The first baby born at the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital came at 10:35 p.m. Saturday night.
Melina Welten, 18, of Sparta gave birth to Elliot Shawn Welten at the hospital, which opened for the first time just 18 hours prior.
Welten said she knew the hospital had just opened and had planned all along to go to St. Elizabeth’s, though she figured the new facility would have been opened for a while by the time she gave birth. Elliot Shawn came about a month early.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but they helped me with everything,” Welten said as she held her newborn son, born at 6 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 and a half inches.
Welten went into labor in Sparta and initially went to the hospital there, but transferred to O’Fallon in an ambulance with the baby well on his way.
Welten’s boyfriend and Elliot’s father, Nick Rogers, sat by Welten and Elliot’s side. He said the whole experience was “overwhelming and emotional,” but described the new hospital as “nice and quiet.”
“This is something I’ll definitely never forget,” Rogers said. “He (Elliot) is already making history.”
St. Elizabeth’s CEO Peg Sebastian said the obstetrics department, along with the emergency room, have been the busiest since the hospital opened at 4 a.m. Saturday. Sebastian said she is happy a new baby has been born there to “breathe life” into the new facility.
The new parents and their healthy baby were hoping to go home Monday afternoon.
The CEO said now that the hospital is up and running, she’s looking forward to the next steps. The hospital owns 70 acres of undeveloped land surrounding the new facility.
“Our strategies are numerous about what our next steps are going to be,” Sebastian said.
At a glance
Here’s where you can find the services you need at the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital:
- Emergency department: Entrance and exit are on the southwest side of the building (on the left side when facing the facility).
- Main hospital lobby: Mainly for family and friends visiting hospital in-patients. Entrance and exit are on the front side of the building under the sign that reads “Hospital.” The sign is on the western side (or left side) of the building when facing the front. The cafe and gift shop are closest to this entrance, though they are accessible from all entrances.
- Outpatient: This is for visitors who are having lab work done. Entrance and exit are on the front of the building to the right, or eastern, side under the sign “Outpatient.” The retail pharmacy is closest to this entrance.
- Health Center: This is where patients can go to visit their doctors offices and specialists. Entrance and exit on the right, or easternmost, side of the building under the sign “Health Center.”