Happy Birthday, Baby!

It’s been 10 years since the Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East opened, although Joan Morrin, RN RNC-MNN, the nurse manager of women’s care, likes to count the time with a slightly different metric.

“We have delivered 25,126 babies since moving into this building,” Morrin said. “Each one is special!” None of those babies will be able to remember their time in the hospital, but their mothers all do — and many of them keep coming back. “We have lots of parents who tell us, ‘Oh, this is our second or third baby. We love it here,” Morrin said. ”We hear that all the time.”

Truly 24-Hour Care

Since opening in 2010, the 60,000-square-foot facility has expanded the care and services offered to patients year after year, to where it is now able to provide 24-hour care from obstetricians, nurse practitioners, neonatologists and lactation consultants. As the only hospital in the Lexington area dedicated to women’s care, the Women’s Hospital also has maternal fetal medicine services specific for high-risk deliveries and a Level III neonatal ICU that offers state-of-the-art care for prematurely born infants as young as 28 weeks.

Kelly Toponak, RN, is the director of women’s services and the breast care center at CHI Saint Joseph East, and she’s been working in the Saint Joseph Health system since 2002. She loves the sense of community and thinks that’s why the level of care is so special at the Women’s Hospital — and why dozens of the 170 people on staff have been working there since the facility opened.

“Everyone knows everyone,” Toponak said. “It’s almost like Saint Joseph somehow has maintained the small community family hospital but in a larger city. If you have 40-plus people who have chosen to stay here over 10 years, I think that says something to the people in the community.”

Support for Tough Pregnancies

As the years have gone by, the hospital’s care has evolved to address additional health challenges many Kentucky mothers face. The medication-assisted treatment team works with mothers with opioid-use disorders and the new transformation care clinic to provide support and treatment for addiction. The maternal education team offers free classes and seminars about childbirth, lactation and parenting open to all, even mothers choosing to deliver elsewhere.

“I think what sets us apart from any other facility in town is the personalized care that we can give to our moms,” Morrin said. “We have midwives, we have high-risk obstetricians, and we try to really work with the mom and her birth plan to help her succeed and keep both her and baby safe.”

Toponak said that having a stand-alone building really makes a difference. “There’s nothing else that we are focused on,” she said. “Everybody in this building — every one of us — we’re here for mom and baby. We’re not just one floor of the hospital.”And, even in the midst of a health care crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women’s Hospital has continued to deliver the same high-quality care.

“We’re prepared, and we do have plans in place,” Toponak said. “Because we’re connected to CHI, we have a national network, and decisions are made with the input of so many different doctors. We can tailor those plans locally. It’s pretty amazing how they’re able to do that.”

Jason Adams, president and COO of Saint Joseph East, said the care and technology at the Women’s Hospital will only continue to improve in the years to come.

“I’m so proud of everything our team has accomplished at the Women’s Hospital so far, and I can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring,” Adams said.

To find out more information about our doctors, services and educational programs, or to schedule a tour of the hospital, visit CHISaintJosephHealth.org/womens-hospital-saint-joseph-east-lexington.


A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.