It's a one-of-a-kind facility that keeps mothers and babies close by after delivery, and FOX 9 News toured the new Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern and Children's hospitals just days before it opened.
The birthing center is located in a children's hospital, and is one of only a few in the country to be housed in that type of facility.
Until now, many moms with high-risk pregnancies went to Abbott-Northwestern for their deliveries. If those infants needed extra care they'd be taken two blocks away to Children's Hospital. Going forward, the specialists to help both mother and child will be in one place.
For Jennifer and James Davenport, the new Mother Baby Center is something they only dreamed of five years ago when their daughter, Claire, was born. She was one of the babes moved to Children's Hospital for special care, but that meant Jennifer, who was recovering at Abbot-Northwestern, had to take a 15-minute wheelchair ride down a tunnel to visit her daughter.
"It makes me look back on that," Jennifer Davenport said of the new facility's unveiling. "I don't know how I did it, how I left her here, how I left the fragile person."
No other mothers will need to make that trip in the future because most mothers will be able to stay in the same room with their newborn, close to those providing care.
"The top high-risk care providers are now, literally, just 30 seconds apart. Previously, we were separated by two blocks -- or 15 minutes of a tunnel," Jennifer Olson, executive director of the Mother Baby Center.
For babies that require intensive care, not only will mother be just down the hall, but the babies themselves won't need to be transported.
Jennifer Davenport recalled. "As a mom, it was scary to think about my child making that trip in that tunnel. If something goes wrong, you are in a tunnel and people have to run -- and that's scary."
For years, the two hospitals have worked together. Abbott Northwestern specialized in high-risk pregnancies, while Children's Hospital excels with caring for the sickest babies. Starting on Monday, they'll be under one roof.
"We can mobilize all the resources of Abbott and its specialists for the moms and we can also mobilize, instantaneously, all resources of Children's for babies in need," said Dr. Alan Goldbloom.
The Mother Baby Center expects to deliver more than 4,000 babies annually.
For a few years, Abbott Northwestern has specialized in fetal operations, or fixing abnormalities while a fetus is still in the womb. As part of the new development, they also created the Midwest Fetal Care Center featuring a state-of-the-art fetal operating room -- one of only a few in the nation.