News & Updates

How is a birth center experience different than a hospital birth?

 

You look down and see the plus sign on the test... fear, excitement, surprise…

 

We experience so many emotions when we find out we are pregnant. The next thing most women imagine is a big belly and baby kicking. Eventually the thoughts turn to the birth.

 

Birth can mean a lot of different things to a person. Some women only know about the screaming craziness we often see portrayed on television shows- husbands acting like Nascar drivers to get to the hospital and the baby flying out to hit the doctor in the chest! But other women imagine a peaceful birth- surrounded by family, calming music, and a doctor or midwife that they know very well. It all depends on your past experiences. The things we hear from friends and family often shape our perspectives. There are women that will tell you horror stories about their birth, looking at you with pity. Then there are others who loved being pregnant, eager to tell you about everything...in detail...multiple times.

 

Hospital Birth Experiences

 

In Louisiana most women birth in the hospital. Hospital birth can be beautiful and peaceful, but that is not the norm for most hospital births.

 

There are doctor’s orders and hospital policies that must be followed. Many times you cannot eat in labor at a hospital, or get up and walk around. Many hospitals treat pregnancy and childbirth as an emergency waiting to happen.

 

When you advocate for yourself you can buck the standard hospital system and have the birth you desire. But your doctor has to be supportive.

 

Being educated about your pregnancy and childbirth plans is the best thing you can do for yourself. When you educate yourself you may find preexisting medical conditions or health concerns that have developed during the pregnancy dictate that the hospital will be the safest environment for you and your baby, with a readily available operating room and NICU staff. That is good to know! Arm yourself with knowledge so you can have the birth that you want within those parameters. Hospitals are there for a reason and we are very thankful for them when medical conditions with the mother or baby dictate a hospital birth.

 

Birth Center Experiences

 

If, however, you are low risk and healthy throughout your pregnancy you may want to look at another option for your birth: a birth center.

 

Birth in a birth center is personal and family centered. We want you to have the birth that you desire. As certified nurse midwives (CNMs), we have the ability to care for you and your baby throughout the pregnancy and childbirth. We do the same lab work, ultrasounds, and prenatal visits as most OB/GYNs do- but we believe that pregnancy is a normal part of life and spend most of our time educating women about their options, their diet, exercise, and upcoming changes to your life as the baby arrives.

 

We encourage you to stay home until you are in active labor: resting, eating, and drinking to keep up your energy. Once you do enter active labor, your midwife will meet you at the birth center and stay with you for the entire labor and birth. Once at the Birth Center, we’ll work together to help you figure out the best positions to get baby to move into place and keep labor progressing. We don’t force you to push, your body will tell you when to push. We monitor the baby’s heartbeat with a doppler machine to make sure that the baby is healthy and safe!

 

Birth is achieved in whatever position and place you feel comfortable. For some women this is the tub, for others the shower, and many like hands and knees. We follow your lead because your body knows what to do.

 

If you need guidance we are there to provide it, but the biggest difference about a birth center experience is you are in charge of your birth. After the birth we tuck you and your baby into bed and let you bond, counting fingers and toes and looking for birthmarks. These are the moments you will treasure and we want to keep them sacred.

 

Birth can be beautiful. At The Birth Center, we prioritize a birth experience that honors your body, health, safety, and dreams. Let’s celebrate the natural wonders of life together! Come by and take a tour to see if the birth center is right for you.

 


A Midwife's Perspective

 

 

Breathe, Open and Lean In

It’s hard to believe the birth center opened nearly 3 years ago! For me it has been a journey of learning and growth that I could not have anticipated.

I have learned more than I dreamt possible- about politics, insurance reimbursement, administration, management and so many other things. Most importantly, I have learned so much about what it means to be with woman or to be a midwife.

Sherri has taught me that sitting with a woman means connecting heart to heart and these connections truly affect outcomes.

Dr. Dickerson’s faith and guidance has been instrumental in allowing us to practice the art of midwifery and guiding the growth of our practice. He has taught me to trust my own vision.

Being a midwife at BCBR has taught me to lean into things with an open heart, for every great journey is woven with messages and lessons. As a midwife I lean in order to listen, but also to create and hold space.

Throughout this process I have faced more personal shortcomings than I’d like to admit. I have learned that the only time in my life I am patient is in the birth room (or with my godchildren!).

I have become pretty good at breathing into my own feelings of discomfort, acknowledging that growth can be uncomfortable.

“You can do it”

“You are strong”

“Breathe to the baby”

These are words I hear myself saying over and over at many births: my own mantras to cheer the baby on, or perhaps an effort to relieve mom’s work.

Yesterday I was at the birth of a lovely 2nd time mom. She and her husband have a great trusting faith and humorous outlook on life; I heard myself say, “You got this” through a hard contraction.

She looked at my deeply and said, “Yes, I know I got this, Dana” with a mischievous and warm smile. She birthed the baby 15 minutes later.

In that moment two things moved me profoundly: that she did “have it” through her yielding and vulnerable strength and fierce determination.

And yes, every fiber of her being was prepared and accepting of the intensity of the work she was doing. I realized that her trust in me and in her self, in combination with her preparation, had led her to that resolve. In that moment I deepened as a midwife. And I learned that sometimes a quiet presence is best. Meet people where they are.

I love birth because it demands you to be present. Sitting with the power and energy of a laboring woman moves affects me on a deep level. I love what is raw and natural; for, this is the truest expression of life. Birth is a power so great it often moves me to tears or prayer, or both.

I remember fondly the time a sweet 3rd time mom sat in the tub and talked her baby into turning into the right position, descending and being born in 3 contractions. The birth was miraculous.

I also cherish attending a cesarean birth with a first time mom and experiencing the joy when she first heard her baby’s cry.

Through the years Sherri and I have crafted BCBR’s own model of care that has lead to remarkable outcomes. The cornerstone of this care has been the collaboration with gifted and insightful professionals in the community. It has facilitated many remarkable moments like the ones above.

The components of our care truly make the difference:

-Midwifery based on an evidence-based foundation- with a dose of social work

-Woman’s pelvic floor physical therapy (thank you, Amber Anderson), including extensive discussion on pelvic floor anatomy, musculature and birth prep

-In-depth prenatal education

-Nutrition and exercise counsel (at nausea)

-And finally informed consent and patient self-determination.

Starting, growing, evolving the birth center over these last years has taken every ounce of my dedication, heart and energy. It has changed me in ways for which I am so thankful.

We welcome with open arms our new midwives, Marsha Brown and Wendy Gerhardt!

As we look to the future, with more opportunities to change and grow, we strive to fulfill the mission of the birth center: Creating a Sacred Place for Birthing Families.

Welcome to our new website! Be Well!

With love, Dana Brewer

 

Photo Credit:  Cher Bebe

Joylnn Breux