Learn more about the new Women & Infants Center while taking a virtual tour.
Hi, I’m Angie Weidinger and I’m joined by Dr. Camaryn Chrisman Robbins.
And we are at the Women & Infants Center and that’s at the Barnes-Jewish Parkview Tower. This is a really exciting time because we’re getting a little bit of a sneak peek before it has its grand opening.
Yes, I keep telling people as I’m around the floors a little bit more, and as we are preparing for our move on Saturday. I’m just, I’m practically stopping people in Schnucks. Like, have you heard? Have you seen? Do you know how beautiful it is? So, this is a really, really big week for our service.
It’s so exciting because this is a special partnership between Washington University Physicians, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. And we’ll get into what makes that partnership even kind of a physical partnership between the location of things a little later. But you’re an OBGYN with Washington University.
I am. So I’m part of the crew that takes care of the women having their babies and, you know, our move for labor and delivery is coming up. As I mentioned, on Saturday. There are other folks, as part of our, sort of, wider partnership who have already moved into the new building.
So, let’s talk about why. I mean, we’re excited about it because people have been dreaming and talking about this for years, hoping that St. Louis could get something as special as this is and now it’s a reality. Let’s talk about what makes it so special.
It is special for… the first thing that you’ll see when you come into the building, and I hope you do, is how beautiful it is. If you believe that healthcare and wellness is part of a package of how we feel in our physical environment, and especially when we’re ill what our physical environment, is like: the people caring for us, the space, the light, the colors… You will walk into this building and be completely floored that it is absolutely gorgeous. It’s light, there’s art, there’s colors, there’s beautiful soothing… it’s a soothing space. And I don’t think we could say that about our old labor and delivery, which did really well for a lot of years but now we’re creating a new space.
When you can dream it, you dream for the best, right?
I mean, this is a delivery room.
This is it. This is a delivery room.
When I walked in I would not have guessed that. I would have guessed this is where moms come after. But no, this is a delivery room. I mean, it is so comfortable in here.
It’s spacious. We have the capacity to provide really high-quality care. Sort of handling those ‘what if’ situations: if somebody has a rough labor, if they have complications with delivery, if somebody is recovering from a really uncomplicated delivery, this is the room. It all happens here.
We want to talk about what you do when you get here and are in labor. But first, I want to remind people that if you have any questions, the greatest thing about Facebook live is that you just comment those and we’ll answer them, or rather she will answer them for you.
So, ok, if a women is in labor what does she need to do? Where does she come? How does she check in? What happens?
So, if you are in labor, you can come to the circle drive in front of this building. There is a valet that will take care of you.
You just get out of your car and you take the patient elevators up to the fifth floor. So, there are two stacks of elevators in the main lobby and one of them is very clearly marked for the Women & Infants portion of Parkview Tower. So, you go up those elevators to the fifth floor and we are here. There’s no way to get lost. The elevator doors open and you see our administrative staff there to welcome you with a smile and help figure out at that point what you need to do.
We are seeing some video. I mean look how beautiful this is. Does it differ if you’re having a C-section versus a different kind of birth?
No, same process. You come in the front doors and head upstairs and it’s our job then to take care of you and direct you appropriately. But it’s all the same doors, same reception area.
Now, what if you get here and you haven’t completely dilated yet. Your water maybe hasn’t broken yet. Is there a special place that the women go?
Everyone goes to… so, there is the Women’s Assessment Center, which is new. There it is, on cue! So, there’s a Women’s Assessment Center where we can help decide if you need to stay in the hospital or if you can go home.
Because sometimes it can be confusing.
Trust me. This came up on Belly to Baby. I’m admitting to a lot of people that as an obstetrician I had a few false labor situations when I was pregnant.
Oh, that is comforting.
I didn’t know. Nobody knows. So, let us help you. Come into the very comfortable Women’s Assessment Center and we can help check your cervix, check baby’s heartbeat on the monitor and decide if it’s time to come in, or maybe it’s time to walk around a little bit for a recheck, or maybe it’s time to go home.
While you’re pregnant, I know sometimes things happen. Like, this is weird. I don’t know what’s happening right now. You’re having spotting maybe or something, can you come in there as well?
Yes, this is it. And effective March of this year, we will actually be seeing all of our gynecology patients and our obstetric patients in this Women’s Assessment Center. So, really bringing the whole service line together so it’s in one place. It’s easy. Your doctor will meet you here. And it will be, for our patients, a way to bypass the emergency room and provide a little more boutique care.
So much better than googling something.
Please come see us. I google things. I’m not judging.
It’s never good.
But it never leads you to a place of confidence and hope. It leads you to a spiral of panic.
Ok, so, what if you come in and were wanting a natural birth. Are there some options for women, therapeutic options for that route?
Yes, so we are really proud of our tub rooms. So for management of pain in labor, we have rooms with really beautiful tubs. Warm water feels amazing when you’re having labor pains. We do not, I need to say, we do not do water births here. We do not believe that to be safe in alignment with lots of professional societies. But, anyhow, pain management during labor. Tub rooms. We have a whole staff.
I’m distracted about how beautiful that is.
I know. Look at the iPad. We’ll talk about that later. But, side note, you can order food and control your TV through your iPad. What?!
I know, so, we have labor and delivery nurses who are experts and the best of the best at helping you navigate pain whether you want an epidural or not. There are ways to help position your body, walk, we have a labor walk.
Yah, I just saw that. What’s a labor walk?
Oh. There’s a tub. The tubs are nice and deep. They’re really, really nice. So, we have this hallway that’s all glass and along the hallway are beautiful, original pieces of art from St. Louis and Missouri artists. And it’s just a long space that is dedicated to women in labor who need to move. And there’s a railing so if you need to stop and catch your breath. But, currently, we don’t really have that capacity in our labor and delivery suite at Barnes south. So there’s the labor walk. It’s just a place to not be in a bunch of side traffic. Nobody is going to be pushing a cart by you, no family members will be walking in circles looking for their loved ones. So, that’s just a space to kind of walk out those contractions.
And then there’s also… this is for after… but there’s a rooftop garden. There’s all kinds of neat spaces…
There is. We have an outdoor space with a garden. We actually have a view of a garden from labor, but you can’t access it. But at least the center of the unit is open with windows and once spring comes. Is spring ever coming? Eventually.
I hope. Once spring comes, there will be flowers and greenery and that’s just more light. And then up on the sixth floor, which is our postpartum area, you are able to access a garden and walk around and sit outside.
We’ll talk about postpartum here in just a minute, but let’s talk more… we started out by talking about this partnership. This facility is actually connected to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, right?
So talk about why that’s so important and just special.
So, we have the capacity for one of our moms to walk…Oh, look at that operating room. I can’t. It’s too exciting... Our moms can walk 100 feet, a 100 and some feet across the bridge and be in the middle of the neonatal ICU. So, this is an amazing reason, I think, for a lot of moms to come to us for their care if they know ahead of time that their baby is going to have neonatal ICU level needs when they’re born. And it’s also amazing for when that’s a surprise.
Peace of mind.
You don’t know if your baby is going to be born and need extra help. And if that’s the case, you’re a short walk away and that is huge. Right now, we are a couple buildings away, so we are short enough that it is a wheel chair ride, but this is just a matter of moments.
And not to mention that if the mom is having to stay and the baby is having to stay in NICU, you’re not that far away from baby.
It’s basically like a hallway, but it’s a hallway that happens to be in the air, covered in glass. But look at it, it’s very… it’s easy.
I mean, that’s incredibly unique to have something like that because we’re talking about 24/7 neonatologists that are on staff that can help, like you were saying, if something happens.
Whether it’s an unknown or an anticipated, that proximity is so important for families and babies.
Yeah, wow. Ok, so what happens…we were just talking about postpartum… so baby is healthy? What happens then? Where does mom go? What happens?
So, mom recovers in this room, well not this room necessarily, but a room like this. So there’s some quiet time, mom and baby together, family members… We just want to make sure mom is safe and ready. And then it’s a very short elevator ride up one floor and there is a beautiful postpartum area with Newborn Assessment Center, is what you are seeing right now. So, our pediatricians are able to check on babies that might need a little extra TLC but aren’t ill enough that they need a special care, special nursery sort of level care. And there is also that garden we talked about earlier, so you’re able to get out of your room and actually feel sun on your face and fresh air.
And babies can stay in the room with mom?
Babies are with mom the whole time. I will say though if mom is on a medication that makes her sleepy, if she doesn’t have a support person with her - maybe everyone has to go home and help take care of the kids that are home - and it’s just not safe to have mom with the baby by herself, or if mom needs sleep, they’re able to go to that Newborn Assessment Center and give mom a break. We don’t have a nursery and I think that’s been a little bit concerning for some folks. Like, Barnes is taking away a nursery. We aren’t taking away a nursery, we just don’t have a big room where babies are parked for days at a time. We have this model where we want babies to be with the family. But if you need a rest we’ll take your baby so you can have a little bit of a rest.
We actually have a question that goes to that support person. Someone’s asking what’s some advice for fathers to be supportive? Or the support person to be supportive to that new mom? Any advice?
As a mom and a wife or a doctor? What would you like me to answer?
Let’s start with doctor. And I want to hear the mom, too.
Yes, I think it’s really hard for dads to find a space where they feel helpful. It’s overwhelming. It’s not something you have not individually, personally gone through health-wise so it’s really hard to know what to do. So I say embrace the not exciting, not sexy parts of life like laundry and asking if somebody is hungry or thirsty and offering to pick up. Take the diapers outside. I mean in the hospital we have so much help for you that really dads and moms don’t need to do much. But you go home and you have this being that needs you and all the stuff that is really hard for a mom who’s just had a baby to do becomes the most romantic gesture you could ever d. As Valentine’s Day is coming up, may I suggest that all the new dad’s embrace laundry and like folding it and putting it away and food. Now, there is lactation help. That was another question that just popped up. We have lactation consultants in the hospital.
That’s so comforting because that’s… that was a surprise for me. That was tougher than I imagined it to be. That’s so nice to have.
It is not easy and it’s not anything to be ashamed of if you need help. And they will come see you automatically. You don’t need to ask for a lactation consultant to come see you. If you identify as a mom who is nursing, they will include you on their rounds and if you’ve done it before and you don’t really need help they will just kind of say ‘hey’ and ‘go mom’ and if you need help, they’re there for you.
And does that continue after you leave? Can you continue to call on them?
Yep. So, that’s…
Oh, that’s so nice.
I know. I know. We actually…
Cause sometimes you leave and are like ‘what am I doing?’
So, they will hook you up with folks in the community that have sort of a support group type situation. And if that’s not your bag, you don’t want to sit in a group and talk about your breasts, no big. They will arrange for you, they’ll call you on the phone, they can arrange for you to come into the office. And I think it really does take a village and they will connect you with folks in the community that may be a little bit more accessible and kind of tailor it to what you need. But, they are 100% available to you once you go home.
That’s wonderful. We also have a question. If somebody wants to take a tour, how do they come and see this beautiful place?
Yes, so if you go to barnesjewish.org/classes and you navigate a few pull-down menus to get to childbirth classes and then tours. I think those are the two menus. Check me on that. But, it’s very easy once you go to that barnesjewish.org/classes, you can schedule a tour.
We’ll probably put a link within this so you can get to that easily.
And I will say that the first couple tours that are posted are already full and we’re adding more, so keep checking back if you do want to take a tour in the next month or so and it doesn’t seem like there’s availability, we’re adding more.
Okay, and just to remind everybody that this is currently not open. This Women & Infants Center opens on February 10th at 9 am. So this Saturday. Oh my goodness. So exciting. And then we’ll answer the questions in the comment section after the live video, too, so keep with your questions and we’ll continue to answer them even after we’re finished. Okay, and this also says how long do you typically stay? So, once baby has come, I know it depends, right, what kind of delivery you have?
In general terms, if you have a vaginal delivery, you stay for 2 nights. If you have a C-section you stay for 3 nights.
Okay. So two nights. Like if you have your baby in the morning, that’s one…
Right, if you have your baby at 11pm that doesn’t count as the night.
Okay. That’s what I was curious about.
We don’t kick you out.
So two nights. And what was C-section?
Okay. Good. And during that time, that’s where you’re getting that information from lactation consultants and all kinds of things.
Oh, can I plug the family waiting area?
Because this is new.
Oh, and that’s the garden, right?
There’s the garden. Imagine it with green. So the other things that’s amazing is we have an entire, half of our second floor is a family waiting room. So we have coffee, we have computers with internet access, we’ve got refrigerators and microwaves so for people who have folks from out of town that are here for 8 hours waiting for the baby to be born. A lot of hospitals, including our old space, it was like well here’s two couches and a bunch of blankets, but we now have reclining chairs and TVs and it’s going to make a big difference for support folks who want to be here but can’t necessarily be in the room.
Well, this is exciting as we’ve talked about, this is something that people have… doctors have dreamed about having for so long. I mean, can you just talk about your excitement for Saturday?
I am. I’ll be really, really excited to wake up Saturday morning and know that all the planning… We have worked so hard to try to think of every detail to make sure everyone who is actually physically going to be moved is comfortable. We’ve got snacks and coffee and t-shirts and we’re just going… It’s going to be such a rush to know that we did it and we’re in this space. And we aren’t going to move anyone that is actively in labor. I promise. It’s really going to be quite a day of celebration.
Wonderful. So, again, this is the Women & Infants Center. It’s located at Barnes-Jewish Parkview Tower. A partnership between Washington University Physicians, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Something so exciting for our area to get because it’s so special.
It is so special. Come visit us.
Yes, come and schedule a tour. And thank you for answering all these questions. It’s really interesting.
Alright, we’ll see you next time. Thank you for joining us.