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bee keeper

The Sweet Life

From a family hive with five kids to buzzing workdays in women’s health services, OB/GYN Dr. Heather Schwartzberg is one busy bee

WRITTEN BY Emily Turner
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Scott Henderson

Each morning, Dr. Heather Schwartzberg soaks up 10 minutes of peace while drinking her first cup of coffee and feeding the fish. It’s a rare moment of silence for this vigilant guardian of five fish tanks, five kids, two beehives, four cats and a dog named Marlow. In the afternoons, the outdoor enthusiast tends to her camellias, hydrangeas, roses and vegetable gardens. Afterward, she dons a beekeeper’s gown to care for her honeybee population, a hobby she’s enjoyed for more than seven years. Amidst a seemingly endless household to-do list, the 47-year-old mother manages to carve out time to catch up with each of her children, who range in age from 17 to five. At nearly every turn, the Schwartzberg household is buzzing with activity. “I’m known for having a lot of different things going on,” says the cheerful doctor. “It keeps life exciting.”

The constant swarm of movement in the Schwartzberg family home mirrors the dynamic energy of her work at Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital in Summerville, which she began in June of 2020. Situated in a bustling county hub, the hospital is ideally located to serve the growing number of new families nearby. On any given day, the affable women’s health advocate can be found greeting patients in the office, performing inpatient and outpatient surgeries or covering labor and delivery at the hospital. As a dedicated believer in holistic care, “I love our mission of healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence,” says Dr. Schwartzberg.

Board certified as an active fellow by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2006, Dr. Schwartzberg appreciates the hybrid nature of her job. “Not only do I get to operate, but I also get to form relationships with my patients.” Whether performing a hysterectomy or delivering a baby, the faith-filled Dr. Schwartzberg is quick to celebrate the joy and beauty found in her daily routine. “Motherhood really is a miracle. It’s exciting, and sometimes scary, but it’s always a miracle. I love being a part of that journey.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of Georgia in 1996 with high honors, the ambitious graduate faced a decision about which path she wanted to follow. “I was always good in school. I had a good memory, and I loved science,” she remembers. But she realized that her natural sociability compelled her outside of the laboratory. “My personality is very gregarious, so working with people was the better option for me.” Urged on by her mother, the young scientist chose to forgo a career as a forest ranger and set her sights on the Medical College of Georgia.

Hive of Activity: As the parents of Brandon (17), Andrew (13), Brooke (11), Campbell (8) and Anna Grace (5), Drs. Brian and Heather Schwartzberg seem to be in constant motion. In addition to keeping up with a family of seven (plus four cats, a dog and several fish), the OB/GYN raises honeybees in a home apiary.

While there, the energetic student reconnected with a former classmate named Brian Schwartzberg. “He sat next to me in the homeroom in seventh grade, but I never talked to him,” she laughs. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, he spent one year working at a local hospital before enrolling in medical school. The couple married following graduation in 2000 and then moved to Philadelphia to begin their residencies, she at Abington Memorial Hospital and he at the Medical College of Pennsylvania.

The Drs. Schwartzberg found that these community-focused programs perfectly fit their respective interests, hers in women’s health and his in emergency medicine. But despite her sunny disposition, the Florida-born bride found Pennsylvania winters difficult. Adopted shortly after her birth, Dr. Schwartzberg spent her early childhood in California, Oregon and Georgia. Feeling the pull of her Southern roots, the OB/GYN and her husband relocated to Daniel Island in 2004 to raise a family. There, she worked with a local private practice for almost 17 years.

Just after the birth of their youngest child, the Schwartzbergs moved again, this time to Goose Creek into what she lovingly dubs a “fixer-upper.” Their 25-year-old home near Crowfield Lake has provided plenty of opportunity for “marriage-building remodeling projects,” she explains. They are currently in the throes of their third bathroom renovation, which has necessitated multiple excursions to the hardware store for new tile—“he’s the cutter; I’m the layer,” she explains. “And I’m getting a better workout now than I ever have before,” adds the industrious DIYer, sharing that she long ago traded gym weights for sacks of concrete and two-by-four planks.

For Dr. Schwartzberg, balance is found in embracing the chaos. Whenever home renovations, baby deliveries, college preparations for her oldest or the general family buzz threaten to overwhelm her, the unflappable OB/GYN reminds herself of what’s most important: “to be in the moment, to be present with my children, to enjoy what I’ve got right now.”

Name: Dr. Heather Schwartzberg

Specialty: Obstetrics/gynecology

Outside the Office, Find Her: Navigating life with a large family, advocating for honeybees, tending a lush garden and making countless trips to Lowe’s for DIY project materials.

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