Little Amelia Barker is now two-and-a-half years old, but her birth has a long story beginning with a pilgrimage from Vermont and across the country to her mother’s hometown of Sonoma. So determined were her parents Sara (née Rouse) and Justin to return to Sonoma that, at five-months pregnant, Sara arranged a transfer with her employer and Justin quit his job, and they headed west.

Once “home,” the first thing they did was find an obstetrician and visit The Birthplace at Sonoma Valley Hospital. Their comfort level with both choices was high. “Meeting Dr. Amara and visiting the ‘Birthplace’ with him put us completely at ease to go about getting situated here,” Sara recalls.

Sara and Justin calmly went about their new lives in Sonoma as innocently and busily as any first-time expecting-parents could, until Amelia reached 38 weeks and, late one night, decided to scoot sideways in Sara’s womb, then went to full-breech. Her little head went under Sara’s ribs and her bottom pushed out where her head should have been.

Immediately, Dr. Amara was contacted and he arranged to have them come into The Birthplace the next morning. The doctor and a team of nurses tried and tried to coax Amelia back into the normal position, but to no avail, leaving a C-section as the only option.

Surgery was scheduled for the following week, and mom, dad, and the entire Rouse family showed up at 5:00 a.m. Both Justin and Amelia’s grandmother, Michele, were allowed into surgery right there in The Birthplace. Dr. Christopher Hatch, the anesthesiologist, talked them through everything. “Chris was absolutely amazing,” recalls Sara, “but nothing soothed me as much as Justin telling me every detail of the Little League World Series which was in full swing at the time.”

It wasn’t long before the nurse was placing 6 lbs-7oz Amelia on Sara’s chest and then wheeling Amelia and Sara across the hall to their beautiful suite, one large enough to accommodate the entire, grateful Rouse clan. There, Sara, Justin and baby Amelia spent the next four days in complete comfort and safety.

During this time they were offered lessons, videos, lactation sessions, pain management training, bathing practices; the works. But most important, throughout the entire process, they were there together, and when the visitations slowed down a little they had some alone-time, just the three of them.

Since then, the Barker family has grown with the arrival of Matilda, a sister for Amelia, who was also delivered at The Birthplace. “Justin and I wouldn’t want to have a child anywhere but here in Sonoma,” says Sara.

Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation