Dear friends of maternity trousers, are you having a baby? That’s a hit par excellence! Hip hip hooray, put your hands up and shout “here” if you can catch the next midwife from a birth centre: because a spot there is the jackpot for you and your little appleseed. Still unsure? “Ahhh, birth centre, I don’t know, mhhh, nah, maybe I’d prefer the sterile hospital with the reassuring beeping machines, something could go wrong and all that…” I get it! I didn’t even know – before my nephew was born – that birth centres even existed (which is a shame, as it only reflects the fact that there is far too little publicity about this topic, which would, however, be urgently justified. So now a little gust from my side).
So if you have no idea what a birth centre is, then PLEASE GO! Have a look, have everything shown and explained to you and afterwards you will either be completely convinced or you will simply be one experience richer and perhaps feel more comfortable with the decision to give birth in hospital, in a taxi or in the woods. All perfectly OK as long as you feel comfortable with it. But if you experience the same warmth on your first visit to the birth centre as I did, then you will know immediately: How lovely, my child will arrive with us in this quiet, warm, cosy room with candlelight and music (if desired) instead of in a brightly lit, in the worst case overcrowded, noisy and hectic delivery room. Then it will be with us, lying on top of us, we will have all the time in the world to understand what has just happened. And the whole time, my midwife, who looked after me wonderfully throughout the pregnancy and patiently explained everything I wanted to know (even four times in a row when the pregnancy dementia was up to mischief again) and was always there for me, will not leave my side until everything is over together. Unless she has to go to the loo. But then there’s always a second lovely midwife who rushes over to hold your hand, massage your bump or cool your forehead. If you are very lucky, you will even be asked in advance whether student midwives are allowed to attend the labour. Then definitely shout “here” again, because it is wonderful to be supported by such lovely people who are only concerned that mother and child are doing well during the birth, and in such a discreet and unobtrusive way. Midwives are very special people. It is extremely important that the relationship between you and your midwife is right. That’s why you attend a few appointments during your pregnancy to get to know each other and you have the opportunity to get to know another midwife if things don’t go so well.
Everything is great at the birth centre. The people are fantastic, both professionally and personally. The rooms are great, the beds are great, the tubs are great. The whole atmosphere is just great. I gave birth to both my children in birth centres (in two different ones due to our move) and would recommend every mum to give the birth centre a chance. Have a look at it, get to know the midwives and the facilities and then decide according to your gut feeling. You have to feel comfortable with the decision!
And please don’t let those around you make you feel insecure. Unfortunately, very few people really know what a birth centre is and how strict the requirements are to be allowed to give birth there. That’s why you often unnecessarily encounter alarming, unsettling and often very stupid comments when you talk about your birth centre plans. Don’t let this spoil it for you. You will experience your birth as something wonderful all round.
I’m not esoteric, spiritual, a greenie or globules fanatic (although maybe a bit green, like buying organic products-green), but I felt like on clouds. The girls there really know what they’re doing and the attention and help they give you during pre- and postnatal care and the birth is something money can’t buy. And the best thing of all: after the birth, you grab your little bundle and trudge home on wobbly legs, proud as punch, to your postnatal bed. Your midwife will come round every day to check that you and your baby are doing well and it will be the best time of your life. And I say that with conviction, even though I had three breast infections and considerable breastfeeding problems after my first birth. With the help, support and expertise of my midwives, I learnt to deal with every difficulty and not give up straight away.
Kudos to all midwives and birth centres! Especially thank you Sabine and Sandra for your endless patience with me and for making me feel like I was in a place that was almost more beautiful than home.