I am looking for information on the Cambridge Birth Center and The Midwives at Mount Auburn Hospital. For first-time moms who plan a natural childbirth, which place has a higher success rate for natural childbirth? Finding out this information is complicated given that a lot of moms who go to Mt. Auburn don't plan on a natural childbirth; also, many moms who start at the Birth Center transfer to Cambridge Hospital.
Comparing Cambridge Birth Center and The Midwives at Mt. Auburn Hospital
From what I've been able to research, the "high" CBC transfer rate might be old data. They're under new leadership. So far, I've been only able to find (old) anecdotal evidence about the transfer rate. CBC is having an open house this Monday. I'm going and hoping to have lots of questions answered then. Call them and RSVP.
Cambridge Hospital limits the scope of the midwives there. I attended a birth and the mama was transfered postpartum for a manual placenta removal with spinal anesthesia because the placenta hand't come out on its own after 30 minutes. I was left holding the baby at the birth center and luckily the placenta came out on its own before they had a chance to get to her so she was able to come back to the birth center (instead of having the baby transferred to the hosptial with her as originally planned.
I asked my mother-in-law about this, who's a midwife at another birth center in the area. She thought either one would be okay, but that Cambridge would be better because they have a bettter laboring environment (with kitchen, large tubs, etc). She felt that even if I were more likely to get transferred to a hospital for the actual birth, it would be worth it to have most of the labor in a more comfortable and supportive space. But it depends on how you feel about the possibility of moving across the street while in labor.
I had my first child through the mid-wives at the CBC but never got to experience the lovely rooms and big beds that had won me over. Because I was a week late and had low amniotic fluid they induced me and that ruled out the BC. Long story short I had a c-section and was not thrilled with my time at the hospital. While the BC is great and the midwives are also great if anything gets complicated and they bring you to the hospital expect a cold, hospital experience. My doctor was very nice and my baby healthy but the experience left me shell shocked. I am preggers again and going for a VBAc with Mt. Auburn...
We started out with the midwives in Wellesley and didn't feel as happy there as we had expected. So, we transferred to Cambridge Birth Center. Our midwife was pretty cold and clinical, but at least we had the same one every time and she remembered us from month to month. In the end, however, my DW had incredibly painful contractions when her water broke. She was dehydrated and needed to be treated for Group B strep. We went in, expecting to get all cozy in one of those lovely rooms. That did NOT happen. They pretty much forced an internal exam on her, gave her excessive amounts of iv fluids, and then when they couldn't conclude which way baby was facing they decided that an ultrasound was necessary. All of this while she's having painful contractions every five minutes. After two hours of poking and prodding in every possible direction, they sent us home, 40 min away and said to come back in a few hours for another strep treatment. Several hours of pain and no support later, we returned and my DW pretty much demanded that they allow us to stay... which meant transferring over to the hospital for "light" pain meds for sleep (contractions every five minutes for 12 hours at that point). The labor was long, painful, and our midwife continued to be cold and clinical. However, all of the other midwives who rotated in on shifts over the 32 hours of labor were absolutely lovely. DW ended up having a c-section after six hours of pushing with no progress. We stayed in the hospital for a week due to an infection, jaundice, and just how generally lovely and wonderful the nurses and doctors were.
Thus, the point of my little rant... The nurses and doctors at Cambridge Hospital were absolutely wonderful. We loved (almost) every one of them. We're a two mom family, we brought in our own cloth diapers, we refused almost everything, we both breastfed our daughter and they loved us. They were so supportive of both of us, the lactation consultants supported both of us, they stored pumped milk from both of us in the nursery fridge, they let us stay in the nursery with our daughter when she needed to be under the billi lights... really, they saved the whole experience for us.
I know this post is old, but wanted to give my two cents about the Cambridge Birth Center from my recent experiences. I had chosen midwifery care for the personal, compassionate, patient-centered care that midwifery model is known for.
However this was not my experience. Not only were they cold and impersonal-their care was borderline negligent. I would especially beware of them if you think you are more likely than most to have a pregnancy loss.
The midwives are cold, clinical and have no compassion. If you do threaten to miscarry, don't expect any sympathy from them. They were more concerned that I cancel my future appointments when I started bleeding. They will not give you any guidance about what to expect or when to seek medical help.
They seemed put out that I even called when I was soaking through more than one pad an hour and was passing grapefruit-sized clots. I was told to go to the ER if I fainted or if my entire bed was soaked with blood (duh). Otherwise just eat iron-rich foods. Didn't bother to ask if I was dizzy (yes), in severe pain (yes) or running a fever (low-grade).
Considering how "trigger-happy" they are to send you to the hospital when you are in labor, I would at least expect a few more questions and a little more guidance on what to do, but they didn't want to see me. Not once did they show an ounce of compassion, nor did they even bother to call and follow up in the following days to see if I had bled to death.
If you think about it, its not surprising. Miscarriages aren't high-profit (unlike births) nor do you get sued for malpractice because the baby isn't viable. I wasn't worth their time.
As others have said, they are very quick to transfer you to the hospital during labor- I would say only a third of moms who want a birth center birth get it. And now, if you are 40 when you deliver, they want you to be induced (at the hospital) at 39 weeks. They seem good on paper, but in practice, I think I would have been better off going to an OB who is sympathetic and open to natural birth.