By MARK NEWMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OSKALOOSA — This week, Lexika Jewell became the first baby born in the new Mahaska Health Partnership Birthing Center.
Gillian Hole and her fiancé Shawn Miller, both of Beacon, checked in the day the new birthing center opened Tuesday. Their baby was born at 5:29 p.m.
“Lexika was eight days overdue, so we [hadn’t originally thought] the new area would be open [when] we had her,” said the mom.
“In total we have five labor/delivery/ recovery suites, and in our first two days being open we’ve already delivered four babies,” said Chyann Vroegh, the Birthing Center director at Mahaska Health.
Staff had delivered the old center’s last baby at 6 a.m. Monday. Tuesday morning they moved all their stuff from the old to the new center. Hole came in right around 1:30 p.m.
“We never stopped,” said Vroegh.
As the first baby born in the new Birthing Center, Lexika was the recipient of a Stork Gift Bundle, which comes from area donations of items for mother and child.
“We were so overwhelmed with how generous the community was,” said marketing director Cassie Riley.
Family Practice Physician Dr. Shawn Richmond delivered the first baby. Coincidentally, he also delivered the last baby at the old Birthing Center. Hole had a baby there just 16 months ago.
“That made it nice to talk to her about the differences,” Riley said. “The other center was fresh in her mind."
“Dr. Richmond delivered my other two in the old Birthing Center,” Hole said. “This new room is so much bigger and brighter; it’s very nice.”
“We have all-new beds and furniture, flat-screen TVs equipped with AppleTV, Internet radios as well as a refrigerator and whirlpool tub in each room,” said Vroegh. “Our doctors and nurses especially like the state-of-the-art fetal monitoring equipment, laser-guided ceiling lights and special infant bath sinks.”
The center is also more kid friendly, the offiicials said, which is important when a newborn’s siblings come to visit.
The new MHP Birthing Center is located on the north side of campus. It is staffed 24/7 by certified obstetrics nurses. Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a nonprofit health system.
As for Lexika, she and Mom got to go home Thursday to meet her two big brothers, 16-month-old Bentley and 7-year-old Jaemon.
— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark