About eight weeks ago, I delivered my third baby. She is my first girl after two wild boys. She is fussy and she eats all the time…yada yada yada. It’s the same thing you’ve heard before. But what’s different this time is I delivered my baby at a birthing center after two hospital deliveries. And it was joyous.
There are just so many perks to delivering at a birthing center!
When labor started with boys, we drove down the road to the hospital, my husband dropped me off at the door, he ran inside to grab a wheel chair, and then we scooted down the hall to the elevator and up we went to L&D. AND THEN we had to check in, get to my room, and then climb into that uncomfortable bed where nurses attached wires and a fetal monitor to my body. I was beyond blessed to have fast, natural deliveries with no complications. But I still hated the entire process!
When I got pregnant with baby girl, we were in a new city with new insurance so I had to start my OB/GYN and delivery location search completely over. My husband originally wanted me to deliver at the big hospital downtown but I had a really hard time finding a doctor who took my insurance and had good reviews AND delivered at that hospital. Orlando is big and there’s a lot of people to call! That’s when I considered other options.
As you may recall my husband is in medical school, so even suggesting we go speak to the group of midwives at a birthing center was a big deal! But after he asked his many, many, many questions, he felt assured that they knew what they were doing and that I’d be taken care of.
My prenatal care was spot on and I felt comfortable asking questions at my check ups and even reaching out in between visits. And on top of that, they knew who I was and could answer my questions knowing exactly who they were talking to on the phone. I even had their cell phone numbers. What OB/GYN does that? I don’t know, maybe some do. But I have never had one that did. So this was amazing to me.
But once I went into labor, my husband called the office and let them know I was coming in. Had it been after hours, we would have called the midwife on call and she would have met us at the center and had everything set up for us. Fortunately it was during regular hours and everyone was already there waiting for me. My husband parked right in front of the building, helped me walk in and the midwife walked us right back to our room. And this room! It was set up with a queen size bed, a couch, a dresser and night tables, a sound machine, and full bathroom with jetted tub and many pillows to use however I wanted. I was as so comfortable. (Well, as comfortable as one can be while they are pushing a person out of their body.) My husband could easily get in the bed with me to help ease the discomfort (read: pain.) Once our bouncing baby bundle was born, I brought her right up to my chest where she remained for over an hour. No one grabbed her away from me to wipe her off and run tests. No one made me do anything I was uncomfortable with. I had just delivered my baby how my body wanted to deliver her and she was mine. It was wonderful and empowering and felt amazing.
After that, my husband went out to get us food, because hello, I had basically just completed seven marathons and I was starving and no one actually wants hospital food. The nurse brought me my lunch on an actual silver platter along with sparkling apple cider and champagne flutes. I laid there with my new babe and ate my fried chicken knowing I had just accomplished something awesome. The midwife came in later to check on us and make sure the baby had everything she needed to thrive in this world. And then we went home. That’s it. Baby girl was born at 10:36a and we were out the door by 4:30p. I went home to my other children, in my own bed where we could all be comfortable.
Birthing centers maybe aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK. Hospitals have a lot to offer and those who have complications during pregnancy and delivery benefit from those services. But if you are considering alternative options, please consider talking with experienced midwives. Your body is capable of so much and these women have so much wisdom to share. Don’t get me wrong, doctors are great – my husband will be one in a couple of years. Please do not read this as a piece against doctors and modern medicine. Just know this is what a woman’s body was designed to do and you CAN do it!