Ann Sober, RN BSN,  DirectorAnn Sober is the owner and director of Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center.

Since she was a little girl, Ann dreamed of being a nurse. In 1967, she graduated with a diploma in Nursing from Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Seeing a Need for Change

As she rotated through labor and delivery during nursing school, she noticed that something didn’t quite feel right. Mothers were separated from family and friends. They were heavily medicated and unaware of when their babies were born. Mothers were not able to hold their babies for many hours after birth.

Over the years as a nurse, she worked to make changes in the labor and delivery process, and wondered if she might have more impact in an administrative position.

In 1979, she became a head nurse in Labor and Delivery at Baltimore City Hospital. It was there that she participated in opening the first birthing room in the city, and there that she met Eileen Ehudin Beard, a certified nurse-midwife. Eileen worked with Ann on the difficult task of making major changes in a large institution.

Pioneer in the Birth Center Movement

As Ann and Eileen began to look for other ways to help women experience a normal birth, they learned about the birth center concept and decided to open a center. A steering committee was formed, and within six months the Baltimore Birth Center opened in 1981.

Special Beginnings from the Start

In 1995, Ann and Eileen were approached by Baltimore Washington Medical Center to help them open a free-standing birth center in Anne Arundel County. Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center opened in 1997. Ann has worked in all aspects of the center, and currently serves as both director and owner.

Ann says,

“I have had the most wonderful career. It is truly an honor to work with the wonderful families and know that we are helping them to achieve the birth they desire. To offer them choices in healthcare that reflect their own values and cultural background.”

Ann Sober is proud to be part of Special Beginnings’ annual birthday party for families of the birth center. Families with children born more than 15 years ago come to visit. This is a truly special time of year for Ann to see the results of her life’s work,

“I know we are making a positive impact on their lives.”

Ann is married, with three sons, three daughter’s in law and four grandsons. Most of her spare time is spent enjoying her family.

Volunteer Highlights

  • Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC)
    • Accreditation Site Visitor: 1987-present
    • Commissioner: 2009-present
  • AABC Foundation Board of Trustees, Treasurer: 2005-present
  • Maryland Board of Nursing Practice Issues Committee, Chair: 1985- 2011
  • American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) Nominating Committee, Chair: 2007-2009, Member: 2000-2002
  • AABC (formerly National Association of Childbearing Centers) Board of Directors, Treasurer: 1994-2000
  • AABC Legislative Committee, Chair: 2002-2007

Memberships

  • American Association of Birth Centers (AABC)
  • American Nurses Association
  • Association of Women’s Health
  • Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
  • Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC)
  • Sigma Theta Tau International (Mu Eta Chapter)

Awards

  • Jamie Bolane Lifetime Achievement Award for demonstrating  persistent, persuasive and productive efforts in development and support of birth centers (AABC Foundation), 2011
  • Professional Achievement Award in recognition of “her concern for the care of childbearing families, her outstanding contributions in the development of the birth center concept at the local and national levels, and her commitment to the growth of a national organization to promote education and research on the birth center concept” (American Association of Birth Centers), 2002
  • Annual Leadership Award for Innovative Health Programs (Foundations for Nursing of Maryland), 1991
  • M. Frances Etchberger Award for Excellence in Service to Mothers and Children (Maryland Public Health Association), 1980