The Birth Roller Coaster

It all started on a warm, rainy evening. Really it did. We were in our little birthing class and the film this week was about midwifery and home births. The birth on the video was beautiful. Really, truly. C and I both got a little teary at the couple’s adoration of their little child.

The class went on to discuss the pros and cons of hospital, birthing center and home births and somehow on the way home that night, we opened ourselves a very large can of worms. Or started up a steep ascent on a long ride.

The next day we were both home and I made an appointment to meet with a midwife at a Centre Vida birthing center near our house. I didn’t think I’d like her very much for some reason or another and we both had no idea what to expect when it comes to what the center would look like. In short, it was a lovely center and I loved her after all.The image below is the family room/waiting room.

Centre Vida Family Room

The birthing room was very elegantly decorated and housed a private bathroom with a gorgeous jacuzzi tub. The midwife had a billion years of experience and quelled our fears about nearly everything. She set us both at ease instantly and we walked out knowing we wanted something like this for our child’s entry to the world. Unfortunately a few phone calls the next day led us to discover that a hospital birth would cost close to nothing but an out of network midwife would be at least $2,000-$3,000. Ouch.

The next appointment was a birthing center down the street who I discovered was “in-network” with our insurance. These are the magic words. The Austin Area Birthing Center has been around in Austin for over 25 years and this is their new south office. The rooms were equally lovely and my discussions with the staff went very well.The image below is my favorite birthing room.

Folk Room

I also discovered they offered free birthing, breastfeeding and yoga classes included in their fee. When the visit came to an end, I found out that our insurance would only covered payment amounting to something close to $2500 for our birth, total. (A hospital birth though was covered upwards of at least $6,000.) This left the remaining total at $1700.

I was heartbroken. I felt it should be a choice we made based on birthing preference, not due to what the insurance company decided my birth was worth. Needless to say, I took it personally.

We tabled the decision and made our way to the hospital our OB delivers in and the closest to our home to tour the birthing facilities and talk to them about natural options. The rooms were stark and uninviting, but the nurse who we talked to really listened to our concerns. She is a huge asset to the hospital and they are lucky to have her. Natural birth wasn’t common there and the constant temptation of drugs, etc worried both C and myself. We then found out we would have a 1 in 7 chance of our OB delivering at that hospital and the place started to look worse and worse.

We then met with another wonderful midwife who works with home births. We truly enjoyed and connected to her but had a nagging feeling about our space as ideal.  We currently live in a tiny apartment with thin walls and a bass player who is constantly practicing “Californication” and other 1990s hits. The fact that we would have no room for a four foot birthing tub was also a factor. When presented with all options, we knew we felt there was only one choice for us: the birthing center.That night over dinner we mapped out the finances and decided it was worth the leap and worth the stretch of our dollars to get the birth experience we want.

I just had my first appointment at the Austin Area Birthing Center. The midwife Michelle was knowledgeable about everything from natural remedies to heartburn to the more medical option of tums. It was refreshing to spend an hour just working out all my questions with someone who had time for me and my little ninja inside my belly.

So there it all is in far too many words. We are excited and can’t wait for the day when we welcome our child into the world and are eternally thankful that we can welcome her in the way we choose and the way we feel is best for her.

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