please tell me about your birth center birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-07-2003, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I am planning a birth center birth and would like to hear about others experiences (good or bad)..TIA!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#2 of 13 Old 12-08-2003, 01:38 AM
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My dd came to me at a "birth center" that was TECHNICALLY free standing, but it was on the same grounds as the hospital it was affiliated with. My dd was my first, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but it felt very hospitalish. Don't get me wrong...NICE hospital....but still, the nurses tried to dictate all sorts of stuff to me, my birth plan was violated in a few spots, and I learned that even though it was supposedly this progressive birth center, they fell under the same types of time and procedure restrictions as the hospital. It wasn't that bad for me, beause my labor was relatively fast, and for that I feel grateful.

In going to a birth center, I would really look into how, if at all, they are affiliated with a hospital and if they are, I'd really make sure about their "rules".
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#3 of 13 Old 12-08-2003, 09:07 AM
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I gave birth in a family birth centre within a hospital.

I had a fantastic birth, and all my birthplan wishes were followed to the letter. I did have 2 advocates with me just in case (super paranoia here!!), but they didn't end up needing to do much advocating...just supporting.

Both of my midwives read my (long) birthplan on my addmittance to the hospital (i had never met them before then), and said only positive things about it.

I specified no cord interference until placenta is delievered (and naturally...), and they totally respected that even though it was wrapped around her neck (hey...who's isn't?), and I heard the midwife who had been with me through labour telling the extra attending midwife who came in for the delivery that I wanted a "partial lotus birth type deal"....
Ella did require suctioning over the perenium though, but they had discussed and prepared me for that as soon as it had become evident during labour that there was tons of meconium everywhere...she came out covered in it.
She didn't want to try feeding for the first few hours, which i now attribute to the suctioning. i have read that this is often the case after suctioning, though no-one mentioned that at the time which would have been nice. No-one pushed formula or anything either, which good.
i wasn't extremely worried about it though...i had planned on immediate breastfeeding, but if she needed some time, that was okay too.

Also, I said in my birthplan that i did not want to be attended by ANY doctors, I wanted (more to the point...felt i NEEDED) only midwives, and that was respected also.

I left hospital after 8hrs, we were ready to leave sooner but we were asked to wait for a doctor to sign us out...and he took his sweet time. After waiting 2 hours for him to see us (we had a private room and tv, and a great view of the city though so it wasn't all bad), barely looked at the baby or myself, and pretty much went, "yeah whatever" and acted irritated that we even existed. Made me rather THANKFUL to not have him at my baby's birth let me tell you.

Mind you, I have recently started going to a young mothers group, and all but one of them delivered at the same place I did, and their stories are pretty horrendous & the way they tell it, all their midwives were EVIL. I have been giving lots of thought as to why my experience was so far I put it down to preparation & research, a birthplan, some trusty advocates & a belief in myself and my own body that I could do it (which again i put a lot of credit for that in to the research part of it...and hanging out here). I guess not everyone wants or can have that...which makes me a bit sad.
I wish everyone could have fantastic easy going births!!
That would be a wonderful world
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#4 of 13 Old 12-08-2003, 11:21 AM
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I had my youngest DD in a freestanding birth center after 2 previous hospital births. With my DS, I had a typical, uncomplicated birth, but I was left feeling out of control, etc. With my older DD, I was too far from the birth center, so I had another hospital birth, but with a different doc. I did hypnobirthing with her, was completely in control, and had a wonderful experience. The only thing that would've made it better would've been to leave that afternoon (they made us stay 24hrs and if I'd signed out AMA, my ins wouldn't have paid). So, we moved and for my last birth, I did the birth center.

It was FABULOUS!!! The midwives were GREAT! They stayed with me the whole time (unlike a doc at a hosp). My midwife (the one who delivered me, there were 4, all of whom I liked and was comfortable with) was more like a doula, encouraging me through each contrax, making sure I sipped on water or juice after each one, encouraged walking and changing positions. They only checked me like twice, they relied much more on my signals and my telling them how I felt to determine how far along I was. The birth center I was at ( ) is a converted row home, so the entire 2nd floor is set up for birthing. It had a living room, dining area, sitting room, full kitchen, 2 birthing rooms and 2 full bathrooms (1 with a jacuzzi).

My midwives fully respected all of my decisions. I had my older 2 kids at the center, though they did not witness the birth. My DH's friends were there with the kids, and then my mom was able to make it while I was in labor. This was great because then the friend could go get lunch for everyone else while my mom stayed with the kids.

I alternated between walking a lot and the birth ball for most of my labor. I listened to my hypnobirthing tapes, but I was not as much "in the zone" as I was during my labor with my older DD. When I hit transition, I wanted to get in the tub, so I spent the most horrible part of the labor in the jacuzzi. The tub was not big enough for the midwife to have access to deliver me, though, so as I was getting out, I just started pushing (there's no stopping the urge with an unmedicated birth!) and she was born while I was standing up in the tub (the nurse was happy, all the fluid just went down the drain and all she had to clean was the tub, lol!). They then wrapped me in a towel and I got into bed in the birthing room. They waited until the cord stopped pulsing to cut it, and we declined all newborn procedures (they don't do PKU 'til 3 days, which we did not decline). They were completely fine, just gave me waiver forms to sign (which I had already discussed with them). My kdis came in right after the placenta was delivered and we were all wrapped up and cozy. It was so nice to have them right there, it made it much more of a family event. Then I ate, took a shower and a nap and went home when my baby was 5 hours old. We monitored vital signs for me and baby (there's a class about it to take ahead of time) for 3 days, then on the 3rd day, we had a nurse home visit. Then we had a 1 week and 6 week postpartum check. It was SOOOOO great!! Everything was natural and normal, I had complete control (though that might've been different if I'd had any complications). It was the next best thing to a home birth (which my DH would NOT go for, and hey, we didn't have to clean up, lol!)

Anyway, I hope your upcoming birth is just as wonderful!
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#5 of 13 Old 12-08-2003, 01:33 PM
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Both midwives who ran the birthcenter had been home birth midwives, so they knew what I was looking for. I had a 29 hr birth, 7 hours of which were spent there. I was only 2 cm at arival so they would have sent me home, but it was midnight and I just wanted to get into the huge waterbirth tub. They MADE me eat and pee, which I got really defensive about (I didn't want anyone dictating how to labor to me) but I now realize that I wouldn't have had the energy to continue if I hadn't eaten and drank. They baby never left my bed, I refused all newborn procedures, and went home 4 hours after birth. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but due to rise in insurance rates it has been closed so I am planning a homebirth.

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#6 of 13 Old 12-08-2003, 10:04 PM
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I had a wonderful birth in a hospital birthcenter - that was less then ideal looking but turned out GREAT!!!! As it was the birthcenter had been somewhat 'freestanding' but had been closed. The uproar the proceeded found them opening a wing of the regular L&D as an 'Alternative Birth Center' The rooms all had queen sized beds and one had a big labor tub.

I switched over to the birthcenter from a hospital at 29 weeks - and am so happy I did. The nurses were WONDERFUL! As was my midwife. They didn't 'allow' waterbirths at the birth ceter - but it was my plan all along to deliver in the water, so since I was labor in the tub when the time came no one made me get out - I am pretty sure my mw *knew* that was my plan all along and had no problem going along - but you should have seen the faces on the nurses when they realized I was staying in LOL!

I did have a wonderuful doula and my husband there to support me the whole time - so the nurses really didn't have any work to do - which I do think was a key part of my excellent birth. The only vaginal exam I had was on admintiance - and then no one was down there at all the rest of my labor. The only time they really came in was to check the baby's heartbeat with the doppler - which was no big deal even with me in the tub.

To be honest I did not come in with a big detailed birthplan - I had done a ton of reading and was completely ready for the birth, as was my DH and my doula. When my doula asked what my birth plan was I told her that I simply wanted to follow my instincts and that was that.

Everyone respected all my wishes - complete silence during contractions and no talking/counting during pushing....something that I decided on once I was in labor. My midwife and her assistant were wonderful and when dd was born they handed her to be best they could. SHe had a short cord and I was on my hands and knees in the tub, so they slid her through and she barley reached my belly button. Once the cord was cut she went right to DH and I went to deliver the placenta on the bed.

We roomed in and all tests were done in the room with us....we did stay overnight and Dh and I slept and held dd all night. It was wonderful!


Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
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#7 of 13 Old 12-08-2003, 10:26 PM
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I had a wonderful freestanding birth center birth. I spent most of early labor watching tv sitting on the ball or walking around. We ended up getting there early because we had an hour drive and didn't want to not make it there in time. After about 5 hrs my blood pressure went up so I got into bed for about 30 mins and then into the birthing tub where I spent about 3 hours. The tub was amazing and the contractions where much easier to deal with in the tub! My vitals were taken every 30 mins while I was in labor and the baby was monitored after almost every contraction while I was pushing for an hour ( that got a little annoying!). My Son was delivered into the tub, then we got out and got into bed to deliver the placenta. We cuddled for about 45 mins and nursed. Then the midwife did the newborn exam, I took a bath, ate, and we were out of there 2 and a half hours after he was born. Overall it was an amazing experience!

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#8 of 13 Old 12-12-2003, 11:20 PM
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I had both my kids in the birthcenter located inside the hospital (leased space). There was a free standing center, but the midwives had to close it due to insane insurance : Anyhow, the first birth was a bit hard, and I was so very happy to be in the hospital when the midwives had to call the OB (he was not needed thank G-D, I pushed the baby out just as he was snapping on his gloves and a fleet of nurses came in to rush me off to who knows where). The second birth was in a different hospital, different birthcenter, but same midwives. That birth was great!
i do not regret my choice to go to the midwife or to use the birthcenter. There was the option to use the hospital and have a midwife attending.....but then there would have been all those nurses there. i would have used the freestanding one if it had been available.
The rooms were beautiful BTW, queen sized brass bed, big bathtub, birthing chair, stool, ball, you name it!
many blessings to you and your baby in you upcoming birth!!!

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#9 of 13 Old 12-13-2003, 12:56 AM
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With my 1st, I had a hospital natural birth with a CNM. It was good, but it was a hospital and I didn't like spending the night.

This time around, I looked into a few freestanding birth centers and found one that fit for our family. Its in the same building as the midwives group practice. It has a kitchen, family room and a playroom for the kids (our ds was 6 yo when our dd was born) and then 2 rooms that look like they belong in a B & B. Queen size beds, comfy comforters, rocking chairs, hardwood floors, jacuzzi tubs next to the bed with candles~a very relaxing atmosphere. I really wanted a waterbirth and that was something that they offered, as well as being flexible on the vaxs. and eye goop (some hospitals are not).

We had a wonderful waterbirth experience with our ds by our side. My dh got to weigh her and we all cuddled in bed afterwards. We ended up staying for about 6 hrs. after she arrived and then made a quick 5 min. drive home and jumped into bed together. It was HEAVEN!!!

Good Luck~


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#10 of 13 Old 12-13-2003, 01:24 AM
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I had my daughter in a free standing birth center that was across the street from a hospital and it was WONDERFUL. I would not change one thing. Arrived at the birthcenter at 9 cm and got immediatly into to the tub and pushed for an hour then my blood pressure rose to high(or my heartrate - not sure which) and had to transfer to the bed. Pushed for another hour and one half and baby had "moderate shoulder dystocia" (stuck shoulders) and the MW's had me turn on my side and out came my 9 pound baby girl. They followed my birthplan to the T and even though I wanted a waterbirth obviously I moved to the bed at their suggestion. I did have to have an IV after the birth and a shot of pitocin to make my uterus contract due to a large fibroid but no medicinal interventions during labor/delivery. We were discharged after only 5 hours.

We plan to go back to the same place when we have another little one.

Do you have any specific questions about birth centers?
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#11 of 13 Old 12-14-2003, 01:17 AM
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I had my first DD in a hospital, and my second DD in a free-standing birth center. My goal with the second was to correct the things that bothered me about the first. I wanted a warm, quiet, private atmosphere, and what I got was about 20 times better than the hospital! The only people there (besides DH) were my midwife and one nurse, they let me do whatever I felt like I needed to (I was laboring in the tub, but I wanted to get out for some reason and I delivered her on the bed, lying on my side). I liked having the freedom to give birth my way, having the nurses pretty much leave me alone, and asking me what I wanted/needed. And I loved getting up and going home as soon as we were all ready (and I was really ready after a couple of hours).

That said, there are a few things that were less than perfect. One thing that I was unprepared for was that a friend of mine who came with us to the birth center to act as support person for my 5 year old DD actually came into the room when I was pushing and I was surprised at how distracting it was and how much I just wanted her to leave. That turned into a bit of a wedge between us when she took it upon herself to tell me how awful it was watching certain aspects of the birth.

Anyway, another less than perfect aspect is that it was February, and the streets were covered with ice and I hated having to take the newborn and bundle her up and take her out in the cold. The birth center was great and I would go there again but that we've since moved away. If I did it again I would know what to look out for, I wouldn't bring anyone but family with me for one thing. I was surprised at how much I really just wanted to be alone, me and DH, so I didn't have to perform for anyone. I want to have my next baby, due in June, at home. Hope this is what you were looking for...good luck with your birth!

Keri, wife to Tony, mom to five DDs: M ('96), S('01), E('04), A('07) and J('10);
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#12 of 13 Old 12-22-2003, 04:30 AM
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Well...all my prenatal was at the birthing center. The owner-midwife left on maternity leave after about my 2nd visit and I saw a different midwife. I really liked her a lot. In about my 8th month, the first midwife came back. She was okay, we'd interviewed her and she gave all the right answers, but she just wasn't my type of sensitive hand-holding type of person. There were Bradley-esque birthing classes held their by someone else, that we attended. I found them very informative.

Anyway, here's how my birth center experience went:
-2pm - water broke w/ light mec
-2:30 - went to birthing center, hooked up on monitors, told I was not in 'real' labor yet. walked around for an hour, hooked up again and sent home. I was feeling contractions, but they were bearable. I can't remember when I was told to call back...
-6 pm - The pain became unbearable. I felt like my hips were being hit with sledgehammers w/ each contraction. We had been timing them all along. We called the MW. She told us to call back at 10pm.
-10 pm - still in horrid pain with almost every contraction...they were irregular but around 5 min apart. Tried showers/tub, but I could only tolerate a contraction if I was standing. Called MW and told to come in at midnight. I was making it through this by knowing it was 'pain with a purpose,' and I was sure I'd be close by then.
-Midnight - went to BC. I was only 2.5 cm dialated. THat was heartbreaking. She gave me some type of foul-tasting homeopath to drink and told me to keep drinking water. Sent us home to do showers/bathes.
6 am - back to BC...after another 6 hours, and 12 hours total of 'real' labor I was 3 cm. More homeopath. Labored at BC for 2 hours. Then I was "good 3 cm." Still sledgehammer pain...screamed through pelvic checks. She was not touchy-feely or hand-holding. Left us to ourselves most of the time, not a lot of encouragement from her. Dh was an exhausted coach.
8 am- MW advised us that most certainly I would get there eventually, but didn't think I could wait long enough so if we wanted she would help us find a good hospital/doctor for "pain management & labor acceleration."
10 am - left for local hospital. She did not come with is, didn't even offer unlike during our interview when she said she would. The rest is history...I did have a good hospital birth due to her connections and getting me a good MD at the very last minute. I lucked out with a hospital that only had private rooms, too.

Next PG I am going to check around to different midwifes to try to find a more sensitive one. If I cannot, I will find a doula and go back to this one, but also see that MD on the side so if need be we x-fer to a hospital again, I will still get a trustworthy MD. I mean, he had an 'out' to do a c/s, but he didn't. Now that's a good OB!
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#13 of 13 Old 12-23-2003, 03:22 AM
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My first birth was in a hopsital and my second in a freestanding birthcenter. It was truly wonderful and so very different from my first birth. I chose it after interviewing the midwives and taking a tour. We would not have chosen it if it had been associated with a hospital or medical practice. All of our wishes were respected (what we wanted was how they operated anyway!) and we had the birth we (I) had dreamed of. I think the key is finding a midwife/birthcenter that already thinks as you do about birth and all the things that can go along with it.

We had to transport after birth for some heavy suturing for a tear (they suture at the birth center, but not 3rd degree or greater, and baby came fast w/hand at head!). One of the midwives and one apprentice went with us to the hospital, stayed the entire time, took us back to the birth center after and tucked us into bed and brought us breakfast. We were very well cared for!
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