Birthrate soars at Family Birth Place
The Family Birth Place at Valley View Hospital is in the midst of a baby boom that is expected to continue indefinitely.The center, which opened last September, is one of many updated departments in the recently improved hospital. According to hospital records, 331 births have occurred there since January, as compared to 256 births in the same time span last year. During May, a record-breaking 78 births occurred. Laurale Cross, interim director of the birth center, said she expects the trend to continue.”May is usually busy, but last month was especially active,” she said. “Although we always see ups and downs, clearly the birthrate is on the rise.”Cross attributes this rise to a shift in demographics, the allure of a more advanced department and the increase of new families brought to the region by burgeoning oil and natural gas industries. Many patients along the Western Slope are referred to the center by the hospital’s satellite clinics which are located from Eagle to Rifle. Because of more advanced services, the center has greater capability to address a wide array of problems associated with childbirth.Recently, the department was updated from a type IIA to a type IIB facility. In Colorado, perinatal units are categorized as types I, II or III with A or B subcategories. These categories are assigned by the extent of perinatal care offered by the hospitals. Valley View was promoted because of enhanced care offered such as a nutritional intravenous fluid given to premature babies to ensure proper growth and development.Although a plethora of new technology makes this a premier facility, Cross points out that the human touch is the defining advantage. “The bricks and mortar may be nice, but it’s really the people that make the difference,” she said.She cited the example of when a mother of limited means comes to deliver, and the nurses take up a collection and buy her necessities at Wal-Mart.”That’s the difference and our patients say that’s what matters,” Cross said.Because of the birthrate jump, new employees are being hired to join the team of caregivers and specialists who ensure smooth operations. One such specialist is lactation consultant Camille Schuman. She has worked in the department for 12 years and educates mothers on the proper feeding of newborns. She said she thinks the new unit attracts families with its comfort and ambiance.”It’s much larger, very gracious, tranquil and has a supportive environment,” she said. “We have more privacy in the labor rooms and, more importantly, safety for our babies in the nursery due to increased security.”She also said she believes the birth increase will continue because of the overall desirability of Glenwood Springs to young families.Carol Bagen, a nurse in the department for 20 years, said she has never seen so many deliveries and that the hospital staff is working extra to meet the demand.”A lot of us have put in extra hours to cover shifts,” she said. “Everyone has pitched in.”Schuman and Bagen agree that the staff of the new unit will handle increased births with ease and comfort. They will also continue the professional and caring service that has defined their careers.”I really like working with women in labor and seeing them the next day with their new babies,” Bagen said. “Making a connection on one of the most important days of someone’s life is a real privilege.”Schuman echoed, “Family Birth Place is ready to help parents and family members enjoy the most glorious event – having their babies.”
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