A Home Away From Home for Parents in Sumner County

by | Dec 2023

NEENA SMITH felt hopeless. After losing both of her fallopian tubes following two tubal pregnancies, Smith thought she and her husband, Jonathon, would never birth a child of their own. Neena worked as a nurse at TriStar Skyline Medical Center, and her insurance covered the procedures for in vitro fertilization (IVF). “I was so thankful to be an HCA Healthcare employee because they provide insurance for IVF, and our sweet miracle would not be here without it. Once we conceived, we knew we wanted to find a place to deliver closer than TriStar Centennial because of the drive and the complexity of our pregnancy. TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center (THMC) offered us the expertise we needed closer to our home in Bethpage,” said Neena. 

Just 30 weeks into her pregnancy, Neena had to undergo an emergency delivery. Her miracle baby, Leilani, was born weighing 2 pounds, 13 ounces. “Delivering 10 weeks early was very scary, especially having a nursing background and knowing what I know. But all the nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, and everyone at THMC were truly amazing. Each one explained everything to me, making me feel at ease. They made a very stressful experience much easier for our entire family.” 

Even though the situation was unexpected, Leilani and her parents could adjust to being a family of three in the privacy of their own neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) suite. Thanks to cameras monitoring Leilani’s room, her parents stayed in constant contact even while away. The Birth Center currently features six NICU suites, but because of a $21 million expansion that broke ground in August 2023, they will expand to 10, with room for two additional suites. “It will also include a spacious room for parents to spend the night with their baby before discharge. This helps them adjust to their transition to home the next day,” said the director of The Birth Center, Jan Alexander. “We will also expand to 20 labor/delivery/recovery/ postpartum suites, or LDRP suites, as we call them, and we will also gain a five-bed assessment center.”

Alexander said this additional square footage will utilize a “shelled out space” below The Birth Center to create the NICU and OB assessment center. They will then convert the current NICU suites into additional LDRP suites, plus all existing suites will receive a face-lift. Alexander estimates this expansion and remodel will help them accommodate 500 more births each year. “This expansion will allow us to care for more families in our community. It’s important for us to keep our families close to home. Having a birth experience or a NICU experience can be a stressful time for families, and being a short distance from home helps to relieve that.”

Another exciting development will be the addition of classrooms available to the community for support groups and prenatal education. Alexander said, “Some of the classes we have talked about are prenatal yoga, infant massage, breastfeeding support, newborn care, postpartum support groups, depression groups, and bereavement groups. This expansion will allow us to grow in ways that our community has been asking for.”

The first phase of construction will be the expansion of the NICU, which is expected to be completed by May 2024. They project the LDRP rooms will be completed by August 2024. Architects working alongside THMC thoughtfully designed the new birth center to accommodate the needs of all families. They even included a room called “The Angel Room” for families who experience infant loss.

Dr. Susan Campbell, executive director of the Mother’s Milk Bank of Tennessee, recently recognized The Birth Center as the No. 2 Milk Depot for human milk donated in 2022. They also received the prestigious Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Hospital Association Best for Babies Award and the 2022 Human Experience Guardian of Excellence Award recipient for NICU services by Press Ganey. Founded in 1985, Press Ganey is the most widely used patient survey company in the United States. 

Celebrated as one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the nation, THMC recently received the Everest Award from Pinc AI. Healthgrades recently gave them seven awards, including being named one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals, placing them in the top 5% for consistently delivering quality care. CEO Justin Coury said, “Our colleagues at THMC focus on delivering high-quality, evidence-based care closer to home for Sumner County.” GN 

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