How much ice cream does it take to celebrate 151 births?

For the staff of the Labor and Delivery Unit at William Beaumont Army Medical Center the creamy treat was just the cherry on top to a record-breaking number of births for the Army hospital.

During an ice cream social for L&D held Sept. 7 -- a fun-filled celebration for the record-breaking birthdays, La-Shelle Foster, a licensed vocational nurse in the postpartum unit, said that she wanted all pregnant patients to know they will receive excellent and professional care at WBAMC.

In August, WBAMC accommodated 151 deliveries.

The accomplishment comes about one year after the WBAMC Department of Women's Health took on the goal to become the safest place for delivering babies in the El Paso area.

DWH is also striving for beneficiaries to recognize WBAMC as the facility of choice for prenatal and postpartum care.

Linda Corraretti, registered nurse, said the increased births provided opportunities to help more new parents learn to care for their newborns.

"We understand military life, and we are prepared to be their support system," she said.

Last month one new mom shared her birthing experience at WBAMC with two friends that had delivered in civilian hospitals, said Corraretti.

"She told me that of the three deliveries, hers was the best experience by far," Corraretti said.

Recent projects including increasing the number of obstetric providers, remodeling exam rooms and upgrading to a Level II Intensive Care Unit all had the same overall goal -- to increase the number of deliveries at WBAMC.

In the year before the NICU upgrade as many as 14 percent of babies were transferred to local network hospitals. Dr. C. Antonio Jesurun, chief of neonatology, WBAMC, noted that a great deal of worry and stress has been alleviated for military families with the stand up of the Level II NICU.

Last month, 36 babies were treated in the NICU. "Only one newborn, born at 28 weeks, needed to be transferred to a network hospital -- a transfer rate of 2.3 percent, said Jesurun.

"It was gratifying to be able to keep these newborns with their mothers. The mother can sleep and visit her baby day and night, 24 hours a day."

Jesurun added the next step for the NICU staff is to obtain respiratory devices to further support infants with respiratory distress. Additional goals include further upgrades that will expand their capability to care for newborns with more complicated medical issues.

From a push for a team continuity of care to a unique set up of a 24-hour team of board-certified obstetricians, certified nurse midwife, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, and pediatricians specializing in newborn care, WBAMC is striving to set itself apart from its civilian counterparts in El Paso, said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Charles Pattan, chief DWH, WBAMC.