June 27, 2008

Annie Penn Hospital’s Birthing Center Sees Its Final Baby

By Miranda Baines, The Reidsville Review, N.C.

Jun. 27--Dr. John Ferguson delivered the last baby at Annie Penn Hospital at 5:22 p.m. Wednesday. Chasity Abbott of Pelham gave birth to a 7-pound, 2-ounce baby girl, Tatiyana Chasity Abbott.

"The delivery went great. The mother was wonderful," said Ferguson. Chasity said she didn't know she would be the last woman to give birth to a baby at Annie Penn until she arrived at the hospital around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"She came quicker than I thought she would. She was due July 9," said Chasity.

Chasity and her husband Artemas Abbott have two sons -- Artemas Abbott Jr., 6, and Marcellus Abbott, 5. The couple doesn't plan to have more children.

"My mind was made up when I found out about her. No more," said Chasity.

Annie Penn Hospital will no longer deliver babies. Expectant mothers living in Reidsville can now go to The Women's Hospital of Greensboro to have their babies. Annie Penn and Women's Hospital are part of the Moses Cone Health System. Reidsville mothers also have the option of having their babies in the birthing center at Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden.

Annie Penn Hospital held a closing ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the closing of its birthing center. The hospital honored Edmund Penn Seay, who was the first baby born at Annie Penn. Seay was born May 11, 1930.

"They were having the grand opening day. It was Mother's Day," said Seay. He was the only one of three brothers to be born in the hospital. In those days, babies were often delivered at home by a midwife or sometimes a doctor.

Before Annie Penn was built in 1930, Rockingham County residents traveled to Greensboro or Danville, Va. for a hospital, Seay recalls. He said Annie Penn looks nothing like it did back in those days.

"It's no resemblance. It's changed completely," he said.

Some other things have changed since Seay's date of birth, including a mother and baby's length of stay in the hospital -- and the bill . Seay said his mother stayed in the hospital for seven days, and the bill for the entire stay was $50. Nowadays, the average hospital stay for a birth is two days, according to Annie Penn Hospital officials.

Ferguson has been delivering babies at Annie Penn since 1987. He said the Annie Penn Birthing Center has averaged 370 to 400 births annually since 1990.

"I've had an opportunity to be a cheerleader for a lot of ladies," said Ferguson.

"A lot of people liked the idea that they were still going to be able to deliver here," said Ferguson. "Everybody due in the month of June has come in and delivered. That's kind of neat that it worked out that way."

While Wednesday marked the end of an era in patient care at Annie Penn, it marks the beginning of another era of high-quality care -- at Women's Hospital, said Ferguson. He said the doctors and midwives at his practice -- Family Tree Obstetrics & Gynecology -- will work with the teaching service at Women's Hospital to provide the highest level of care. Either a doctor or a midwife from Family Tree will spend time at Women's Hospital, said Ferguson.

"We're going to continue to try to serve people to make their life as convenient as possible," he said.

Sharon Troxler, director of marketing and volunteer services for Annie Penn, said the hospital will continue to offer pre-natal and childbirth classes. She also said the hospital's emergency department staff will be prepared to deliver a baby if the mother can't make it to Women's Hospital. Troxler said a reason for closing Annie Penn's birthing center was the lack of adequate resources. She said the birthing center at Women's Hospital has more resources for patient care, including a 24-hour intensive care nursery.

"We are encouraging all our patients, present and future, to tour Women's Hospital so they can become familiar with the new hospital," said Ferguson. He said Women's Hospital offers tours at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday and at 4 p.m. the second Sunday of July and August (July 13 and Aug. 10). Childbirth classes are also available at Women's Hospital. To check the schedule of classes, visit http://www.mosescone.com. For other inquiries about Women's Hospital, call (336) 832-8000.

Staff writer Miranda Baines can be reached at or 349-4331, ext. 35.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Reidsville Review, N.C.

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