The Family Birth Place Celebrates Ten Years

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September 20, 2017
MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. – (Sept. 19, 2017) Ten years ago Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC) celebrated its first delivery at the Family Birth Place (FBP). Baby Zoie Anne Pierce of Santa Rosa Beach, born at 7:24 a.m. on Sept. 4, 2007, was Walton County’s first hospital-delivered baby. Zoie was delivered by Dr. Jennifer Esess, OB/GYN with assist from registered nurse Shelia Groves.
Today we are celebrating more than 8,600 births at The Family Birth Place!  “This is a momentous occasion that we are happy to share with the community,” said Roger Hall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. “Our healthcare team is honored to be able to provide high quality, personalized care for babies and family-centered maternity services to our community.”
Community supporters, SHHEC associates, and family and friends of babies born at the Family Birth Place enjoyed an afternoon full of fun activities. Children brought their favorite Teddy Bears for a Wellness Checkup at the Teddy Bear Clinic which was staffed by the Sacred Heart Medical Group OB/GYN clinical staff.
Guests were treated to an inside look at the specially equipped mobile neonatal critical care transport ambulance which is stationed at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast to provide rapid transport of premature or critically ill newborns to The Children’s Hospital in Pensacola when necessary.  To better serve our community and help keep families together during the first days of a child’s life Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast is building a 10-bed, level II NICU to provide high quality, personalized care for babies who need special medical care. Adding this next level of care for babies will enhance the overall quality and experience for families for generations to come.
The Family Birth Place team takes great pride in providing high quality, family-centered maternity care, with patient satisfaction scores consistently ranking in the 99th percentile. Six obstetricians and gynecologists currently deliver babies at The Family Birth Place – Drs. Melinda Graham, Brett Tidwell, Lucy Rice and Anne-Marie Whitlock with Sacred Heart Medical Group in Santa Rosa Beach; Dr. Kimberly Hood with Sacred Heart Medical Group in Niceville; and Dr. Jennifer Esses with Women and Children First in Santa Rosa Beach. Pediatricians with The Family Birth Place are Rickey Viator, MD and Crystal Tidwell, DO with Sacred Heart Medical Group in Santa Rosa Beach and Luis Gomez with ABC Pediatrics in Niceville.
The Family Birth Place offers a variety of childbirth and parenting education classes, including childbirth & baby basics class, breastfeeding program and support group, infant CPR class, and more. Tours of the Family Birth Place are available on Monday evenings at 6 p.m. To schedule a tour, please contact Volunteer Services at 850-278-3676.

For more information about The Family Birth Place at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, please call (850) 278-3600 or visit
About the Family Birth Place:
The mission of the Family Birth Place is to provide a high quality birthing experience, including an environment that fosters family unity without compromising safety; an emphasis on education that supports women and their families from early pregnancy through early parenthood; and guidance through the many choices women and families make during their birthing experience.
About Sacred Heart Health System
On the Gulf Coast, Sacred Heart Health System (based in Pensacola, Florida) and Providence Hospital (based in Mobile, Alabama) are part of Ascension. Together, these Ascension healthcare facilities have served Gulf Coast communities for more than 160 years and they employ more than 6,600 associates. Across the region, Ascension provided more than $113 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016.  Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. For more on Sacred Heart Health System, visit