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October 19, 2020

Pediatrician Dr. Nelson Retires After 30 Year of Partnership with LWC

It is with mixed emotions that we announce one of our most loyal pediatricians, Dr. Wenonah Nelson, is retiring after 40 years in practice and 30 years of partnership with Lifecycle WomanCare (LWC).

Dr. Nelson, or Noni, as she is fondly known by clients and colleagues, spent the majority of her career at the practice currently known as Bryn Mawr Pediatrics, joining shortly before becoming an attending pediatrician at LWC. She was introduced to LWC, formerly The Birth Center (TBC), by her friend and fellow pediatrician, Dr. Penny Soppas. Dr. Soppas currently serves as LWC’s Director of Pediatrics.

Partnering with TBC appealed to Dr. Nelson because “they were providing really good care with a nurturing and non-invasive approach”. She took a similar approach in her own practice and working with TBC afforded her the opportunity to provide “whole family” care. Additionally, she appreciated the collaboration with Bryn Mawr Hospital, which meant that clients could have a safe, easy, and quick transfer if needed.

In the early days at TBC, pediatricians were onsite to examine newborns after every birth, no matter the time of day or night. The midwives now perform these routine exams, but Dr. Nelson fondly remembers all the time she spent at TBC, sometimes waiting in the dining room after a birth for the next baby to arrive. It allowed her, and the other attending pediatricians, to form deep relationships with the TBC staff.

According to Patty Siegrist, RN, IBCLC, a long-time LWC nurse and lactation consultant, the feeling was very much reciprocated. “She always came in when needed and always listened to the nurses. She had a quiet, sweet manner and was liked by everybody.”

Dr. Soppas also praised Dr. Nelson’s loyalty and flexibility noting she was always willing to go the extra mile: “She was always there, always available. We knew we could count on her.”

Working with TBC was a family affair for Dr. Nelson. Her children, who are now grown, still remember the times they had to accompany her on calls. While Dr. Nelson worked, they got to spend time playing on the wooden climbing structure and drawing on the big chalkboard in the waiting room of TBC’s original building.

Due to these meaningful connections, the TBC staff was even able to discern when Dr. Nelson was pregnant with her third child, despite the fact the she had not announced the news. She recalls one day leaving to walk back to her practice with one of TBC’s stethoscopes still hanging around her neck. Recognizing that it was out of character for her to do such a thing, one of the midwives remarked that it must be “pregnancy brain”. And she was right!

When it came time for Dr. Nelson to welcome her grandson, her TBC connection came full circle. After he was born, Dr. Nelson received a text from her son. A video they were watching in their Ohio hospital featured a staff member from LWC. Sure enough, when Dr. Nelson went back to check it out, Patty Siegrist was on the screen teaching new parents about baby care.

As she wraps up her long and fruitful career, it is clear that Dr. Nelson has touched many lives, inside and outside of LWC. She has many “second generation” pediatric clients, and one of the hardest things for her during her last few weeks at Bryn Mawr Pediatrics was that, due to COVID precautions, she could not give them a hug before embarking on this next chapter.

It’s poignant that Dr. Nelson is retiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The beginning of her career was bookended with the AIDS epidemic. In fact, she helped provide care for the first baby diagnosed with AIDS in the Philadelphia area.

Once restrictions from the pandemic begin to lift, Dr. Nelson plans to spend her retirement traveling. She’s looking forward to spending more time with her grandson in Ohio, traveling to the west coast and to Norway, and volunteering with UMCOR to provide emergency medical services in areas affected by natural disasters.

We have been so fortunate to partner with Dr. Nelson. Words cannot fully express how thankful we are to her for her tireless dedication over the last three decades. She will truly be missed at LWC and we wish her all the best on her next chapter.