The two were given a few hours to recover before they were taken by ambulance to River Region at 10:30 a.m.

Routine births were centralized at ParkView a few years ago when its ownership combined with that of Vicksburg Medical Center.

An exact number is not available, but if about 400 babies per year were born at ParkView since the building opened in 1957, Sederic Thomas Hayes may have been the last of about 20,000.

Mrs. Hayes, not expecting to deliver until Feb. 25, went into labor Saturday afternoon, just after her husband had left for Greenville. Her sister drove her to Vicksburg and she arrived at ParkView at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Hayes and her new son were to be discharged from River Region today.

“He’s my second and my last,” she said with a laugh. Their 2-year-old son was also delivered at ParkView.

She said Dr. Angela Savatiel, her obstetrician and gynecologist, had warned her about the hospital move: “If it comes before Sunday, go to ParkView. After Sunday, go straight to River Region,” she said.

Gift baskets filled with an assortment of gifts, including a camera, picture frames and the appropriate newborn T-shirt “I was the last baby born at ParkView Regional Medical Center” or “I was the first baby born at River Region Medical Center” were presented to both mothers.

“We knew we had to do something to celebrate this,” said Diane Gawronski, director of marketing and public relations.

“This is history,” said Wanda McClain, director for maternal child services.

Gawronski said six babies were born on the hospital’s first day, twice as many as ParkView’s average which, in recent years, has been three per day.