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Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 12, 2023 and Island Ad-Vantages, January 12, 2023 and The Weekly Packet, January 12, 2023
Birthing center opens at Maine Coast Hospital
State-of-the-art facility welcomed patients Jan. 10

Northern Light, Maine Coast Hospital, Doxon Birthing Center, Ellsworth

One of the spacious birthing suites in the newly opened Dixon Birthing Center at Maine Coast Hospital.

Photo by Maggie White Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Maggie White

“It’s an amazing moment, an amazing thing…it feels warm. It feels caring,” said Northern Light Health President and CEO Tim Dentry to those gathered to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dixon Family Birthing Center at Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth. The masked crowd comprised hospital staff and members of the media who’d been invited to the January 9 event in advance of the center’s official January 10 opening.

Words of introduction were offered by John Ronan, President of Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals and Senior Vice President of Northern Light Health. Ronan extended gratitude to many, including board members, the capital campaign committee, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Machias Savings Bank, WBRC, Inc. architects and JF Scott Construction for assistance with funding, articulation of vision and timely execution of the project. Regarding the latter, particular recognition was given to construction project manager Brian Degrasse.

Ronan then read a few lines from a letter sent by Edith Dixon about her eponymous center. Dixon, who is currently in Florida and was thus unable to attend the ceremony, had written that she was “pleased to have a modern, comfortable, birthing center to welcome future generations.”

Taking his turn at the podium, Dentry stressed his appreciation for hospital staff for the job they do “serving those who come to us during a time of need.”

Board chair Sally Hutchins did the honors of cutting the ribbon, wielding a large pair of shears to do the job in one snip. The wing was open for self-guided tours following the ceremony, with hospital staff on hand to answer questions and demonstrate how to use equipment.

“The new spacious, family-focused Birthing Center will provide parents with the best possible environment for welcoming a newborn. The new unit will include comfortable combined labor, deliver, and recovery suites with plenty of space for a support person to stay overnight,” said Northern Light Health Communications Director Kelley Anne Columber in a press release.

Calling the opening “an important milestone for our region,” Columber confirmed that the only other birthing center in the county is at Mount Desert Island Hospital, where the current obstetrics department opened in 2005.