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Five babies born on Fort St. John hospital opening day

The Energetic City lived up to its reputation yesterday, as five mothers gave birth on the opening day of the new Fort St. John Hospital. Tina Peters got the honour of being the first woman to give birth in the new maternity ward, as Eli Joseph Braun was born yesterday at 3:40 p.m., weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces.

Eli is Peters' third child, after giving birth to her two other children in the old hospital. Although it's been nine years since she last gave birth, Peters says she was happy to be in the new facility, as she could stay in a private room, in a much quieter area.

"I like being in my own room and not having anyone else bugging you or other people who you have no idea who they are coming in," she said, although pointing out that as her baby was already fours days past due, it didn't matter where she was, just that he was out.

Peters also appreciated being in a full-service room and not having to leave to shower, and having a bed for the father to sleep on overnight.

Kaylea Pausch, who was the last mother to give birth in the old hospital and was transferred to the new hospital yesterday, agrees. She found that being able to be in the same room while her newborn Logan Ward was getting his blood work done helped reassure her as a first-time mother.

"I thought that was kind of cool that they don't take him anywhere; he just stays here… which is nice, and I'm sure got me a little more used to when has to get his shots later."

The birthing centre in the new hospital has 11 in-patient rooms, including four ante/postpartum rooms with large windows and their own shower and bathtub.

Angela De Smit, Health Service Administrator, says having private, full-service maternity was a big part of the hospital's design.

"It just means that we don't have to move the mother," she explains, as they used to have to take her everywhere in a wheelchair, even to shower. "Now they don't have to do that; they can just have everything within the room."

In the old hospital, when rooms were shared, babies would often spend the night in the nursery, but De Smit says it's important for parents get used to what they sound like at night, and the family stays together.

Logan was born in the old hospital at 1:30 p.m. on June 20, weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces, giving mom and dad Zack Ward plenty of time to prepare for the transition that would take place the next morning. The family was one of the first trips over just after 8 a.m. Thursday by bus. While dad would have preferred Logan be the first baby born in the new hospital, mom wanted to be in the old hospital, as it's where she and her mother were both born.

"There's three generations in our old hospital," Pausch says. "It will be very nice to tell him later, 'you're the last baby in the old hospital'. I think it's pretty cool having all three generations in there."

And what does dad think? "Awesome."

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