For Mercedez Milling-Robinson, being a mom was something that came easy, even natural, for her. This mother of two truly enjoys motherhood and all that comes with it. “Being a mom means being responsible, but it’s also a blessing and an honor. It’s so much love,” she says. In the Milling-Robinson household, there is plenty of love to go around. With the birth of their newborn daughter, Mayara, everything seems to be complete now. But the journey wasn’t easy.
Her first pregnancy with her now 2-year-old son was a completely different experience than the birth of her daughter. Mercedez described her first delivery experience as “unsupported and rushed.” She wasn’t a Community of Hope patient at that time. “I always knew that I wanted to have a natural birth, but my doctors made it hard for me. They pressured me into having an epidural or a C-section, but that’s not what I wanted.” Her husband, Marcus, shared the same feelings during the birth of their son. “During the birth of our first child, the hospital scared me. They were saying oxygen was needed, but I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if my wife or son was okay.” Mercedez and her husband knew that during her second pregnancy, things would be much different.
“I was nervous this time around because of my first experience giving birth. The staff kept telling me ‘Relax, you know your body and when it will be time to push.’ They really believed in me throughout my labor.”
Mercedez first visited Community of Hope’s Conway Health and Resource Center with her sister. Mercedez was impressed by the facility, how the doctors treated their patients, and the overall atmosphere. Now, a year later Mercedez and Mayara are patients at Community of Hope and thank them for their “great support.”
“My sister told me that [Community of Hope] will even call you to make appointments and the dental office was there, too. Everything you needed was right here.”
Community of Hope is committed to providing mothers with comprehensive prenatal care and pregnancy support groups; breastfeeding support and education; and an amazing birth experience with our certified midwives at the Family Health and Birth Center. Moms get to choose to give birth in the only free-standing birth center in DC or with our midwives at Washington Hospital Center. Mercedez took full advantage of the unique services, especially the Centering Pregnancy® group care. Beginning in the 6th month of pregnancy, moms are able to join the group, connecting and bonding with other moms through fun activities and interactive discussions about labor, breastfeeding and newborn care. “Having other moms around you that understood what you were going through made my experience this time around much better. We consistently encouraged one another and that’s what I loved.”
Even Marcus can see the difference in care for his wife and daughter. “The midwife and doulas related more with her body and her needs. With the birth of our daughter, they involved us as a family during the entire labor. There was this chemistry between [our midwife] Ebony and the doulas that made it comforting and calm for everyone.”
A previous challenge with breastfeeding did not emerge this time. Thanks to the help of her Breastfeeding and Lactation Specialist, Tina Pangelinan, Mercedez was able to get the resources and assistance she needed for her newborn daughter. She credits Tina for making it a priority to help her and her baby have a more comfortable experience the second time around. “Breastfeeding is about the bonding and it is better for a child. It’s a really sweet moment for us.”
“The community that Community of Hope has is like no other. Even if it’s just a conversation, they are there to help with any and everything.”
After a less stressful pregnancy and delivery, Mercedez and Mayara are now home with their family. Their routine consists of diaper changing and going over letters and numbers with two-year-old Marcus. The young family enjoys spending time with one another and bonding with their children. For new dads, Marcus advises that “practicing patience and understanding is necessary for your partner” and “being supportive goes a long way.” For Mercedez, her experiences have taught her not to worry and that everything will come together for the better. “Before I had children, I was so worried about saying or doing the wrong things, but I quickly realized that the love I have for them will outweigh those doubts. It’s a long journey but a journey of enlightenment.”