San Diego’s Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns is about to hit a milestone: the facility is expecting to soon help deliver its 200,000th baby.
The hospital, located at 3003 Health Center Dr., opened in 1992. Back then, it had 169 beds and was used as a traditional nursery for newborns. Twenty-five years later, it’s considered the largest and most extensive center for women’s health in Southern California.
Each year, the hospital welcomes around 9,400 babies into the world, making the facility the leader in newborn deliveries in San Diego County and in the state of California. The hospital also specializes in neonatal intensive care of little ones, featuring 84 beds in that unit.
Carmen Colombo, chief nursing officer for Sharp Mary Birch, said that despite the hospital’s high volume of births, the staff there strives to make each and every delivery special.
“Every birth is an exciting, special event. So, we do what we do best, which is to make their experience here at Sharp Mary Birch one that’s memorable,” she said.
Over time, Colombo said the hospital traded in the traditional nursery set-up for care that involves a newborn staying close to his or her mother from the very start.
"Really, babies belong with their mom and their families," she said.
If mom and dad need a little bit of rest, the hospital offers an area where babies can go for a short time.
While there have been some changes to the hospital over the past 25 years, the focus has remained the same. From day one, Colombo – who’s been with Sharp since 1997 – said the vision of this hospital was to give families that individualized care.
She said walking the halls of the hospital and catching a glimpse of the excitement in the faces of families who have just welcomed a new baby -- from parents and grandparents, to big brothers and sisters -- is always a wonderful feeling.
“It’s special to that family, and when you know that it's special to that family, and you can see that spark in their eyes and their excitement, it doesn't get old,” she explained. “That’ll never get old.”
She said the hospital expects the 200,000th birth to happen either this Friday or Saturday. No word yet on how that milestone baby will be celebrated.