It's been a banner year for babies at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert.
Through Dec. 20, the Women and Infant Services Department has helped 4,275 babies enter the world.
Across Maricopa County, birth rates are falling. According to Maricopa County Public Health, the 2009 birth rate was 57,655; this year, births as of a few days ago totaled 51,895.
Banner hospitals across the Phoenix metropolitan area - excluding Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix - also are recording declining births.
But at Banner Gateway, the baby boom has continued unabated since the center opened in 2007. There were 2,260 births in 2008 and 3,934 last year.
Obstetrics patient-safety expert PeriGen has recognized the Banner Gateway nurses for their accuracy in using its fetal monitoring documentation system.
NRC Picker, a division of National Research Corporation, has rated the hospital for patient satisfaction in the Women and Infant Services Department above the 99th percentile in the third quarter of 2010.
Maybe it's the Japanese soaking tub to ease labor pains. The lush family garden - secured and set apart exclusively for moms and moms-to-be and their families - features a waterfall, picnic tables and a playground section for siblings.
Or maybe it's the classes tailored for before and after delivery.
Kelley Kieffer, director of Women and Infant Services at Banner Gateway, attributes the numbers to the facility's care.
"I think people want to come here because we have quality care and an excellent facility to deliver their baby," Kieffer told The Arizona Republic.
The accolades ring true with Kimber Williams of Queen Creek, who had her ninth child at Banner Gateway after an unplanned C-section on New Year's Day 2010.
"I have to absolutely say that Banner Gateway gave us the best experience we've ever had," said Kimber, a Queen Creek resident who had her other babies at a different Banner facility. "The nurses went above and beyond the normal expectations."
Kimber said the hospital even allowed her 15-year-old daughter, who is planning to be a nurse, to be present for the birth and cut the umbilical cord.
Now, Kimber and her husband are expecting their 10th child. It's not surprise where she intends to have it delivered.
"I switched doctors, but I won't switch hospitals," she said.