GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spectrum Health Butterworth delivers the most babies in the state of Michigan. More than 7,000 born last year, some of them by cesarean section. Now, the hospital has a first of its kind technology that helps Mom connect to baby during that kind of delivery.
On November 24, 2021, one month early, Charles Thomas Koop III or Charlie, became the center of his parents' world.
"I just, I can't, I can't believe I lived life so long without him. And he's just, he's really great. And he's thriving, and his little personality is coming out. So that's really fun," said Amanda Koop, Charlie's Mom.
Charlie was born via c-section thanks to a new camera system at Spectrum Butterworth, Mom Amanda could see her newborn during the entire process.
"When I speak to my friends and family members who have had babies the other way, I don't think our experiences were that different, because I could see everything the whole time," said Koop.
Typically during the surgery, a woman missed out on some of baby's firsts because of the clothe sheet shielding her view. Because of the screen showing it on the other side, Mom and Dad have the option to watch as much or as little as they'd like.
"He maybe didn't want to watch the screen as much as I did. I think he was a little nervous for that part. But it's nice because in that room because of the space, I was able to watch it but they were kind of able to tuck it behind him. So he could watch me and I could see him and the screen which was really cool. And they could kind of make that a special moment for both of us and tailor it to to each of us," said Koop.
The Labor and Delivery team hopes the camera view puts women at ease not planning on a c-section.
"We are trendsetters. I'm sure other hospitals will develop or get it eventually. But for now, we're really excited to be able to introduce this to our patients," said Becky Crawford, director of Women and Nursing services.
Today, Charlie is growing, full of expressions, all dressed up for his first St. Patrick's Day this week. Mom and Dad feel lucky his delivery was just as normal and special as any other.
"It didn't feel like a surgery. You know, I know, when you have a C section. You have a baby, and you have a surgery, but it didn't feel like that, it felt very family-focused," said Koop.
The new camera tech is part of updates to make the entire labor and delivery wing more inclusive and family-oriented. The recovery rooms are now much larger and private for each family. There's an addition called "Jane's Room" that allows for quiet space for families who are grieving.