History

Marsha Jackson started BirthCare with Alice Bailes on May 11, 1987 when they shook hands on Alice’s deck and agreed to become business partners. They have worked closely together as a team for 25 years fulfilling their dream of providing home birth services and personalized GYN care. Working together so long, they would invariably finish each other’s sentences. Their initial dream was fulfilled and BirthCare continued to grow and expand to include an accredited Birth Center and one of the few home birth/birth center clinical sites for midwifery students throughout the country.

happybaby

Photos by Heidi Daniels.

As a team, Marsha and Alice have co-authored several articles in midwifery journals, compiled the ACNM Handbook on Home Birth Practice, and have co-authored a chapter in the seminal midwifery textbook, Varney’s Midwifery. Marsha and Alice are also featured authors in an anthology of midwives published in 2011 entitled, Into These Hands – Wisdom from Midwives. Their most recent scholarly work is a chapter addressing physiologic birth for in-hospital practitioners. This resource book, Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth, was published in 2013.

Through the years, BirthCare clients and staff have looked forward to the Annual BirthCare Picnic that started in 1988.  This has always been a time for us to relax, to reconnect with our BirthCare family, and to see how our families have grown.  Our babies are now having babies….  We are on to the next generation!!!

Alice retired from BirthCare early in 2013, however, Marsha with a wonderful team of midwives and support staff, continue to provide the same high quality personalized care for women and families. The following is a chronological history of BirthCare:

May 11, 1987 
Marsha & Alice agree to become business partners and start BirthCare & Women’s Health. Prenatal visits and GYN care is relaxed and leisurely at Marsha’s and Alice’s homes.

July 14, 1987 
BirthCare & Women’s Health, Ltd was incorporated in the state of Virginia.

July 1987 
Baby Heather- born at home in Edgewater, MD- was BirthCare’s first baby! Marsha attended her birth.

August 1, 1987 
Marsha & Alice open the first BirthCare office located at 1204 Prince St. Alexandria, VA. They stopped seeing clients in their homes and continued providing prenatal and GYN care now in one location.

August 15, 1987 
Martha Weaver hired as a third midwife and Suzanne Dorick hired as the office manager.

Photos by Heidi Daniels.

1990 
The midwifery team was attending 8-10 births per month and the growing practice was moved to a larger office at the present King St location. Cyndi Johnson, CNM (formerly Cyndi Thrall) joined the team and continued providing services with BirthCare for 15 years. Cyndi even came back (12/2006 – 2/2007) for 2 months during one midwife’s leave of absence.

1992 
Prompted by a brief period of non-availability of home birth professional liability insurance, Marsha & Alice decide to open a birth center to keep out-of-hospital birth available to families. BirthCare soon began seeking accreditation from the American Association of Birth Center’s, Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.

Aug 25, 1992 
Baby Juliana- first baby born in the BirthCare Birth Center – Cyndi attended her birth.

1993 
Cyndi and Jeannie Herbert, RN (former birth assistant with BirthCare) took on the task and labored many long hours preparing the birth center for the rigorous and intense accreditation process. BirthCare was successfully accredited in 1993. Cyndi continued as the administrative director of the birth center until she relocated to Utah in 2005.

1994 
Midwives now attending approximately 12-15 births per month. BirthCare in conjunction with the ACNM Home Birth Committee spearheaded a national prospective study of home birth with certified nurse-midwives documenting the safe outcomes of home birth.

1995 
Major renovations began to the office / birth center: 2 new bathrooms were added, a new large two person Jacuzzi was installed, a roof was constructed over the parking area – making additional room for parking and room for 3 new offices. The entire place received a facelift inside and out with the help of a little paint and new décor.

1997 
Midwives were attending 15-20 births per month, making for a lot of long hours and sleepless nights for the team.

1998 
Our website: www.birthcare.org was launched.

2000-2004 
The practice continues to grow. Midwives were now attending 18-25 births per month.

Photos by Heidi Daniels.

Photo Credit: Heidi Daniels.

2005 
BirthCare Yahoo group was started by our clients as a means to exchange thoughts and connect with other BirthCare clients.

2006 
BirthCare begins participation in the MANA Stats international web-based statistical collection of birth outcomes.

2007 
Regina Foran, CNM, member of the BirthCare midwifery team and administrative director of the birth center saw BirthCare through successful re-accreditation in 2007 and 2010 as scheduled.

2010 
BirthCare began to have a wait list most months for clients desiring a home or birth center birth. To better accommodate clients, the midwifery team expanded to seven practitioners and increased the client census to 25-30 births per month.

Nov 3, 2012 
BirthCare’s 25th Anniversary Celebration was held at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office Atrium, Alexandria, VA. Over 200 clients, colleagues, and friends attended. Marsha, Alice and BirthCare received The Strong Woman Award presented by the DC Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives for their 25 years of strength and service to the women of the DC Metropolitan Area. Also received, was a With Women for a Lifetime – Gold Commendation Award from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (our national association).

2013
Alice Bailes, CNM retired (January 2013) from clinical practice after 25 years of “birthing and growing” BirthCare with Marsha. Kudos to Alice for all she has done for women, families, and for BirthCare over the past 25 years.

The birth center was successfully re-accreditated in July.

Athena Allread, a BirthCare mom and interior designer, recognized the need to update our downstairs reception area.  We launched an online fundraiser between September and December to help fund the project.  Approximately $16,000 was raised!  The renovations should be completed by March, 2014.  We will plan a party to celebrate.


This is a timeline for BirthCare. We have truly been blessed to have a clinical staff that has been knowledgeable, committed, and dependable. Our birth assistants have been stable through the years. Many of them have furthered their education and have become midwives. We have also had support from many private physicians, in-hospital midwifery services, and hospitalists through the years. BirthCare  and the services we provide would not be here today without the dependable and skilled clinical support we have received  throughout the DC metropolitan area.

We also heavily depend on our administrative staff. The administrative staff at BirthCare has had many new faces through the years – sometimes changing more often then we would like. The one thing that is constant is a pleasant smiling face when a client walks through the door. Our staff also gets to know our clients quickly and often times know their names and even the names of their family members!

We have also had many volunteers/angels through the years that have stepped in at just the right time to lend a hand either administratively or clinically. We thank you all for your invaluable assistance in helping BirthCare continue to empower women and families providing specialized GYN care and continuing to help make Happy Birth Days.

Marsha Jackson started BirthCare with Alice Bailes on May 11, 1987 when they shook hands on Alice’s deck and agreed to become business partners. They have worked closely together as a team for 25 years fulfilling their dream of providing home birth services and personalized GYN care. Working together so long, they would invariably finish each other’s sentences. Their initial dream was fulfilled and BirthCare continued to grow and expand to include an accredited Birth Center and one of the few home birth/birth center clinical sites for midwifery students throughout the country.