We had a crazy Saturday planned: a horse show for our oldest at 8:00 am out in Apache Junction, the Arizona Birth Network Conference near the airport, a family birthday party in Glendale, and then the Blossom Birth Center Open House in Phoenix. And yes, I did write correctly - all of them on a Saturday.
Thank goodness we found a way to do it all! The horse show was fun and the family party was great. What inspired me, though, was attending the AZ Birth Network (AZBN) conference and the Open House at Blossom Birth Center. WOW! So many options for expecting parents in the Phoenix area!
The AZBN event was a great show for the first ever (and hopefully first annual) conference hosted by this all-volunteer group. The vendors were varied and informative, and the speakers represented a wide range of areas that fall under the natural birth, natural lifestyle umbrella. Because of the crazy schedule we had, I did not get to attend more than the baby-wearing fashion show and the awards ceremony. I did have enough time to visit with several midwives and doulas, and a couple of vendors. As a Bradley (R) instructor, I feel so blessed to have made these contacts so I can offer a personal referral in the event our students are looking for a specific service.
I wandered around the exhibit hall and to my great delight, I found out that new this year, Phoenix-area parents now have three options for out-of-hospital births. Another WOW! Three options available are Babymoon Inn in Phoenix, Birth Center & Women's Health in Mesa, and the Blossom Birth & Wellness Center, also located in Phoenix.
Why is an out-of-hospital choice so important to those of us passionate about natural birth? Because these centers are dedicated to respecting birth as a natural process and supporting the birthing family without interfering with Mother Nature - that means no induction, no epidural, no anesthesia, no continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and non-surgical births - Baby gets to arrive just as he or she was meant to: after a labor of love from Mother and her birth support system.
As long as a mother is low-risk throughout her pregnancy and delivery, a birth center can be an option to consider. In the event that a mother's labor signals a need for medical intervention, a transfer to a hospital would be necessary and desired to achieve the ultimate outcome, which is a hallmark of the Bradley Method (R) - Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. The Phoenix birth centers are respectively two miles away from St. Joseph's hospital.
The Open House at Blossom Birth and Wellness Center was so much fun! Another gathering of natural-birth advocates and their families. A gaggle of kiddos running around, mommas with babies in slings, dads as well as moms taking care of children - it was enough to hope for Utopia. The birth center has two beautifully appointed birthing suites on one side of the building, and on the other side you can find the offices for the caregivers: a doctor, a certified nurse-midwife, a licensed midwife, a massage therapist, a counselor...and the list goes on.
Here was the inspiration...there are so many choices! In a state where 16.3% of labors are induced, and 25.6% of births are by Cesarean section (1), we need more choices!
I have occasionally heard people say, "There are so many...Bradley (R) instructors...educators...doulas...midwives...etc.," And I say to myself - GREAT! I firmly believe that until these statistics have changed, even reversed to only 25.6% of our births taking place in a hospital - those that are truly medically necessary - then there are not enough of us out there in the childbirth community advocating for natural birth.
So, thank you to all the volunteers, speakers, vendors and attendees that came out to make the first conference a success. I hope that the Phoenix natural birth community will continue to grow and advocate for all babies to have gentle, natural births.
(1) State Level Maternity Care Statistics, available at childbirthconnection.org