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All in the family: For Marblehead family, roots run deep at NSMC Salem Hospital

When Mckenzie Coleman was born last April, she had no idea that she was continuing a family tradition that goes back four generations. Mckenzie, like her mother before her, follows in a long line of Macombers born at NSMC Salem Hospital.

The close relationship between the family and North Shore Medical Center dates back nearly 100 years. The hospital’s Macomber building was named after Harold Macomber, once a visionary leader and fundraiser at the medical center.“It was a special moment for my husband and me to be part of the Macomber tradition,” says Casey, a graphic designer whose maiden name is Macomber.

By the time Mackenzie was born, Casey and her husband, Colin, a Marblehead police officer, were well acquainted with the NSMC Birthplace. A series of health issues in the preceding months had complicated Casey’s pregnancy and led to several trips to the hospital for the first-time parents.

“Throughout the winter, I was a ‘frequent flyer’ at the Birthplace,” Casey recalls. She arrived first with kidney stones, then the flu, and credits the care team for helping her and Colin through. “The staff could not have been more attentive or professional,” says Casey. “To a person, they always knew exactly what was happening with my changing health, which made us feel confident and well cared for.”

More than 1,000 babies are delivered at the NSMC Birthplace each year. With obstetricians and neonatologists who are on staff at both NSMC and Massachusetts General Hospital, a Level IIB Special Care Nursery that can treat babies born as early as 32 weeks, expertise in high-risk pregnancies and a state-of-the-art security system, the Birthplace offers the advantages of a major urban medical center in a community setting. But there’s something else that sets the Birthplace apart, says nurse manager Lisa Cavallaro, R.N., who has been part of the care team for close to three decades.

“Our approach is highly personal and family-centered,” says Cavallaro. “We recognize that our mothers and babies are part of an extended group of loved ones who also need to be included during what can be a joyful but anxious time.”

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To address family needs, the Birthplace features spacious, private recovery suites that include a bathroom with a shower, a pull-out bed for a partner, a comfortable rocking chair and a television. Knowing that her husband could spend the night by her side during her hospital stays before and after Mackenzie was born was a great comfort to Casey.

“It meant so much to me that Colin could be there and that the room was big enough that he could actually relax,” she says. “It helped to ease our nerves and enable us to share this wonderful time.”

Preparing families for the arrival of their babies and for a smooth return home is a key focus of the Birthplace. Pre- and post-natal classes cover a range of topics including relaxation skills, pain management, massage, infant care, breastfeeding education and support, car seat safety, maternal care, nutrition and family adjustments.

“There is nothing more rewarding for our team than guiding a family through the life-changing event of welcoming a new baby,” says Cavallaro. “Our goal is to give them a great experience.”

Count the Colemans among those happy families. “From the staff to the facilities, the Birthplace was perfect,” says Casey. “Having my family name associated with such a wonderful institution is truly an honor.”