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Krissa Matarlo-Smith

Delivering Your Baby During COVID-19

Holy Name BirthPlace - Krissa Matarlo-Smith

Planning for the birth of your first child can be joyous and exciting. It is also anxiety provoking. But knowing you are going to deliver in the middle of a pandemic that shut down the entire country can raise that stress to a whole new level.

Krissa Matarlo-Smith was having a good pregnancy, seeing physicians in the Women's Health Care Group and planning on delivering at Holy Name Medical Center. As her due date drew closer, however, the number of people ill with COVID-19 was surging, and Holy Name was at the epicenter of the pandemic.

"We were a little nervous about going to a hospital when so many people were sick and we knew Holy Name got hit pretty hard," said Krissa's husband, Lorenzo Matarlo-Smith. "But our doctors reassured us that Holy Name was taking every precaution and deliveries would be safe for my wife and our baby."

One day past her due date, Krissa went into labor and she and Lorenzo showed up at Holy Name at 3 a.m. The hospital had been closed to visitors for more than a month so the hallways were empty.

"Since it was the middle of the night, we really didn't expect to see many people and everyone had masks on," said Krissa, from Ridgefield Park. "Everyone, especially the nurses, were so attentive and they did a great job of keeping us safe."

Krissa labored for nearly 24 hours before the baby's heart rate started to decelerate. Dr. George Ajjan, an obstetrician and gynecologist, performed an emergency C-section to deliver Ezra Zachary Matarlo- Smith, 6.4lbs and 19 inches of pure bliss. Krissa and Lorenzo were overjoyed.

The family stayed at Holy Name for three days while Krissa and Erza recovered from the delivery.

"Dr. Ajjan was great," Lorenzo said. "Everything went really well and he explained everything so Krissa was calm. We would have liked for our parents to visit but we understood why no one was allowed. We had a ton of support from the nurses – they helped us out a lot."

Krissa echoed Lorenzo's thoughts. "Holy Name is a great place to deliver. We had a lactation specialist come in once or twice a day and the staff did a great job of helping me adjust to a newborn. They made sure we had everything we needed, even during these scary times."

Learn more about Krissa Matarlo-Smith's obstetrician