The Mercy Hospital St. Louis family gathered Wednesday to give the official blessing to the hospital's new Labor and Birth Suites, and the new Maternity Welcome Center which officially opens for business Monday.
Tours showcased the new 75,000 square foot space, billed for its efficiency and the ability to cater better to family needs. The new digs came after consultation with focus groups which also included hospital nurses. The result, said Marie Ann Maher, an Advanced Nurse Clinician, is "unbelievably rewarding" and includes technological upgrades like wireless fetal monitors to design changes which allow for storage closets in patient suites to open from inside the room and in a hallway to limit disruption.
The tour was a sight to see for Sister Michael Marie, RSM, who remembers the hospital's days on Euclid, and the move to Creve Coeur in the 1960s, which saw the early expansion of birthing facilities and the move to make births more of a family experience, all while more than tripling the number of births annually.
"For me its a dream come true!" she said.
The size and volume of deliveries at the hospital over the years has given rise to the idea of Mercy Hospital as something of "a baby factory." But Maher insists that while the expanded space will allow for more volume, the personal touch is not lost.
"Every person that works here wants to be here taking care of this mom having her baby so they want to make this the most important event in that person's life," she said.
Teams have mapped out all sorts of scenarios to figure out how long it takes to get from point A to point B and beyond in the 3 floor birthing area. The new space opens at 5 a.m. Monday. By 8 a.m., anyone currently in the labor process in the existing birth space will be relocated to the new area. Two entire shifts of staff will work simultaneously until all deliveries are complete.