Babies come when they’re ready — no one knows when that will be — but the team at Beginnings Birth Center will be ready. Founder, owner and certified nurse midwife (CNM) Jolene Hamann, along with two other CNMs, two registered nurses and an administrative assistant with doula experience, form a team ready to provide “woman-centered care” at the new birthing center in Briargate, said Hamann.
The birth center plans to open in December and has received an overwhelming response to its services. They are already at max capacity and plan to hire a fourth midwife, said Candace McCollett, who serves as administrative assistant, education center Coordinator and marketing/outreach liaison. McCollett is also a certified birth and lactation educator and labor doula.
She said birth centers are the “in-between option” — offering a choice between hospital birth and home birth. They provide comfortable, homey surroundings staffed with “very high-quality providers,” all within a short distance to a hospital if needed.
Collett said UC Health has in the past couple years reached out to the local home-birth community to try to make hospital transfers more pleasant and efficient. “We are so grateful for that,” she said.
Beginnings started clinical appointments the end of September. When it comes to brick-and-mortar, it took a while for the team to find a suitable location for their operation. They’re happy with the new location’s proximity to the future Children’s Hospital Colorado and Memorial Hospital North. The center has a dedicated ambulance parking spot and an emergency exit fitted with double doors.
The other side of the clinic, where pre-natal and other well-woman care are provided, has four exam rooms that can be used simultaneously. An education center features flexible seating including yoga mats and upholstered puffs. The education room is used for professional development workshops as well as parenting, exercise and other classes.
Nurse Katie Johnson said she is excited for the birth center to finally come together. A few years ago, she started and has maintained Facebook page promoting the idea of a freestanding birth clinic. Johnson and Hamann connected when Hamann moved to the area four years ago. When Hamann arrived, she said she was “shocked” to find the area didn’t already have a birth center. Beginnings will serve a population as far south as Pueblo.
Hamann said that in 2017, Colorado finally removed a restriction against midwives that was in opposition to state laws. It freed up certified nurse midwives — nurse practitioners with a master’s degree — to operate and provide care independently.
National certification has been completed for Beginnings Birth Center and state certification is scheduled for this week.
The center certainly is coming together. A bright-orange couch and patterned chairs show off the cheery front waiting area. Curved, large bay windows form one wall, and exam tables are covered with soft fabrics and pillows. Several rooms have child-level play areas complete with toys.
Balancing comfort and safety, the birth rooms are equipped with spa-like features, including warming towel racks, huge soaking tubs with special plumbing to be able to drain quickly, and adjustable beds — which can be adjusted at the head and feet — with a vibrating option that can be good for body “integration” of comfort techniques like massage, according to McCollett. Another room features hooks in the ceiling to affix a hanging yoga trapeze, complete with supportive sling. A family kitchen is available for both laboring women and family members.
It’s no coincidence the team chose a spot with pizza and yogurt shops in the Briargate shopping center right outside the center’s doors, and McCollett added that staff are looking forward to a rumored coffee shop going in nearby, as the work of midwives sometimes has them “up at all hours.”
Speaking of food, there’s one extra touch the Beginnings team plans to provide its clients: a freshly baked loaf of bread (including a gluten-free option) made in a bread machine onsite, presented to the family on the occasion of each new baby’s arrival.