Jennifer Calhoun has fond memories of giving birth to her daughter, Layla, now 8 months old, at New Milford Hospital's Family Birthing Center.

"The nurses stay with you the entire time from when you go in, to delivery," Mrs. Calhoun, 33, recalled. "I felt like I was the center of attention."

"I had two or three nurses coming in and out. Anything I wanted, they got for me," she said. "My doctor, Dr. (Carol) Papov, was great. The birthing suite had been recently remodeled. It was all excellent."

The center is a Level 1 nursery for low-risk births. There were 261 babies born there in 2010. An anesthesiologist is on call 24/7.

Mrs. Calhoun remembered quickly getting her epidural. Her delivery was fast and went smoothly, she recalled.

If a problem should arise with a delivery -- say a pre-term delivery -- a neonatologist is "quickly available" by ambulance at Danbury Hospital, said Dr. Carol Papov, chairwoman of the OB/GYN Department at the hospital.

If a baby is born high risk, a neonatal team quickly comes in from Danbury, bringing a ventilator or other equipment required, and transports the baby to Danbury Hospital by ambulance, she said.

"We're not a high risk center," Dr. Papov added, "but we're able to almost always stabilize a mom and get her transported to Danbury if the need arises."

"If we have a diabetic or advanced maternal-age mother, we follow with the perinatologist in Danbury," she said, "consulting with the specialist for recommendations."

Dan Calhoun appreciated he was able to spend the first night after Layla's birth on a second bed in his wife's room.

"The staff was wonderful, very caring and attentive," Mr. Calhoun said. "I was able to stay and able to help out, waiting on Jennifer a bit -- although the nurses were right there."

"Visiting her was easy. At the same time, you had to be beeped into the floor. We liked the security of that," he added.

A lactation specialist worked with Mrs. Calhoun in a room specially set up for instruction. She taught her the best way to hold Layla to encourage the baby to nurse.

The future of the Family Birthing Center "depends on volume" of mothers using it, said Deborah Weymouth, the hospital's senior vice president of operations and executive director.

She noted Danbury Hospital's $8 million expansion of its neonatal intensive care center that opened in May.

"We'd like to invest in the department, offering birthing experiences beyond the traditional -- relaxation methods, midwife services," Mrs. Weymouth said. "We don't offer them now and many women are interested in them."