Guests at this Orem facility can watch television from a Jacuzzi, walk the grounds undisturbed while their health is monitored discreetly and can have any reasonable request granted by the attentive staff.
Most people wouldn't choose this place for restful vacation, but about 1,000 women a year choose Orem Community Hospital's Women's Center as a place to give birth."Women used to have their babies alone with the medical team," said Marie Hamilton, birthing center manager. "A nurse would walk out and tell the father what he had. Well, that's not how we do it anymore."
Women in the early stages of labor at Orem Community Hospital's birthing center can take a warm shower to relax their muscles, can sit in the Jacuzzi to take pressure off their uteruses or can stroll around the halls while wearing fetal heart monitors.
"We try to accommodate any request that doesn't endanger anyone's health," Hamilton said.
Women go back to their rooms when they are ready to deliver, and their flat beds are converted into birthing beds. A section near the foot is removed, stirrups appear and the angle of the bed can change.
"Women can lay on their side, can rest on their hands and knees or can sit to deliver," Hamilton said. "No one has a baby flat on her back anymore. That angle can make a birth take hours longer."
(Special rooms are used for caesarean births, and high-risk patients are sent to other hospitals.)
Most parents dim the lights for their babies' birth and play taped music they have selected.
The majority of expectant fathers stay with their wives before, during and after labor, Hamilton said. About a quarter of the couples choose to have friends or other family members at the birth.
"Some families like to have their other children there to help the family bond with the baby. We have a sibling class that prepares children for what will happen. We explain things in language children will understand, and we use books and film strips.
"But siblings must have someone there for them during the birth. Their mother will be too busy to deal with them, and we don't want the husband's attention taken away from the wife."
The center also offers prenatal classes. Expectant mothers and their partners can learn about proper nutrition and how to ease tension during the birthing process.
"We try never to use the word `pain,' " Hamilton said.
Most center patients are from Utah County, but some travel from other states on the advice of their doctors or because they have good memories of the center from the birth of a previous child.
"One woman came from Minneapolis," Hamilton said. "She said after having her first child here, she didn't want to go anywhere else."
Linda Elies, of Orem, agrees.
"I came back because it was so nice the first time. It has a home-style atmosphere, and a nurse stayed after her shift just to help me."
Linda's husband, Steve, said he felt very involved in the birth of Sydnee, born Tuesday night. Daughter Ashley, 4, did not attend her sister's birth.
Most couples also take advantage of the camera and videotape recorder in each birthing room, Hamilton said.
Since insurance companies offer incentives to mothers who leave the hospital within a day or two of their child's birth, the center offers its nurses for an in-home follow-up visit the day after discharge, Hamilton said.
The center's main goal, besides delivering healthy babies, is to help new family members bond with old, she said.
"We do whatever couples want unless it endangers the mother's or child's health. I was kind of surprised the first time a father wanted skin bonding with the new baby. He stripped from the waist up to hold it. But it's getting to the point where no request can surprise me anymore."