⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

December 5, 2011

Birthing class.



We were introduced to the birthing center last night in a four hour class at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, where Xavier was delighted to take the floor in a room full of people with comments like, "And I am the definitely the father of the baby," in the introductions phase, as well as, "I am fully looking forward to the 16-hour birthing course, after which I may have a career change, since I will almost be a certified midwife at that point," all the while gesticulating with his gloved hands. (Who knows where he picked up the latex gloves, but they were definitely a nice touch).

I was reassured by the center itself. We hadn't seen it before this point, but it is just a portion of the 11th floor with small birthing rooms (each containing a big tub to labor in, birthing balls, etc. and no medical equipment - you can control lights and the whole floor is very quiet and peaceful. There are a maximum of three women laboring at the same time in the birthing center, each in her own room). For any emergency issues, the Labor and Delivery floor is one floor above, but this is mid-wife and nurse territory. Some other reassuring aspects: they actually encourage you to eat and drink as you labor - which is totally forbidden if you are on floor 12. Hard to believe that they only allow laboring women to suck on ice chips in the Labor and Delivery Unit due to liability concerns (with anesthesia and other interventions). It is the equivalent of asking someone to run a marathon and not allowing them to stop for water along the way. The birthing center also openly advocates that women not give birth on their backs and for them to move around freely during labor. The birthing center agrees with the philosophy that the baby should stay with you after birth - immediately - skin-to-skin contact, early breastfeeding, etc. They don't whisk it away for tests or weighing or anything. Their transfer rate to the 12th floor for cesarean sections is 5% - which indicates that they view a cesarean as I prefer to see it: an emergency-only option (not a "you are not progressing fast enough for our hospital time table" option).

All in all, it was a good session, with Xavier to keep us entertained and the center to be as I had hoped for. I am reasonable and I am not a hippie. That is one reason why the more I learn about birth, the more amazed (and baffled) I am at how few medicalized aspects of it (that often have very little research or sound medical basis) are challenged and are routinely accepted without question. Many doctors have never witnessed a fully natural birth! I am pleased to have found a place where these pretty obvious questions are addressed and an alternative is offered.

5 comments:

Amber said...

Hahahahahahahahha! Love Xavier!

Emilie, that sounds like a fantastic place to have a baby! I am truly jealous, I've had two emergency cesareans (both of which I was forced to labor on my back), and it's like moving heaven and earth to find a hospital that will even allow me a trial of labor and attempt a natural birth. I'm still shopping around. Wish me luck. I hope your birthing experience is everything you wish for!

Maria Petrova said...

BEAUTIFUL. You'll love this: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/2011/entries/122254/view/ xoxo

Aralena said...

I am so happy that you've found a place that vibes with your birthing philosophies, Emilie. Sounds like a peaceful, respectful space.

D1Warbler said...

Sounds wonderful.

What happens if you are the forth person who wants to labor during a particular time slot?

Do they automatically send you UPSTAIRS?

Jill said...

This sounds like a perfect option for you. I'm very excited for you both. Can't wait to see that beautiful baby.

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