2007_3_health_mombaby.jpgEarlier this month, New Yorker Nicole Carey gave birth at Lenox Hill Hospital - a posh, private hospital on the Upper East Side where many a celebrity has gone for treatment when in town. But the Long Islander's hospital course went awry when her brand new son Preston's brand new lungs filled with fluid and she herself developed blood clots in her uterus. Preston was taken to the intensive care unit immediately where he would still be a few days later when mom was discharged home.

But unlike most people dying to leave the hospital, mom decided to stick around. She instead took up residence on the sixth floor visitor's lounge, where she slept, read, and waited for the opportunity, every two hours, to walk to the nursery and breast feed her baby. Mrs. Carey, clad in pajamas, became a permanent fixture in the waiting room and a usual sight for the nursing staff, because her health insurance - Oxford - does not pay for extended hospital stays once a patient is officially discharged.

The NY Times ran a feature on her sleepover on Saturday, and Carey made it clear she understood why her insurance didn't allow her to stay. But to go home would mean a 90-minute drive each way to the family home in East Northport, and though she could have afforded to stay in a nearby hotel, it would not have been nearly as convenient, especially with a tight breast feeding schedule. Carey said, "It would just be nice to have just a bare room with bunk beds so parents can be with their babies when they’re sick."

Lenox Hill was eventually able to find a spare room for Mrs Carey, the same room she had stayed in just nights earlier. And after nearly 118 hours in the hospital, mom and baby went home last Saturday night and finally slept in their own beds.