Why I Am Not Going To A Birth Center

Why I Am Not Going To A Birth Center | Through Clouded Glass

This pregnancy I was this close to trying out a birth center.

My thought was that I have given birth naturally twice before, so I could do it again, right?  And I've heard lots of good things about our local birth center.  And it would be cheaper, probably half the cost of a hospital.  All good reasons to check it out.

So I called and realized that there is a required orientation before making your first appointment.  I registered, Derek and I worked our schedules out, dropped the kids off, and we drove to the birth center.

We parked.  It was dark.  We walked across the street to a little building that looked like it used to be a motel.  We went with the flow of traffic into a room crowded with pregnant women and their support people.

The person who greeted us was friendly, and the presentation was informative.  We went on a tour of the birth center, I asked a couple questions, and I returned home without returning my paperwork.  I had to think.

And I thought about it.  For a week.  I called my insurance to see how much was covered, got the all clear.  I talked about it with my mom.  And I thought about it.

And I decided to go with the hospital after all.

It's not because the birth center made me nervous in case there was an emergency, because their procedures and transfer times seemed very cautious and efficient.  It wasn't because I didn't like the lady who gave the presentation, because she seemed fine.  It wasn't because I thought I might want an epidural, because I know I don't need one.

It was because every time I thought about the birth center, I felt torn.  A large part of me thought it would be fine, and I'd have a fine experience, and I'd save money.  But there was just a little, tiny part of me that felt uneasy.  I can't quite pinpoint why.

I might be in the minority, but I actually like hospitals.  Many people feel like they are so cold and sterile, and they smell funny.  But I like sterile - maybe it has to do with working in a healthcare field, but it makes me feel comfortable.  I like white halls and bright lights - it makes me feel cheerful, and as if the place is clean.  I like hospital smells - they remind me of giving birth to my babies.  I have only good memories in hospitals.

When I thought about whether I would rather give birth in a hospital environment, or in the bedroom-like environment of the birth center, the hospital won for me, hands down.

When you give birth in a birth center, you go home right away, within 4-6 hours.  This could be a definite advantage.  There would be more peace.  We could sleep in our beds.  We could relax in our own home.

But I know myself, and I know it would be hard for me to relax at home.  I would be worried about dishes, and dogs, and I'm afraid those first days with my precious baby might feel like any other day of my life.  There would be less interruptions by nurses and visitors, but it's kind of fun to have so many people coming in and out of your room, fussing over your beautiful baby.  It started to seem like going home so quickly, though perhaps more restful, might also be rather anti-climatic.

And I realized that as silly as it might sound, hospital births are just my style.  I like hospitals.  I like my doctor.  It started to feel like the birth center wasn't my place, and the midwives weren't my people.  I want to look back on this, my last birth experience, and know that it was as good a fit for me as it could have been.

So to the hospital we shall go.  And ever since we made that decision I haven't felt a twinge of unease, so I know it's right.

Is it the trendy decision?  Maybe to some, but not in my circles of friends.  The birth center is a popular choice in my little corner of the world, and a few even dare to suggest that going with an OB and giving birth in a hospital is a poor choice.  But this, like so many things in raising children, is not a right or wrong sort of issue.  There are things that are absolutes for raising healthy children, and there are things in child-rearing that are up for debate.  I think part of growing up is sometimes throwing the trendy new thing out the window, and being brave enough to confidently move forward with what you know is the right choice for you.

If the last four years of motherhood has taught me anything, it is that the onslaught of trendy things does not stop after your baby is born, and everyone has an opinion.  Motherhood has also taught me that if you let everyone else try to make these choices for you on subjective issues, you will probably be miserable with all the trying to measure up.  When you pray about it, and think about it, and know you are making the best choice for your unique personality, and your unique family - then you should proceed with confidence.  No one can make you feel inferior with your consent, even the ones who seem to be actively trying.

So we are just not birth center kind of people.  And that is okay.
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Amanda Godin said...

I know exactly what you mean about just not feeling quite right about it. In my own personal experience, we were deciding between a home birth with a trained midwide or a hospital birth with a family doctor who also delivers babies. After meeting with the doctor and asking him a laundry list of questions and praying for clarity, we felt at peace about the hospital route. Then after one of my prenatal appointments, we ran into the midwife and she said she offered doula services. We hired her and my labor and delivery experience was perfect. In the end, there were complications that would have led to a hospital transfer had I chosen to have a home birth. God knew what I needed and led me in the right direction. Now I have a great relationship with a wonderful doula and doctor whom we will be using for the third time around!

Natalie @ She Builds Her Home said...

I think I agree with you! We don't have a birth center option, but I have weighed a home birth before (if we have more in the future) and there are so many things that I love about it, but like you, I just feel that twinge of uneasiness every time and I don't know why. I also have thought about how being home would be lovely, but it would also mean life wouldn't stop and I TREASURED those days in the hospital doing nothing but loving on my new little sweetie! I also love the way the hospital smells because it reminds me of those precious first days, which were some of the happiest of my life! I have been blessed with good natural birthing experiences both times in the hospital, so if it ain't broke don't fix it I guess! ;)

Elizabeth said...

I agree with you, too. Right now everyone is praising Duchess Kate for how she gave birth, but I think that was just what worked for her. And I'm glad she was able to make some personal choices regarding the birth plan. If I have another baby, I would choose another hospital birth, though I would look into having a doula to help out.

Hannah M said...

I know what you mean about feeling a twinge of uneasiness about something when it comes to the delivery of your baby. I briefly considered a birthing center, but I realized it just wasn't for me. For me it was decided between having a repeat c-section and trying for a VBAC, I just didn't feel easy about having a VBAC and after I made my decision, I feel peace about it. Like you, I like hospitals. They are clean and fully equipped with both supplies and capable doctors. I like my doctor and it feels right about having my baby in the hospital. And like you, it is nice to have nurses come in the room to check on you every so often and to help you in those first few days with a new baby. They are happy memories for me and I hope to have equally happy memories this time around as well. I'm so glad you are at peace with your decision, that's what matters the most!

Bethany Lammott said...

Even though we technically went through a birth center and midwife, my actual delivery was at a hospital. I was skeptical of the hospital at first, but ended up loving my experience there. The nurses were so nice, I loved being brought food and looking back on it, I'm SO glad I wasn't home within 4-12 hours. I needed those nurses to take care of me!!

Cheryl Smith said...

I applaud you for doing what is right for you and your sweet family. It really doesn't matter a bit what other people think. I don't know why it took me, personally, so long to figure that out. At the end of the day, what matters is that we have peace...with God, our husbands, and ourselves. I say, take the path to peace, and you will never go wrong. :) Congratulations on your new little one soon to make its appearance!! You are doing a GREAT job. :)

Monica @ Boothopia.ca said...

Good for you for following your gut and going with the option you feel most comfortable with. I wish I had those options in my town - we can either do hospital births or completely unassisted homebirths that require taking some sort of course for. We don't have midwives licensed to practice here. If we had a birth centre, I would also feel some anxiety about not being in a hospital. It's not that birth should be a "medicalized" event, it's that I appreciate that medical science has made giving birth safer. And that's a good thing. You can have a hospital birth with no medical interventions, but I like the comfort of knowing they're there if needed. For the birth of my son, I ended up needing pitocin and an epidural because my labour had completely stalled and my water had been broken for over 24 hours. For that reason, I'm glad I was in a hospital, and I'm convinced the decisions we made saved me from further complications and interventions. What matters most is that you are happy with your decision. And the fact that you are NOT uneasy about it means it's the right decision for you. Yay!

Sarah Elizabeth Frazer said...

Thank you for sharing this! I never had the option of a birthing center - but I probably would have felt the same as you. It just wouldn't be for me. And that is OK. It is OK to chose the hospital and way to go for sharing! :) And thanks for linking up with Tuesday Talk. I'm one of the co-hosts and would love for you to join me - I'm giving away TWO copies of TWO books in honor of Mother's Day. :) Sarah
http://www.sarahefrazer.com

Susannah said...

We looked into have Caleb at a birth center but it was going to be a LOT more expensive than at a hospital so we decided against it. I think I would have liked it there but I LOVED my midwife at the hospital. I think every couple just needs to make a choice that's right for them and their baby and I'm glad you've made yours! :-)

Mica said...

That is a beautiful photo to start off the post! :)

I think it's a well written post too. There are so many different types of people with different likes and dislikes...I just think we are lucky to have all of the choices that we have.

I picked the hospital and the OB for my birth for a few personal reasons, I'm just grateful I could have that choice and we had the insurance that covered everything :) I wouldn't have changed a thing, I'm glad I had the experience I did.

Away From The Blue

Callie Nicole said...

Thank you Mica! And I agree, it is so nice to have choices!

Callie Nicole said...

I agree! That is so funny that it was more expensive for you to do a birth center, because it is definitely a little cheaper here - but for me, the hospital experience is worth a little extra expense. :-)

Callie Nicole said...

Thanks Sarah! I don't know, I'm just a hospital kind of girl, I guess. :-)

Callie Nicole said...

I totally agree! It is nice to have options, but I think you're right, I feel peaceful about the hospital so I know that's the right decision!

Callie Nicole said...

Thank you Cheryl, for the encouragement! I agree, I definitely feel a peace about our decision, and I think the Lord gave me that so I would know what to do!

Callie Nicole said...

That's what I like too! It's kind of nice not to have to cook or anything for the first couple days!

Callie Nicole said...

I agree, I know it's the right decision because I feel so much more peaceful about it!

Callie Nicole said...

I've heard a lot of good things about doulas, but I've never used one! I agree, individuals have to make the right decisions for themselves and their babies - and it's not the same for everyone!

Callie Nicole said...

I agree, hospital smells always remind me of my babies - those first few days are so special! I don't know why I feel uneasy about the birth center either, but I don't want to ignore that feeling - because I think sometimes the Lord gives us those little feelings and I think it's important to pay attention!

Callie Nicole said...

That's so cool how that worked out for you to work with both the midwife and doctor! I know what you mean about the Lord working things out - I never considered anything other than the hospital with Wyatt, but it was a good thing since that ended up being such a complicated birth! And now I just like it better. :-)

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