Ground breaks as Mother Baby Center born at Mercy Hospital

Representatives of Allina Health and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota ceremonially broke ground on The Mother Baby Center at Mercy May 14.

Emily Stimmler cradled baby Eli on her hip as she described to groundbreaking ceremony guests the critical care her newborn baby boy needed just days after his birth last year.
Emily Stimmler cradled baby Eli on her hip as she described to groundbreaking ceremony guests the critical care her newborn baby boy needed just days after his birth last year. Photo by Sue Austreng

When the facility opens next summer, specialized care and birthing options will be available close to home for local families and their newborns.

The Mother Baby Center, the facility “will provide all mothers and families in the north Twin Cities metro area – including Coon Rapids, Anoka, Buffalo, Maple Grove and neighboring communities – access to a network of world-class, family-centered birthing options closer to home,” according to Gloria O’Connell, spokesperson for Allina Health.

The Mother Baby Center at Mercy, a $30 million initiative, will feature the only Level II special care nursery in the north-metropolitan area with private patient rooms, providing in-room accommodations for families to stay together with their baby.

Emily Stimmler, who gave birth to her son, Eli, last year at Mercy Hospital Birth Center, said that care will be priceless for families delivering a baby with special needs.

Just two days after Eli was born, Emily was told her baby had “soft makers” (early indications) for Down syndrome.

“They took us aside and told us in a room the size of a closet. Then we had to walk back through the nursery to our room. It was a horrible experience. It felt very impersonal, we had no privacy, no bonding time with our baby … There was no room, no space, no anything for doctors. I can’t wait to see this new center. It will give moms and babies so much privacy and special care. It will be absolutely priceless,” Stimmler said.

In addition to Level II special care nursery and health care, for babies born at less than 34 weeks gestation, or for those who require a higher level of care, there will also be a seamless transition to and from The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children’s in Minneapolis.

“Adding more specialized services at Mercy, especially for high-risk mothers and babies, will mean fewer will need to go farther from home for care. We want to keep mothers and babies as close together as possible,” said Penny Wheeler, MD, president and chief clinical officer, Allina Health. “Patients are happier when they can receive the care they need close to home. That is what Allina Health aspires to do in all of the communities we serve.”

With the completion of the new center, the hospital’s current birth center will be moved to the new 62,200-square-foot, two-story Mother Baby Center attached to the southeast side of the hospital.

For high-risk patients, a skyway will grant connection to the hospital’s main operating room.

Initial capacity of the Mother Baby Center will accommodate 2,700 births annually, with shelled space for growth for up to 3,500 births annually.

“Mothers and families want a personalized and safe birthing experience in a space that is thoughtfully designed, features state-of-the-art technology and is staffed by the highest trained professionals. With Children’s as a partner, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy will optimize the quality of care for all mothers and babies in the north metro,” said Alan L. Goldbloom, MD, chief executive officer, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics.

“Building on the experience and success of the Mother Baby Center at Children’s and Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, I’m confident this expansion will continue to advance the standards of maternal, fetal and newborn care across the state,” said Goldbloom.

The Mother Baby Center at Mercy

Features of The Mother Baby Center at Mercy will include:

• A designated entrance with valet services and immediate access to triage

• 10 labor and delivery rooms

• 22 post-partum rooms

• Two large operating rooms

• An infant resuscitation room

• A 10-room Level II special care nursery with 14 bassinets

• A newborn nursery

• Five triage rooms

• All private patient rooms with full bathrooms, luggage carts, hospitality amenities (hairdryers, large screen TV, iPod docking station, fold-out sleeper sofa, etc.)

• A family lounge dedicated to families whose baby requires neonatal care

• Provider call rooms

Sue Austreng is at
sue.aus[email protected]