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Going to a Birthing Center for the First Time

Going to a Birthing Center for the First TimeI’m having the hardest time writing and processing that day that I spent at the birth center yesterday. I mean, a really, really hard time.

It was wonderful. Beyond my expectations. The midwives that talked to me (for hours!) listened and cried with me and just were so very kind. I felt welcome and appreciated.

And it was completely overwhelming. I think when you come from a hospital, even a good one like I had with Bella, to a SUPER crunchy birth center, it’s probably going to blow your mind no matter what you thought you were prepared for.

I’m hesitating even explaining the center itself, because I’m so nervous that once I do, someone will say, “Whoa. That sounds crazy. Why would you do that?”

And there is a part of me that thinks along those lines as well. I left not knowing how I felt, but this morning I realized that there was a fear inside of me saying, “You can’t really do this. It’s unsafe and too risky. You need meds. You need a doctor. You need to be hooked up to monitors. Not to give birth in a bed or a tub. What are you thinking?”

I felt like I’d taken my insistence of wanting to have this time around be different to the extreme.

They do not give ultrasounds, although we will get our 20 week one done somewhere else.

There are no meds.

No monitors.

The birthing center is a home that has been in business 25 years. It is also one of the biggest midwifery schools in the country, and so there are students at all levels there along with a licensed midwife at all time. There is a kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a waiting room with couches.

There are 3 rooms with a bed, table, couch, rocking chair, wardrobe with medical supplies, and a sink. In one room there is a large tub for water birth.

There are things hanging from the ceiling. They tie large amounts of cloth that you can hang from while you’re in labor. (That sounded amazing. Weightless birth? Awesome.)

I felt like I was in a very earthy Twilight zone.

It was JUST SO DIFFERENT.

I know that this is what I want. I do. There is simply that part of me that is so ingrained in the medical system about removing pregnancy from its natural process, and the fact that I’ve been through such a tremendous loss with it, that keeps me wondering if I’m truly doing something right and not insane. Please don’t take offense if you’ve had a birth this way – it’s nothing personal. These are my own fears, my own worries from my experiences.

My midwife gave me video and book suggestions (like Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth), but she also said something that has stuck with me through all my doubts:

“One of the most special experiences for us is to see a woman have a natural birth who has previously had an epidural. It’s incredible to see what they do to make it happen knowing the difference.”

Then she asked if I had any special requests for birth and I said I just wanted my baby. Alive and healthy. Other than that I don’t really care.

We’ll get to special requests way down the road. I’m not ready for that quite yet. Most they already do anyway.

Heck, I’m still trying to wrap my head around sitting on a bed for an appointment.

——————

Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter and the loss of her twin boys on the aptly named Hormonal ImbalancesSmaller glimpses into her day are on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

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