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Eisenhower Delivers Circle of Life

By Lauren Del Sarto
A generous donor named the center after the valley’s Monsignor Howard Lincoln.

Last month, Eisenhower Health welcomed a new addition, the Eisenhower Family Birth Center. The new bundle of joy has been in the works for several years and is the pride of the hospital, which closed its previous birthing center almost two decades ago.

President and CEO Massiello in a private LDRP room

The decision to add the department was due in part to the valley’s growing younger demographic, says President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Massiello. “We have a lot of new, younger families coming into the valley — people who live here year-round, including many of our employees who are having children.” 

The elegant center opened its doors on May 27 and welcomed its first baby the same day. As of June 21, 48 babies have been born. “This has been a dream of mine since arriving at Eisenhower 13 years ago,” says Massiello. “I couldn’t believe we didn’t have a maternity unit and thought it would be wonderful to bookend the great senior and adult services we offer with bringing new life into the world.”

Building the center from the ground up allowed for state-of-the-art technology and a professional team of doctors, nurses and specialists led by Director Veronica Williams, MBA, MSN, PHN, RN, who brings 27 years of experience to the team. 

NICU infant beds include monitors for 24/7 virtual viewing by parents.

“The comfort and safety of mother and baby was top of mind in designing the center,” says Williams, “from décor to beds to access and monitoring.” 

The 55,000-square-foot-facility, which a generous donor named after Sacred Heart’s Monsignor Lincoln, features 14 private labor, delivery, recovery, postpartum (LDRP) rooms, so moms don’t have to worry about sharing a room with anyone but their baby. There are also eight private rooms in a level II NICU, two dedicated operating rooms, seven postpartum rooms and four triage (pre-delivery) rooms. Located in the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Pavilion (the main entrance), the facility is conveniently positioned close to the emergency department, where most moms in labor enter the hospital, and the ICU for those rare occasions when a higher level of care is needed. 

“In our four triage rooms we see everybody after 20 weeks and provide the care they require instead of having to wait in the emergency room,” says Williams.

The addition of the department created over 60 new jobs for OBs (laborists), certified obstetric and neonatal nurses, neonatologists (specialists in the care of newborns), support staff and more. Through Eisenhower’s partnership with UC San Diego Health, high-risk pregnancy specialists, or perinatologists, were also brought aboard. Endocrinology services for patients with gestational diabetes and lactation specialists are also available. In addition, the teaching hospital’s family medicine residents will play a role as their residency requirements include delivering babies.

The center features two dedicated operating rooms.

Family wellness is also a priority. Through the hospital’s affiliation with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Betty Ford Center, and Eisenhower Behavioral Health additional care and guidance are offered for the entire family, along with postpartum depression support as needed for moms.

In non-pandemic times, extended family will be welcome. “Grandparents, parents, siblings or other relatives will be welcome and can enjoy time with mom and baby in their private postpartum rooms,” says Williams. “But right now, we encourage that only the partner or support person for the delivering mother join them during the delivery. They are encouraged to stay during the entire process and are discharged home together.”

The center will offer 24/7 in-house coverage for labor and delivery and all baby services, the neonatal intensive care unit, and the emergency department as needed. “So, any time of the day or evening, we will have specialized newborn care readily available,” adds Williams.

“I think it will make a great difference for folks across the entire valley,” states Massiello, who attributes the project’s completion to their many donors. “Without our donors, this dream would not be a reality.” 

For more information, visit eisenhowerhealth.org/babies or call (760) 834-7870.

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