Closing hospital wings for complete redecoration in anticipation of your two- or three-night stay may seem excessive, but for celebrity soon-to-be moms, having a hospital wing at your disposal is simply part of the baby budget. Beyonc and Jay-Z welcomed their baby girl Blue Ivy Carter at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan amid reports that the star couple funded renovations prior to their (and Blue's) arrival--and that the security surrounding the event irked other new moms and their families, whose babies were apparently not quite as special.
Ellie Miller, a co-founder of Los Angeles--based Ellie & Melissa, the Baby Planners, says it isn't just celebs who opt for the star treatment. The rest of the 1% give birth differently too. "It has always been the well-to-do that get a private suite," she says. "The celebrities can go over the top."
Bespoke medical care isn't just for babies. Many hospitals have VIP wings with hotel-like accommodations. And the number of concierge-doctors--they don't accept insurance and often charge yearly "membership" fees--increased 46% in the past 18 months, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians.
But birth is big business--worth more than $30 billion a year--and this limousine labor is highly profitable. It often involves complete room redecoration prior to Mom's arrival. And expect an entire team to attend her once the baby is born. Miller has seen these types of teams grow--with massage therapists, special music options, an interior decorator, a chef, a photographer and especially a makeup artist; where there are photographers, there must be makeup. Miller says nearly every L.A. hospital is ready for celebrities and the privacy--and security--concerns that go with a well-publicized birth, as well as the VIP treatment. "There is really no end to the options," Miller says. "And with a lot of celebrities, but not Beyonc, having C-sections, they are staying longer." Too posh to push, as they say in the U.K.
Hospitals from coast to coast specialize in the luxe maternity, but only people in New York City and Los Angeles can turn birth into a movie production. At Cedars-Sinai in L.A., deluxe maternity suites offer three rooms with hardwood floors, a personal aide 24/7 and other lush hotel-style amenities, all for about $3,800 per day. On Manhattan's east side, the Mount Sinai Hospital boasts three-room suites with views of Central Park for $4,000 per night--an average price for these high-end private options, Miller says. That's above the hospital's standard charges for, say, delivering a baby.