When Carmen and her husband Mario walk into our Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC), they immediately feel at home. They know their way around the building and the staff knows them on a first name basis.
For 11 years this mother of six – soon to be seven – has been a patient at Community of Hope. “Every time we come here for an appointment, I know I’m in the good hands of people who care about me and my children.”
In 2005, Carmen became unexpectedly pregnant with her first child and felt overwhelmed by all of the medical decisions she suddenly had to make. Her grandmother urged her to get care, but Carmen recalls not knowing how to pick a doctor who she can rely on to guide her through her first pregnancy. “I wanted to find a doctor that supported my [birth] decisions – that’s when I came across Community of Hope’s Family Health and Birth Center.”
Carmen came seeking prenatal care for her eldest son. She was matched with a doula and a midwife – who helped her learn more about her body and supported her in whatever way she needed. Later that year, our midwife helped deliver Carmen’s first baby boy, Elijah. Feeling supported and empowered, Carmen knew FHBC was the only spot for her family planning needs.
She hasn’t gone anywhere else. “I don’t want to!” she boldly exclaims.
Carmen went on to give birth to five more beautiful babies – each with a Community of Hope midwife. All of her children, along with Carmen and Mario, get their primary medical care at FHBC too. Now, as she’s getting care for her seventh baby, she and Mario regularly attend a CenteringPregnancy® group, where they track their baby’s growth and meet other pregnant couples.
“I appreciate having Mario by my side [when we go to group]. We’re already parents, but we learn new things every time,” said Carmen. Mario agrees. “With so many kids around, I do all that I can to support her. Group is a fun way to do that.”
Mario is proud of his title as the family chef. Diagnosed with a heart condition, he had to learn how to cook healthier foods for himself and his family. “We have a big family and health starts [at home].”
This family of nine is happy to see their family grow – with new babies and medical providers who are second parents and grandparents. They’ve even given family nicknames to some of the staff.
Laughing, Carmen explained: “We call Ebony (Director of Midwifery) ‘Mom’ and we call Marcia (pediatric nurse practitioner) ‘Grandma’.”
We’re honored to be the birth and medical home for Carmen and Mario's family – and many other families like them!