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Essentia Health completes $5 million remodel of labor and delivery rooms

The new spaces at Essentia Health in Fargo focus on comfort and needs of moms and babies.

Essentia remodeled labor and delivery room
Newly remodeled labor and delivery rooms at Essentia Health in Fargo feature more than 400 square feet of space and amenities like a fireplace, mini fridge and all care in one room.
Contributed / Essentia Health
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FARGO — Allie Nowotny has had three children at three different hospitals, and her experience delivering her son Drew at Essentia Health on Dec. 8 was completely unexpected, but in the best way possible.

"Honestly, the atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced before," she said. "My husband and I felt like it was a hotel experience ... from the ambiance of the fireplace to the huge bathroom and whirlpool tub, it was just a really comfortable space and so nice."

Nowotny welcomed her baby in one of 15 newly remodeled 420-square-foot rooms designed for the comfort and health of both patients. Rooms feature a fireplace, music, dimmable lighting, aromatherapy, a mini fridge as well as a whirlpool tub in the bathroom, according to an Essentia news release. The $5 million remodel began in January 2020, according to Essentia spokesman Louie St. George.

Allie Nowotny.jpeg
Allie Nowotny cradles her newborn son Drew shortly after his birth at Essentia Health in Fargo on Dec. 8, 2021.
Contributed / Lindsay Kaye Photography

Additionally, patients do not move rooms once they have delivered their baby, which is part of Essentia's labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) model of care.

“Having an LDRP model, where families are able to stay in their birthing suites their entire stay, has long been a request from our patients,” said Kecia Lund, nursing director for women’s and children’s services at Essentia Health-Fargo.

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Nowotny said she and her husband, Dustin, appreciated the spaciousness of the room as well as having a refrigerator at the ready.

"We went to the hospital at 10 p.m. and he was born around 5 a.m., and I had grabbed a Gatorade on the way out of the house which my husband put in the fridge in the room," she said. "It's one of those little things, but it was super nice to have that fridge in the room."

She noted the artwork — it was "beautiful" and "calming," she said — as well as the welcome gift that awaited her in the room with necessities like newborn diapers, wipes, lip balms and essential oils. Nowotny said she also appreciated receiving vitamin D drops and a swaddle for her baby as well as a keepsake hat and blanket. She also had a Medela pump ready for whenever she needed it.

Nowotny is a senior HR business partner in Essentia's human resources department, but she could have elected to have her baby at any health system in the area. She chose Essentia because she felt comfortable there and knew the doctors and nurses.

"I chose my provider based on referrals I had, and the care you get from any provider is second to none," she said, noting that she had a great experience with the lactation service providers as well. "I think as you get older, have different experiences, multiple pregnancies and babies, you begin to understand how much of a miracle bringing a new baby into this world really is. Having Drew at the new birthing center was the icing on the cake to an overall wonderful experience I had at Essentia."

Baby Drew joined 5-year-old Ruthie and 3-year-old Sylvia, and Nowotny said they have been loving on their little brother so much.

"He was the perfect little Christmas gift," she said.

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Welcoming baby Drew to the Nowotny family are big sisters Ruthie and Sylvie.
Contributed / Allie Nowotny

Essentia's $5 million remodel of the labor and delivery rooms followed the completion of a $4.1 million renovation of its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and women's surgical recovery suites in 2019.

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A virtual tour of the new labor and delivery floor is available here.

Danielle Teigen has a bachelor's degree in journalism and management communication as well as a master's degree in mass communication from North Dakota State University. She has worked for Forum Communications since May 2015, first as a digital content manager before becoming the Life section editor and then deputy editor. She recently moved back to her hometown in South Dakota, where she works remotely for Forum Communications as managing editor of On the Minds of Moms.
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