Babies born at Bassett Medical Center will be ushered into the world in the renovated Birthing Center starting Monday.
During the $4.7 million project, rooms were gutted and rebuilt to accommodate women and their families during and after the birthing process. Cupboard doors hide medical equipment, decor is in muted tones and rooms shown off during tours Tuesday appeared like hotel suites.
The expanded 12,000-square-foot center has four rooms for the birth and eight private rooms for post-birth time before mother and baby leave Bassett, hospital officials said. Construction started in April, and the center temporarily was located on the second floor of the hospital. Staff and services are returning Monday to the third floor.
Center nurse-manager Robin Stasilli enthusiastically described various rooms. In the labor, delivery and recovery room, a woman may step into a nearby hydrotherapy tub or take a seat in a walk-in shower, she said. An ``infant care center’’ inside a cupboard stores medical supplies in case care requires specialized equipment. In the postpartum room, an adult may bathe a newborn in a specially designed sink, she said, and a sleeping bench is available for the husband or other supportive guest.
``I’m just so happy with all these features,’’ Stasilli, whose experience includes years as a labor and delivery nurse, said as she led visitors on a tour. ``I’m thrilled.’’
Last year, 814 babies were born at Bassett, a little more than the average of 700 to 800 births, officials said. The Birthing Center has about 55 employees, including nurse-midwives, physicians and nurses.
Julie Witkowski, 30, is expecting her first baby _ a boy _ April 23, and her husband, Aaron, 37, plans to be at the birth. The couple from Summit asked about equipment and care during their walk from one room to another.
``It looks great _ I don’t feel stressed at all,’’ Julie Witkowski said. ``The colors are peaceful. It’s clean and roomy.’’
On Tuesday, Bassett staff and guests, including contributors, also toured the center. About $507,000 was raised in donations for the $4.7 million project, and Bassett is covering the bulk of the cost, officials said.
``With renovations to the Birthing Center complete, the physical environment now matches the quality of medical care our team provides,’’ Dr. Siobhan Hayden, chief of obstetrics and gynecology, said in a media release.
John Remillard, chief executive officer of A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, attended Tuesday’s open house and said the renovations at Bassett are beautiful.
Fox’s birthing center has three LDR rooms, seven postpartum rooms and a nursery, he said, but doesn’t have midwives on the medical staff. Fox has three obstetrician/gynecologists, Remillard said, and about 400 babies are delivered a year.
Fox has been a Bassett-affiliated hospital for more than a year.
Since 1986, when Patricia ``Patty’’ Brown started as Bassett’s first certified nurse-midwife, the group has delivered more than 11,500 babies, a media release said.
On Tuesday, Brown said the renovated center is remarkable.
``It’s everything that a woman needs,’’ she said. ``It’s wonderful to be in a brand new, clean appealing area. Hopefully, the shine will last.’’