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gentle birth

August 16, 2008

 

Roseanne checking on Lukas minutes after he was born

Roseanne checking on Lukas minutes after he was born

I would be so remiss if I didn’t talk at length about the Women’s Health and Birth Center in Santa Rosa, CA. They are one of the best resources a pregnant woman (or a non-pregnant woman) can have.

Not only can you have your baby there when the time comes, but you can receive excellent prenatal care from the nurse-midwives, take classes in baby care, childbirth, breastfeeding, and more before you have the baby, and they even host special events like “the immunization decision” with a panel of experts from many angles of the question and “meet the doula” night where you can meet many doulas (labor assistants) to see if you want to hire one of them to be at your birth. The birth center always has a doula on call to assist with any birth there but if you want one at home with you too, before you go in to the birth center, you can choose from a variety of fabulous women. My labor was three days and I didn’t go in to birth the baby until about 5 or 6 hours before he was born, so it was nice to have a labor assistant at home for the first part of it. There are comfortable rooms, a huge tub so you can have a water birth if desired, a relaxing living space for laboring and for family members to hang out. They also have a menu of good food and a nice outdoor area so you can be outside during your labor. It was a crisp late Fall day when Lukas was born.

 

The Birth Center patio

The Birth Center patio

In the early Fall before we had our baby, the Birth Center was a sponsor of a beautiful play called Birth that drew hundreds of attendees. The play focused on the wide variety of experiences women have these days positive and negative. It made me glad I was thinking about it ahead of time (not that anything can really prepare you for childbirth) because setting positive intentions and then making sure you are ready for anything makes all the difference.

 

My labor was long and my cervix never opened by itself and I know that if I had gone to a hospital the first day they would have given me pitocin and eventually done an epidural and c-section. (I am grateful that these technologies exist, just not so happy that they are excessively used) Since I was at the Birth Center, the midwives gradually helped my cervix open manually and when it was finally ready told me when to push (since I never felt like it) When Roseanne told me to push, I felt like standing up to let gravity help and that baby was here in the world about 10 minutes later!

 

baby Lukas

baby Lukas

I felt like I was in the best of hands. From Roseanne the midwife who created the Birth Center and was oncall when Lukas arrived, to Kay the nurse who was oncall that day too and came the next day and the next week to our home to give us our checkups, (she is now one of the Birth Center midwives) to Lara, a Sebastopol midwife who happened to be assisting that day, to Stacy and Heidi, the excellent doulas who assisted Lukas into this world, and Debbie who was in charge of classes and doula coordination, thank you to all.

I highly recommend the Birth Center. The energy was always relaxed, positive, capable and feminine—absolute requirements at a birth.

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