The Gift of an Unexpected Birth
By The Rev. Rose Cicero
In the Labor & Delivery Unit at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, my chaplaincy services are primarily called upon when things do NOT go well. On a recent day, the unit nurse asked me to see a 19-year-old patient. I’ll call her Elena. This was an unusual case because Elena came in for stomach pain and found out she was pregnant and soon to give birth. On entering the room, I could see Elena was distressed. We prayed together and being Catholic, she accepted a rosary. Since the birth was near, I was about to leave, but she requested I stay. Her sister, who was in the room, was so distraught she could only sit on the couch and look away as she cried. She told me she was afraid for Elena because nothing like this had ever happened in their family. I supported her but as Elena’s contractions increased, my attention shifted back to Elena. I held her hand through the contractions, and noticed her grip on the rosary was tight. When the doctors started to prepare for the birth, I asked again if Elena would like me to stay or come back. She asked me to stay. Elena gave me the gift of being present for the birth of her daughter and it was amazing! All of a sudden, with a final push, there was this new little person in the room with us. She was full term and beautiful. Immediately after the birth, Elena’s sister came over to me and hugged me as she cried on my shoulder. She was relieved and very happy to be able to meet her new niece. Elena asked me to stay until after the doctors finished because she wanted a blessing for her newborn daughter. Following the blessing, staff thanked me for being there and I continued on my rounds. What a joy and privilege it was to be present to support this new mother and her family!

This is a time when Christians celebrate a special birth. Whatever your spiritual tradition, this is a season of hope, light, joy and giving. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for making your gift to Bishop Anderson House so that stories like these can continue.

You can make a year-end gift here.
Wishing you and yours every blessing this holy season,
Ebony, Kim, Micheal, Rose, & Tommy
Chaplaincy // Social Responsibility & Racial Justice
Spirituality & Wellness // Education
Bishop Anderson House is an interfaith agency rooted in the tradition of the Episcopal Church,
providing pastoral services and education programs for faith and health care communities.