For the first time in 50 years, Mercy will welcome new life and care for women in a new women’s center on the campus of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. The Love Family Women’s Center opened April 7, offering a host of new services for families and women of all ages.
Nearly half, or $43 million, of the $98 million project was funded by philanthropy, including a $10 million donation from the Tom and Judy Love family, making Mercy’s decade-long dream a reality.
The hospital’s labor and delivery and postpartum services have been at capacity for years, limiting Mercy’s ability to serve more patients. The Love Family Women’s Center has 15 large labor and delivery rooms, seven antepartum rooms, 47 postpartum rooms and three cesarean section rooms with pre- and post-operative recovery rooms. The additional space allows Mercy to increase from 4,000 to 6,000 births annually.
An obstetrics emergency department staffed by obstetricians who can address urgent pregnancy-related concerns will be open 24/7. This ER is the first of its kind in Oklahoma City.
“Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time for women. We know those sudden onset symptoms can be scary, and patients want to be seen quickly to be sure mom and baby are okay,” said Dr. Tori O’Daniel, obstetrician hospitalist and chair of obstetrics and gynecology Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. “Our obstetrics ER will be there to provide immediate access for patients who are at least 20 weeks pregnant or up to six weeks postpartum. Patients are seen by obstetrician hospitalists who are physician experts in pregnancy, giving them peace of mind.”
The state’s first hospital-based low intervention birth unit is also located on the first floor of the Love Family Women’s Center. This unique space has four large labor and delivery suites, each with a queen-size bed and labor tub. Care for mom and baby will be led by a Mercy certified nurse midwife in a space designed to give families a natural, home-like experience just steps away from a higher level of care in the event of an emergency.
The center connects to the hospital via a sky bridge. This allows moms of babies needing a higher level of care to have quick, direct elevator access to Mercy’s neonatal intensive care unit on the fifth floor.
“The work we do is truly sacred, and the Love Family Women’s Center is such a special place to serve families,” said Laura Beck, Mercy’s executive director of nursing for women and infant services. “Our physicians and nurses helped design this building based on what is best for patients. Our teams have been working to develop programs and processes to best serve families and provide a safe, warm, welcoming and comfortable experience they’ll feel when they walk in the door.”
The center also houses outpatient services for women including appointments with lactation experts and a midwifery clinic where Mercy’s certified nurse midwives will provide care from pre-conception to early pregnancy, prenatal health, delivery and beyond.
An outpatient pelvic floor therapy department staffed by highly trained female physical therapists is also located on the first floor. The clinic has a therapy gym and four private consultation rooms to serve women of all ages and stages experiencing pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, chronic constipation and more.
The center, the result of the largest fundraising campaign in Mercy’s history, has been made possible by a long list of generous donors who funded nearly half of the project. In addition to the lead donation from the Love family, campaign co-chairs Judy Love and Cathy Keating led the way in raising more than $33 million additional dollars for a donation total of $43.5 million.
“This campaign was led by women, for generations of women to come and there could be no better campaign co-chairs than Judy Love and Cathy Keating,” said Lori Cummins, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation communities. “They took this project head on just three months before a worldwide pandemic brought economic uncertainty, but it didn’t stop the enormous outpouring of support from our community and beyond. We could not be more grateful.”