Isabel's birth marks a milestone at medical center
by: Jim Clark Isabel Araceli Morales-Rodriguez is the 15,000th baby born in the birthing center at Mt Hood Medical Center.  Isabel's mother,  Hilda Morales-Rodriguez, is seen in the background.

Isabel Araceli Morales-Rodriguez seemed blissfully unaware of the significance of her birthday Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The newborn, who arrived at 2:23 p.m., was born on her maternal grandmother's birthday. But she also became the 15,000th baby to make her world debut at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center's Family Birth Center in Gresham.

The birth marked a milestone for the hospital, which opened the family unit in 1995, and caused quite a stir among the day's nursing staff. With two laboring mothers-to-be, nurses were left to guess which baby would arrive first.

'Only a fool predicts the weather, labor and delivery,' said Connie Schmitt, one of the original nurses to welcome patients to the birth center 16 years ago. 'You can never tell.'

Isabel is the daughter of Wood Village residents Hilda Morales-Rodriguez and Eleuterio Morales-Gonzales. She tipped the scales at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and joins sister, Sayde, 5, and brother, Sebastian, 2. She also provided grandmother, Cecilia Rodriguez, with a memorable birthday present.

'(My mother) is excited and happy to share her birthday with her granddaughter,' said Morales-Rodriguez.

Hospital staff was tight-lipped among patients as the 15,000th birth approached. Consequently, news of the honors came as a surprise to Isabel's family, as did the gift basket laden with infant goodies assembled by the hospital's volunteer guild.

'We were really surprised,' said Morales-Gonzales. 'I was like, 'Say what again?' We didn't know anything about it.'

A few doors down the hall, Whitney Ellynn Robertson was frustrating her parents, Leona Savage and Joseph Robertson, by taking her own sweet time. Already more than two weeks overdue, Whitney waited until 6:19 p.m. Tuesday to make her appearance. The 7-pound, 13-ounce infant is the first child for the Rhododendron couple, who weren't disappointed to be the 15,001st.

'We found out about the 15,000th baby (Wednesday) morning,' Savage said. 'We were so close, but now I can tell Whitney, 'We're number one!' '

Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center Family Birth Center Fast Facts

Celebrated its 15,000th birth on Nov. 22, 2011

• Family Birth Center opened on Feb. 6, 1995, with three babies born that day.

and #61496;• There were 18 nurses employed at the birth center on opening day. Ten of the original staff members are still working on the unit.

• The hospital does approximately 1,000 deliveries each year. August 2011 was the center's busiest month, with 121 deliveries.

• The center is ranked in the top 2 percent in the nation for patient satisfaction.

• The hospital will offer water births in 2012. Midwives are currently receiving certification to offer the service to patients.

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