Oh my I am so behind! Well I'm in my 15th week but I look like I'm about 5-6 months pregnant. I just tell people I'm just so short the belly has nowhere to go but out! I got down on the floor to pet my Beckett boy (my cat) and I was on my belly; it felt like I had a balloon in there! Love it!
Well anyway on Wednesday we toured the birth center that I've been debating switching to. I already see midwives but they deliver at a hospital. I was really hoping for a home birth but I can't afford to pay a midwife out-of-pocket (insurance won't pay them) when I already pay for my primary insurance. Midwives truly are not expensive compared to the hospital bill you receive if you give birth at the hospital but if you don't have the money you just don't have the money. My insurances will pay for the whole kit-n-caboodle if I see midwives at a hospital or birth center. Unassisted birth is not an option for us.
That being said the next best option for us is a birth center. A birth center is a compromise between home birth and hospital birth. It is a place specifically created for the intimacy of birthing babies. It is also for low-risk women and they offer no interventions which means emergencies are very, very rare. All medical equipment is hiding and the rooms typically look like a regular bedroom with a regular bed.
Anyway back to our tour.......... the birth center we visited was located in an old seminary campus in a very old building (so cool!). It is a Christian birth center and their belief statement lines up with our beliefs. The grounds are absolutely beautiful at the birth center and I can totally see myself walking around under the trees to help labor along. Or in one of their beautiful labor tubs! They have four birth suites in total, two of which have birth tubs.
Here is the Moroccan Suite (and YES that bed is for the laboring mom!):
Here are some positive points to the birth center:
-Elaina and Abigail would be free to be there for the birth. Zoë could be there but I don't think it would be a good idea because of her very strong attachment to me. Daniel tickles me and she screams in terror that he's hurting me, for example. So I can't see her being there for the birth.
-There's a sitting room outside each birth suite if Daddy or one of the girls need to step out.
-Daniel can bring his guitar and sing for me, which is something I've always wanted but of course a hospital wouldn't allow that. How beautiful to bring our baby into the world with Daddy's worship!
-There is a little kitchenette in each birth suite with a little fridge filled with energy foods for laboring momma. Our tour guide told us one laboring couple went to the store down the street, while in labor, to get some items to cook in their little kitchenette for during labor and after delivery. FREEDOM! Love it!
-They bake you a birthday cake after baby is born; so sweet!
-No IV, no drugs, no EFM... basically no interventions! They won't even break your water here. This is a place for natural birth of low-risk women.
-Baby rooms in and doesn't leave Momma; breastfeeding is highly encouraged and supported.
-You can be discharged 6 hours after the birth; this might make some people incredulous but it makes me excited! There's no reason to be there; freedom to go home and be in our own environment is great.
-Two words: WATER BIRTH
-Free to labor and birth in a position you need to be in.
-Prenatal visits are at the birth center.
-You get to know every single staff member (two midwives and a few nurses) so there's no SURPRISE when you go into labor and get Dr. You-Don't-Know-Me. Very family-friendly atmosphere where you feel like you're visiting friends who just happen to be birth professionals. ;-)
So it seems like a no-brainer but Daniel hates change so he's needing time to consider. I am fine with waiting but only for a few days. If we're going to make the switch I want to get that ball rolling this week so I can get all the paperwork transferred. I have an important sonogram coming up so switching soon is high on my list of priorities!
MORE INFO ON BIRTH CENTERS (I'm speaking of free-standing centers, NOT centers connected directly to a hospital):
Birth centers create an atmosphere that is conducive to labor and delivery. You're free to eat foods that increase energy, you're free to drink fluids by mouth, there are no IVs, no bands around your belly (they use a doppler for intermittent monitoring as external fetal monitoring has been proven to not be beneficial to women in labor on multiple levels), free to move as you need... there is so much more freedom to labor and allow your body to intuitively do what it needs to do. There are no epidurals at birth centers; only a few birth centers have other narcotics such as Stadol or Demerol so most women going to a birth center have med-free births for a goal.
In the event of the rare emergency at a birth center there is a clear transportation plan and backup hospitals. Most transfers are actually due to maternal fatigue for labors that last over about 2 days or so. Because birth centers are no-intervention (they won't even break your water at the one I visited!) the risks you would otherwise face at a hospital with high-intervention are very, very rare. Midwives are highly trained to catch any possible risks to mother or baby and respond accordingly.