When Erin Davis found out she was expecting her second child, a birth center delivery was non-negotiable.
“When I gave birth to my first son at a hospital, it was a horrible experience. I had no support from the doctor. He did not care at all. I was just a number [to him].”
The lack of support Erin received during her first birthing experience was memorable, in what she says was the “worst” way. So, when Erin learned about Community of Hope’s Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC), she was optimistic through positive online reviews that this health center would be the perfect place for her to give birth to her second child. Our nationally accredited Family Health and Birth Center – the only free-standing birth center in the District of Columbia, provides a range of health care services for the entire family, with a special focus on serving pregnant mothers and their babies.
Erin recalls, “When I came in for my first appointment, the receptionists were amazing, and it was like they already knew me. And once I got seen in the back, the midwife was so loving.” During Erin’s first prenatal appointment, she learned about the birth center, asked valuable prenatal questions, and shared her past delivery pain points with the hope that her next experience would be better. Erin learned that FHBC had certified nurse midwives on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Throughout the process, Erin’s midwives calmed her of all her fears and made sure that her voice was always heard and supported. “Throughout my pregnancy, I had various midwives, but they always had the same heart and vision for what I wanted to do and what would be best for my family.” Erin was unable to participate in our CenteringPregnancy® groups (interactive and fun learning groups for families due the same month). However, Erin’s midwife made it a priority that she received one-on-one supportive learning that would prepare her for her baby’s birth.
During Erin’s pregnancy, her midwives ensured she maintained a healthy diet and practiced different prenatal exercises that would benefit her and the baby. The exercises were strongly suggested because Erin’s baby was in a posterior position – baby’s head was down facing Erin’s abdomen. The midwives knew that with strategic exercises, they could encourage the baby to turn to help avoid any complications during delivery. “When I found out the baby was in that position, it really scared me. [I asked myself,] Am I going to have to have him at the hospital? But the midwives showed me different exercises I could do at home and exercises my husband could help me with. And he turned!” Erin gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Elijah, who weighed 8 lbs., 0.5 oz and measured 20 inches long in a birthing room at FHBC, with the support from her husband, midwife, and nurse. “If it wasn’t for my midwives, I probably would have had him in a hospital. But these women really believed in me."
Two days after delivery, Erin received in-home support from her midwife to confirm that she and baby were well, and to answer any other questions the family had while adjusting to their new norm. “She wasn’t judging my house but was making sure we had everything we needed. It meant everything to me.” Now, Erin not only brings both her children to receive medical care at FHBC but has opted to receive personal medical care for herself and hopefully for her husband in the future too.
“Coming to FHBC, I’m familiar with the neighborhood. I don’t feel like I’m coming to an environment that I won’t be welcomed in. We absolutely love that. We trust the medical team here. I trust the midwives. I trust the doctors. This is home.”