As a mama, you know the experience of giving birth is unlike anything else. Now, moms in the Hudson County area are getting an upgraded, state-of-the-art option to bring their babies into the world, with a $13 million dollar renovation to the maternity wing at Jersey City Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility.
I got a chance to get a private tour of the existing maternity floors, see some of the areas that have already undergone renovations, and learn about the future Lord Abbett Maternity Wing at JCMC, a 17,500 square foot addition that will add 20 private rooms for mamas and their new babes.
A Look at Labor & Delivery at Jersey City Medical Center
The labor and delivery floor is staying mostly as is, since it’s fairly newer, with some cosmetic changes. Each of the rooms already have birthing tubs, the most advanced clinical equipment, and more importantly, the floor is home to Hudson County’s only Level III NICU (more on that in a moment). One area that did get a recent upgrade was the triage area, which is the part of L&D where you’re assessed when you arrive, and where some expectant mamas go for monitoring for any concerns or during high-risk pregnancies.
While I didn’t deliver any of my babies at Jersey City Medical Center, returning to the labor and delivery floor was a unique and emotional experience for me because I did spend a lot of time in the triage area there. After losing our first daughter due to breathing complications shortly after her birth, my subsequent pregnancies have all been treated as high-risk. When I was pregnant with my son Kennedy, I would head to JCMC’s L&D triage weekly for non-stress tests as we neared his birth. Walking into the recently upgraded unit, I immediately noticed the changes – brighter lighting, new equipment, and a completely renovated space. To see mamas receiving care in the newly updated triage area was special for me.
Back to the NICU – where the Nursing Director for Maternal Child Services, Leah Dungee-Maignan showed me one of the incredible features that sets it apart. JCMC’s NICU has one of the state’s only NicView systems – it’s essentially a live-streaming camera that gives parents and up to 30 approved family members the ability to see their sweet babies in their isolettes at any time, from anywhere. After I posted about this in my Insta-story, I actually heard directly from a mom who delivered at JCMC, saying how their NicView system meant everything to her in those stressful, uncertain moments when her baby was in the NICU, allowing her a sense of comfort and valuable bonding.
I also learned Jersey City Medical Center’s NICU has another impressive distinction. It’s the only one in the state that has not had a case of CLABSI – a central line-associated blood stream infection – in more than 5 years. The team says most hospital NICU’s have one or two cases a year, so that really stood out to me.
I then got a peek at the existing mother/baby floor, with all fully-private maternity rooms. Now, if you’ve given birth, you know the value of a private room for those precious first moments with your baby. Medically, the RWJBarnabas Health team says there are important health benefits to having babies room-in with moms and have the family together in a private space to promote recovery, bonding, and breastfeeding if possible. Hearing how important private rooms were to parents reinforced their vision for creating the new wing and adding 20 new private rooms, to the existing 17.
Time for the Ceremonial Swing for the Lord Abbett Maternity Wing
And that vision began to come to fruition with a ceremonial first sledgehammer swing – as much of the team involved in this huge project took turns whacking through the wall, marking the immediate start of construction for the new Lord Abbett Maternity Wing. The wing will feature 20 new private mother/baby rooms and allow the existing 17 rooms to be converted to private as well. JCMC’s President and CEO Michael Prilutsky says the expansion will answer the needs of the fast-growing community and changing demographics of Jersey City, where more and more couples are deciding to stay and start their families. It’s a project 3 years in the making, made possible by a $1 million dollar donation by Jersey City-based investment firm Lord Abbett, which saw this as a perfect opportunity to invest in the community’s family-centered future.
The new wing is expected to open in January of 2020. Dr. Lance Bruck, Vice President and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health sees the expansion as a way to enhance what JCMC already offers from a clinical standpoint. He says the underlying care and expertise that the hospital has always carried and prides itself on is the crucial foundation that will continue to drive the delivery experience. And now, the guarantee of a new private room with all the bells and whistles (and a view of the Statue of Liberty- not bad!) will be the cap-off to what is already an incredible life-changing milestone of bringing a new baby into the world.