Family welcomes first baby born at new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 1:34 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A Preston County family welcomed the first baby born at the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital last week.

Kendi Pantojas came into the world in dramatic fashion on Thursday, Sept. 29.

Kristy Pantojas, of Reedsville, fell on her stomach on Sept. 26 and went to the emergency room to be evaluated.

She and baby Kendi were monitored over the span of a couple days, and, at times, Kendi showed signs of stress. As a result, the decision was made to induce labor, but while Kristy was laboring, Kendi became even more stressed.

Ultimately, the decision was made to deliver Kendi via emergency C-section for the health and safety of both mom and baby.

“I work in an operating room, and I have never seen one set up so quickly,” Kristy said. “I was so impressed.”

Allison Suttle, M.D., interim chair of the WVU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said poise under pressure is standard operating procedure for the Birthing Center team at WVU Medicine Children’s.

“In August, while gearing up for the move to the new Hospital, the team had a record breaking 231 babies born, surpassing the previous record of 214, and then, in the middle of the move, they safely and successfully managed an emergency delivery,” Dr. Suttle said. “We’ve been saying that the new Hospital is a dream come true, and it is. But the Birthing Center staff is the dream team, and we could not be prouder of them.”

After Kendi was safely delivered and Kristy was stabilized, the Birthing Center team returned to moving patients from its former home on the sixth floor of WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital to the eighth floor of the new Hospital.

“I don’t think there is anywhere else in West Virginia that you will find that level of care,” Marvin Pantojas, Kendi’s father, said. “We know just how blessed we are.”

The Pantojas family welcomed their first child, Mason, in the previous Birthing Center in 2015.

Kristy and Marvin both found the birthing experience in the new Hospital better due to the abundance of windows and natural light.

“That does a lot for the whole mood and mental health aspect of birthing,” Marvin said.

With a spa-like atmosphere, the new Birthing Center features 17 labor and delivery rooms, including seven with labor tubs, in-unit operating rooms for cesarean deliveries, and large inpatient rooms to allow mothers to stay with their newborns.

Kristy was discharged on Saturday, and Kendi followed on Sunday.

Both parents were able to spend Sunday night in the room with Kendi, which they really appreciated.

In terms of Kendi’s place in WVU Medicine Children’s history, Kristy and Marvin were just hoping to get to experience the new hospital when she was born and never guessed she would be the first one born in the facility.

“I think that is so awesome,” Kristy said. “I love that I’m going to be able to share that with Kendi when she is older.”