WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A new NICU in West Des Moines is keeping parents and their babies together.
Since opening on December 1st, MercyOne West Des Moines NICU has helped 9 premature babies, including Bentley and Britleigh, who came in at 32 weeks old.
“She came out, she was three pounds 11 ounces and he was only three pounds, one ounce,” Parents Spenser and Anna Erickson said.
The Ericksons are from Massena Iowa, a town with only 314 people.
“Our county hospital that’s local to us doesn’t do twins just to high risk for that so that’s kind of how we got sent out this way,” Anna Erickson said.
Dr. Cary Murphy, the MercyOne NICU Medical Director said this is a shift in healthcare that’s happening all over the state.
“A lot of smaller hospitals in Iowa are getting rid of their labor and delivery services tends to have to do a lot with the economic aspects of it and then a lot of these hospitals maybe only have 610 deliveries a year so it’s not really fiscally possible to continue that,” Dr. Murphy said.
That’s why they built this NICU center with a level two nursery to keep new parents and premies together.
“There’s lots of studies out there that show that if you can keep mom and baby together the development the long-term outcome is better,” Dr. Murphy said.
For the Erickson’s, it’s the relief of not having to go home and leave their twins.
“So just to be able to, kind of, If I need to step out, I’m just down the hall and don’t take very long to get back if I need to be back,” Anna said.
And as the babies keep growing, the parents are able to watch every single change.
“As time has went on, you’ve seen a few less things maybe in the machines so it’s a little bit less intimidating in that factor just because there’s less class equipment kind of being used or, or hooked up to them so as this times change I guess as time goes on,” Spencer Erickson said.