AUBURN — A mix of politicians, philanthropists, medical personnel, pregnant women and babies toured through the new Stardust Community Birthing Center Thursday during the center’s grand opening.
Mothers who had babies at Auburn Memorial Hospital before the recent $2.5 million renovations marveled at the spacious, new birthing suites, the softly decorated post-partum rooms, the jetted whirlpool tubs.
Mothers who are expecting new babies within the next few months asked questions about whether husbands can stay at the hospital during the labor and delivery processes.
Shonna Rankins, of Elbridge, said she plans to have her baby girl at the new maternity unit. She is due Nov. 1.
"So far, the facility is nice," she said on the tour. "It’s inviting, it’s comfortable and that’s important."
For Rankins, having lots of space and alone time with her new baby is crucial. She also wants her husband, Kevin, and daughter, Reannah, to be able to join her and stay with her during her stay at Auburn Memorial Hospital.
"Your baby staying in the room with you is really big," she said, explaining that at some hospitals, rushing staff and facility layout can separate a mother from her new baby.
Dana Brabant, of Auburn, is also planning to deliver at the Stardust Community Birthing Center. She is due on Labor Day.
"I think the Jacuzzi tubs are a big deal," she said. "That’s what I’m most excited about."
Shannon Reohr, of Weedsport, who had two babies at Auburn Memorial Hospital prior to the latest renovations, said midwife Marge Tracy was wonderful.
"The care has always been great," she said. "Now with the renovations, the facilities will match the care."
Reohr said that when she had both of her children, she was in a room at Auburn that had been updated in 1998, but other rooms were not as nice.
"I’m really excited that now all of the rooms are updated and women and families in the community will have the same opportunity I had," she said. "The community came together to the benefit of its own and for that I’m really grateful."
Just as the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century was telling the hospital to close its old maternity unit in 2006, the Stardust Foundation of Central New York contributed a matching $1 million grant toward the renovations and challenged the hospital to raise the rest of the money.
Community members, local businesses, foundations, including the Emerson Foundation, and other supporters helped raise the remainder to create the pristine nurses’ station, nursery, exam room, four birthing suites and seven post-partum suites, complete with private bathrooms and flat-screen televisions.
Staff writer Kelly Voll can be reached at 282-2239 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenVoll.