I haven't yet posted my birth experience, but Holly was very patient while I labored 7 hours at the birth center (and 11 at home!). She was calm and helped me birth the baby without any complications or fears. I also hired Debbie Hull, a doula here in the Houston area to be my birth coach. Together they were an amazing team and have worked together during dozens of births in the past.
West Houston Birth Center
I never hesitated to go there and always felt very safe, even at hour 18 of my labor. Holly has been the midwife at nearly 20 breech births (out of the hundreds she's attended), so I was totally confident in her experience and ability to handle any situtation that arose.
I made an appointment when I was 5 weeks pregnant, so I was under their care from weeks 5 to 38.5. They were prompt, friendly, and experienced. I became comfortable with several of the RNs there and there were a few midwives (although Holly is the owner).They were supportive of the Bradley method and Hypnobirthing. Neither of those methods worked for me while I was in labor, but nonetheless they are open to your "birth plan" and wishes.
We also didn't call our family until we were on our way home from the birth center.
Debbie Hull, doula
Debbie is very knowledgable. As I said, the class was intense, but it gave me the confidence and strength to get through labor. She offers a free interview with her and you meet up for coffee and chat to see if you like her and want to hire her. Well worth the money I felt!
She showed up at the birth center after I labored at home for 11 hours. I immediately leaned on her basically hugging her through some contractions and swaying with her. She spoon fed me yogurt and offered me a sip of juice and water between every contraction. She didn't leave my side during labor and was next to me always.
We didn't want anyone else at the birth except my husband, Debbie, and the birth center staff (which was Holly and a nurse named Meagan). That was it. During our initial interview with Debbie, she asked me how I was feeling, and I found myself spilling everything that had been weighing on my in the past few months and my issues with too many people potentially attending the birth.
I can go on and on and on about how great they were! It's been more than a year now since I found out I was pregnant and I remember being terrified and elated all at once. To those who are also expecting a little one, go with your gut and do what you feel is right for your and your family. I never once doubted my birth team and I had such an awesome experience.
A quick note about deciding to give birth "without drugs"—you won't regret it immediately after the baby is born. It hurts, but I was completely alert within seconds of birthing our daughter. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Best experience ever.
Documentaries worth checking out:Happy Healthy Child—Great series that offers four hours of info on natural birth. Several experts in the field are interviewed. The trailer makes me super sappy just watching it! Well worth the money.
Birth Story—Ina May Gaskin and the midwives at The Farm in Tennessee. You'll hear her name often as you research natural birth and midwives.
Pregnant in America—Documentary a guy made when his wife was pregnant. My favorite scene that describes natural birth, as told by Robbie Davis Floyd [5:08-7:05]. Full doc is on YouTube.
The Business of Being Born—If you have any doubts about natural childbirth, this will calm your fears. Full doc is available on YouTube.
What Babies Want—Interesting doc on the conciousness of babies. It's about how the feel pain and are acutely aware of their surroundings and have emotions like adults. Full doc is on YouTube.