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Carroll Hospital RN talks New Year's babies

Carroll Hospital RN talks New Year's babies
Angela Harman is a patient care coordinator on the night shift at Carroll Hospital who has helped with the birth of many of Carroll's New Year's babies over the years. (Courtesy photo)

It’s a newspaper tradition to talk to the family of the first baby of the new year born in a local hospital, but once the reporters’ attention has left the labor and delivery unit, the staff there will deliver hundreds of babies throughout the year.

Angela Harman is a patient care coordinator on the night shift at Carroll Hospital. She works in the labor and delivery unit.

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She is no stranger to working holidays in her nearly 29 years there, but for her “Babies are a part of life. They bring a lot of hope, a chance of new beginnings, so it’s an exciting time.”

The Times caught up with her to talk about Carroll’s New Year babies and being part of the team at a small hospital.

Q: Can you describe what you do in layman’s terms?

A: Well, I am a nurse and that’s first. It used to be called the nurse in charge, but now it’s the patient care coordinator because I work with the nurses to give the best care that we can give. I participate with the patients, help out with the staff, what ever they need to do their work. And I also do some patient care.

Q: Have you worked over midnight on New Year’s Eve before?

A: Yes, frequently.

Q: Have you ever helped with the deliver of the first baby of the new year?

A: I have for Carroll Hospital Center. It’s not the first baby in the state. We’re a smaller hospital, so it’s pretty hard to get the first baby.

Q: Is that something people are excited about?

A: Oh yeah. We usually have a fun time on that night. We bring food and we celebrate.

Usually the patients are excited and everybody asks whether the baby has been born yet or not, so it’s usually a good time.

Q: I’m sure that’s one of the happiest places to be in the hospital.

A: It is.

Q: Who makes the official determination of the time of birth for a newborn baby?

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A: We go off of whatever the computer says for the time. Our nursing tech, that’s their responsibility to look at the time the baby’s born. That would be a labor and delivery tech.

Q: Can you remember the closest to midnight on New Year’s Eve that a baby was born while you have worked at the hospital?

A: I was trying to remember. I don’t remember if it was 12:05 a.m. or what it was, but we thought we had it...but we [didn’t].

Q: Was it exciting for that family?

A: Oh it was, it was.

Q: About how many babies are born per day at Carroll Hospital?

A: It fluctuates. We could have nine babies in a day. We call it feast or famine.

Q: How do you personally celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Well, we’re a farm family, so we don’t usually make it to midnight, if I would be off [work]. We do get together with our family for Christmas on New Year’s Day.

If I’m working, I do get to celebrate. We bring food. We have sparkling cider and usually have headdresses on. It’s a nice time. Sometimes we’re extremely busy, sometimes we’re not, but it’s pretty exciting for the patients and for us.

We’re not a big hospital so we can cater to our people a little bit more.

Q: Is there anything people would be surprised to know about your job?

A: Everybody thinks we just deliver babies, but we do do a lot of triage patients, where we check to see if patients are in labor if they have any kind of issues. Sometimes they come when they’re sick. Sometimes people fall down and need to be monitored. Sometimes we’re trying to stop labor because they’re too early. So there is a whole other area that we deal with.

Q: Anything else people should know?

A: It is a privilege to be there. And all our nursing staff—they treat their patients like they’re family We see them a lot sometimes. Sometimes they come back for second and thirds and they know their nurses. And then we get some new patients.

We cry and we laugh and we’re a part of all that. So it’s a special time and it's a privilege to take care of them.

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