Ruby’s Above and Beyond Care from Dr. Mariampillai and Team
As the due date for Ruby’s baby Aarian approached, she mourned how things would be different this time; when her first son was born, Ruby’s mother had been a pillar of support. But this time around, her mom was going through intensive cancer treatments including chemotherapy and stem cell transplants.
Ruby was worried about her mom, and she couldn’t imagine her not being around for her baby’s first days. So when Ruby felt Dr. Grace Mariampillai going above and beyond for her in her care, she was incredibly grateful.
Dr. Mariampillai had been Ruby’s OBGYN when she was pregnant with her first son who she delivered by emergency C-section, she had also been there for Ruby during her next pregnancy which unfortunately had ended in loss, and she was diligently caring for Ruby during her pregnancy with baby Aarian.
“Dr. Grace is amazing,” says Ruby. “I have no words to describe her. I had a lot going on during my pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes and needed lots of tests. My mom was going through treatment. And my sister was caring for my mother. Dr. Grace did everything she could to take care of me.”
Dr. Mariampillai knew that Ruby worried after every test, so she would call her between cases to reassure her everything was okay. She also knew how important it was to Ruby that her mom could meet the baby before her next stem cell transplant, so she scheduled Ruby’s planned C-section for before her mother’s treatment. At the end of her pregnancy when Ruby’s discomfort grew to be too painful, Dr. Mariampillai moved her C-section forward to be with Dr. Benjamin Tse but made sure to be in the operating room.
“Dr. Tse was great,” says Ruby. “And it meant so much to me that Dr. Grace was there in the room. When you trust somebody it makes such a big difference. I’m so grateful I found that relationship with her.”
Ruby’s C-section went smoothly and Aarian was born, a beautiful baby weighing 10 pounds, 6 ounces. But Aarian unfortunately had jaundice and needed a few extra days in the hospital receiving phototherapy. Humber arranged to have them all continue to stay in their Mother Baby room until he was ready to be discharged.
“The staff in the Mother Baby Unit were phenomenal,” says Ruby. “I really bonded with two of my nurses, Akua and Melissa. They made me feel at ease. I’m a nurse too, so they talked me through everything and reassured me. But they also understood when I was in the mood to talk about things other than newborns or jaundice.”
Baby Aarian’s jaundice made him sleepy and he could only go 20 minutes at a time outside the phototherapy lights. It made nursing difficult, but Ruby was grateful for the support of her lactation consultant, also named Melissa, who stayed nearby to help the baby latch whenever another feed started.
Dr. Mariampillai also checked on Ruby every day to make sure she was okay.
“I was super taken care of at Humber,” says Ruby. “My recovery was also very smooth. I’m a surgical oncology nurse and this experience affirmed for me that one day it would be nice to work in labour and delivery.”
Ruby’s mother underwent her stem cell treatment two weeks after Aarian was born.
“My mom was able to be a grandma to my son for two weeks before her treatment,” says Ruby. “Culturally we have dishes we eat after giving birth – 11 days of special meals for wound healing and breast milk production. It meant a lot to both of us that she could do that again for me before her treatment. I’m very thankful.”