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.