Ascension St. Vincent’s has always been a part of Maria Sivils life, it seems. Her father, Eddy Alonso, played a crucial role in the hospital's development. It looks to continue to be a part of her life for the future as well. Her husband, Jake Sivils, MD, is a Primary Care Provider at Ascension St. Vincent’s. Maria’s past, present, and future at Ascension St. Vincent’s all came together when she gave birth in the same Women and Children’s Center that her father designed at the hospital her husband works at. We were able to ask Maria some questions about this beautiful full-circle familial moment.
First of all, congratulations! How is the family doing now? Happy to be home we imagine!
We are doing great! After Jake's Residency schedule, his new schedule as an outpatient Primary Care Provider feels like a dream. He gets home in time for a walk together around the neighborhood, family time, dinner, and putting Elliott to bed. She's a very easy baby--sweet, silly, full of smiles--and we love our new life with her. It's everything we ever hoped for.
Your family has a lot of ties to Ascension St. Vincent’s. What was it like having your first child delivered in the same Women’s and Children’s Center that your father helped design?
It's been special, sweet, and surreal, having all of these layers of meaning and connection. Growing up, my parents weren't from Birmingham, so we didn't have the deep roots that a lot of Birmingham locals have. But moving back to my hometown, we've been able to give Elliott that feeling of home right away. I have fond memories of St. Vincent's, both from going there myself for pediatric appointments and from stories of my birth and the birth of my twin siblings. I remember looking over my dad's shoulder at the plans for the new Women's and Children's Center on his computer. I remember hearing him explain his choices for different layouts, like how he designed all the monitors and wires and tubes to be stored in the headboard so mother's wouldn't have to see them. So giving birth to my first baby in a place that has come to be so meaningful to my whole family made the experience that much more special.
We imagine your mind was rather occupied during the delivery. Did you have time to appreciate your dad’s architectural eye or any of the conveniences of the building?
I did. It was surreal going to deliver my own daughter in those rooms I'd only ever seen as plans on my dad's laptop. I recognized it all right away. And I appreciated, as a mother, having everything tucked away out of sight, just like he'd designed. My dad has always been a creative and creator; our whole childhood home was renovated by him and my mom, and he still makes us furniture, is even working on toys for Elliott next, so it was extra special to have such a big life moment happen in yet another creation from my dad's hands.
The legacy of impact at Ascension St. Vincent’s continues with this family as Dr. Jake Sivils is now a Primary Care Provider, which is part of the same system. What is it like to have such a personal family moment in the same place that you care for so many others?
All of the connections have helped us to settle in and feel at home so quickly. Though I'm from Birmingham, Jake grew up in Madison, Mississippi outside of Jackson, and then we spent our newlywed years in Greenville, South Carolina for his residency. Though we loved our time in Greenville so much, we knew it was temporary as it was too far from family. Moving to Birmingham, being close to family again, and having the legacy continue with Ascension St. Vincent's has helped us to feel like Birmingham is home. This isn't just where our daughter was born. It's not just where Jake works. It's our community, where we all take care of each other.
Birmingham and this particular hospital have clearly played such a large role in your family’s life for generations. What does this city mean to you and what do you hope it means to your child?
Like I said, I didn't grow up with deep roots in Birmingham. They grew as I did. And now, my daughter gets to visit her grandparents in the house I grew up in. She was born where I was, in the building her grandfather designed. She goes to church at the church I grew up in, the church where her parents got married. Birmingham has been the backdrop of my life, and now I get to share that with her. And I couldn't be more grateful.
Anything else that you’d like to share?
I just want to say thank you to everyone who's been interested in our story. Our family has been incredibly blessed, and it's so sweet to see the evidence of God's faithfulness from generation to generation.