Covington hospital and its first baby both turn 1 this week
This week, labor and delivery nurse Becky Beal will celebrate two milestones: the one-year anniversary of her workplace, MultiCare Covington Medical Center, and — perhaps a bit more exciting to the new mom — the first birthday of her baby girl.
MultiCare Covington Medical Center opened one year ago on April 24. Valerie Phillips, first baby born at Covington Medical Center, turns 1 on April 25.
Beal and her wife, Melissa Phillips, were originally planning on giving birth at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center. But when the new hospital opened at the same time Phillips was scheduled to be induced, they decided to switch to Covington.
Phillips was one week past her due date for her first child. The excitement of both her first childbirth and the new hospital was quite exciting, she says.
“It was an amazing experience,” Phillips says. “It was nice having tons of staff there, everyone getting used to the new digs. Everyone was so helpful and accommodating. The availability of everybody was kind of nice. People were checking on us constantly.”
Certified nurse-midwives Tina Gearheart and Clare Sherley helped with the delivery.
“I was honored to catch the first baby at Covington hospital,” Sherley says. “Baby Valerie is kind of our mascot now.”
While trying to relax through delivery, Phillips and Beal got into the birthing suite’s big bathtub in their swimsuits, only to be joined shortly after by Sherley. Phillips laughs remembering the moment.
“‘Can I come in?’” she says her midwife asked. “We said, ‘Absolutely!’ It was a neat experience.”
Gearheart recalls the fun and excitement as well.
“Oh man, it was exciting,” says Gearheart. “We midwives were all hired to start and be a part of this birth center, so after finally getting to the opening and delivery of our first baby, it was so exciting. And this couple were and are so very dear to us that it made it even more special.”
Phillips is happy for the lucky timing.
The birthing suite was huge and pristine, she says, and the pull-out couch was “super cozy” for Beal to sleep on during their three-night stay.
“I definitely loved the hospital and the birth center,” Phillips says. “It was just a great overall experience.”
Plus, she adds, the food was delicious. Phillips admits she didn’t want to leave because of it. She recalls having fettuccine alfredo, soups and breakfasts with fresh fruit.
“When do we get to eat again? I’m hungry and the food is good. Do we have to leave?” Phillips recalls thinking.
Now, one year later, baby Valerie is doing fantastic, Phillips says. She’s going to be tall — she’s in the 92nd percentile for height.
For her first birthday the family is flying to California, Phillips’s home state, to celebrate.
MultiCare Covington Medical Center opened April 24, 2018, expanding the existing Covington Emergency Department and multi-specialty clinic. The 58-bed inpatient hospital includes 48 adult medical surgical beds and a 10-bed family birth center with private rooms and in-suite bathtubs. The birth center has received a 95 percent “likely to recommend” from patient surveys.
The hospital also has three operating rooms, with pre- and post-op rooms, recovery areas and a surgical waiting room as well as an inpatient pharmacy and lab.
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Roxanne Cooke is our senior content editor and manages Vitals, Kite Strings and Bring Happy Back, plus special projects such as 24 Hours at Tacoma General Hospital and The Healthy Futures Project. She tells stories in words, photos and video. You can reach her at [email protected]More stories by this author