For Miriam Muller, finding the right provider to deliver her baby was important. Miriam, a mother of two, was excited to learn of the pregnancy of her first child, but not as excited when it came to finding a provider. “When I moved to DC, I asked colleagues where they were going for care. They recommended a practice that had about 10 providers, but it felt impersonalized to me, like I was another number.”
After educating herself on birthing options that would fit her needs, she decided to prioritize a caring environment and a natural birth. Her final choices led her to an open house at Community of Hope’s Family Health and Birth Center. She had been to previous open houses at other facilities, which seemed more for “members only,” but immediately found a sense of comfort from walking in the doors.
“When my husband and I walked in, we thought it was very nice. It was such an open place and we saw different people all of backgrounds interacting with one another. You immediately feel like you’re in this community.” After speaking with patients and Emma – a midwife who would ultimately deliver her son – Miriam knew that this was the place for her and transferred her care.
The Family Health and Birth Center is D.C.’s only freestanding birth center where moms have the option of giving birth outside of a hospital. The birth center offers everything from prenatal/post-partum care to birthing services and breastfeeding tips as well as primary health care for the whole family. With the assistance of midwives and doulas, moms can feel at ease knowing that they are in good hands.
“When you’re accompanied with someone you can trust every step of the way, it makes you feel so much more secure,” she explains.
One of the services Miriam received was attending her prenatal checkups in a group – Centering Pregnancy. In this group were women who all expected to give birth within the same month. During these sessions, moms are able to bond with one another, have educational topics related to their baby and birthing, and share their own experiences of pregnancy. They also get to have checkups with their midwife – a moment where the midwife not only cares for the baby, but to see how mom is doing, too.
In 2014, Miriam naturally delivered a healthy baby boy, but unfortunately due to medical reasons, could not deliver at the birth center. She explained that giving birth was the most impressive thing that she has ever done. “I had a wonderful experience because my midwife and doula were so strengthening. They gave me this physical strength to go through this. They convinced me that I could do this and that I can trust myself and my body.” Two years later, Miriam delivered her daughter, but this time in one of the birth rooms at the Family Health and Birth Center. She was one of the first moms to birth there after we re-opened that service in 2016. That was one year ago and we wish her daughter a happy birthday.
What Miriam and most moms appreciate about the Family Health and Birth Center is knowing that the staff provides you with the care and resources that make such a difference.
“In German, we don’t say ‘health care,’ we say ‘health service.’ Only after being at FHBC, I can say that it’s truly care because it’s done the right way.”