Looking back at the birth of Sagua Managu - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Looking back at the birth of Sagua Managu

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The Sagua Managu Birthing Center in Tamuning began with a vision over 15 years ago to create a unique experience for an expectant mom and along the way they have created a little bit of history. Doctors Annie Bordallo and Ellen Bez reflect on the birth of their creation.

"You know, it's really great we started as a small business and some of the history of small business is that you go out of business after one year. So it feels good to create a little bit of history when you are 15 years old there is history," said Bordallo. Bez added, "Time goes quickly when I saw something about we were doing this and the statistics that we had 6,800 babies and when you think that Sagua has had 7,000 babies it really gives you a sense history that sometimes past so it's gratifying its rewarding its special for the community we think."

It all started when Bordallo came back from training in the United States where hospitals were converting from the traditional labor and delivery room to the labor, delivery, recovery and post partum rooms where a patient stayed in one room throughout the entire experience. "So when I came home the hospital had the traditional setup and they were just so overcrowded," Bordallo recalled. "They were doing 400 deliveries a month people were laboring in the hallways and it's really a unique part of care that really does not need to be in a hospital."

That's when Bordallo decided to develop the Sagua Managu Birthing Center - the first of its kind on Guam and now the model for Guam's LDRP rooms. "I think the new hospital and certainly the hospital's plans to renovate they all seem to be copying our model so we feel like that is kind of a cool thing," continued Bordallo.

It took four years to develop the plan with countless Monday night meetings, and tours of different types of birthing centers in the US. And after all the research a hybrid was born. "We are kind of a hybrid actually because I am a doctor most birthing centers are run by midwives they are really a lot smaller they are houses that got converted to couple rooms they were doing eight, maybe ten deliveries a month."

Bordallo and Bez combined the benefits of a modern hospital facility with the philosophy of low intervention. Bordallo says while they don't have to intervene they still have the amenities in case complications warrant intervention, saying, "So I think that is unique to us if you tour birthing centers in the united states they don't look like this they are really they are like having home births but in a home that is run by the midwives as opposed to where we are a medical facility but our philosophy is really a home birth philosophy."

Bez added, "She had this inspiration because she wanted to provide this kind of service to the community and again like she said it was something that wasn't here at that point."

But like any venture, building the island's first birthing center came with challenges.  "Of course the challenges are like anything else when you run a 24/7 facility really you are paying people 24 hours a day 7 days a week whether you have people in here or not, whether there is babies or not those people still draw salaries so certainly the economics of a healthcare facility are quite challenging, but again our commitment is give people an environment that is family friendly they can bring their families in they can have the experience they choose to have," said Dr. Bordallo.

Bordallo says she was blessed to have the resources available and took advantage of community resources to make her vision a reality, gathering ideas from several places Bordallo and Bez on how to prepare a business plan they say that the Bank of Guam for finances and the Small Business Administration were helpful in educating them on the business aspects to get Sagua Managu off the ground.

"Fortunately for us we grew up here so the architecture this was a shell, the Ada's owned the building so they were really helpful in getting us in here. My classmate since kindergarten, Lisa Provido, was our architect and we just gave her a book of planning actually these types of facilities told her just do whatever you want make it nice but it has to have these specs," said Bordallo.

And that is how Sagua Managu, Guam's first birthing center came to be.

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