Baby Boom: The Birth Place on pace to deliver 50 more babies than last year
By The Pulse Jul 24, 2013
When Melissa and Ethan Dexter arrived at Wyoming Medical Center early Monday morning for the birth of their second child, it seemed like they were the only family in The Birth Place. The rooms appeared empty, they said.
Wednesday, Melissa took her new daughter, Rosalie Dexter, born at 7:55 a.m. Monday, for a walk down the hallway. Suddenly, every room seemed full.
“I didn’t even know it was so busy,” Melissa said Wednesday afternoon as she prepared to take her new baby home. “The nurses have been amazing. They’ve been in constantly checking in on us. That’s one reason I didn’t know there were so many babies.”
Wyoming Medical Center is in the middle of something of a baby boom. On Wednesday, they were caring for 15 babies and their families, seven of which were delivered on Tuesday. It continues a trend that started this spring and, if the pace holds, The Birth Place will deliver 50 more babies this year than in 2012.
When registered nurse Jennifer Gallagher started at WMC 11 years ago, they delivered about 60 babies a month. Now they are delivering nearly 100, she said.
A flurry of babies isn’t unusual, said Emily White, a registered nurse in The Birth Place. What’s unusual is that this flurry has lasted so long. WMC delivered 103 babies in May, 102 in June and 85 so far in July.
“It’s a baby boom for sure,” White said. “It’s always surprising when you see it continue. We’ve not had a lull in a long time.”
By the numbers
1111, total babies born at Wyoming Medical Center’s The Birth Place in 2012
572, babies born from January to June, 2013
1144, number of babies that will be born in 2013 if the January-to-June pace holds – the highest number in 13 years
95, babies born in July 2012
While she can’t say for sure what’s causing it, she has some ideas:
-- Natrona County’s oil and energy industries are healthy, attracting young men who bring their young wives. That is an influx of couples of “baby-making age” and reflects what has happened in previous booms.
-- The steamy book series, “50 Shades of Gray,” is still quite popular with women of a certain age. “I’m not kidding,” White said. “I’ve had mothers say, ‘This is my “50 Shades of Gray” baby.’”
-- Hunting season just happened to wrap up, oh, about nine months ago. “It’s chilly. Your man is gone for a while,” White said. “When he comes home, you start cuddling, you start kissing. Kissing leads to babies.”
Laboring mothers at WMC get one-on-one nurse-to-patient care. Nurses come in every 30 minutes to check that mothers are comfortable, that they are advancing and that their babies’ heart rates are normal. After birth, one nurse cares for three “couplets” – a mother and baby pair. They answer questions about breast-feeding, conduct baby assessments and make sure families know what to expect. The Birth Place is a family unit, White said, and the nurses care for all the members of the brood.
When there are six women in labor at any one time, and when a nurse has three couplets to look after, those nurses are hopping, White said. Day and night.
But they enjoy the tempo, White said.
“I think we give great care. We love our patients. We love their babies,” said White, who delivered her own two children – ages 6 months and 20 months -- at The Birth Place. As a nurse, she gets to be in the story of a person’s life, one that will likely be told on birthdays and at other milestones for years to come. That’s a great responsibility, one she is honored to have.
“I will never forget my own labor and I will never forget the nurses who cared for me when I was here,” she said. “We get to be part of (the family’s) story. We can either make or break their story.”
Inside the room of Rebekah and Dale Maynard, baby Hayden John -- 7 pounds, 5 ounces – slept quietly in his mother’s arms. He apparently didn’t notice what had been happening outside his door.
When Hayden’s big brother, JJ, was born almost three years ago, Grandma Nancy Sinagoga said JJ was the only baby in the nursery. When she went to see Hayden on Tuesday, there were six.
When Hayden leaves Wyoming Medical Center as one of seven babies born on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, he will have a great protector. Big brother JJ – turning 3 “units” next week -- has vowed to share his toys and cover him with blankets whenever he gets cold. “We’re brothers!” he announced to everyone in the hallway when he and Mom took Hayden for a walk.
And when it comes to naptime, he already knows what his brother needs.
“What do you think of your little brother?” a visitor asked as Hayden slept, suckling on a green pacifier.
Big brother JJ raised his index finger to his lips and answered: “Shhh!”
Preparing for Childbirth ClassesFor more information Preparing for Childbirth Classes, call 577-2378 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for on overview of all of WMC’s maternity services.