Welcoming Baby Everett: OBWC Baby #500!
On October 10, 2016, Amanda and Dale gave birth to the 500th baby born at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre! Everett, born at 1:47am, was their second Birth Centre baby; their first son, Easton, was Baby #94, born in September 2014. We spoke with Amanda and Dale about their decision to welcome their babies at the Birth Centre.
Initially planning a hospital birth for their first baby, Amanda and Dale started to consider out-of-hospital birth in the late part of the pregnancy, and realized that, if they were comfortable with the idea of home birth, then they were also comfortable with a Birth Centre birth. Amanda describes it as “someone else’s much nicer house – like a swanky hotel room”. Minimal intervention during labour and birth was important to them, and they felt that it would be easier to stick with that plan in an environment designed for a low-intervention birth experience. In addition, the option of labouring in the water, and possibly having a waterbirth, was important for Amanda, and well-supported at the Birth Centre.
Labouring and birthing at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre also allowed Amanda and Dale to have exactly who they wanted with them in the room: for both births, Amanda’s mom, sister, and two best friends were present, and the extra space and cozy environment at the Centre was very conducive to welcoming this larger group.
Amanda says “everything at the Birth Centre is geared to how you want your experience to be.” There was lots of room for everyone who Amanda and Dale wanted present at the births, they were able to bring their own music, set the lighting to the level they chose, move around the spacious room, and use the tub as needed – it was a whole family experience. Having a queen-sized bed, with space for Dale to lie next to Amanda, was wonderful. Even though Amanda was not quite in active labour upon her arrival at the Centre for Everett’s birth, she and her team spent time in the Centre’s Family Lounge, with Amanda bouncing on a birthing ball, and everyone watching the Jays’ game on the big TV.
For both births, Dale was able to catch his sons, and be the first to welcome them to the world, with the couple’s midwives looking on. Amanda was able to nurse Everett within ten minutes of his birth, and then their whole birth team had a chance to snuggle the newest family member.
Amanda and Dale both feel lucky to have the option of a birth centre in their community, and one that is covered by the Ministry of Health so that it’s accessible to anyone choosing midwifery care. Amanda says that she wishes that everyone knew about it. Dale feels that there is still a culture of fear around birth, a sense that birth is difficult and scary, and that places like the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre help to change that culture, by empowering families to make decisions that work best for them during labour and birth, and supporting families in their birth journey.