Birthcare Midwives in Bart, PA? - Mothering Forums
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New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania > Birthcare Midwives in Bart, PA?
mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 01:43 AM 05-17-2009

I am a mom of 2 who lives in West Chester , PA. I am not preggo yet, and will be hoping for a VBA2C. I went and interviewed with Maren and Angela about two months ago. It was an awesome experience. I'd appreciate your input since you said you had to travel a long way for their care.

Is it worth it? I'd have to birth at Ephrata Hosp.Do you have any experience with them? How about experience with their backup Ob/Gyn?

I want to make an informed decision before I switch care providers.


mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 04:04 PM 05-17-2009
Bumping it up! I know I've read comments from some ladies here that have been assisted by BirthCare
hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 06:06 PM 05-17-2009
I have only wonderful things to say about the midwives at Birth Care. Not only did I have #4 with them at home, but Maribeth is a dear, dear friend of mine. I have also attended births with the other midwives there with doula clients. I am always so happy to hear that a client is using Birth Care, because I know that every effort will be made to keep a mom low risk and to have a fabulous totally family centered birth. Angela and Takiya are leaving soon (or have already left?), but I am sure that they will be taking great care in choosing midwives to replace them.

BTW-- my 2nd doula client from Birth Care was a VBA2C (this was 4 years ago). Her birth was wonderful, her next one with them was also wonderful and skillfully handled (minor issues), and the only reason she isn't going back for her next birth is a desire to be at home.

IMO-- you are making an excellent choice of care provider!
mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 07:54 PM 05-17-2009
Can you tell me more about the VBA2C Experience? Did the person birth at Ephrata? I am guessing you were the doula...any advice for a VBA2C? How do you think a VBA2C mama has to prepare for birth that is any different from any other mama?

annanicole's Avatar annanicole 09:43 AM 05-18-2009
oh I'm so sad to hear about Angela....I know Tekiya switched back to perdiem with her busy teaching schedule and her son....but I didn't know about Angela.
callieollie's Avatar callieollie 11:57 PM 05-18-2009
I had my dd at Birthcare a year ago and I loved it. At that time, it was just Maribeth, Angela, and Valerie. I know they have hired more since then (and I'm sad to hear that Angela is leaving - any idea where she is going or what she is doing?). Angela attended my birth and it was wonderful. It was super fast so I actually only saw her for about 30 minutes before dd was born, but nonetheless, she was wonderful! My prenatal appointments were always great and I felt very taken care of. In my opinion, they are worth the drive (especially if there aren't any other good options near you). That said, I will probably not go to Birthcare again with any future babies, but only because of the distance. It's an hour from me and while that isn't too far, with my last birth, it was the only uncomfortable part of labor. My labor only lasted 3 1/2 hours total (and really only about 2 hours from "I guess this is probably labor" to the baby being out) and with an hour of it being in the care down bumpy country roads, it was just not how I want to spend half of my labor. However, if they were closer, and if I didn't have such a fast labor with my daughter, I would definitely go back to them. I loved them!
hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 11:46 AM 05-20-2009
Angela is going back to Africa!

Callieollie-if Birth Care is too far now, may I recommend Rising Moon Midwifery
(Kate Fawley Aseron) for EXCELLENT care!! And she has a new office in Wernersville.
callieollie's Avatar callieollie 12:52 PM 05-20-2009
Does Rising Moon Midwifery do just homebirths or birth center births too? I have heard good things about them and about Susan Farrell as well. When the time comes, I'll definitely have to look more into them! (and you can expect a call from me too!)
annanicole's Avatar annanicole 04:28 PM 05-20-2009
Originally Posted by hipmamato4 View Post
Angela is going back to Africa!

Callieollie-if Birth Care is too far now, may I recommend Rising Moon Midwifery
(Kate Fawley Aseron) for EXCELLENT care!! And she has a new office in Wernersville.
As much as we love Angela Africa NEEDS Angela....
nicole.schwartz's Avatar nicole.schwartz 02:18 PM 05-21-2009
Originally Posted by callieollie View Post
Does Rising Moon Midwifery do just homebirths or birth center births too?
They only attend homebirths...but the last time I spoke with Kate she was setting up a small birthing center/room at her Chester Springs site for those who couldn't birth in their own home. Like a homebirth away from home. Call and ask about the options they have available.

You could also consult with Meredith Klein (512.694.5487 or email: [email protected]). She is one of the midwives that seconds Christy Santoro and will be taking her clients when she has her baby.

She attended my birth in March and is absolutely fantastic. She's new to the area (transplant from Texas where CPM's are legal) but not to midwifery.
chpiper's Avatar chpiper 04:31 PM 05-22-2009
I absolutely LOVED going to Birthcare with my last baby...I had 3 pretty good hospital births, but really wanted a waterbirth. My hubby wasn't comfortable with a homebirth, so we decided to go to Birthcare...It was 2 1/2 hours from my house I would absolutely go there again. Maribeth was my midwife and she was just great...

I have also attended (as a doula) a VBAC with her at the Ephrata Hospital, where I thought she was amazing as well...She did a great job oh helping the mom stay focused in on her labor while she handled all the *hospital* stuff...the mom was very pleased with her VBAC and said she would certainly go there again (She was about an hour or so from the hospital).
mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 12:20 AM 05-28-2009
Can you elaborate on how the hospital "handled" your VBAC doula client with Birth Care? I'd be interested to know.

hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 10:37 AM 05-29-2009
I talked with Maribeth about this and the unfortunate thing is that you wouldn't have the midwives attending. Did Maren explain this? My understanding is that with a VBA2C, the midwives would need to hand over your care to the back up docs at the end. This is only the case for a primary VBA2C. So, the NEXT birth after this one could be attended by the midwives. I would think that they should have explained this to you. This was the case with the mama I mentioned too. Birth #3 (VBA2C) was at Birth Care and then transferred to a back up doc, Birth #4 was then attended by the midwives at Ephrata.

It's the ridiculous idea of having an "unproven pelvis". Once you prove to the medical establishment that a baby fits and your uterus can handle birth without rupturing, then they will allow you to birth with the midwives.

It is still a good idea to go with a midwifery practice though, because they can help keep you low risk throughout the pregnancy. We have had moms who go to certain ob practices and they all end up high risk by the end of pregnancy. It's SO subjective. Plus, even though you might end up birthing with obs, they are at least obs who are generally supportive of what the midwives are trying to do--support birth.
mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 01:08 PM 05-29-2009
Actually, Angela and Maren said that one of the midwives would be there with me in the actual birth. They'd meet me at the hospital. So... what can you sau about the actual OBs? Any reference?
hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 08:30 PM 05-29-2009
hhhmmm. that's interesting b/c it wasn't the way things were a couple years ago and when I talked to MB about it a couple of days ago she indicated that they transfer care at the end.

the obs... they are obs. The practice from my impression is basically on board with midwifery care, but they are obviously going to be practicing more the way they practice as physicians. It's liability. From my experience with the other non-midwife births with them, there are some who are great and some who are less so.

The key question though is whether or not the midwives at Birth Care will attend you, or if the care will be transferred. Thanks goodness you have lots of time to figure out these questions!

Still, all things considered, you are probably in better hands going with this practice than any other, even if the docs get your care in the end.
mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 08:32 AM 06-01-2009 intimidates me to build a relationship with the midwives and then get the rug moved from under my feet at the end and birth with a doctor who I don't really know ...without the midwives there to support me. [SIGH]
hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 09:37 PM 06-01-2009
Ok, I think that there may have been a misunderstanding and Maren didn't realize that you had had 2 c/s AND were a primary VBAC. At this point, there is no one that will do a PRIMARY VBA2C in the area (Lancaster-ish). My recommendation is to contact a local hb midwife (perhaps Kate at Rising Moon in Chester Springs) or the other suggestion that was thrown out was call Dr. Weber at Women and Babies Hospital in Lancaster. He may be open to doing it.

I am VERY sad to know that Birth Care can't accept VBA2C clients, even in the hospital. And I'm sorry that there was a misunderstanding.
mamamia713's Avatar mamamia713 11:25 PM 06-01-2009
Hmm...I'll call Birth Care on Wednesday and confirm before I rule them out... or they rule me out, rather

Angela and Maren were both there...Angela was the one giving the details...we'll see...
I'm crossing my fingers
hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 12:05 PM 06-03-2009
Just attended a BEAUTIFUL HBA2C last night! A wonderful care provider-- if you are interested, pm me...
kchristman's Avatar kchristman 02:25 PM 09-23-2009

I'm currently 29 weeks pregnant and just recently decided I wanted to go natural. I live in West Chester, PA.

I've been spending the past few weeks trying to figure out what to do, as I realize that both my OB and the hospital (Paoli) I'm set to deliver at are not going to be very accommodating.

Luckily, I just contacted Birth Care in Bart, PA. I have an appointment on Friday. After hearing everyone's feedback on the midwives there, I'm very excited.

I feel a little sheepish for waiting so long in my pregnancy to figure these things out, but hope that it's not too late to change providers and get the birth I feel is best for both me and my baby.

callieollie's Avatar callieollie 07:19 PM 09-23-2009
congrats and good luck! I had a wonderful birth at birthcare and would go back again if it weren't for the fact that it's an hour away from me and my last birth was about 3 hours from start (I'm having braxton hicks, let me go drink some water) to baby born. By the time I realized I was in labor, I spent most of it in the car! If they travelled here, I'd have a homebirth with them, but unfortunately they don't. You'll get great care!
Triciabn's Avatar Triciabn 07:27 PM 09-23-2009
I have birthed with birthcare 2x...and a friend of mine has done the same... and I can tell you that I am pretty sure we slunk under before the New Regime entered Birthcare. Since then I know a few women who have birthed with them... and I would never go back there... I have the sneaking suspicion they sold their soul to a bigger biz. On the same note those women thought it a great experience...all were first timers.
Maribeth is still good.... but I have heard very little to tell me the rest of them are the crunchy good midwives that used to be there and *run* the place.
I am sure it is good for rookie births...because I mean, what are you options?... but if you have more of solid feel for birth and what to expect... ehhh.... There are quite a few awesome crunchier midwives out there right now....Mary Mclane, Barb Cavanuagh... and Crystal Somebody or other. Google it.
So my very experienced view of Birthcare is ...a strong: ehh.
kchristman's Avatar kchristman 04:19 PM 09-25-2009
I just had my appt. with Ruth! She was great.

This place is awesome. I'm so excited to birth there.

I have a tour of the center on Monday, too, and will be taking classes there soon.

hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 12:07 AM 09-27-2009

I am so sad to hear that. I DO understand where you are coming from though. Birth Care has gone from being two crunchy hands off midwives to being four+ midwives with several dozen births a month and a wider spectrum of individual care practices and personalities. Know too, that some of the mws see this and wish it could be different as well.

I just attended a birth with Valerie and it went great and she was wonderful again, as she has always been. It was in the hospital. I've attended MANY births with those mws and have very few complaints overall.

The great thing is that there are so many options for women out there. If someone is looking for a really crunchy hands off birth, then there are great CPMs --Kate Fawley Aseron, Christy Santoro, Meredith Klein, and more. But for the vast majority, Birth Care is the option that would appeal to them, as they can do birth center, home AND hospital. The last birth with them the mom wanted to be home and dad wanted to be in hospital. We labored at home until complete and pushing, got to the hospital and had a baby 15 minutes later. They left a few hours later an early discharge. Not for every mom, but it all worked for this one.

The other really great thing about Birth Care is that these mws have seen A LOT! Experience level with out of hospital birth can't be matched, even with the homebirth CPMs. And while many of us (myself included) know that the chances of something happening is so slim, a lot of mothers/fathers are reassured by this. They've seen prolapsed cords, placenta issues, congenital anomalies, etc. If a transport becomes necessary they can follow you, unlike the CPMs in the area. Some of the CPMs only take 6-10 births a month, while Birth Care had upwards of 50 last month. (And yes, this is unfortunately what makes it a less personal practice.)

So, I guess that even though I totally agree with you on the changes to Birth Care, I still feel an obligation to defend them as a great option for most women. You'll be happy to know that I heard that Michelle,the new mw, is pretty hands off too, and probably more what some moms are looking for.
kchristman's Avatar kchristman 01:55 PM 09-30-2009
Just to update, I took a tour of the birth center and I'm really excited to give birth there.

I'm not so worried about the "crunchiness" level of the midwives there. Though it might not be what it once was, its a MILLION times better than the care I was getting at my OB/GYN.

The experience level really comforts me, too. I feel as though I'm in very good, caring hands.

I'll keep you posted on how everything goes!
hipmamato4's Avatar hipmamato4 01:24 AM 10-05-2009
Hello all,

I just spoke w/ MB about the concerns expressed here. She knows it was rough as they tried to cope with a massive increase in women seeking their services. They didn't at all TRY to get big and busy - but who would, could, should they turn away to stay small and intimate? MB said that actually the less crunchy midwives aren't working with them anymore. There are four now that catch babies: Maribeth, Valerie, Karen and Michelle. Michelle had her own 5 year old twins at home and just moved from OR and is super natural. Birth Care actually hopes to split into a northern branch and a southern branch as they want it to be more intimate again soon.

Maribeth and I have actually had many conversations about this and it is sometimes hard for people to realize the difficulty of the situation that they are put it in. The word has gotten out that they give care that far exceeds anything that you would find in the hospital (where 99% of women birth) and now they're experiencing growing pains. Plus the fact that so many IN the community have a long history with them and many of the Plain women don't go for their first prenatal until 25+ weeks of pregnancy. So, when the month has a lot of births scheduled already, and then the Plain mom comes in at 31 weeks, and then they get the phone call from the English mom who wants to fire her OB and can't find anyone to take her care at the eleventh hour...I've had a few moms who were doula clients that called at the very end of pregnancy and Birth Care took them. Not b/c they wanted more business, but b/c the moms had no where else to go and b/c the midwives and staff at Birth Care know how important the experience is for ALL moms.

I think that we all (mws included) miss the way it used to be. But I'm also confident that as things settle down, the midwives and staff will work to create that perfectly balanced scenario, where a large number of women will be served and still have the intimate experience that they hoped for by choosing an out of hospital (mostly) midwife.
kchristman's Avatar kchristman 12:04 PM 10-05-2009
Thanks for that input.

So far, I've got nothing but positive things to say about the midwives at Birth Care. I've only met Valerie, but she was really great, taking the time to answer all of my questions and closely review my file.

I am one of the "English" women who switched over to Birth Care after realizing late in pregnancy what lied ahead for me at the hospital with my (former) OB. I am so, so happy that they accepted me. I was turned down by 2 other birth centers before luckily finding Birth Care, so I MORE than appreciate their willingness to take on women who need them.

I have my 2nd appt. this Friday and I can't wait. I'm looking forward to meeting another midwife and discussing some more questions I have.

I couldn't be more happy and relieved that I'll be giving birth with these women!
SarahsMom08's Avatar SarahsMom08 02:12 PM 11-14-2009
I was overall pleased with the birth care center for my first birth. Maribelle and Angela were awesome birth attendants! The birth care center rooms are wonderful and so relaxing for birthing in. But beware of regulations, I ended up transferring to hospital because of time limits to pushing stage. The main downside was all the midwives were overworked. At the time I gave birth Valerie was on vacation and Maribelle and Angela were swapping 24 hr shifts. It seemed like some things fell through the cracks, like post partum support. Because I birthed in hospital, they did not do a home checkup. When I called them because I was worried about my baby not pooping for several days, I was told that was normal. So I was very surprised to find out my baby was 1 lb below birthweight at the 2-week checkup.

I didn't know Angela had moved to Africa? I wonder what instigated that? I know she had worked in Bangladesh before, maybe she felt a calling? I still think about her sometimes, she was my rock during labor.
heidirk's Avatar heidirk 12:58 AM 11-18-2009
It'd be really nice if they do split into a North and South location. They were stretched pretty thin last year when I birthed DS2.

Any ideas where the northern location would be?

Angela's going back to AFRICA!!!! Wow! She will be missed.
joyvs123's Avatar joyvs123 05:56 PM 11-19-2009
I had to travel an hour to go to birth care and I gave birth to my first there on Sunday to a beautiful boy. The experience was wonderful and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
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