Delivering Hope at Saint Barnabas Medical Center

An array of more than 2,500 brightly-colored paper butterflies has taken flight on the walls of the Cooperman Family Pavilion at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ. Each butterfly is a symbol of hope and represents a baby born at Saint Barnabas Medical Center since it began treating COVID-19 patients in early March 2020.

Recognizing the challenging time, and to support the Maternal Child team, Liliana Morales, MPH, RN, a staff nurse on Labor and Delivery, hung up a simple sign that read: The greatest miracles happen in the middle of the battle.

The battle of course is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the miracles are the babies being born each day at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. In this case, the middle is the team of nurses, doctors and support staff working within the obstetrical pavilion, located in the center of the medical center.

“I told the staff that nothing is a coincidence. We are positioned in the middle of the building for a reason,” explained Liliana. “In the middle of all of this chaos, these babies are being born and there is no better place to be.”

As the pandemic heightened, she would remind her colleagues that the work they were doing really mattered. To raise morale, she began to refer to the babies they were bringing into the world as ‘butterflies’ and a representation of hope.

“New life does not know what is going on out in the world,” Liliana explained. “I just had a visual of each baby being born as hope. Hope in this time of a pandemic, a time of complete chaos in the world. When the world just shut down, life continued.”

Liliana began ordering butterflies with the plan to hang them as a visual representation of each birth. She titled the project, Delivering Hope. As she says, “Hope is all we have, especially in these times.”

In early August, she and her colleagues from the Maternal Child Division began hanging the more than 2,500 butterflies – each a representation of a baby with his or her own special story, along with the dedication and bravery of the health care team at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

As Liliana says, “These babies, our butterflies, are our labor of love.”

Posts on social media have already garnered the attention of hospitals in other countries that have been inspired to begin their own displays.