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First baby born at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco reminisces

Cheri Mayman just turned 70, and so did the hospital where she was born. Both she and her mom, now 91, reflect on the title and savor their part in history. Pictured, Lois Moiseeff and her daughter at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Francisco 70 years ago.

Lois Moiseeff still vividly remembers the fateful day she gave birth to her first child 70 years ago.

The then 21-year-old arrived at Kaiser Permanente’s brand-new San Francisco hospital on Geary Street with abdominal pain and was quickly ushered to the maternity ward nicknamed “The Heirport.”

“Sure enough, I was in labor,” Moiseeff said.

A few short hours later, on February 17, 1954, Moiseeff gave birth to her daughter, Cheryl. It turns out, the newborn was the very first baby born at Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Medical Center.

Moiseeff— now 91 — recounted a flurry of activity and excitement around the birth.

“It was a big surprise,” she said. “And I felt like a celebrity for 10 minutes.”

A photographer snapped pictures of the new mom and daughter for an article in the local newspaper, and a hospital administrator gifted them an engraved silver cup with the words: “First Baby To Arrive At Kaiser Foundation Hospital Heirport.”

Lois Moiseeff, left, and Cheri Mayman

“They were terrific,” Moiseeff said about the hospital staff. “They were just terrific.”

Both Moiseeff and her daughter, who goes by the name Cheri Mayman, now live in Southern California. Mayman said she enjoys being a part of San Francisco history.

“It’s just a random little anecdote that is a pretty cool thing,” Mayman said.

She remembers hearing her birth story growing up. Her mom kept the silver cup polished and on display in their home.

“The cup was at my mom’s house in the China cabinet, so I always knew it was there and my name was on it,” Mayman said.

Moiseeff also saved newspaper clippings and other mementos from that meaningful day.

“They were ahead of anybody,” Moiseeff said about Kaiser Permanente’s cutting-edge maternity rooms.

Her room was even equipped with the famous “baby in a drawer” compartment, a groundbreaking innovation at the time. A bassinet was placed in a metal drawer that connected to the nursery on the other side of the wall.

“Right next to me was a drawer, and when I pulled the drawer into the room, there was my baby,” she said. “I’d push the baby into the little room and during the night the nurses would see to her needs.”

The “baby in the drawer” concept helped revolutionize breast feeding in the post-World War II era and was shown to strengthen the mother-daughter bond, according to Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources.

The mom and daughter wanted to recognize the 70-year anniversary of the hospital and celebrate Mayman’s 70th birthday. Moiseeff said she is thankful for the care she received back in 1954 and today.

“It brought back a time in our lives,” Moiseeff said. “And Kaiser was good to us.”



This Post Has One Comment

  1. What a wonderful and special story. As a retired 42 year employee, I so appreciate learning of Kaiser Permanente’s history. Congratulations, mother and daughter!

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