Babies, babies, babies!
Babies everywhere you looked!
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In hallways. In elevators. In rooms. In incubators. But mostly in the hearts of the parents and the nurses cautiously transporting them to their new digs at the Alexian Brothers Women and Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates.
They began arriving around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. First one, then two. Then: baby invasion!
Fifty-five patients, including 18 premature and dangerously underweight babies, entered their newly constructed home at 1555 Barrington Road on the east side of the Alexian Brothers hospital campus.
The babies arrived swaddled in technological blankets of glass and metal, state-of-the-art incubators on wheels flanked by battalions of nurses fussing over every wire, flashing light and noisy beep.
"The two main things we are concerned about are light and movement," said Marcy Traxler, the hospital's Assistant Vice President for Business Development. "These can be very upsetting for the babies. We have worked very hard to assure that this move is accomplished quickly, quietly and efficiently."
How hard have they worked?
Two years of planning and three months of rehearsals before the big move on Saturday morning, said Lombard resident Maliha Shareef, medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"We are very excited about this move to this new facility," she said. "We have worked out all the details as best we could."
The 55 patients were moved from the established hospital to the new structure, a $125 million Level 3 medical facility, which means that it can handle more critical, difficult births than Level 2 and Level 1 hospitals.
Saturday morning, nurses paid particular attention to two babies weighing just 600 and 800 grams.
Amanda Sotelo of Elgin moved to the new wing with her second baby, daughter Claire, born March 6 at 3 pounds, 8 ounces. Claire was supposed to be born May 11.
"I'm very happy to be here," she said as nurses guided Claire's incubator into her new room, designed to be parent and patient friendly.
Yesenia Castillo's first baby, son Ian, had a due date of June 9, but arrived early on March 21 at 2.1 pounds.
"This is amazing!" said Castillo, a Streamwood resident. "Look at this space in the room! Look at the privacy! I can definitely see having my second baby here."
Likewise, Teresa Murzanski of Hoffman Estates was impressed with the state-of-the-art facility for her son Cody Jacob, in an incubator since his birth on Monday. He weighs two pounds.
"I like everything here," she said, "Plus, it's close to home."
The 126-bed, 210,000-square-foot hospital has been designed so that nursing stations are diffused throughout each of the building's six levels instead of the traditional single station in the center of the floor.
The hospital offers 126 private rooms, 16 critical-care beds and 10 "step-down" beds for infants with improving and less critical conditions.
The fifth and six floors contain three operating rooms, six triage bays, eight private ante partum suites and 14 private suites for women's labor, delivery and recovery.