Richmond nurses invent drape to help mother-baby bonding after C-sections

Published: Nov. 12, 2015 at 4:32 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2015 at 10:05 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An invention by three Richmond-area nurses could change child birth around the world.

They created a drape which allows health care workers to pass a baby born by C-section straight to a mother's chest.

The trio of nurses has collectively delivered thousands of babies, but say the moment their invention was first put to use was magical.

"She said look up and see your baby coming through," said Kim Jarrelle of Clever Medical.

"She started crying [over] how beautiful the baby was," remembered Debbie Burbic, one of the co-founders. "Look! Her eyes are open! Look!"

"Tears from mom and staff in the [operating room]," said Jarrelle. "Because as nurses, we're advocates for patients. And to be able to give mom and patient this experience, is such a win for everyone."

Currently, babies born via C-section would go straight to medical staff and then later to the dad. In many cases, leaving mom out of those precious first moments.That's what drove these patient-focused nurses to start brainstorming.

"We would meet and say, 'is it possible?'" said Burbic. "Could we do something like this? And we started out with construction paper, trying to see what we could do."

What began with meetings in the dining room  of Jerrelle's house turned into big results after three long years and 50 prototypes.

"We have never had to take a baby away from the mother," said Burbic of deliveries since the invention.

In fact, they say the opposite has been true. They say babies have had more regular breathing and heartbeats and they've seen similar results for moms.

"Her heart rate came down," said Burbic. "She was more relaxed, she didn't pay attention to anything else that was going on in that room, except that baby. And it was….it brought tears."

A mother holding her third baby moments after birth "turned and called her husband and said, this is what I missed the other two times! :And both of them started crying. I was crying behind my mask," remembered Burbic.

It's why the nurses say all the hours were worth it. They want to help new moms and babies- and if it didn't exist, they were going to make it exist. These nurses say their drapes are being used at some HCA hospitals and now they're traveling the country, hoping to get them in even more hospitals.

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