Ingrid Franz was amazingly poised in her leopard pajamas considering she had given birth only hours earlier -- and her labor and delivery suite was teeming with officials.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, NUMC chief executive Dr. Victor Politi and others were on hand Friday to mark the official opening of Nassau University Medical Center's renovated maternity center.
Franz, 36, of East Rockaway, said she also delivered her two other children at NUMC because of the passionate and attentive staff, including her midwife, Barbara Charles. But the old facilities were merely "adequate."
"It was a hospital," she said.
By contrast, the new digs, which include seven spacious state-of-the-art rooms that allow a woman to labor and deliver in one place, are "comfortable and beautiful," she said. That's where her third child, Lauren Mary, was born.
The $2 million, 18,000-square-foot renovation funded by the state also includes three triage spaces and a postpartum area with 22 beds. A special birthing suite with two rooms fitted with tubs for water deliveries is being built.
Dr. Chaur-Dong Hsu, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, said NUMC is the only hospital on Long Island and in Manhattan and Queens to offer "hydro birthing" in which the mother both labors and delivers her baby in water.
He was also proud of the East Meadow hospital's relatively low Caesarean-section rate. NUMC delivers about 1,500 babies every year, about 22 percent of which are by C-section, he said. On Long Island, the rate of C-sections is 42.5 percent; nationally, it's 32.8 percent, according to state and federal data. Surgical births carry risk of infection, increased bleeding and reactions to anesthesia and blood clots.
NUMC's director of nursing, Laura Kyrillidis, attributed the low C-section rate to weekly reviews of patients to see who might be at risk for complications and by working closely with prospective mothers.
Three years ago, Christina Bramante, a labor and delivery nurse, had her son, Matthew, at NUMC.
"Amazed" by the care she received, she left her job at another hospital to work there. About a year ago, her second child, Julia, was delivered at NUMC.
"And now," she said Friday, "they have made it look beautiful."