So whats it like to actually give birth at the Birth Center of Northwest Arkansas? We talked to new mom, Tara Graf, about her experience at BCNWA, and checked in to see how she and baby Kingston are doing.
BCNWA: Hi, Tara! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today! Were so glad to hear that you and Kingston are settling in and youre enjoying your life as a new mom.
TG: Yes, its been great. Quite the journey.
BCNWA: So, why did you and your husband choose a birth center?
TG: One of my friends was telling me about the wonderful experience she had with a midwife at her home birth. I did some research and saw staggering statistics about the high rates of unnecessary C-sections and forced episiotomies, and the hospitals near me had even worse rates than the national average. We decided that we wanted to go all-natural with the guidance of a midwife.
BCNWA: And you did your prenatal visits here, as well, right?
TG: Yes, we started going to the Birth Center when I was two or three months pregnant. We have family in the area, so we didnt mind the drive we got to visit with our relatives.
BCNWA: What were you most nervous about?
TG: I was always very excited, but it wasnt until I was about to give birth that I really began thinking about the logistics, and how it was all going to happen. To say the labor and birth were difficult is an understatement. After over 15 hours of labor and contractions, the midwives suspected that my son was sunny side up, which would be an automatic C-section at a hospital. They prepared us for the possibility of going across the street to Mercy Hospital. By the time the midwives told me to push, I was almost at my breaking point, my husband was in tears, and we were both scared at the thought of a C-section after 22 hours of labor. The nurse told me that this was my last chance to bare down or Id have to go in for a C-section. With the support of my husband and the nurse, I gave it all I had, and my son was finally born.
BCNWA: Wow, that sounds incredibly stressful. What did the Birth Center do to make you feel comforted?
TG: We had developed a strong relationship with the midwives, starting with our prenatal appointments. They were very supportive of all of our decisions and questions, even the less conventional ones. We wanted to know about everything the pros and cons of vaccinations, circumcisions, episiotomies they explained both sides of the issue and then supported us in whatever we chose. That bond was priceless during the labor process. I knew I could trust and rely on my midwives to help me through it.
BCNWA: How was the care after your baby was born? How are you feeling now?
TG: It was really fantastic. I was nervous about leaving just four hours later, but they came to the house to check in on us the very next day. We were having some latching issues with breastfeeding, but through several phone calls and an additional home visit, weve worked through it. We drove down to thank the midwives and they chatted with us for an hour or so, offering advice. Ive called at least five times with questions, and theyre always right there to help me out. They even helped me get an emergency appointment once. My recovery was very easy as well, possibly because I was in labor for more than a day!
BCNWA: What would you say to other women who are considering using a birth center?
TG: I would tell them 100% to go for it. There is no wrong way to give birth. If youre considering an all-natural birth, I highly recommend the midwife. Its so much more personal and intimate. Its a journey that you go on with very few people. The experience was so natural, almost sensual, without any distracting machines to take away from the miracle that was happening. If I had gone the traditional route, it would have been a mandatory C-section. Im so thankful the midwives were able to get my son out without having to go through that. A birth center may not be for everyone, but if youre even slightly considering it, I highly recommend it!