Published in The Woman Today magazine, February/March 2017
A Suite Delivery for Mom and Baby
What It’s Like to Deliver in the New St. Luke’s Birthing Center
The lights are dimmed. The aroma of calming lavender fills the air. If
you were to walk into Amanda Barningham’s birthing suite at St.
Luke’s, you might forget you’re in a hospital altogether.
The atmosphere feels more like a resort spa. It was exactly what she had
pictured for the delivery of her second child.
“The entire experience was customized to what I wanted,” Barningham
explained. “The nurses all understood and were very open to my wishes
for a calm environment.”
The St. Luke’s Birthing Center remodel is set to be completed in
2017, with about half of the updates already finished. In the new birthing
suites, the patient experience is everything. Every suite will include
a deep tub for moms who want to labor in water, along with a sleeper chair
or cot for partners and a bathing sink for newborns.
Even before the remodel, St. Luke’s offered remote wireless telemetry
so moms can stay active and progress in labor outside of a bed. For Barningham,
these features made a huge difference.
“For my first labor, I was at a different hospital that didn’t
have remote telemetry so I was in the bed and hooked up to a monitor for
the entire labor. At St. Luke’s, I could use a birthing ball, be
in the tub or walk the halls during labor,” Barningham continued.
A Comfortable, Resort-Like Feel
One major goal of the remodel is to create suites that make patients feel
like they’re at home, but with resort-like upgrades. From the natural
wall colors to subway tile, the remodeled birthing suites manage to feel
both modern and comfortable at the same time.
Barningham also opted for aromatherapy, using a diffuser and some of the
essential oils that St. Luke’s Birthing Center offers to all laboring
moms. Along with the tub and dim lighting, the diffuser added to the relaxing
Barningham is a registered nurse at St. Luke’s Birthing Center, which
means she’s familiar with the remodel both as an RN and a delivering mom.
“It was really fun to experience what my patients experience,”
Many of the new features incorporate feedback from previous patients, such
as lamps with charging stations so parents can capture baby’s first
moments. The new birthing suites also include mini refrigerators for families
who want to bring food from home or store leftovers from their favorite
takeout meals. Open storage places provide plenty of room for overnight
bags and any items that families want with them during delivery.
“These birthing suites are truly designed for today’s parents,”
explained Lori Swanson, St. Luke’s Birthing Center nurse manager.
“We make a concerted effort to listen to what our patients are asking
for and fulfill as many of their requests as possible. This remodel is
an example of that on a much grander scale.”
Barningham, as a nurse and a patient, knows how open the Birthing Center
nurses are to patients’ wishes. She encourages moms to speak up,
because they deserve to have the experience that they want.
“This delivery was so relaxing and personal. It was exactly what
I wanted. My husband even commented on how calm this labor was compared
to my first,” Barningham said. “It made a huge difference
for us and the delivery.”
BELOW: Amanda Barningham laboring in one of the Birthing Center tubs