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First Baby Born at LVH–Muhlenberg's Family Birth and Newborn Center Is Ready to Start Kindergarten

Daphne Mongi was first baby born at facility in 2017

Holly Mongi of Bethlehem did not think she was going to have her daughter, Daphne, at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Muhlenberg's Family Birth and Newborn Center back in 2017. It was set to open just after her due date – but that changed. 

“As my due date approached, my doctor and I were looking to schedule a cesarean section (C-section) for me if I went past due. My first child was an emergency C-section, so I decided if I did not go into labor naturally by my due date, we would schedule a C-section,” Mongi says.

It just so happened that Mongi’s obstetrician gynecologist, Reena Kanabar, MD, with LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology–West Broad, was available to deliver Daphne on the first or second day the new family birth facility opened.

For Mongi, it was a huge blessing. 

“I was so excited because this meant I'd be much closer to home, and I would get to see the brand-new hospital wing,” she shares. “When we arrived, I remember my first thought was, 'It's so quiet!' Everything was pristine and ready when we got there, and the staff and nurses were really welcoming and friendly.” 

Warm welcome to Baby Daphne

Everything went smoothly, and her daughter, Daphne, was delivered nearly three hours after Mongi arrived.

“The whole experience was really calm, and I was completely alert when Daphne was born,” she says. “She was just perfect, with a full head of dark fluffy hair. After that we were transferred to our room, and I remember being impressed with how nice it was. It had a big, tinted window, and it was a nice sunny day, so everything felt warm and summery.”

Sunshine girl

Five years later, the family is still living in Bethlehem. And Daphne is well and happy.

“Daphne is an absolute joy. I like to call her my ‘sunshine girl’ because she was born right at the beginning of summer on a clear, sunny day. She definitely lives up to the nickname,” says Mongi. “She's a bright, friendly, smiley girl who loves to draw and sing. She can be a bit stubborn sometimes! She's a little bit of a queen bee.” 

Mongi shares that Daphne is super close with her brother, Marko, who is two-and-a-half years older than her. 

“Since almost half of her life was spent in a pandemic, they've really been each other's best buddies through it all,” Mongi says. “I can't believe she is going to start kindergarten in the fall. In spite of everything that has happened, these five years have really flown by.”

Among best memories

For Mongi, the fifth anniversary of LVH–Muhlenberg's Family Birth and Newborn Center (and Daphne’s fifth birthday) are sentimental memories.

“We have a framed picture of the birth announcement the hospital put in the newspaper for her. It's hanging up in our kitchen,” she says. “I remember in the week following her birth they had the announcement on an electronic billboard near the hospital. A few people we know saw it.” 

She also notes that when she drives by the hospital today, she notices the big electronic sign in front of it displaying the names of recently born babies, which “always reminds me of when Daphne was born.”

And her overall experience at LVH–Muhlenberg's Family Birth and Newborn Center is one of the best memories she has.

“They had this beautiful gift basket for Daphne,” she shares. “It was just lovely, and we still have a lot of the items from it. There was an adorable storybook that all the nurses, doctors and staff signed for Daphne, and we read it together often.”

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