The home that we now call the Ashland Birth Center was built in 1910 by Mr. Cochran, a lumber baron. The home has served as a private home and as a care facility throughout the years. It became the home of the Ashland Birth Center, in December of 2012.
Why a Birth Center?
Midwife Savita Jones, a second generation midwife, moved to the Ashland area in 1998. As Savita’s home birth practice grew over the years, she found herself traveling a great distance to serve rural families. She traveled to all corners of the region, at all hours of the night, during all seasons and weather. In 2012, two pregnant sisters, whom she had previously served, were expecting in the depths of the winter. With other women due, it became clear that a local space was needed in order to serve everyone desiring midwifery care and an out of hospital birth. Dana Churness, now her primary practice partner, joined Savita Jones as a student midwife in this year. At the end of October 2012, they found this beautiful home listed on Craigslist; “rooms for rent”. Upon inquiry, they were greeted with a very sincere invitation to move the practice into the space. After a good amount of effort to change the city zoning (thank you to those that spoke on their behalf), Savita was approved to open her practice here. Opening this facility required a leap of faith and a significant upfront investment. Savita called on her family, sold a portion of land, and spent hours fixing up the home to better serve her practice. The first baby, Louis, was born here on 12-12-2012. The sisters birthed shortly after. The Ashland Birth Center was born!
Celebrating our 300th baby & 10 years at the Ashland Birth Center in 2022!
Growth and Sustainability: What We Need to Continue
It is not easy to keep a birth center alive and well in a rural community. The Ashland Birth Center is one of 5 freestanding birth centers in Wisconsin. Savita and Dana have worked hard to be here. Until recently, they even shoveled the driveway at all hours of the night waiting for potential births. They still stay there for days on end with inclement weather warnings, or if someone is expected to deliver quickly. One thing is certain, these midwives are committed to their work!
In the fall of 2021, the current home owner of the facility decided that she needed to sell. She accepted an offer that would allow the birth center to lease for another 10 years! Then, on January 25th 2022, they (very unexpectedly) learned that the purchase agreement fell through. The next morning, Savita received a text saying that the home was going back on the market.
The current owner of the building genuinely wants this home to remain the Ashland Birth Center, but she also needs to sell the building. Savita contacted the current owner and requested the ability to have until early June to raise enough money for a down payment. The owner graciously accepted this request.
Midwife Savita adds:
“I have prayed hard (and shed a few tears) about being in this vulnerable position. I considered closing the doors and going back to a home birth practice. I considered relocating the birth center to a smaller location. I considered moving to another area and working at an established birth center. Ultimately, I don’t want to close the doors here. It would be sad if I did, and then later found out that my community would have been willing to help us stay. Humbly, I have decided that I need to ask for help to accomplish the down payment”.
If you would like to be part of securing this beautiful home as the Ashland Birth Center, please consider giving a financial contribution towards the down payment. The Ashland Birth Center is working hard to save the needed $55,000, but we need your help. You can make a gift directly on their website at www.ashlandbirthcenter.com. Or, if you feel more comfortable, you can mail a check to: Ashland Birth Center, at 619 9th Avenue West Ashland WI.
All support, creative thinking and prayers are welcome!