When Kate Reed, a sales and media consultant at Raising Arizona Kids, delivered her son Grayson on Oct. 4, she surprised all of us with beautiful pictures of her son as we were heading into work. She and her husband chose to deliver at a birth center, so we asked Kate why she made that choice, and how her experience differed from the hospital birth of her son Jackson, now 6.
You had your first son in a hospital, but chose a birth center for your second. Why? If we’re being honest, cost was the primary reason. We would have owed double the amount to deliver (naturally — no C-section, emergencies or epidural) in a hospital. However, once we had our first appointment at the birth center, we realized that regardless of insurance/cost this was the right move for us. I had a lot of apprehension about delivering in the hospital again because my first [delivery] didn’t go as I envisioned it would. I was in labor when I showed up at the hospital with Jackson, but not dilated [much]. They gave me Pitocin, and I had a bad reaction to an epidural. It made the labor long and painful. I was also concerned [hospital staff] wouldn’t be able to help me manage my pain, and I’d end up requesting an epidural because it’s right there. At the birth center, my midwife was there the entire time to help me through it, which made the birth enjoyable, actually.
How did you make your decision — what research did you do? I didn’t have a lot of time to do research, because I was over 36 weeks when we [chose the birth center] and I delivered at 38 weeks! I spent an entire day getting feedback, reading reviews, deciding if we were crazy to do this, and of course calling my mom. Then I called The Birth Nest at Catlin Court in Glendale, which happened to be the closest birth center to us. I spoke with the midwife and immediately felt at ease. They offer all the [newborn] medical tests and have an obstetrician on staff for emergencies and medical needs.
You’re a young, healthy mom, and there were no complications during your prenatal care. What conditions would have sent you to a hospital? This birth center specified no twin births, no high-risk moms and no complications with the placenta. They do allow VBACs (vaginal birth after C-section), which is important to a lot of moms! They told us if there had been a delivery complication requiring a hospital, they would call an ambulance and I’d be taken to the closest hospital and they would stay with us through the delivery. If there was more time, we could drive ourselves to our hospital of choice.
Your birth wasn’t completely uneventful, though! Our birth was a little “exciting,” and I really think if we had been in the hospital they might have pushed for a C-section “just in case.” I had back labor because Gray’s hand was up next to his face, and they used counter-pressure to relieve the pain. They also remained so calm when his heart rate was dipping during contractions, when the cord was around his neck, and when I was bleeding quite a bit and they couldn’t stop it right away. I was able to focus on getting him out; they focused on getting him out safely.
What else was different about the birth center? It’s a relaxing atmosphere and a better laboring experience, because it feels more like a home. There’s no overnight stay! You can go home four hours after birth, or stay longer if you want. We showed up at around 4:30 a.m., delivered at 8:33 a.m. and left about 12:30 p.m. The midwife comes to you after the birth — the first two visits to check on mom and baby are at home, which means we didn’t have to take our new baby out into a doctor’s office!
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