I’m having my next baby here


I think the perfect birth would be a water birth with an epidural. Sadly I can’t find any doctors or midwives who will hook a sista up with that, so I’m searching for the next best thing. No, not an orgasmic birth. Weird! But I am looking into other avenues I once thought were strange.

I LOVED my birth. Nothing against it. Nothing I’d do differently if I could do it again, but I’m open to tryingย new things. Which is what intrigued me about a local birth center.
At work I recently had the chance to interview a midwife who owns a birth center for a health segment I do once a week. That’s one thing I love about my job. It gives me a chance to meet people and see things I may not normally see.

But something I found once I arrived was this wasn’t just any birth center–It’s quite possibly the only birthing center in the world that could convert me, (an epidural lover) into a midwife and birth center prospect.

First of all, I’m not the type of person who could give birth to my baby at home. Not on purpose at least. I like to be in some kind of professional atmosphere. I loved the hospital but a birth center has a nice homier feel, but without my dog’s hair everywhere.

The owner, Jeanne, she rocked my socks off the bat. She told me straight up, her birth center isn’t for everyone. People who are high risk or who really don’t want to feel any pain she said she’d recommend they look elsewhere. Their pre-patient screenings help them to have very low transfer rates, and since I’ve already had one baby vaginally, there’s something like a 1/400 chance things wouldn’t go as well the second time.

She also had positive things to say about OBs, hospitals, and how she thinks the “us vs them” mentality is ridiculous (it took every fiber of my being to keep me from hugging her when she said this). I told her how I loved my birth experience but am open to trying something new, and she didn’t try for one second to tell me how her way was better than any other way. She said everyone wants different experiences and your expectations can greatly impact how you feel in the end.

I had never met someone from her side of the fence who seemed so open to different opinions. This opened my mind to the serious consideration of a birth outside of a hospital.

The reason I crossed this idea off from the get go last time was because my insurance covered my hospital fees 100% after a $150 deductible. 150 bucks, that’s it. My contribution was chump change compared to my $17,000 bill.

Now my insurance plan is more like 90/10. Still not bad, but 10% of that bill is $1,700. The total cost of all of the care at this birth center, including all prenatal care, yoga twice a week, ultrasounds and the birth is–better sit down–$4,500. Worst case scenario my out of network cost would be 20% and thus about $900.

This decision doesn’t all come down to money but now the idea is definitely on my radar. Just getting a tour of this place got me all excited. Look at these tubs! My hospital didn’t have any sadly.ย These beds and tubs looked so cozy I just want to get a babysitter and escape there with my husband. I’d use it as a bed and breakfast. I’m not picturing myself shaking from pain intensity while pushing a ten pound baby out of my whohaah with no pain medication.

Oh, and about the drugs. They have some there! Not epidurals but something special they can give you to “take the edge off.” I need to ask again what this is called because if it’s what I got at the hospital last time before I got my epidural I don’t want it. I felt like a drunk… At least I think that’s how a drunken person would feel.

Others tell me laboring in a birthing tub is like having an epidural but I don’t believe them. I want to but I just can’t. People telling me that must not have had the awesome experience I did with my drippy drug. They also tell me babies born naturally are more alert. I’m not sure why that’s a positive yet but maybe someone will tell me. My daughter seemed pretty alert to me. But really, who wants an extremely perky baby to deal with after running a marathon? I’ll take the sleepy one.

Anyway, I’m keeping this place in my back pocket for Spawnie #2. This specific room. But my husband says a birth center is out of the question because they don’t have epidurals and because I “don’t remember how bad it was” but he does. We’ll need to work on his dulo skills.

Part of me thinkings “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” but at the same time, what if the experience could be even BETTER?

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  1. That does look amazing! There is a hospital in Durango, CO that has a big room that has a birthing tub that they encourage people to use-but definitely not one in every room. So some hospitals out there take the natural approach, though very few and far between

  2. I just posted my birth story (gave birth january 27 to a little boy, my second baby) and I had an AMAZING birth with a midwife, calm non-hospital feel, AND the epidural. Oh, and I tried laboring in a tub and I can tell you right now it is NOT like an epidural. I mean, it was relaxing in between contractions but when those contractions came on… OWWWWW. Anyway, I tried the tub for about 30 minutes and then got the epidural. If you can find a midwife who will deliver your baby in a hospital and can also have the epidural I would recommend that. But then after that amazing experience (so unlike my first birth) I can’t help but recommend it! We’re not planning on having more babies, but if I were to get pregnant again I would want to do it all exactly the same. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here’s a link to my birth story in case you’re interested: http://kindredspiritmommy.com/my-sorta-kinda-natural-but-not-quite-childbirth-experience/

  3. Water labor was VERY different from land labor. I have never had an epidural so I can’t compare to that, but I can say that getting into that pool was amazing. And getting out sucked bigtime! (I had to get out for the midwife to check the baby’s heartbeat a couple of times.) There are hospitals that have tubs you can labor in though, perhaps that would be a better middle ground for you–try the tub, see what you think. If it works for you, cool…if not, hey, you’re in a hospital, you’ve got all the options. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Both of my babies were born in birth centers. The first, I labored in the tub, but did not birth there. The water was wonderful. For me, it wasn’t like having an epidural (not that I’d really know because I’d never had one) but it did help me relax enough to sleep between all the contractions when I was in there. My second baby, I was in and out of the tub the whole time, and did end up pushing in there. I found the water to be very relaxing and help with the pain for that delivery too (that just happened 5 months ago). The best thing about the water for that birth though was that it helped me to push. For some reason, I just couldn’t push in the bed. Between contractions, I jumped off of the bed and into the tub into a squatting position, and proceeded to birth my baby. I won’t say it was easy, but pushing for some reason was much more effective there.

    If your birth center there is anything like ours here, you may have to go home after a few hours, so I’m not sure how you may feel about that. Think about it though, and if you think it’s for you, give it a try!

    My birth stories are in my blog if you’d like to read them. The first is much better than the second, which you’ll have to go to the first post to read.


  5. That place looks AWESOME!! If I had that birth center near me that is where I would have done it. My birth center when we went to visit seemed dirty, old and I found a pair of thongs stuck in the sofa! Gross!! I had all three of my kids all natural no epidural in the hospital. If I had another I would do it at home with a midwife. The meds your talking about that make you dopy is probably statall (pronounced state all). I had that with my first bc it was such a long labor and it was horrible. I refused any meds with my next two! Also, I think it’s funny you say whohaah! That is what I call it!

  6. Wow, those rooms are awesome! If I don’t have to be induced with my second (I had medical reasons, no one yell at me) I’d like to forego the epidural the next time around. I don’t know how comfortable I’d be out of the hospital though. I work in healthcare, so hospitals are a comfort-zone for me. But honestly, this place looks a million times better than my hospital room! And Jeanne sounds amazing – I love finding people who don’t have the “us v them” mentality and understand that people have different experiences in the same situation. How cool that you got to interview her!

  7. That place looks and sounds amazing. However if I have #3 it would be in a hospital because here in Ontario we have universal healthcare so we be $0 for the entire pregnancy,labor & delivery and recovery. Birthing centers however will cost us.

  8. That’s quite a posh birthing center!

    I just watched The Business of Being Born and I’m really considering going med-free next time. I’m a tad terrified but I think I could do it if I wanted to. I guess step 1 would be to find a midwife!

  9. I just love your points of view, your open mind and your ability to tell a great story! I probably would’ve wanted to hug that woman also after the “us vs them” line. I just don’t understand sometimes why people prefer their close minded views over considering other options, on ANY topic.

    Anyway, great post. That place looks fabulous! I can’t wait to read about your next baby journey! I had both my babies in the hospital and loved both experiences. I did not have epidurals, but my mama handed down super-birthing genes so I’m just extremely lucky. Actually, I’m one of those women that probably would have a baby at home, on accident, because it happens so fast! That was my fear with my daughter.

  10. I highly recommend taking a good long Bradley or Brio birth class. Seriously. It will rock your entire world, and you’ll be able to answer all those questions for yourself. Women who have amazing, empowering, drug free births don’t just fall butt-backwards into them, and it’s not just because they love pain, or have a higher pain tolerance (most of the time.) It takes a special kind of preparation to have a natural birth, and the benefits of it are absolutely immeasurable. In all my years of writing about birth (and going from one end of the spectrum to the other in the process), I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anyone say they’d trade their chosen med-free experience over their earlier epidural experience, even if the epidural experience went really well. I doula’d for a mom who had an epidural with her first, took a Bradley class, and had quick waterbirth with her second, and she loved the waterbirth so much she decided to become a doula herself. There’s just no comparing the two (and that’s not to say that one choice is better for everyone than the other choice, there are just REAL benefits to birthing normally and that’s a biological fact).

    But I know you’re extremely intelligent and open to information, so I definitely think that your mind would be blown if you took a Bradley or Brio class, and I’m certain the midwives at that birth center can refer you to a great one. I’m sure that’s how they have such a low transfer rate – because their customers are prepared and trained for that type of birth. My local birth center actually requires clients to take one of these types of classes.

    I wrote this last summer about the benefits of taking a good long independent birth class: http://thefeministbreeder.com/why-i-wont-leave-my-births-up-to-chance/
    (the comments alone are worth reading.)

    Good luck! I’m sure no matter what you choose it will be right for you.

  11. @TheFeministbreeder, it’s cool hearing there are people who had a good epidural experience then also loved their natural experience after. I guess what I hear most is people who DIDN’T like their epidural so they tried natural the next time. I sorta feel like “If it aint broke, don’t fixt it” should be my attitude, but I think it would also be fun to try something different the next time and see if the experience could be EVEN BETTER, ya know?

    I definitely want to take another type of birth class next time, I was actually thinking Hypnobabies though because I’ve had friends with lots of success. What do you think of that class?

  12. Wow, I’d probably be tempted to convert myself if I could give birth in rooms like those. I think that hospitals need to up their decor game for real!!

  13. I’ve been teaching childbirth classes for the past 10 years (Bradley and then switched to teaching Brio Birth recently). I have taught MANY second-time couples over the past 10 years and I can definitely agree with the Feminist Breeder in that I have NEVER, EVER had a couple who went with the epidural and did the whole “medicalized/hospital birth”with their first and then went to a birth center and had a natural birth with the second say that they wish they would have gone to the hospital and had the drugs again. NEVER. They all preferred the natural way-even though it may have been harder than their first. I attribute this to the fact that birth happened the way it was intended to and the endorphins that are naturally released after a natural birth. When you side-step the natural process (with either stadol or an epidural), those same endorphins are not released and the physiology of birth is altered in many ways (even breastfeeding can be affected negatively).

    Also, I have NEVER talked to a naturally birthing woman (who PLANNED to birth naturally) who spoke of her birth in negative terms BUT I have heard many, many women who had epidurals speak of their birth negatively. Not sure why but in 10 years of teaching and being a doula, that has repeatedly been my experience.

    So while natural birth may not be for everyone, it is still the golden standard because it’s the way the process was meant to happen according to your body and your baby. Not saying moms who use meds are “bad” at all–just that there are differences in the outcomes based on how a woman births.

  14. The drug they gave you was possibly Stadol- it is pronounced like State-all though. Either that or small amount of Demerol.

    I am nowhere near preggo yet, but as a former post-partum/newborn nursery nurse, I would love to try a birth center. Unfortunately we no longer have one here ๐Ÿ™ But I would like to try the drug-free midwife route. We have like 2 delivery CNM’s in our area.

  15. Sarah is correct on the drugs they’re likely to give you to “take the edge off”. BUT I want to tell you those drugs don’t take the edge off. They make you feel drunk and almost paralyzed but the pain is STILL THERE. Everyone I know whose had either of those drugs felt like a paralyzed drunk who was in so much pain but couldn’t cope or speak to let anyone know it. I finally said, “Thank GOD!” when mine wore off because I felt I could finally come out of my stupor to deal with the pain adequately.

    I love what The Feminist Breeder wrote. Even if your epidural birth the first time around was pure bliss it doesn’t increase the likelihood of problems occurring during your labor. I think you’re smart to check out other options. I’m wanting a water birth this time around.

    Natural birth isn’t as painful as one thinks when they know the tools to help them overcome. The water definitely acts as a natural anesthesia. I can’t wait to hear what you end up doing when you give birth again!

  16. What a beautiful room! I would love to give birth someplace like that here in NYC and would definitely try a home birth too. About the epidural and most people having a bad experience, I thought so too and was very anti-epidural but after having it OH BOY! It was amazing =) I’ll still try to go without it next time, but will definitely keep it in mind.

  17. Budget for a doula too! They are a tremendous help AND depending on your insurance carrier, you could get reimbursed for the cost of your doula! How awesome is that?! Pretty darn, I’d say. ;D

  18. I’m sorry, but I don’t think natural birth is necessarily the “golden experience.” Everyone has a different experience. God bless all moms!

  19. Hypnobirthing AKA the Mongan Method.

    Not to knock any other method, but in the 15+ years I have been a midwife, both in and out of hospital, I have finally found a birth preparation that works for nearly everyone.

    There are a variety of hypnobaby type programs. They really do work.

    I am a HUGE fan of water labor/birth. I own a free standing birth center in FL and most of our babies are born in water. However, it is definitely NOT the same as an epidural. And the stuff to “take the edge off” is the same stuff you got in the hospital that made you feel drunk and did virtually nothing for the pain.

    Natural birth is obviously “doable” or the human race would have died out a long time ago, but it is not for everyone.

    Here is a link to some of our birth videos, showing how calm and peaceful birth can be, with the right preparation and commitment.


    Samantha McCormick, CNM
    Baby Love Birth Center

  20. As nice as this place looks, I’m inclined to agree with your husband. Go back and read your own birth story. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I remember not realizing how completely tense I was until after I got my epidural and could finally relax again. I’m requesting that stuff right away next time!

  21. Karen you are so funny. You know what they say… Once you hold your baby you forget the pain? I’ve forgotten! If I don’t go here I’m getting an epidural. This potential experience would motivate me to try something new. But I’d need a lot of training first. Like training for a marathon!

  22. My husband and I did the Hypnobabies home course. I was confident going into the birth and handled active birth like a champ, but my son had his arm up covering his face which made transition last for over three and a half hours. He was born with his hand by his face, and transition/pushing was excruciating. I tried to keep going with the Hypnobabies technique, but once I hit the three hour mark of being in transition, I kind of lost it. I yelled at the top of my lungs a few times and couldn’t keep my light switch “off.”

    However, I’m still very pro-Hypnobabies and will use it again if I have another baby. Mainly because #1: had the baby been in normal position and had transition lasted the normal length of time, I would have definitely been able to handle it better, and #2: had I not used the Hypnobabies techniques, I probably would have caved and asked to go to the hospital so I could have an epidural!

  23. Oh, and also…I have always been a water girl and love taking relaxing baths. But for some reason, labor was MORE difficult for me in the birthing tub once I hit transition. So keep an open mind and move around if you need to!

  24. Those rooms are really beautiful–definitely looks like a hotel room. I just don’t like the idea of giving birth in a bathtub that was used by someone else for the same purpose. I know I’m a freak and I think about the weirdest things. LOL. Also I will def be getting an epidural–I hate pain–I know they don’t get rid of pain but I want to keep it as low as possible. I don’t want to be deterred from trying again because of pain ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I’ve had these same feelings as I consider the “plan” for baby #2. My son (2 yrs) was born in the hospital with the help of an epidural, however, no complications an a perfectly normal vaginal birth. Which is why I’m considering a birthing center for the next baby. I’ve heard from so many people (my mother and sister included) that the first birth is the hardest and they get easier each time. I’m hoping to test that theory within the next 2 years (not pregnant or even trying yet). Maybe we’ll be going through it together!

  26. I know your sweet baby is here, but I saw this post and your ending comments stuck out to me… I just had to comment on how similar our pre-labor thoughts were… I was so up in the air about what I wanted to get out of my third labor and delivery. My first two were traditional hospital births with an epi, one was induced. But I felt as if I may be missing out on something when it came to “natural” child birth. Anyhoo, I distinctly remember my (ahem…dear) hubby telling me those very words, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We had 2 successful births with an epi, why forgo one this time? I really, REALLY wanted to see what all the fuss what about. What was so awesome about delivering naturally?… Alas, I’ll never know. ๐Ÿ™ I got to 8cm and got dizzy. I was “forced” to labor sitting down, which just wasn’t happenin, lol.

    Anyway, congratulations on your beautiful boy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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