This Birth Center was an old house that had been converted; there were 4 Birthing Suites that felt as close to home as you could possibly get. They allow you to give birth in any position, however you feel comfortable, and eating or drinking during labor was allowed. I loved that concept– birth would be done however my body wanted it to be done, based upon my comfort, without being restricted to the doctors preferences. There was a midwife and a R.N. present for the birth, along with whoever I wanted to be there (just husband). There was a hospital nearby, offering the security of a 3-minute transfer should there be an emergency. Also, it offered the option of waterbirth, which I thought would be absolutely the way for me.
It feels like yesterday– this warm, perfectly sunny day in February, where I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I started having strong contractions, about 5 minutes apart, at 12 p.m. Husband called the midwife and we headed down to the Birth Center at 12:30 (it was an hour away from our house, we were so glad not to be stuck in traffic!) and got there at 1:30, where I was admitted and told that I was at about 5-6 cm. I took the option of having my water broken for me, which, I was told, would help speed the birth process. During my strongest contractions, I did labor for a bit in the tub but ultimately felt the most comfortable standing and leaning against something. Above is the very bed she was born in at 5:07 p.m. after five hours of labor (and, coincidentally, the same bed that Sweet P was born in 2.5 years later after 3 hours of labor, also at 40 weeks and 6 days!). I feel that being comfortable and being allowed to walk around sped up the whole process for me, and ultimately it was a beautiful, calm, thrilling experience.
Of course, when we were released at 1 a.m. and told to stop by the Children’s Hospital for her to be checked out– her breathing was not within normal perimeters- we weren’t expecting for her to be admitted to the NICU for 8 days. I have been asked if I felt it was pointless to have a natural, drug-free birth only to have her in the hospital on antibiotics– the answer is NO. That’s exactly what I feel western medicine is beneficial for– emergencies, times where intervention is necessary for the health of the individual. I wouldn’t have felt any worse if my condition made it necessary for me to be transferred to the hospital to have a C-Section. “Plan for the best; be prepared for anything.”
Ultimately, I am grateful for this sweet child who has entered my life and changed my world. And I am excited to see what year 5 will bring us. 🙂
p.s. and, if you want a good book about breastfeeding, this was my favorite.