A and I went to visit the Birth Center last night. Wow! We were very impressed. From some of the things I had heard, I expected it to be more "downtown" ish but the hospital and the birth facility were both very nice! The birth center promotes and encourages everything we thought we would have to ask for (perhaps fight for) at our current practice and in a regular L&D setting. They promote eating and drinking in labor for hydration and only IV's if necessary; limited fetal monitoring with a doppler only; hydrotherapy, relaxation, birthing balls, and movement for pain management; the parents only attending baby for 2 hours after birth; immediate breastfeeding; etc. We were so impressed. She kept saying, "We expect the parents to be ready to care for the baby after birth" (no nursey), and we kept saying, "That's what we want!"
The facility is really great, too. They have a kitchen and living room common area and then three birthing "suites". Each suite has a queen sized bed (for both the mom and dad to use, no cots for the dad!), rocking chair, bassinet, flat screen TV, changing table, and hidden in the closet is any necessary medical equipment. Now, let me tell you about the bathroom! This place has my dream bathtub . . . in all three suites! It is about as deep as our upstairs bathtub, but is at least twice as wide and has jets! I must admit that I was daydreaming about it last night, because I love to take baths. The staff at the birth center will do anything you need them too. The nurse explained that they bake bread for the family, after the birth, will do any laundry you have, wash all the dishes, clean your rooms, etc.
The only drawbacks that we could see from choosing this place to deliver, is that you have to "qualify" to go there. In other words, you have to have a low-risk pregnancy (which I have been very low-risk, so far anyway) and you have to deliver between 37 and 42 weeks. If these things don't happen, then we will be taken to the regular L&D rooms in this hospital. I was nervous about this because I had heard that they weren't very good about natural birth there, but the nurse who gave us our tour said that if we let them know we were planning on the birth center or were transferred from the birth center, they really do everything they can to create a similar atmosphere. Also, we would still be attended by our doctor/midwives in either place. Also, the NICU is right around the corner, if needed.
So, I made an appointment with one of the recommended practices in Dayton that was one doctor and two midwives. I'm not that thrilled about driving up there for my appointments, but I guess I don't really have that many left! :) In the mean time, I'll still be doing my glucose and Rh- testing with my current clinic. When I'm done with that, then I will send all my info to my new practice. I'm so glad to have made this decision. We both LOVED the atmosphere and the confidence of the people in the birth center. I love that they will be there for additional support and I am so thankful that our insurance covers all of this! We truly are VERY blessed!