Members of the Alexian Brothers Foundation's Women's Board made an announcement recently on their Web page: they're expecting.
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After more than five years of planning, the new Alexian Brothers Women and Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates is nearing completion, and foundation members are throwing a pair of baby showers to welcome their new addition.
The first one takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, on the fourth floor of St. Alexius Medical Center, while the second takes place Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Kennedy Conference Center of Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village.
Foundation members sent out more than 4,000 invitations to members of the community who support their events, but they also expect a good showing from hospital staff and medical personnel at both hospitals.
"They're so excited about the new hospital because it will take care of children from across the system," says Susanne Frey, wife of Alexian Brothers Health System CEO Mark Frey, who is hosting the events. "We're all pulling together."
The showers are planned, she says, as open house style gatherings, with sandwiches and refreshments, as well as displays highlighting the items needed for the hospital.
For those unable to attend, foundation members have posted a gift registry on their site which details some of these items.
They range from baby swings and mobiles for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), as well as tablet computers, laptops and gaming systems for the patient rooms and waiting areas. They also hope to outfit families in need with necessities to prepare for the arrival of their new baby.
"These are items that are not part of our operating budget," says Julie Baker, events and volunteer outreach manager for the foundation. "We're trying to make the hospital more comfortable for families while they are in our care."
The biggest item they are seeking is donations for a webcam system in the NICU, allowing parents to check in on their babies remotely from home or work.
Donations already are coming in, including a $1,000 gift from Berry Electric in Berkeley and a financial contribution from Donna Gentile and her staff at Salon Coccole in Lake Zurich.
Today's baby shower comes two months before the six-floor, $125 million hospital on the southwest corner of the St. Alexius campus is set to open.
The Center for Pediatric Brain will be on the first floor, with neurology specialists providing epilepsy treatment, concussion recovery, and neuropsychological and developmental evaluations.
The second floor will house the pediatric unit and a pediatric intensive care unit, with playrooms for different age groups and private rooms. A Level III neonatal intensive care unit will be on the fourth floor, while mother-baby units and a nursery will be on the fifth floor. The 14 labor, delivery and recovery suites, along with operating rooms, will be on the sixth floor.