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Special deliveries 26 St. Luke's Birth Center nurses had babies in 2018

Cliff Jette/The Gazette

Twenty-six nurses at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Birth Center, all of whom had babies in 2018, pose with their new additions for a group photo last week at St. Luke’s Women’s & Children’s Center.
Cliff Jette/The Gazette Twenty-six nurses at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Birth Center, all of whom had babies in 2018, pose with their new additions for a group photo last week at St. Luke’s Women’s & Children’s Center.

It might not seem unusual that a lot of babies were born in 2018 at UnityPoint Health — St. Luke’s Birth Center, and it isn’t, except that 29 of those babies — including three sets of twins — were born to birth center nurses.

Kathie Manderscheid, manager of the birth care center, said last year 14 birth care center nurses, 10 neonatal intensive care nurses and one neonatal intensive care nurse practitioner gave birth to 29 babies.

Manderscheid said the hospital typically sees a higher number of births in general during the summer and fall months, but for the associates, their births were spread out throughout the year.

Three of the babies were born in January and five each were born in February and March. April brought another three newborns and May, July and August each brought one baby. Autumn brought five babies — three in September and two in October — and the year ended with the four final births in December.

This is not the first time the hospital has seen so many employees add to their families, Manderscheid said. In 2013, 25 hospital associates and one obstetrics provider had babies.

“It’s very exciting,” Manderscheid said. “In 2013 we were like ‘oh my gosh, there must be something in the water,’ and now five years later, here we are again with so many associates adding to their families. And this year, 2019, we’ve already had roughly 10 to 12 associates who are due between February and June.”

Of the staff babies born in 2018, there were 15 girls and 14 boys born, including three sets of twins — one pair of identical girls, one pair of identical boys and one boy-girl set.

The twin girls, Manderscheid said, were stillborn.

“We deal with that in our line of work — we have stillborn babies,” she said. “Most people think working in a birth center is all happy, happy, but we can see some really sad things. And this was especially sad for all of given that the mother was one of our own.”

That mother has since gotten pregnant again, Manderscheid said, and is due in February.

“It’s been quite a journey for her,” she said. “She’s such a strong woman and now she’s expecting another girl, which is wonderful.”

Manderscheid said the birth center employs about 200 associates, many of whom are young and just starting their families.

“We’re a really close-knit group,” she said. “We work closely together and we pride ourselves on really good teamwork. Who you work with becomes your second family because you spend so much time with them, and we enjoy taking care of each other watching our families grow.”

And because the staff is so close, Manderscheid said, many of the babies find their first friends right there in the hospital.

“These kids do grow up together,” she said. “With a lot of the associates being close in age, and just starting their families, you see them band together and help each other out. They have play dates together and take their babies on outings together and help each other with baby-sitting. And we get to see lots of photos and watch them grow up, it just brings a smile to your face.”

In total, between staff and patients, Manderscheid said the birth center saw roughly 2,400 births in 2018, including 52 sets of twins — a possible record for the facility. In 2017, she said there were 34 sets of twins born at the center and the year before brought 39 sets of twins.

“And who knows what this year will bring,” Manderscheid said. “The world of obstetrics is very unpredictable, but we already know we have about a dozen babies on the way, so we’re shaping up to see our family expand even more this year.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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