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    April 29, 2002

Parents-To-Be Find Health Center
for Perfect Place to Start a Family
By Maureen McGuire

These days, some parents will look high and low to find the perfect place for the birth of their child.

"Parents can be very choosey," says Gwyn Muscillo, nursing manager of the Family Birthing Center at John Dempsey Hospital. "They look for expert care, supportive staff, security, comfort - and good meals too."

Recent data from the Connecticut Hospital Association shows that more and more parents are choosing UConn's John Dempsey Hospital. Maternity admissions shot up 56 percent over the last year.

The increase coincided with the addition of the UConn Health Partners general OB/GYN practice. "It's been great working with the Health Partners," Muscillo says, noting that the Health Partners physicians now deliver all of their patients' babies at the Health Center.

She says many parents appreciate the birthing center's proximity to the Health Center's nationally recognized neonatal intensive care unit, in addition to the comfortable family birthing rooms, outstanding staff, and convenient suburban location.

"For many parents, it's a comfort to know the NICU is right here," she says.

Muscillo also notes that once parents have a positive experience at the Health Center, they are very likely to choose the Family Birthing Center again. "It's very common for parents to come here for the births of all their children."

One Mother's Happy Story
Mother Goose, a Farmington resident, had a very positive experience at the Health Center last spring, and recently came back as a very special maternity patient.

Ms. Goose's story is a little unusual. She flew over a 10-story building to find a special place in the courtyard to lay her eggs and sit with them. She's in confinement now. Her due-date is May 10, according to Daniel Penney of Facilities Management, and it looks like she'll be having multiple births - possibly quads - again this year.

Penney became something of an expert in Canada goose management last year when Ms. Goose first landed in the courtyard, in anticipation of her babies' birth. Penney says she sat on the nest for about four weeks before the babies were born.

Then, mom and babies were carefully moved back to their home near the Health Center pond. Penney coordinated the move, with authorization from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the services of a professional wildlife handler.

Penney is ready to do the same for Ms. Goose again this year. In the meantime, visitors are encouraged to observe, but asked to stay away from the nest.

The windows on the courtyard outside the vice president's office afford the best observation spots and interest is intense. Kathryn Bacon, executive assistant, says the nesting is a constant source of conversation. "It's heartwarming people care so much," she says. "They walk down this hallway so they can take daily observations. They're very concerned."

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