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Birth Center, Bryn Mawr

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm interested in your reviews of the Birth Center in Bryn Mawr-- http://www.thebirthcenter.org/
I'm not only interested in the birth experience, but also the level of care you get at prenatal appointments.
My previous practice lost my chart on 2 occasions and neglected to tell me about a serious problem for 8 weeks. It was also a hassle to make appointments, parking was difficult, and I had to wait more than an hour before being seen at many appointments.
I would like to avoid that the next time.
Thank you!
post #2 of 9
They were awesome for my DD's birth and prenatal care and I plan to use them this time around. I can't praise them enough. They were organized, you get to look at your chart each time, they have a checklist to make sure they talk about everything they need to at the appropriate time and the labor, delivery, and breastfeeding experience is wonderful.

I am actually a family physician and very picky when it comes to my medical professionals.

The Birth Center staff was always helpful.

It isn't the right model of care for everyone but I loved it.

Good luck in your decisions!
post #3 of 9
I really loved the Birth Center. I transferred in at 29 weeks with my oldest son and we had a fabulous experience. Our appointments were never rushed and while I often had to wait, it was never more than 20 minutes. The environment is incredibly supportive, and the breastfeeding support group that meets is a true lifesaver (although you don't have to be a TBC client to attend meetings).

I think a few of the negatives would be that there are 8 or 9 (or thereabouts) midwives, so it's hard to have a personal relationship with all of them. I had 8 appointments before my birth and had never met the one who was on call (although she was fabulous, so it didn't really matter). They have a relatively high transfer rate for first time moms, which may be a concern.

I really loved them, and would recommend them to anyone who wants a natural birth. I'd definitely recommend them over all the hospitals in the area or even hospital based midwife groups.

You may also want to check out Valley Birthplace---there are only 2 midwives there--and I've heard great things about them as well!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely check them out. Valley Birthplace looks nice, but might be too far of a drive.
My previous practice had at least 8 or 9 midwives-- I didn't mind that aspect that much-- my biggest gripe was the way the office was managed, and the fact that my ultrasound report was not read by the office for 8 weeks (and there was something seriously important to be reported).
Thanks again.
post #5 of 9
I've never heard of any people from The Birth Center having information not shared. The receptionist will know your name by your second visit and you get to look at your chart the whole time. Much different experience! They really are fabulous there!

The only other thing is that you should contact them ASAP since they fill up really really fast.
post #6 of 9
I didn't use the Birth Center but I know many people who did. And, everyone I know was really, really satisfied with it. They loved the midwives and the support. The only criticisms I've heard so far are: 1) They are pretty quick to transfer first time mothers, and 2) The Bryn Mawr hospital is not wonderful.

If you are open to a hospital birth, I recommend Ronni Rothman. That's who I used... she delivers at Montgomery Hospital.
post #7 of 9
I used the birth center for my Dec 2007 birth, and am there now for prenatal with a Sept 2010 edd. I am also interested in people's reviews, as things have changed since 2007. Apparently, only 3 or so of the midwives who were there in 2007 are still there now, and there are 5 I am still meeting. This is definitely a drawback -- just as a typical OB practice, you don't get a chance to really build an individual relationship with the midwife who will be at your birth (and have no idea who that will be). That said, they are all midwives, and you know that at least you are on the same wavelength in terms of natural birth and that they will do their best to avoid unnecessary interventions if you get transferred to the hospital.

With my first birth, I had Nancy, and she was fabulous. DS was OP, though, and my labor stalled. I was having involuntary pushing, cervix was swelling up, and I actually requested transfer because I couldn't take it anymore. One huge plus is that even if you end up at the hospital, the midwife is still your provider. Doctors only step in if a procedure is necessary. I think she did a great job of staving off further intervention. I wanted and got epi, then she did the pit drip, but very slow rate, and I was finally able to push him out vaginally. I am almost 100 percent sure that it would have been a c-section without her care.

Bryn Mawr hospital was typical, but not all that bad. They have a NICU, so if necessary, nice to have, but DS got put there just because of meconium in utero and the fact that I got an elevated temp with the epi (feared infection). They treated him with IV gentamycin, and kept him for observation for about 7-8 hours. I did get to put him on my chest for about 20 mins before they took him away, though, thanks to Nancy. I went to BF at 5 and 7 hours after birth. (At my first request to go see him, right after moved to the postpartum ward, I was told I was too pale and needed to rest. But, after 30 mins or so, ignored it and just got ready and said I wanted to go see him, called for help to get there, and went.) But, lactation support was strong, nurses were nice, food was fine.

Prenatal has been very organized and well-managed. They are sometimes running a bit late, but not usually. Now that they have electronic scheduling, their antiquated system finally updated, things seem much smoother.

I would love to hear people's opinions about the other midwives, since I don't know them very well. There is one in particular who was pretty curt and didn't even introduce herself, ignored my DS during the exam, and who I was not impressed with.
post #8 of 9
I had my son "at" the Birth Center in December 2006, and "dissatisfied with the experience" is a very mild way of putting it. The Birth Center actually has a 50% transfer rate for first-time mothers, although they don't advertise that statistic. They had a very "medwife" approach to prenatal care (which should have warned me, but what did I know?), offering prescription drugs as a remedy for every complaint, including psychiatric drugs as a response to my complaint of feeling tired (you know, tired during pregnancy? must need psychiatric drugs...). They ignored the length of my menstrual cycle, and as a result started pressuring me to induce much earlier than my baby was ready to come out. The labor was a complete disaster with constant harranging that I was not doing it fast enough, my contractions were not good enough - the student midwife was at some point actually yelling at me during a contraction because I had laid aside the electrical breast pump I had been using to stimulate labor. The medwives were at their absolute worst when, after I had been complaining of not being able to pee and of feeling awful pain in my bladder, they dosed me with morphine twice before it occurred to them to use a urinary catheter to relieve the pressure on my bladder... they actually told me I was imagining the fact that I desperately needed to pee, and hadn't done so in several hours.

I eventually transferred to Bryn Mawr hospital, not out of medical necessity but because of malpractice insurance cover your ass reasons. At the hospital I was left to the mercy of extremely hostile nurses, while my medwife supposedly ran around the hospital searching out my OB (whom I never ended up seeing with my own eyes); my husband later reported that she had actually been in the hallway chatting with the nurses. I was dosed with morphine again, then pressured into getting an epidural by the medwife ("You'll never be able to push the baby out if you don't get 8 hours of sleep!"). Ended up delivering with no feeling at all in my left leg, getting a cervical tear and a pretty bad labial tear (which was sewn up rather poorly by the Birth Center medwife!).

Because of all the morphine and the epidural drugs, our breastfeeding relationship got off to a very rocky start. The hospital forced formula supplementation on me and kept the baby overnight in the nursery without my consent (I had passed out cold after 3 days without any sleep), the baby refused to wake to breastfeed for more than a week after the birth. It took 12 weeks until we had an easy breastfeeding relationship. The medwives from the Birth Center checked in briefly (for 5 minutes) while I was in the hospital on the day of the birth, and never showed up to see me again. I left the hospital the next day, after waiting several hours in vain for them to come talk to me as they had promised to do.

For weeks I burst into tears every time I thought about the birth. I couldn't really think or talk about it without getting depressed and angry for over two years.

My second baby was born at home. It was a tremendously triumphant and healing experience after my first birth.
post #9 of 9
And to be absolutely fair, an addendum to my previous post:

June, the Birth Center's post partum home visit nurse, was wonderful and a tremendous help with our breastfeeding troubles. She sat with me patiently for several hours while I freaked out about not being able to nurse the baby. She made an SNS-like device for me from simple medical supplies and taught me how to supplement with expressed milk at the breast, supported me while I tried to latch on my sleepy baby, and generally calmed me down and left me feeling like I could actually cope with everything.
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