Sometime in the wee hours on March 3rd, I had a few pressure waves that woke me up. I didn’t really think anything of it. Logan woke up around 6, as usual. Kevin got up to get him. I told him I would get him because I couldn’t really sleep anyway, but Kevin kept going.
I tried to get back to sleep, but no dice. I had a few more pressure waves. They weren’t super strong, but they were enough to notice and make me take some really deep breaths until they passed. They were super irregular and kind of far apart–10-20 minutes. I got up finally and got dressed. Pressure waves continued. After a while downstairs, I went and got out my folder from my centering classes. I looked up signs of labor, pre-labor, early labor. Some of the info applied to me. However, I kept trying to convince myself that it was going to stop soon because I still had 2 weeks until my end.
After a while, I decided to try and take a bath downstairs. I hoped it would make things feel better. It didn’t really help. Pressure waves kept coming. At some point we decided to start timing. They were anywhere between 3-10 minutes apart, so nothing we could really work with. At this point, I called Lorri to let her know that she should keep her phone close. It could be labor, it could be nothing, I told her.
While all of this was going on, Kevin was great. He watched Logan. He finished packing our bag. He put the car seat in. He made sure we were ready to go.
A week before my due date, I had been feeling VERY early labor pains at night with little to nothing during the day. Since these contractions were the same type I felt with my first son the day I went into labor, I just assumed things would progress in a similar fashion. Everything else about this pregnancy was similar to the last, so why would labor be any different?
Boy, was I wrong.
A week goes by, and I go in for my 40 week appointment. Not much progression. So little, in fact, that the midwife couldn’t offer me much more than starting some herbs to see if that could kick things into gear. By this point, I had done a whole long list of labor-inducing tricks, including acupuncture, long walks, spicy foods and eggplant parmesan. Same story every day. A few contractions at night. Nothing during the day.
Two days past due, I decided to stop anticipating labor and to keep on keepin’ on. I got my teeth cleaned that morning so I wouldn’t have to wait until after the baby. I went in for a reflexology treatment at Zen Well – best idea ever for my achy feet and shoulders. And that night, I went to my usual ashtanga class (extremely modified).
I’ve been meaning to write about our family’s experience at AABC North for almost 7 months now! Our daughter Noemi was born on 1/16/14 with the help of Kat, Roswitha, and Sam. Her birth was so incredibly positive–beyond anything that I could have imagined. The midwives really fostered a sense of trust between my partner and I by allowing me space to labor in a way that felt comfortable and intuitive. At the same time, one of them was somehow always there to provide support when it was needed! I feel so grateful to the entire team at AABC for their support prenatally, during labor, and also postpartum. I really benefited from the prenatal yoga and other classes offered to expectant moms.
I also experienced some complications in the weeks following my daughter’s birth and everyone at AABC, but especially Sam, was so helpful and compassionate during that stressful time. I think that’s what really sets AABC apart from other birthing options–the care starts as soon as you become a patient and continues after the birth of your child. I am so grateful that we spent the first hours of our daughter’s life in such a warm environment, being cared for by such competent and wonderful women!
- Siera H.
I had both of my babies with the help of Roswitha in what used to be the Windsor room at the Duval location. I was beyond pleased with the care and support I received from everyone there throughout both pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum periods. In fact, I became so enamored with birth that I went back to school and recently became a labor and delivery nurse in addition to being a mommy to my two beautiful children. AABC has meant more to me and my family than words can ever express!
- Ashley M.
When I was 19, a good friend of mine had a baby at your old location off of Mopac. The experience was so amazing to me that I swore that when it was my time to give birth, this was the only place that would do. To my 19 year old mind, it was the perfect birth at the perfect place and nothing else made sense. Flash forward 16 years, my husband and I moved to NYC for several years and when it was time for us to start a family, all I could think about was your birthing center. To my 35 year old mind, your birthing center still was the only place I wanted to go! We looked all over NYC and Brooklyn and found only one birthing center that was in the process of closing down and it was in a not so nice area of Brooklyn. It’s crazy to think that there are so few places like yours. For that and other reasons, we decided to move back to Austin and have our babe at your birthing center.
I am sure that you get this all of the time, but I just felt that I had to write to you and say thank you. My husband and I have had such an amazing experience with the center and everyone involved with it that I am so sad that I’m not pregnant anymore to give us a reason to go. I felt so lucky to have all of the resources given to me, from centering to yoga to the breast feeding classes, the lengthy appointments and the personal touch that a I would never receive had I gone anywhere else. When I would go to yoga late in the evening, I would always think what a great lady you were for sharing your space with us. You don’t have to be this awesome, you just are and I thank you. The experience was just as amazing as it was when I visited the center 19 years ago, except maybe a little more because it involved me and my babe.
I wish that I did more than just hair because I would give back in a heartbeat to show how grateful I truly am, but I guess for now this will have to do.
- Farah R.
The birth center isn’t just a place to deliver your child, it’s an amazing community of educated and experienced women who serve as your personal support group from the early days of pregnancy through your child’s first six weeks. I wish I could rate this business with more than five stars as the staff at the Birthing Center exemplify excellent patient care and customer service. I honestly can not remember a better experience with any business ever.
In the 40 weeks that lead up to delivery, I spent lots of time with the midwives at the birth center. The staff made each visit a joy, from the familiar faces (who always know your name) at the front desk, to the less than 5 minute wait time in the lounge (no, I never waited more than 5 minutes) to the lovely midwives who dedicated a full 30 minutes to me at each visit (when was the last time you saw a doctor for more than 10 minutes?). Over the course of my pregnancy I got to know each midwife so well (I can tell you their own children’s names) that I was truly sad when my time with them was over. I always felt as though each member of the team was personally invested in the wellbeing of myself and my child. With a perfect balance of compassion and professional care my prenatal experience surpassed my expectations.
Sadly, I was unable to birth at the birth center as I suffered a complication that required delivery by C-Section. While I have several friends who felt stone walled into emergency c-sections under their doctor’s care, i never felt that way with the team at the birth center. Throughout my last days of pregnancy we discussed all of my options and I played an active roll in all decisions that were made. When the time came to go to the hospital, 2 midwives accompanied me and stayed by my side until my son was born. For the 2 days that I stayed in the hospital, the midwives came to visit to check on us several times. While I was disappointed to have a c-section, I trusted that it was the very best decision and I have no regrets.
After we arrived home a birth center staff member visited us and stayed for hours helping us master the art of breast feeding as well as answer any other questions we had (we had several). I’m not sure how any new parents survive without this initial home visit, it was invaluable.
The birth center saw us again 3 weeks and 6 weeks after our son’s birth and performed the same routine check-ups you would receive from your pediatrician, which saved us the cost of initial newborn care. I was a little teary eyed at our 6 week visit, knowing that I wouldn’t get to see the girls at the center regularly anymore.
Congratulations to anyone who has made it to the end of this review, it’s hard to summarize the wonderful care my child and I received from the birth center staff. I strongly encourage anyone seeking prenatal care to take a tour of the center (they have 2 locations, one north and one south), I’m sure you’ll be amazed.
- Karly H.
How AABC turned no coverage into a Blessing For Us
A Problem with No Insurance
Lydia, our toddler and I had cheap insurance from the internet because my husband’s teachers policy required us to pay almost one thousand dollars per month for coverage. We liked the thought of spacing our children two years apart so I started calling around approximately one year before I got pregnant trying to find maternity coverage. All the policies had a rule that I had to wait one year to get pregnant and they were all very expensive.
SO, I began phoning hospitals and doctors to find out about self pay prices and payments plans. My parents had saved up to have me and we also had a decent savings account. The least expensive delivery would be around $11.000 if everything was simple and fast. I got really down. A thought came into my head…”This is Austin, there must be an alternative”. So, I searched on the internet and found the Austin Area Birthing Center. I gave them a call and they answered many questions and suggested a tour and interview. I visited and it was perfect. It was affordable…close to 1/3 the cost and respectful of options. So we felt God was giving us the green light to try again and we were pregnant in a few weeks!
Beyond the cost savings, I’d like to share a perspective of the birth experience with my first daughter in a group provider/hospital setting, compared to the birth experience of my second daughter at Austin Area Birthing Center.
The Birth of Lydia, Our first Child
Lydia was born in Corpus Christi while Caleb was a graduate student at the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. We had a few childbirth classes that talked about labor and pain relief options. Our doctor was part of a big group and whoever was on call delivered you. I was five days overdue and my doctor had scheduled an induction in two days.
Contractions started on their own and I arrived at the hospital about three hours later. The unfriendly nurse checked us and implied that if we lived closer, she would have sent us home. We stayed and walked around the halls. I was told , “You have been here a while so it’s time to get on the labor monitor.”
When I moved around the monitor flatlined but no one ever came in to check it. They hooked me up to an IV line and allowed me to have only ice chips. The night drug on with me trying to rest in the bed with all the contractions, the monitor, throwing up some and they were getting more uncomfortable.
In the morning a doctor (we never saw mine) said I was 3.5 cm and I thought I was going to die. I thought for sure I had to be closer than that. She encouraged an epidural and although I hadn’t wanted one, I agreed. Around noon it was time to push. I was flat on my back and the stirrups were made for someone much shorter than me so my legs kept cramping and going to sleep. Then the doctor came back in…decided to do an episiotomy and snipped me three times. BUT, Lydia came out and was a perfect baby girl. They whisked her away and I was not permitted to hold her for almost an hour after the birth.
I had a hard time nursing and the IV really got in the way. Lots of people came in and out checking on me and interrupting rest. We tried asking a question about the baby at discharge and the doctor said, “I am the mommy doctor, not the baby doctor.” I had lost a lot of blood so we stayed in the hospital for two days. The end result was a wonderful daughter but it was pretty traumatic getting there. Tops on my “next time” list was being able to eat, not being continually monitored and different pushing positions.
The Austin Area Birthing Center
After we were pregnant we began our prenatal appointments at AABC. It is a very nice facility with great people. We never had to wait too long for appointments. We got to meet all the midwives. They were all professional, knowledgeable and personable. The Santa Fe labor and birth room was really comfortable and the fireplace and candles were a nice touch. As our due date approached most of my pregnant friends began scheduling their inductions. I was glad not to have that pressure.
The Big Day
God and Gloria finally decided eight days past her due date that it was time. During Lydia’s afternoon nap my water broke. If I had been out in public, it would have been movie worthy because it was everywhere. Contractions started in a few hours and I tried to relax by watching a movie and resting. Around midnight, we headed to the birthing center. While labor and delivery is never fun, the AABC was a very pleasant experience. On Friday I was 3cm and when we arrived I was 4cm so there was still a way to go. Joan , our midwife , had lots of good suggestions. I threw up some but ate popsicles and drank juices to replenish my energy. I really enjoyed the birthing ball which I used in the room and in the shower and laid over it on the bed which was the best way to pass the time. I tried to do the Bradley thing and sleep but it didn’t work so I stuck to the pelvic thrust and that helped a lot. Caleb did a great job responding and not responding. Joan said I was progressing well so they got the deep bathtub ready for me. I was able to relax there and after a bit I felt like pushing. Joan checked me and said I could push if my body told me to. It was completely different from being told what to do.
I pushed and Gloria was almost born in the water but I got out with help and into the bed. I pushed for 30 minutes on my side with Caleb holding my leg up. I could see her come out because of my position and when just her head was out, she stuck her tongue out. So she finally emerged at 4:30am and they put her right on me and she nursed. She never left us while Cat, the midwife assistant did all the regular tests, gave her a warm bath, and took care of both of us.
I think it was great that the midwives cared for both of us and we could talk to them about either of us. We three took a nap on the big bed and it was wonderful compared to the hospital bed and uncomfortable couch for Caleb. I had to have an IV for bleeding but was able to go home at the regular time. Back at home, Caleb and Mom took care of us while I rested and got to know my new baby.
AABC was a very agreeable way to meet our baby girl and it all started because we didn’t have maternity insurance.
Gloria Joy Harris, Oct. 1, 2008 7lbs. 9oz., 20 inches
- Wonderful Birth Experience Started Because We Had No Maternity Insurance
Thank you all so much for being a part (a HUGE part) of this pregnancy and birth. I am forever grateful for the sincere care my entire family received.
JOAN: Thank you for the safe delivery of Noah. Your motivation, encouragement, and support was a huge help to me when I was ready to give up and sleep.
JENNY: Thanks for helping me get into labor as I requested. I was starting to think I’d be pregnant forever!
ROSWITHA: Thanks for so many things! For recommending herbs to help with my blood pressure and for the hugs that eased my concerns. Thanks for your sense of humor and for your honesty. Thank you with my whole heart!
LAUREN: Thank you for drawing my blood in such a way that I didn’t feel it. I am petrified of needles!
TAMARA: Thank you for always giving such a warm welcome and inviting smile. The center would not be the same without you!
HEATHER: You make me smile! Somehow, you manage to make even the brightest day brighter! Thank you for keeping spirits light during my labor and delivery.
TERRI and SAKRE (postpartum care): Thank you for the gentleness, support, knowledge and conversation. You were wonderful and I am thankful for the amount of time, even though small, I received your care.
JEAN: Last, but definitely not least! Thank you for AABC! Your center is beautiful and your staff is wonderful. Please don’t close your doors anytime soon. We want a big family and I can’t imagine going anywhere else!
Thanks to everyone!
- Samantha C.
Benjamin Jasper Brown | July 25, 2007 | 8lbs. 3oz., 21 inches
Dear Roswitha, Viola, Terri and everyone at AABC,
We’ve been meaning to thank you for providing us with such a wonderful and memorable birthing experience. Now that Ben is two months old, I’m finally getting around to it!
Although I had no idea what a beautiful birth would be like, I certainly had a beautiful birth. We can’t imagine having a baby anywhere but the birthing center now.
Roswitha, thank you for all your positive encouragement. I’ll remember your kind voice and positive vibes next time I have a baby. Viola, thanks for being with us when Ben was born, and reminding me how to push effectively! Terri, thank you for taking such good and gentle care of us. We felt much more confident bringing this little gem home after you finished with us!
We will certainly be singing your praises for years to come!
Sara, Nate and Benjamin
- Sara, Nate and Benjamin B.
Dear Wonderful AABC Staff,
It is a full 6 weeks after our birth day and I remain in such awe and appreciation of the incredible experience you provided.
Every time we walked into the center, we felt welcomed. I always felt as though my pregnancy was just as important to each of you as it was to us. I learned so much throughout the process and always walked out thinking “Why doesn’t everyone come here?!”
Perhaps the most amazing part of our experience was the realization that birth is and can be so beautiful- that when you strip away the drugs and wires and such, you are left with something very real and powerful.
My labor and delivery gave me such a sense of “mommyness”. I felt so strong and inspired. We will forever be grateful to you for helping us usher Noe into this world in a loving and beautiful manner…
We have told everyone who will listen about our amazing experience and will one day, God willing, see you with the next little miracle. May God continue to bless your sacred work.
Alissa, Junior, Isai, and Noe Molina
- Alissa, Junior, Isai, and Noe M.
Words cannot express the extent of my appreciation. You facilitated a beautiful birth experience. I am so impressed and thankful that you knew just the right way to encourage me when I was reluctant, and that you were able to find the birthing position that was right for me. I am so thankful to you for your diligent skills, helping me not to tear with an 8 and 1/2 pound baby. I am most thankful for the healthy delivery of my beautiful Henna.
- Becky W.
My husband and I were so pleased with the attentive care I received throughout my pregnancy, and during labor the midwife (Jenny) was wonderful. She was so professional, capable, and took excellent care of us and our new son. I loved being in the Santa Fe room, compared to the hospital birth I had with my daughter. It was amazing what a difference it made to be in such a calm, relaxed, beautiful, private, supportive environment.
It really was the birthing experience I had been hoping and praying for – intense, intimate, memorable, empowering and life-changing. I could not be more pleased with my experience and my expectations of the mid-wifery care model were far exceeded! I am enjoying a quick recovery and I hope to have more babies at AABC, thank you so much for doing what you do!
- Katie R.
If I had to share the most vital feeling regarding my experience, it would be this: the outstanding professional, competent, consistent, and loving care given to me. Midwives are God’s gift to the laboring woman.
- Joanne Walcrez
I have such a sense of accomplishment?totally unlike the depression and lack of self-approval I felt after my first two children’s births. Thank you!
- Ann Davis
You were all so encouraging…like having our own little cheering team. I know you work with a lot of people, but thank you for making us feel like we were your only clients and the first couple on Earth to have a baby.
- Patricia Smith
I regret having to say that I was transported from the center to the hospital where my child was born of a C-section. The reason I regret it is because the midwives at AABC were the most caring, wonderful people anyone could ever have around in time of need. From the prenatal visits to staying with me through the night in the hospital, I know I was in the best of care with my midwife by my side. I love you ladies…Thanks for caring about me and my baby.
- Toni Bayless
The day Chloe was born was the most miraculous day of my life. The birthing center was the best place to have her. They made the experience seem so natural, like an everyday thing, part of life.
- Sylvia Vaught
They treated us with gentleness and care. It’s a whole other world than what goes on in the hospital.
- Debbie DeLuna
Thanks again for helping to make another beautiful pregnancy and birth possible! I’ll never forget you! God bless!
- Sharon Fifield (after her third birth with AABC)
I wanted a natural childbirth, but was intimidated by the idea of a home birth. The new [AABC] South facilities are beautiful and after the tour with [AABC owner] Jean and [midwife assistant] Cat we felt at home and comfortable. Suddenly birth was not as scary to me anymore. I started out at an OB/GYN, then transferred to AABC, and the difference in prenatal care was incredible. I felt comfortable asking questions – I didn’t feel like I was just “one more appointment” for the staff to get through. When I started having early contractions, I felt safe calling the midwives – I am not sure what I would have done if I had still been with the OB/GYN. My pregnancy and birth could have gone completely different. [AABC Certified Nurse/Midwife] Samantha [Evans] was fantastic! She was so patient and calm throughout everything. Even with some minor complications, they all seemed so minor because Samantha was so calm, reassuring and confident. Cat was also an excellent assistant. After the birth she was so kind and gentle to me and baby Wyatt. I really appreciated the home visit – Heather [Harper] was fantastic. David and I talk all the time about how AABC is some of the most well spent money we have ever paid. We could have had a hospital birth for free, but the experience we had with AABC was priceless.
- Leslie Williamson
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my husband and I were both happy with how efficient the midwife and assistants were and how they worked together. I really appreciated how the midwives and staff are so friendly and welcoming without in any way being unprofessional. That is an art! Keep up the good work! You are providing a very valuable service to the community.
- Rebekah F.
I would love to give a short testimonial/review of my birth experience at the Austin Area Birthing Center South location:
The most beautiful day in my life was giving birth to our baby, Louella Francesca. She was born on June 19th, 2012. It was short but very intense birth. Around four hours after arriving to the birthing center, I was ready to push, but it took me more than two hours to push her out. It was the most powerful, wild, amazing and happiest experience I’ve ever had. I’m immensely grateful to the women who guided and encouraged me. Thank you Vicky, for your wonderful energy and knowledge about birth, for believing in me, and for the love and passion for what you do. Thank you Meg, Joan and Scottie for being part of the coolest birth team, for taking care of me and being so nice and gentle but strong at the same time. You all are a source of inspiration for me. Also thank you Michelle, Samantha, Stacy, Britney and all the AABC staff for being so nice with us.
The Austin Area Birthing Center South is a great place to have your baby. All the midwifes are excellent and the facilities are beautiful. We felt like being at home. The AABC takes really good care of their future mamas.
- Maite J.
We want to tell you what an AMAZING experience our birth was at your South Austin location.
We cannot say enough how impressed we are with your team. From every check up to the big event, it was perfect. Because I ended up having back labor (Easton was turned sunny side up for most of my labor) there would have been absolutely no way I could have experienced the natural birth I ended up with. The freedom to labor in so many different positions, in the shower, in the tub… surrounded by my support group and with Michelle – an absolutely incredible midwife – I was able to have a beautiful birth experience.
I was so impressed with the level of care I received – Michelle recognized immediately that I was having some hemorrhaging after the birth and took quick action – pushing on my stomach and administering pitocin… quickly diffusing a frightening situation. Everything was handled beautifully.
The care we received through the night postpartum and the next morning was outstanding. The midwife assistant (I feel terrible, I can’t remember her name) was so helpful, even bringing my husband coffee in the morning.
Our friends and family cannot stop talking about how impressed they are with the entire experience (or how much fun they had in the waiting area that day). We cannot thank you and your team enough!!!
I’m attaching some pictures of our beautiful boy. Easton James Emmot, Born July 16th, 8.1 lbs, 21 inches
- Lauren E.
About five months we welcomed our little girl into the world at AABC. After two previous long, intervention heavy hospital births (of much smaller babies), I can’t believe how quick, normal, and intimate this one was! I’m so thankful for the wonderful care throughout, and our awesome midwife Jennifer, who (along with my awesome husband) helped me through labor. AABC enabled me to know how awesome a natural birth can be, and how capable we truly are. Priceless! (posted 5/2/13)
- Megan B.
We could not have asked for a more perfect birth experience! Thank you to Sam for an amazing and incredible birthday for Jenna Paige, born May 17, 2013. Everyone on staff is friendly & professional and I highly recommend Austin Area Birthing Center to anyone looking to have an awesome natural birth! Thank you AABC!
- Bri L.
I’m a very lucky mom who had a beautiful baby girl – Aisling – at AABC North in 2009, and then had a wonderful baby boy – Aidan – at AABC South in 2012. The attached picture shows my “north” baby meeting her “south” baby brother for the first time, just hours after he was delivered.
Now, I love both the AABCs and am so glad that Austin is fortunate enough to have not one, but two amazing birthing centers. I cannot say enough good things about the staff, facilities, and midwives of both AABC locations. I loved the care I got from my very first North visit in 2009, all the way to my last check up down South in 2012.
- Felicity M.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE AABC! The midwives and staff are absolutely amazing? Although I was not able to deliver there at the birthing center, Midwives Meg, Samantha and Vicki all helped me try everything I could possibly do to attempt to deliver.
Even when I was transferred to Seton Main, Samantha was there to give me the emotional support I needed to be okay with the decision to transfer and she stayed at the hospital until my beautiful baby boy was born. Thanks AABC! Not sure I could ahve made it through without your support and care!
- Katherine H.
We think AABC is amazing. From what I’ve seen at your locations (and others) the difference and attractiveness for a new parent could be broken down with a few things: 1) cost 2) knowledge / experience of staff 3) attractiveness of the facility. (Not necessarily in that order).
It’s a very personal undertaking -childbirth- and the comfort and familiarity that a women gets from your staff is 2nd to none. Hospitals are by definition clinical and cold. Your facilities are unconventional, warm, inviting. It’s the difference between choosing a Holiday Inn vs finding out you could have stayed at a Ritz Carlton. In the end it boils down to knowing your customer & their reasons for choosing your facility over that of a hospital. Boutique is a word that comes to mind when describing Austin ABC.