MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Mothers and newborns in the Twin Cities now have access to a new high-tech birthing center that opened Monday.

Abbott Northwestern and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics are combining forces at the Mother Baby Center. Early Monday morning, mothers-to-be and the first little patient moved from the old space to the new birth center – the only one of its kind in Minnesota.

Leo Kummer was born 12 weeks too soon and only weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces. His parents, Lisa and Ben, have been by his side ever since.

“We spend 50, 60 hours a week here, every week,” Lisa Kummer said.

Two-month-old Leo has spent many days in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Children’s. He was eventually moved back to Abbott’s special care nursery, where he shared a room with four other babies.

All that moving around won’t happen in the new center because mom and baby are treated in the same room. In the past, doctors had to walk through a long tunnel for 15 minutes to go back and forth from both hospitals. Now it only takes seconds for doctors to go from mom to baby.

The 96,000-square-foot facility has just about anything a mother-to-be could ask for: 13 labor and delivery rooms, dozens of postpartum beds, a new integrated operating room, huge whirlpool tubs for water births, a celebration plaza where moms can have baby showers – and a whole lot more.

Jennifer Olson, executive director of the Mother Baby Center, says every room has the comforts of home.

“There’s a sleeper sofa in every room, there’s a breast feeding chair and a breast pump in every room, there’s a private bathtub and bathroom,” Olson said. “It’s like a home with all the amenities of a hotel.”

Lisa Kummer says these touches make a huge difference.

“When you spend so much time here, it’s good to feel at home,” she said.

A baby girl was the first to be born at the center, arriving at 11:20 a.m. Monday morning.

Heather Brown