Is There A Perfect Place To Birth For Everyone?

NO! Where I would birth and where you find to be the perfect location for a birth may be completely different. I have two daughters- one births in a hospital and one births at home. Those are the right places for them. If I were to give birth today, I would birth at home and use Debbie Pulley.  I have other home birth midwives I absolutely adore as well, but Debbie has been my matriarchal mentor for some time.  If I could not birth at home I would birth at AMC with Intown Midwifery or with the midwives at Providence or Nile at North Fulton. They are by far my favorite hospital  practices in town. Yes, I said it in print. It is how I feel. Do I feel like you should feel the same way as me, NO!  Today I was exploring why I loved this hospital practice the most of hospital based practices.

I like options. Now I am not sure I would use or even need to utlize all the options but I love options. I feel my clients get the most options at AMC with Intown Midwifery or with SeeBaby at Dekalb. North Fulton does not automatically do Family Centered Cesareans like the other two locations and does not allow a VBAC mom to labor and birth in water.

Want to be seen as “normal” when hoping to have a natural birth? √ Want to be allowed to eat and drink in labor ? √ Want to get to know the midwives who will be attending your birth and not have another group that you have never met backing them up? √ Want to be able to use telemetry if you must be continuously monitored? √ Want to be free to take photos of the birth itself? √ Want to be able to labor in a tub? √ Want to be able to birth in the tub? √ Want to be able to delay cord clamping? √ Want to be able to have the baby skin to skin? √ Want to avoid an episiotomy? √ Want to have the option of a breech vaginal birth? √ Want to have the back up doc be an expert- perinatologist? √ Want to be able to get sterile water papules if you have back labor? √ Want to be able to labor in your own clothes and not have to explain yourself? √ Want to be able to not be routinely induced based on the calendar but instead on how your baby and you are doing? √ Want a low cesarean rate- meaning they are only done when absolutely needed? √ Want to be able to keep your baby with you the whole time? √  Want to be able to decline vaginal exams during your pregnancy and have very limited ones in labor? √ Want to be able to move around and walk in labor? √ Want to be able to not have routine IV access or fluids? √ Want to be supported in a VBAC and even birth in the water for a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean? √Want to avoid having pitocin given both in labor and routinely postpartum? √ Now I am sure there are more options I am not even remembering, but that is a ton.

Now some of these options are available elsewhere. Joe Tate at Dekalb OBGYN and at Emory Midtown offers a ton of options as well- but not all of the ones above. I did my first birth as a doula with Joe. I respect him tremendously and appreciate his heroic and outstanding offerings for women who used to have no other options. I think he is one of the most skilled physicians in the metro area. Would I feel comfortable under the care of Joe Tate if I were pregnant, absolutely. But I would also say I wish he would be more open to some areas like water birth. He and I see eye to eye on many things but this one he does not even budge on!

There are other midwifery groups in town who offer great support as well. Ellen Martin, CNM with Kaiser is one of my very favorite women to work along side of! Susan Fisher at ARMC midwives or the Womens Healthcare Associates midwives in Athens are absolutely amazing! There are others I adore but don’t get to work with often.  There are some doctors who don’t swim in the same current as their partners or co-physicians in the same hospitals. But they are few and far between. And sometimes you are left with a back up physician or another group who provides back up who does not adhere to the same style of practice at all. This often feels like a bait and switch. I will not go on to list my favorites- but there are several very supportive doctors in the area- Andrew Dott at Northside is fabulous. Thomas Hatchett in Habersham is incredible… there are others. I have many doulas who have worked with Dr Jewell at Haven at Northside and love him. Dr Daus at Dekalb is getting good reviews as well.

I personally prefer the midwifery model to the physician model of care. I feel this way for a lot of different reasons, mostly the lack of intervention and the length of time spent with midwives meeting your needs. But some midwives follow more the physician model of care and then it makes little difference. I have a client using a midwife who is a solo midwife and does not take daily call- leaving her with a physician depending on the day and time of the week. This is not a true midwifery model. But I have been with doctors who I believe act more like midwives in the labor room than their counterparts.

But if options are most important to me, they may not be to you. Perhaps having a brand new state of the art facility is more important. I doula’d at Emory Johns Creek today and it is amazingly beautiful! But they are doing very few births there. I think it is because they have only a few options available. I doula’d at Dekalb Medical and it is a beautifully renovated facility as well. Now that SeeBaby has started practicing there the services have expanded and they seem more responsive to women’s desires.

If you are looking for OB anesthesiologist that are strictly for the OB unit- then don’t choose AMC or North Fulton. They don’t have it- they share the hospital services. If you want an epidural placed quickly and efficiently go to Northside where 98% of the women get epidurals. They have a lot of practice and actually do a great job of placing epidurals overall. And I really don’t mean that sarcastically. I am being genuine. I think women should go where what is being offered is important to them.

I think you can find wonderful nurses at most every facility. I in fact believe you can have a wonderful birth at every facility in the metro area. I think at some facilities you have to fight harder to get the birth that is not the “normal” birth there sometimes. I think labor is not a great time to have to fight though. But I have had women who loved their birth experiences in every hospital I have ever doula’d at before.

But today a mom reminded me that she was a grown woman and well educated and was capable of exploring her own options without any judgement about what I felt she should do. And you know I agree. I think my enthusiasm for my favorite things comes across as if I think there is only one place to give birth. But that is not true. I like things others do not like.  And your birth choices are just that- yours! That is what makes us all unique and different. And that is a good thing. So, you make the decision that is right for you. And I will do my darndest to support that decision irregardless if it is the one I would make.

So today I am going on record to say, I have my favorite places to birth. I have my favorite practitioners. I have an idea of what I see as an ideal birth. But freedom is something I appreciate, and I appreciate you need to find your way and be free to do so as well!