After seven years of attending births in Baltimore and thirteen years as a Baltimore City resident, I moved to the Annapolis area. I began attending births locally at the medical center and two birth centers which we are blessed to have within 5 miles of downtown Annapolis.
The culture shock of transitioning from City life to suburbia was difficult. Yes, that is “City” with a capital “C”. I firmly believe “City Life” is a universal being and can be personified.
As any city person can attest to, a well knowing nod or shoulder shrug whilst muttering the words, “well, that’s the City” will pretty much excuse 99.9% of any shortcomings of civil services in thr 20 miles radius called, “Baltimore”. For some unknown reason the phrase also keeps a person like myself hooked to the beauty of Indian take away and a metal walking cart to schlep home from an urban farmer’s market.
The transition for my family was difficult. I miss the diversity of the “City”. I miss the vibrant and unique community.
Even though my love for suburbia and a grocery store with a garage and elevator has been growing slowly, my love for the birth centers, local birth community and medical center has been a instant and “love at first birth” experience.
I birthed my babies in Baltimore with an amazing midwifery practice. I was a younger, naive newly pregnant woman and followed a friend’s recommendation to bypass the larger hospitals in the area and make an appointment with one of the only midwifery practices in the area. And a mother, baby and doula was born.
In the Annapolis area, the choices for midwifery care are amazing. The local birth centers offer wonderful respite from beeping monitors, hospital beds, white coats and the all encompassing, hospital smell.
When a client chooses the midwifery model care, my heart sings a little happy jingle. I have attended beautiful, informed, and empowered births with Ob/Gyn groups at the medical center. There are a few groups in the area who I absolutely love as OBs, but a dimly lit room, adorned with candles and a mom quietly lifting her baby from the water into her arms – well, my heart sings a little happy song.
So, if the OB births are empowered, informed and beautiful, “Why do you like births at the birth centers? Why the happy jingle?” Honestly, because a laboring woman and a supportive family which doesn’t need intervention, doesn’t need to refuse it. The stress of a birth plan or the need for advocacy for the normalcy of birth is lessened. And I love it. Save the energy for pushing and the marathon of newborn nights instead of using it for mitigating the policy regarding continuous fetal monitoring.
Birth is normal. We are blessed in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to have two freestanding birth centers offering a model of care which treats pregnancy and birth as normal until proven otherwise.
Is midwifery care for everyone? No. Can you have an amazing birth at the hospital with beeping monitors? Of course! An amazing, empowered birth is the one attended by a trusted care provider and supported by your trusted birth team.
I found my transition from the entity that is, “City life” to the quietness of the suburbs was made less stressful by being welcomed into an incredible, evidenced based birth community. A community allowing women to birth without the constant beeping sounds of monitors and the comfort of dimly lit rooms and lavender scents – and many times, a comforting tub.
Pregnant in Maryland? Check out the birth centers. Ask yourself, do I want to advocate for the things I truly hope for my labor or do I want to match my hopes and vision to my model of care? Birth is unpredictable and plans change – but policy and protocols rarely change because you have it written on a birth plan.
If you aren’t into birthing out of the hospital, you aren’t alone. I once had a client tell me she would tattoo the word, “epidural” on her chest so if she couldn’t say it, she could point to it.
She had an empowered and informed birth. It was one that matched her vision and was beautiful. The medical center is amazing and with the evidenced base practices in Annapolis, a low intervention birth is more than possible.
So, my point? Even though I readily shrugged my shoulders and excused many shortcomings with the words, “That’s the City”, the shortcomings of antiquated interventions and protocols should not be excused. No shrugging allowed.
Two beautiful birth centers, one beautifil medical center with many evidenced based providers, just ask questions and be informed.
And as a doula, I would suggest being supported by a birth team that includes a local, experienced and certified birth doula…who may or may not be slowly transitioning into life which includes a drive way out front and a grocery store instead of a farmer’s market.