TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way women everywhere give birth, and for many of those women, birthing classes are a part of that. But now, instead of in-person classes, they’re virtual.

The night of April 27 was one Marian Malinski will never forget

“We were on the phone when her water broke,” Malinski said.

Malinski has been a child birth educator at St. Joseph’s Medical Center for 36 years, and a nurse for 44 years.

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But because, of COVID-19, this is the first time she has ever had to meet new moms over the phone.

That night, it was Paola Keesy on the other line.

“When you’re in new waters, new territory like I was, I didn’t know who else to turn to,” Keesy said. “And she gave me that conform I needed to go through this very new and unknown experience for me.”

Having contractions, Keesy texted and then called Malinski because she didn’t know what to do.

“She wasn’t really speaking back to me, but she wasn’t hanging up either, so I knew she wanted me there,” Malinski said.

Through each contraction, Malinski stayed on the line until Keesy’s water broke and she left for the hospital.

“I didn’t know I needed her. Had it not been for COVID, I wouldn’t have had her and I did need her,” Keesy said. “It made everything easier. I was talked through everything.”

Nika Maria Keesy came into the world at 11 p.m. Keesy credits her loving husband, her nurses at St. Joseph’s, and her personal coach, Malinski.

“The blessing of these healthcare workers who know what they’re doing to really put moms at ease when we can’t have the normal support we thought we would have,” Keesy said.

Next Wednesday Malinski is retiring. She said this memory will be the perfect ending to this chapter of her life.

“It was the icing on the cake without a doubt,” Malinski said. “It was just such an honor to be with her during that time when I knew she needed me.”

Though the over-the-phone birthing classes were only offered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital said they’re looking to continue the service for families who feel more comfortable doing that.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachael Cardin

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