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Cambridge Birth Center - reviews needed

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am very interested in delivering at Cambridge Birth Center, as I live in Boston and would prefer a birth center rather than a hospital experience. Home birth is not an option for me, as my insurance won't cover it. I will most likely deliver at Newton Wellesley if I choose a hospital.

I've heard mixed reviews about Cambridge, especially re: their high transfer rate to the hospital. However, most reviews that I've read are a number of years old. Is there anyone here who has birthed there recently? Can you please share your experiences?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 10
sorry to not give info on CBC but just wanted to mention that i had a fantastic experience at NWH with the midwives from women's health associates.

i was afraid of the high transfer risk at CBC and didn't like the idea of cambridge hospital, wanted a homebirth but just couldn't do it due to financial issues and issues with my apartment, and i had a beautiful birth experience at NWH with those MWs. i could decline any test i wanted without worrying about risking out of a birth center, and it was super comfortable and i KNEW all the midwives well since there are only a few on the team unlike with CBC. so i wasn't worried about getting someone on-call who i didn't really know. and i knew that if anything went wrong, i wouldn't have to worry about being transferred - i'd be there in the same area with my MW there to support me. i ended up realizing that NWH was better for what i wanted, even though CBC is a birth center and NWH isn't!

of course, some women have AWESOME experiences at CBC, just wanted to mention mine at NWH since you said it's your 1st choice for a hospital. apologies for being OT and not really answering your question; i just wanted you to know that i had a super experience at NWH and was happy to not worry about risking out of my MW's care!

hoping you can get some good responses. a family member of mine used CBC for both births - for #1, she was dehydrated and sent to the hospital for IV fluids and ended up getting an epidural (she felt that if she had just been more hydrated and active, she could have done it naturally), but she was happy enough with CBC to go back for #2. and she had a very nice experience that time, birthed there, and was able to go home the same day.
post #3 of 10
the mws there that i have personal experience with act like drs. its an attitude kinda thing kwim? i delivered at the camb hosp, with a few of their mws. its a long story.....but ya, wouldnt do it again.
post #4 of 10
I had both my kids there (2003 and 2006) and have several friends who have had their kids there as well. I really loved them. I do think, however, that there is a wide range of personalities, and so it is nice to meet them before you decide who to see consistently. Throughout my prenatal visits I was able to meet a number of the other midwives which made me feel better about not knowing who would actually be attending my births. I also loved the nurse, Deb. I felt really well cared for and respected throughout. I can't really comment on their transfer or c-section rates, just personality and perceived quality of care.
post #5 of 10
I would highly recommend searching the archives here and reading the posts about CBC, especially this one from April 2007 where the poster reported that
The do have a strict policy that the water must be ruptured before second stage begins, so most midwives will do this at 8cms. Both of the midwives I have spoken to (Laurie and Ellen) have voiced their disdain of this practice and said they wish they didn't have to do it. Basically, they are on a tight rope balancing the desires of the OB's and pediatricians at the hospital, and if they try to fight this policy they risk losing the birth center.
I don't know if this is still the case at CBC (I would be very interested in knowing if anyone has a more recent experience with this).

Of course you don't have to allow any vaginal exams, in which case, they wouldn't be able to break your water, but it is certainly a very questionable "policy".

Mama to DS (5) & DD (3) :
: April is Cesarean Awareness Month
post #6 of 10
I can only chime in that I hear anecdotally that only 40% of the births there are what the mother wanted, not even half.

I hear much better rates of satisfaction with Mt. Auburn Midwives and NW Midwives.

It is about where the midwives have the most power in their hospital culture, and it seems that a few events at Cambridge made the policies much stricter on the CBC.
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by MAMom View Post
Of course you don't have to allow any vaginal exams, in which case, they wouldn't be able to break your water, but it is certainly a very questionable "policy".
Originally Posted by xmasbaby7 View Post
It is about where the midwives have the most power in their hospital culture, and it seems that a few events at Cambridge made the policies much stricter on the CBC.
this is so unfortunate. when will midwives be able to stop practicing under the thumb of all this policy? go midwifery bill!
post #8 of 10
Just a quick note: DS was born there 6 years ago (DW gave birth). We loved it -- the prenatal care and the birth. We felt honored and respected in our choices. And the support during birth was amazing.

I know that a bit after that, they had some issues in terms of leadership and policy changes. Things have, supposedly, smoothed/ironed out some of late. We were there in Nov for an appt that ultimately ended in miscarriage. The midwife we saw told us a bit about the evolution of things, a hard time for a few years, but things feeling much better now. I know that many of folks' more troubling experiences happened in those supposed "bad years," so you may want to check it out now or talk to folks who are there now in care. We do intend to return whenever this next baby decides to stick around with us....

good luck!
post #9 of 10
I checked them out last month when I found out I was pregnant and decided not to go with them. First of all, they still have the policy of rupturing your water (to test for meconium) when you are 7-8 cm dialated. No matter what. And if they is meconium in the water, regardless of its condition or how mother or baby are doing or where the labor is, they transfer you to the hospital. No matter what.

They were also incredibly unforthcoming about things like transfer rate - I had to push pretty hard to get the midwife I spoke with to admit that it's 32%. I also could not get her to admit what kind of time limits they operated on, but they definitely have ideas about "stalled labor" (which were like pausing at 3 or 4 hours at the same dialation) and if they think you are not progressing fast enough, "there is something wrong" and you get transfered to the hospital. After some hard pushing I was finally told that these decisions were non-negotiable and that if the midwife decided I had to go to the hospital then I had to go. No matter what.

That's why I decided to go with a homebirth. We'll probably end up paying out of pocket for it, but it's worth it to me not to have a heinous experience like so many I have heard from friends who had hospital births, or God forbid, go under the knife.

You should decide what's right for you, but just FYI and don't be afraid to ask hard questions and push for the answers.
post #10 of 10
this is where i am going, i am due in september.
I am happy with the prenatal care i have been getting and happy with the things i have had done at cambridge hospital. everyone is nice and helpful ,this is my first baby so i have lots of questions and fears.

my midwife is attentive but not invasive. i can email her if i have a random question or call with more emergency things.

in order to give birth at the birthcenter you have to go to an orientation to meet all of the midwives and doulas, since anyone could be on duty when you actually go into labor. i haven't done that yet.

i have been able to opt out of any testing i do not want with no problems at all. really my midwife has just let things go along naturally. she doesn't ask me lots of questions because i think everything is fine. i really like that.

i also feel safe and comfortable with the transfer rate, i like that i am so close to the hospital in case something does happen and i require intervention.

all in all so far i have had a good experience. i have had a prefectly healthy and happy pregnancy so far under their care.
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