I have a new baby! And with a new baby comes new things to write about so check out my post and know that it does contain some affiliate links which help support this blog!
Have you ever wanted to have a baby without an epidural and still say your birth was a great experience? Yes? No? Maybe? Curious to try it yourself? Are you thinking, ‘What crazy person wants to do that?’
I do that. I’ve done it three times even. Yes, you can call me crazy (but I’d rather be inspirational! :))
You can learn about the fantastic support of midwives (specifically those at Baby + Co Charlotte)!
With this being my third baby I thought I would just sail through my pregnancy and labor and then figure out how to be mom to three boys la-dee-da.
However, there are some things that happened during my pregnancy and labor that I needed some help with and thankfully, I had the support and skill of some talented, caring midwives and staff.
BUT first let me say this. Baby + Co is a fantastic place to give birth if you have a low risk pregnancy and birth, meaning Baby + Co is not for everyone. They even say that on their website because it’s true. High risk pregnancy and birth are safest in the hospital and understanding that safety for you and your baby are THE priority even if birth plans differ. I am incredibly thankful to have been able to give birth in a birth center and that I get to share this unique experience with others. Hopefully, if you are able, you will be inspired to seek this opportunity for yourself.
1. The Belly-Only Third Pregnancy.
If you read my earlier post about many of the ‘compliments’ I received this pregnancy, you’ll know that I wouldn’t classify some of them as nice. And much of the reason people thought I was so far along was because I had a belly only pregnancy. What is this? It’s when you only gain weight in the abdominal region and you are “all belly”. Well…probably due to the first two pregnancies my abdominal muscles have suffered some diastasis recti which is separating of the abdominal muscles right down the front. This means as my uterus grew it chose the path of least resistance and pushed right through the split in those muscles and stuck right out in front. This is good and bad!
The Good. I had a really nice figure my entire pregnancy. I still had hips at the end of my pregnancy! I didn’t have much pressure on my hips so I was able to move really well all through my pregnancy. I worked the week after my due date and was still comfortable!
The Bad. My baby had lots of trouble engaging (i.e. getting ready for labor) in my pelvis because he was laying all out in front of it. Very stressful for me but it seemed comfortable for him.
How the amazing midwives helped. In order to have a birth at Baby + Co you have to have a very low risk pregnancy. All three of my pregnancies have been low risk, but this baby that was floating around (and breech at one point) was potentially could put me me into a higher risk birth category, especially if he stayed breech. If that were the case, I’d probably need to have a c-section. Not what I wanted. Instead, the midwives gave me some great tips and advice to turn this baby.
- Try the maneuvers from the Spinning Babies website.
- See a chiropractor who can perform the Webster technique.
- Bind your belly.
I will say that I was freaking out when baby was breech because I didn’t want to transfer care and I knew versions (externally rotating a baby) could be painful, dangerous and roughly 50% effective and I definitely didn’t want a c-section. I was willing to do everything to get baby head-down so we did the maneuvers, found Dr. Joy Cole at Hay Clinic of Chiropractic in Gastonia, and I used an abdominal binder (although you can use a Rebozo wrap which is more comfortable and prettier) to support my weak ab muscles and keep baby in place.
By using all of these techniques we were able to get him head down!
In my second pregnancy my baby also had trouble engaging, but I was not given any of this advice. Since I was delivering in a hospital I wonder if it was assumed that if baby wouldn’t engage I would just be induced or if I needed a c-section I would already be at the hospital. Even though I was being seen by midwives for all of my prenatal appointments I think because of the decreased amount of time they get with each patient and the loads of charting, midwives who deliver in hospitals have less time to research techniques or truly delve into each patient’s situation.
2. Third-baby Wildcard Labor.
After having two babies you think you know what is going to happen in labor with the third. Especially when the the first two followed what the Bradley method said would happen (totally check out a Bradley method class as a way to understand your labor and deal with the pain). Well, I did know that I was having contractions, some effective and some not so much, and that eventually a baby would come out. However, this labor was weird. I would have a series of five contractions and then they’d stop for a few hours and then five more and then stop. This lasted for hours…like 16 hours. I managed to get some rest between the contraction groups, but man does that make for some frustrating labor. I finally called at 4:30AM on a Saturday morning (after 16 hours of this) because I really was getting concerned something was up with me or baby.
Since I was feeling weird about how labor was going, the midwife on-call met me at the office, checked me and baby and we determined that I was in early labor, not active labor, and baby was fine. I was at 4cm and she wanted me to walk and then come back in an hour. So we did, but there was no change and we went home.
And labor stopped for a few hours. I was ticked. But I got a good nap out of the deal.
Then the midwife on-call for that Saturday called to check on me and see how things were progressing. I told her nothing was happening and she suggested I come in and we try some techniques to get things going again.
That sounded like a good plan so we made the trek back to the birthing center where we discussed what was working to keep labor going. Walking. I had very effective contractions with walking. She suggested she re-strip my membranes, bind up my belly with a Rebozo (because baby was still leaning way forward and not engaging well), and we go walk for a few hours. It worked! Contractions started to become more regular at 6 minutes and then finally at 4 minutes but they weren’t consistent in length.
Midwife Magic. That’s when the midwife had me do this crazy technique where (when a contraction started) I leaned back on someone, lifted my entire belly, and pointed my pelvis forward. The goal was to slide baby right into place in my pelvis and make my contractions more regular. After 11 of these, baby made his way into place. About 30 minutes after he engaged, he was out! Brilliant!
How would this have been different in the hospital? I would have been in bed. This particular labor/birth needed to have me standing and active to help baby get into place and after that sitting was the most comfortable for me. Lying in bed, hooked to a monitor, I speculate that my labor would have been much longer because he couldn’t engage, total exhaustion and frustration for me, and as a result, a c-section.
3. They come to you.
Since both baby and I were doing fine after birth, we were able to go home after four and a half hours. What!?!? That might sound scary at first, but really, I know how to check my fundus and take a baby’s temperature. If you think all of this is crazy, please PLEASE head to the Baby + Co website and check out their evidence page (sources at the bottom).
Also, once you get home they come do your follow-up visit at your home! Not to mention they call and check on you within 24hours, at 1 week, and you schedule a follow up at 5 weeks to ensure all your paperwork for work is complete. You don’t need to stay in the hospital extra days (and pay for more stuff) and not be bothered every few hours.
But what if you have questions? The midwives are on call 24-7 to be there for you if you have questions or notice something out of the ordinary. With my second baby, I wanted to leave ASAP but had to stay 24 hours at least. And really, all that did was put us at risk for infection (because let’s face it, hospitals are full of germs even though they are cleaned thoroughly) especially right now with flu season in full swing.
4. How much does this cost?
Even though I haven’t researched all the insurances in North Carolina, I’m pretty sure mine is one of the worst. High deductible plans for families are just not fun anyway. The out-of-pocket max is usually really high (honestly, I don’t know many middle-class people who have $11,000 just sitting around when they have two or three kids to care for) and you can’t put all you need in an HSA…another post for another time. Anyway, when I transferred care to Baby + Co they were super transparent about the cost of the whole deal.
And if you look at their evidence, Baby + Co are roughly 50% of the cost of a hospital birth.
Even though I work for the hospital I would have delivered at and the hospital (in a round-about-way) owns my insurance when I called to see how much things would cost, they couldn’t give me a good estimate. I’m sure you’ve read the articles or seen the videos where people call numerous hospitals and have the same issue. Baby + Co laid it all out and set up a payment plan so I could have it paid off by the time the baby was born. And if I overpaid or needed to transfer care I would be refunded the overpayment. Awesome! I knew what to expect, could plan ahead and was able to call and talk to someone about payments very easily.
5. Dads & family included!
Did I mention that my husband got to catch his son? Well, he did. It was awesome. Besides that we were always welcome to bring our two older children to the center for appointments and such. And every month there is a Dad’s get together called Dads+Bags+Brews where dads get together (with or without) babies and diaper bags to play some games, talk, and try new brews at the local breweries. I love this because they are supporting community. Not only are mom and baby cared for but Baby + Co supports families and the local community by creating opportunity to join together and share in life.
I can’t say enough about the skill and expertise of the midwives at Baby + Co. With such an unpredictable labor pattern, their help and support made the labor experience wonderful and I have a happy, healthy baby to show for it! I hope that more women will look to Baby + Co for care and knowledge about what it is really like to have a natural child birth and be truly cared for by these women. They help give you the confidence and support needed to have a healthy pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
Please consider Baby + Co for your next baby!