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Birthing at a birth center nine months ago was life changing.
This was, hands down, the most empowering decision I’ve ever made.
Delivering at our birth center gave me my dream birth, helped me to get know myself better, and relax while preparing for baby.
If you’re considering a birth center birth, I highly encourage you to check it out.
Birthing the way you want to birth (in whatever form that comes) is one of the most empowering things you can do.
Birthing at a birth center: What to expect
Our birth center experience started when I was 35-36 weeks pregnant.
We liked our OB/GYN but ultimately wanted more freedom in how I birthed than what the hospital was set up to offer.
I got the feeling the doctor thought I was a hippie witch who wanted a water birth and a softened cervix from dates instead of meds. 😉
She might have been half right.
Seriously, though, it was important to me to:
- Feel un-rushed in appointments
- Avoid cramming our questions into a 15-minute appointment slot
- Work with providers who viewed birth as a natural event rather than a medical one
- Know where the baby was positioned in the last weeks of pregnancy
- Birth in the water, if I enjoyed it during labor
- Receive as few of cervical checks as possible
- And most importantly, deliver our baby as safely as possible
Birthing at a birth center offered all of that because that’s what they are set up to do.
It was easier transition rather than fight for every accommodation.
Switching to a birth center
I waited to switch because I thought it was too late.
Initially, Nick was nervous about birthing at a birth center.
After taking Bradley Method childbirth classes, he felt much more comfortable (and I did, too).
As first time parents, we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
By the beginning of the third trimester, it dawned on me that I’d have to birth our baby.
I heard many comments from friends about how crazy I was to want a pain-med free birth.
The more my belly grew and my swollen feet stung, the more I stopped caring about what everyone else thought.
I was the one who was delivering our baby.
No one would be more affected by our delivery than the baby and me.
When I let go of trying to please everyone else, I started to reclaim my seat at the table.
This baby was mine to deliver.
We toured the birth center and I immediately felt at ease there.
The midwife called me a few days later and gave me the feeling that I mattered and that I wasn’t just another patient.
The office was filled with inspiring women who see miracles happen every day.
I only had 2-3 pre-natal appointments before I went into labor.
The office didn’t make me weigh myself like the hospital did.
I weighed more than I ever had in my life. It felt good to not be reminded of how heavy I was.
Immediately, the midwives spent time getting to know me. They put any fears I had to rest and gave me time to think about my questions which was great for #pregnancybrain.
They could immediately tell baby was 180-degrees the wrong direction.
When baby’s position is not ideal, it can make labor last longer and be more painful.
Knowing this early gave me time to check out Spinning Babies to encourage baby to move.
The little turkey didn’t move, but I think if I had switched earlier, I could have made more progress with it.
One morning, I hadn’t felt baby move in a few hours.
I wasn’t worried, but Nick wanted me to get it checked out.
The nurse gave me a big hug and took me back quickly. She spent over an hour listening to baby’s heart rate.
Her soothing voice told me that baby was doing great and not to worry.
She said that Mother’s Intuition is powerful in knowing if baby is ok.
I was in awe of her care. She didn’t even have children herself. Talk about #breakingstereotypes
Our daughter came 10 days early.
We planned to attend a friend’s birthday party, but my water broke on the toilet just before we were leaving.
Our amazing doula came to our home and monitored me while Nick got our bags ready.
My labor came on very fast, so she encouraged me to get to the birth center.
I’m so glad she did because I probably would’ve stayed home too long.
Once there, I waddled as fast as possible to get into the hot water in the tub.
Water was the only way I could relax and take the weight off my sore back.
I somehow was able to block out everything going on and center myself while in the water.
I thought about how each contraction brought me closer to meeting our baby.
About 80% of my labor was the transition, which was the most difficult stage.
This was because baby was positioned incorrectly.
Part way though, I felt anxious that I couldn’t go on any longer.
I asked for laughing gas, which they provided and helped me through the hardest part.
During the time I didn’t think I could do any longer, our daughter came just 7 hours after my water broke.
Recovering atop the soft sheets on their bed was lovely.
The midwives even made a post-delivery bath for me. I signed all my discharge papers while in the water.
We recovered for 6 hours before going home.
I was so at ease, I didn’t want to go home.
Our midwives cared for our whole family. They asked how Nick was adjusting to the role of being a new dad.
They encouraged him since he was unsure how to bond with her when all she wanted was to be fed and changed.
I was able to text them questions as they came up and receive answers quickly.
They remembered my name anytime I called. I felt like a Queen.
Birthing at a birth center was so empowering; I believe every woman should be able to birth how they want. I hope to deliver again at a birth center if we’re blessed with Baby #2.
If you’re a mom, what did you love about your birth experience?