Here was Sydney Hamilton, less than 12 hours old, unaware that she was the recipient of glances, smiles and coos from onlookers Tuesday afternoon outside the Well-Baby Nursery at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
The yet-to-be-named Brawley twin boys, born just minutes on either side of 9 a.m. Tuesday, were likewise oblivious to maternity ward visitors getting a rare look in the Kresge Newborn Intensive Care Unit to see Brawley Boy No. 1 and other babies needing special medical attention.Another typical day at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center maternity ward, right? Well, the afternoon foot traffic around and through the maternity ward totaled about 3,000 Tuesday afternoon, as the medical center opened its newborn-care facilities to public scrutiny for its Maternity Open House.
The open house provided area residents an opportunity to tour the newly remodeled nurseries and patient rooms, the expanded newborn intensive care nursery and the state-of-the-art equipment much of which is new to the medical center during the past year or two.
But why the large number of visitors? According to the press release announcing the event, "This open house is for anyone who is planning on having a baby, (anyone who) already has a baby, anyone who knows someone who has a baby and anyone who enjoys babies."
Did that leave anybody out?
The big turnout also came for the handouts. Offered during the eight-hour open house were free pregnancy tests, free fetal-heart monitoring, a free drawing for 20 Cabbage Patch dolls, free food and free samples of infant-related merchandise from baby formula to baby photos.
Other activities included the showing of films about pregnancy, birth, newborn care and parenting, as well as five lectures ranging from safe toys to home care of childhood illnesses presented throughout the day.
Meanwhile, among open-house participants was the oft-overheard sharing and comparing of personal "war" stories mothers and mothers-to-be relating their experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.
Also a part of the open house was a "Preemie Reunion," honoring children who as newborns had been intensive-care patients at the medical center. "You've come along way, baby," announced one sign awaiting the arrival of the intensive-care "grads."
Teresa Holladay, maternity ward head, said the open house was a result of a year's worth of ideas, plans and preparations. She recalled shopping with Jill Nielsen, supervisor of the labor and delivery unit, for the 21 Cabbage Patch dolls to be given away. "One lady asked if we had that many kids at home."
An estimated 95,000 babies have been born at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center since opening as a Provo hospital 49 years ago. Boasting one of the busiest maternity wards in the nation, an average of 10 babies are born at the hospital each day with a single day's total sometimes as high as two dozen.
Medical center spokesman Clark Caras said 20 babies were born during Tuesday's open house.