Monday, February 9, 2009

Today I went to the birth center for the first time. But also, and in some ways more excitingly, I realized that I’ve been feeling the baby kicking for the past few days.

How is it, you might ask, did I just clue in today what I was feeling for the past few days? Well that is a fine question. Remember I tend to have a bit of irritable bowel and being pregnant hasn’t made that better. I’ve actually been a bit more gassy (sorry, I couldn’t think of another way to say it, not a fan of flatulent) than normal since getting pregnant.

So, I felt something that might have been bubbling in my lower torso, and I figured gas, whatever. But a weird gas, where I never thought I had intestines… kind of where I thought my womb is… Two or three different people attending to me today asked if I’d felt the baby kicking yet, and I kept saying no. Then at home this evening, I was working on a bit of homework, leaning over to pick something up off the floor. And there it was again, a little jab that I’d been calling gas. My little p-brain (short for pregnancy brain) finally put two and two and two together and got four… it’s baby! My goodness.

Then my little p-brain was trying to decide how to communicate it with the world first: call someone, tweet, blog or facebook? I can only imagine how different the technologies that this child will be using (and maybe I’ll be condemning/disparaging/envying) down the road…

Right, so that’s the baby kicking story. Little kickypants, here we come.

Recalling back to the story where I confirmed my suspicions about my OBGYN practice, I went to the local birth center for the first time. It’s kind of far on public transit – I had to take both a train and a bus. However, it’s a short drive and extremely close to the houses of several of DH’s friends, should we want them to come visit or whatnot.

Every single person who works at the birth center with whom I spoke was absolutely great – super friendly and reassuring and mellow. The facility is a bit shabby where it’s not critical – needs some new doors and chairs outside of the birth rooms – but the birthing rooms are great – super nice, with big bath tubs and sofas and beds… Lovely!

Questions that got answered about giving birth in the birth center:

  • Yes, they do water births.
  • No, they don’t have an anesthesiologist so epidurals and drugs in general are not available.
  • Yes, you can eat and drink as you like during labor.
  • No, I’m not depriving someone else who couldn’t afford to go to a private birth center by using this public facility. (The midwife I asked that thought it was cute that I was concerned about it)
  • Yes, they have childbirth classes as part of their service.
  • (Can’t think of any other nos…)
  • Please yes, you are expected to move around while in labor. Why wouldn't you?
  • Yes, they’re hugely in favor of breastfeeding and will do everything they can to support me getting it right.
  • Yes, they encourage pregnant ladies to use doulas and will provide one if I don’t bring my own.
  • One more no: No, we don't do routine continuous fetal monitoring. Just intermittent, no worries.

I must check that the lights in the rooms are dimmable but it seems like they have everything else covered. Including an emergency exit to which an ambulance can back up and get to the hospital in ten minutes.

Overall though, I’m really happy with what I saw today. Amusingly, the midwife who did most of my intake interview knows the OBGYN whom I last saw. She was surprised that his c-section rate was so high.

Oh and I'm totally into the trousers with elastic or extremely low waistbands. No going back now.


Melodie said...

It sounds like the birth center is going to be great. A wonderful alternative to the hospital. Is it free? I am going to assume that it isn't. Betcha wished you were back in Canada for that luxury hey? I think that birth centers offer the best of both worlds and it is wonderful they will establish breastfeeding with you before you leave. Will your midwife follow up with you over the first few weeks after the birth to make sure all is still going well? So interesting how US and Canada are so alike yet so different too. Recommendation: Ricki Lake's documentary about giving birth in the US. Sorry I forget the name. It is excellent!

BB said...

Actually, amazingly enough, if you don't have insurance, it is free! It's publicly funded, which is great. They will bill my insurance though. We'd originally planned to wait until we get back to Canada but changed our minds when I started to think about how old I'll be at that point. I was worried about my fertility. As it turns out, it was really pretty easy at 35 so probably it would have been find at 37, but no looking back now! The midwife will visit our home several times after the birth to make sure breastfeeding is going well, and that we're both well. My doula will also probably be coming by to check on me. I loved The Business of Giving Birth - that was a real corner changing movie for me. I wrote about it in an earlier blog post, where I was explaining how I'd moved, rather quickly, away from a conventional western birth plan.