Hospitals aren’t my favorite places. It just breaks my heart to see people struggling with illnesses. It can be such a frightening, uncertain time for both patients and their families. But good things happen in hospitals, too—real good things. Everyday, doctors and nurses help bring babies into this world, and that’s nothing short of a miracle.
Some of those birthing rooms, however, aren’t much of a fit for the miracles they hold. It’s no fault of the hospitals; most don’t have the extra resources it would take to make a room look like a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria. That said, a little comfort does go a long way. So when the Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph’s/Candler, a wonderful hospital right here in my hometown of Savannah, approached me about donating some of my home furnishings from the Paula Deen Home Collection to renovate one of their 24 private mother-baby rooms in the birth center, I jumped at the chance.
Whoever said you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear would eat their words after seeing how a few touches of home can transform a hospital room. The renovations began with money raised by the Telfair Directresses, a board of women dedicated to supporting the Women’s Hospital. They took down the wallpaper and fixtures, repainted and put in a great big flat-screen TV. They also updated the flooring and the countertops. And then I added four pieces of furniture from my line, including a special sleeper for dads that Jamie is particularly fond of. (I think he’s a good judge since both of his boys were born in this very hospital.)
The hospital gave me the honor of doing the ribbon cuttin’ ceremony and they even dedicated the room in my name. I couldn’t be more proud. Michael, Jamie, Aunt Peggy, my niece Corrie and my friend Hollis were all there as the CEO of the hospital, Mr. Hinchey, and the vice president of Patient Care Services, Ms. Danello, said the nicest things. And y’all, the finished product is just beautiful. The room is so cozy and warm that it’s hard to imagine you’re in a hospital where more than 3,000 babies are born every year. Instead, it feels like home—the perfect place to welcome a little baby, including Corrie’s first born. That’s right, my niece is scheduled to be in that very room this month and she couldn’t be more excited. But what Corrie doesn’t know is that I’m gonna sneak in there before she arrives to add a few more personal touches to the room.
So I guess you could say I caught the baby bug real bad during this process ‘cause I’m hoping to donate even more furnishings to spruce up the other rooms. And while there’s no place like home, the Paula Deen room at Mary Telfair would sure give a good Hostess City welcome to any baby.