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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're not pregnant yet but are starting to plan. I really want to do a homebirth but after my first ds needing a c-section my dh won't go for it. I was thinking maybe I could convince him to let me give birth at a birth center. Does anyone know of a good, VBAC friendly birth center in western ma? Thanks so much
 

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I'm not aware of any birth centers in western MA but maybe others have more info. I recommend the practice I used as backup for my homebirth - Midwifery Care of Holyoke. They have offices in Holyoke, Eathampton and Northampton. The midwives were great and some of them had homebirths. Not sure of their VBAC policies but Holyoke Hospital seemed very open to natural birth. Might be worth exploring...

Their number is 413-535-4700
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just read about franklin birth center. does anyone have experience with them? what can you tell me? thanks so much
 

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I delivered with Midwifery Care at Holyoke Hospital and I can not recommend it, or the midwives, enough! Fantastic, totally supported natural birth. My husband and I both felt that it was a birthcenter like experience...we felt like the only people there (we were not- I met a mom at Whole Foods today who delivered with the midwives an hour after I did in the next room!)

DD had no shots, PKU or eye goop and they never even asked me to sign a waiver...one nurse actually told us that we were making a great decision for our daughter. They also have a nice birthing pool and very homey rooms. Our families were very impressed with how it looked - we were impressed with our care. Moms that have used the midwives and the hospital feel like they've found a hidden jewel in the valley. They were recommended by our doula who has worked at all of the local hospitals - she's said that Franklin is nice but that Holyoke is the most natural birth friendly of the three.

Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about it!
 

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I haven't used it yet, but i'm currently in my 4th month and have been using the services of midwives who work at the Cooley-Dickinson Birthcenter (it's attached to the hospital) in Northampton. I work with a team of 4 midwives and they are amazing. We opted not to do the quad screening and nobody batted an eye, we're unsure if we want the 20 week ultrasound and they're totally fine with that as well. We're also planning on doing our own testing at home for gestational diabetes and they are fine with it. The rooms at C-D are really nice - you get a single room with a family sized bed, brithing ball, birthing tub, your own fridge to bring food (which they are for), and of course total say in how your birth goes and aftercare. I am really impressed for a group that works with a hospital. (i go through hampshire ob-gyn but only see the midwives).
As for VBAC, on the sheet they gave me with stats from C_D (which i guess by law they have to provide) it says that they have a 79% VBAC success rate, but only 16% of all births are VBAC (but that also relates to only 859 women giving birth in that year, so how many had already had c-secs i'm not 100%).
Anyway, it couldn't hurt to check them out too.
Good luck in your search!
 

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There is one big distinction between the the hospitals: Franklin and Holyoke will allow you a water birth, while Cooley will not. Franklin is in Greenfield. All call themselves "birthcenters" now, but they are still L&D within the hospital. The state info on hospital birth showed Holyoke to have one of the lowest c-sec rates in the state (Franklin's were fairly low too) and I know that the section rate at Midwifery Care was only 3%! That's Ina May territory!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yes Franklin is the one in Greenfield

For my first son's birth we went through Hampshire OB/GYN and gave birth at Cooley-Dickinson. I'm looking for a different experience this time.
 

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Hi,

I wrote you a long post but I promptly lost it so I'm going to abridge everything.

I think that good hospital choices in the valley are Franklin and the Holyoke midwifery group. My preference is Franklin, simply because I have had a VBAC there, I know that they do VBAC waterbirths, I know that they have recently allowed VBA2C, and they start from a point of assuming that you would want a VBAC rather than an ERCS.

I have heard very positive things about Holyoke as well, just don't know as much about the VBAC climate there. The VBAC stats have changed drastically at all the local hospitals over the last 5 years for a handful of different reasons. No one has great rates for attempted VBACs anymore but there are some other criteria that help in deciphering the real kind of care the various hospitals provide.

I'm also part of a fledgling cesarean/VBAC support network for the Pioneer Valley and encourage you to come to one of our meetings in Greenfield if you would like a chance to talk over your choice more. I'm also happy to give you more info my experience if you would like. Just send me a PM.
 

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I did not deliver at Franklin, but I know many women who did & had natural peaceful births. They only have 1 tub, so you nebver know if you'll be able to get it or not. Most women I know in Franklin county who have birthed there & had great experiences with the midwives.

I had a c-section in 2000 at Cooley Dickinson & had a very difficult experience with the staff there ( was a homebirth "transport"). DH got yelled at numerous time for sleeping with our son. Oy vey!

Pollywog- I had 2 vbacs & am interested in your VBAC group.
 

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I too had a C/sec for my first. We had ds at Franklin. I liked one of the midwives very much. Another two were okay. The fourth one was our least favorite, and the one who attended our delivery. She was much more of an interventionist than we wanted. We also didn't get the feeling that she trusted the birth process and was more like an OB who was fear and technology based. During pushing, she wanted me on the bed. It seemed internal exams were happening all the time. She wanted to listen to music with a beat. I yelled "NO!!" She kept cheering me on with every contraction.
I needed silence. I don't feel like she was in tune with my needs. All
but one of the nurses were great at Franklin. Unfortunately, the not so great
nurse was the nurse assigned to us. This one went so far as to say that we
were having our child too late in our lives. She helped make our ds's and my
nursing relationship stressful with threats of formula because he wasn't
nursing well. We were on painkillers from the c/sec.

For our current pregnancy, we went through the OB thing again and were
trying to come to grips with having another c/sec. I couldn't get my arms
around it though. We interviewed a total of 5 OB's before we found one that
understood that a c/sec is major abdominal surgery not just an "oil change".

Concurrently, I read (and recommend) "Silent Knife" and "Open Season" both
by Nancy Wainer Cohen (she's now Nancy Wainer). I also read Michel Odent's
"Birth Reborn" and Lois Freedman's "Birth as a Healing Experience". I spoke
with homebirth midwives too.

My husband and I came to the conclusion that I may have ended up with a
c/sec unecessarily. I was told to push too soon when my body wasn't ready
to push, and our son's head was then wedged insideways.....after the nurse-midwife insisted on AROM. Neither the nurse midwife or OB on-call
could figure our if our ds's head was posterior or anterior. My body is not
one that can march along the Friedman curve - dialate 1cm/hr and push
right away for no more than 2 hours. Even Friedman himself thinks that
OB's shouldn't follow it to the Tee. Also, I realized that I was not
comfortable in a hospital setting. Michel Odent really stresses atmosphere
as being so important for a woman to let go and labor. Lois Freedman's book
helped me to understand some of the beliefs and thoughts I had that limited
me. Nancy Wainer's books helped me to understand the factory mentality
so prevalent in our society. There is also an extremely, busy ICAN Yahoo
group that helped me discover what I needed.

Why am I going through all this? You mentioned that you had your heart
set on a homebirth. I don't want to create strife between you and your
husband because I know that it is important to have his support. However,
it may be important for you to examine why you had the first c/sec. What's
the probability that it will happen again?

I too couldn't go back to where I had our first c/sec and am glad that you're
going to a new place. And, if you are like me, then you may need to be
in a safe place too. Eight months into this pregancy, I realized that my
safe place is home. I'm a mammal who needs to move in labor not tethered
to fetal monitoring machines. I don't want a heplock installed into me when
I enter the hospital. I need peace and trust in the natural birth process.
We have that now. I'm going into labor any day now and know that I have
made the choice that is best for me. I love my midwife. Every visit is
wonderful. Birth is a normal natural process.

Good luck with your decision and have faith in your body. It knows what it
needs. Listen to it.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.

Beth F
 
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