I am currently a client at the Birth Center, a place that has a huge waiting list and is a great birthing option for so many families in the community. The first birth I attended as a doula was at the Birth Center and it was a great experience for all. When we found out I was pregnant, I called right away to ensure they would have space for me. At each prenatal appointment, I have been welcomed by the nicest midwives. I felt so comfortable with all three that I’ve met with so far. They have been nothing but supportive, good listening, and informed midwives. I would love for any one of them to catch our baby.
But, and this is a big “but“– I have heard some not great things from fellow doulas and past clients of the Birth Center about one midwife in the practice. When you go into labor at TBC, you get whichever midwife is on call. There is a 1 in 6 chance I could get this midwife; after hearing about some of her medical choices and her personality I am scared for her to attend my birth. I honestly think I would not be able to birth my baby if she was the one on the other end of the line when I made the big “this is it” call. Not to mention, women have been known to regress and actually close if someone who they are not comfortable with shows up while they are laboring. I just finished Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (awesome book) where she highlights examples of this happening throughout history. So I don’t want to take my 1/6 chance.
I asked the Birth Center if they could make special arrangements for me so I would be guaranteed to get one of the five other midwives on my big day. Unfortunately, they were unable to do this so Jeff and I decided we would take our business and birth elsewhere.
The only other option in my mind is a homebirth. There is no way I would ever birth in a hospital unless in case of an emergency. The only other birth center in the area is much smaller and from reading reviews I learned there is a chance you will be sent to the hospital if they are full. So they were not an option either. After emailing and calling homebirth midwives, I picked the one I thought fit us best and Jeff and I met with her last Wednesday.
We really liked her! She is a CNM with more than 30 years experience. She shares our love for natural birth and had all her babies at home. We felt like we could be ourselves with her and her student midwife, and the fee was in our price range. We asked specific questions, and were happy with her answers. I feel like she will work so hard towards our goal of a natural birth at home, but at the same time keep my health and the baby’s health her top priority. She runs a solo practice so we know it will be her catching our baby. I think that is one of the best perks of a homebirth. The best perk of course being YOU GET TO HAVE YOUR BABY AT HOME!
In fact, now that I think about it more, even if there were no problems at all with the Birth Center, homebirth has always been the best option for us. It just took me a little while to get there. There is no added benefit to a birth center compared to a homebirth. There are no medicines or equipment at a center that are not also at a homebirth. The travel time to the hospital is the same. So as far as safety goes they are virtually equivalent. But there are so many better things about giving birth at home:
- You are in your own space, the place you can be the most comfortable
- In my case, I know the midwife who will 100% attend my birth
- You don’t need to get in a car–either while in labor or with a baby a few hours old
- You are the only birthing woman in your space and you hold 100% of the attention of your care providers and support team
- You use your bed, your sheets, your food, your backyard, your kitchen, etc.
- And the list goes on and on…(feel free to add what you think the advantages are in the comments!)
I feel so great about having a homebirth, and I know DH does too. I am not scared at all. I am actually really excited for labor. I can’t wait for my chance to have the birth I’ve always dreamed of and I think the choices I am making are the ones most likely to get me that dream birth.
I haven’t had the breakup conversation with the Birth Center yet because I am waiting until after my 20 week anatomy scan. I am really excited to see the baby and I wouldn’t want an insurance hiccup to push that back. But, I’ve made my decision and it feels great!