MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- It's the start of the new year and that's often marked by celebrating many of the "firsts" of the year.
Katie and Eric Venglar welcomed their son into the world on New Year's Day- He was the first baby born in Manistee County in 2020.
January 1st, 2020 at 7:36 PM... Xavier Frederic Venglar was born at Transitions Women's Wellness Center, a free standing birthing center in the city of Manistee.
It's the first time in many years the first birth was not at Munson Healthcare Manistee hospital.
"For this to be so historic of an event in Manistee County is pretty special. This is the first time that the first baby in Manistee was not born in a hospital," said Jennifer Cameron, Certified Nurse Midwife.
Munson Healthcare Manistee discontinued their delivery services last Spring which has led many women to have a mid wife, like Jennifer, deliver their child.
"I've picked up the slack here at Transitions. We've gotten a lot busier since this has happened and I'm really thankful that I'm here and able to fill that gap. This is my hometown I love this community and I treat them as though they're family. "
But midwives can only deal with low risk pregnancies.
"If women are not willing, able or they don't meet the criteria for low risk pregnancy to come here they have to drive 30 miles to Ludington or 55 miles to Cadillac or about 65, 70 miles to Traverse City. That's a good 30 to 40 minute drive for most women especially those in the northern part of the county... And that's on good roads, and as we know, that's not always the case around here so it can be a real problem."
Which is why Jen Cameron says the lack of access to OBGYN services in Manistee County is a concern.
"Side of the road deliveries I fear will become a concern. emergency room deliveries may become a concern. There's not many other options around here besides me or home birth."
Those who have tried Transitions, such as Alexis Olson, say they have had a good experience.
"It's a huge deal to have this type of care in Manistee now that there is no OB department and Jen provides such incredible care. It's so incredible she's inspired me to go into the birthing field."