This evening I had the opportunity to tour the Birth House in Olympia with my first doula client. If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional hospital birth setting, this may be the place for you!
The Birth House is the only freestanding birth center in the Olympia area, the closest being the Birthing Inn in Tacoma. It is also the office of Around the Circle Midwifery whose two midwives are currently the only ones practicing at the Birth House, however other midwives from the area are in the process of getting the needed licenses to use the center. The Birth House has been operational since the spring of 2010 and has been used for about 50 births.
The front of the building is a beautiful 100 year old house and the office space for the midwifery practice. The birth center is actual housed in an addition to the original building, joined by a kitchen. The woodwork is very beautiful and the atmosphere calm and cozy. There are 2 birthing rooms, both the same size, but with different decor to make them unique. The rooms have vaulted ceilings with recessed lighting, a large bed, a large jacuzzi tub, a changing table, a bassinet, a little balcony for fresh air, and an attached private bathroom. They are very beautiful, relaxing, clean, and inviting.
While in labor, one of the midwives is in the building at all times. Moms can have as many or as few support persons as she wishes. During the actual birth the midwife is accompanied by an assistant. The midwife I was talking to this evening told me that about 90% of their births are water births. After the birth the new family is able to stay in the room for up to 6 hours. The midwife will then visit them in their home the next day.
The Birth House is just 2 miles from St. Peter's hospital, just in case a transfer is needed. However, I asked the midwife this evening how many transfers they have had so far and in the 50 births at the center there have been no maternal transfers. The US rate for birth center transfers is 8-12%, so they are doing pretty good so far. They have had 2 infant transfers, just for some minor concerns that needed observation.
There are currently only 3 licensed midwives (not certified nurse midwives that deliver at the hospital) servicing the Olympia area at this time, so if you are thinking about delivering at the Birth House you need to contact them as soon as possible. Each midwife only takes about 5 clients a month, so they book up fast.
Overall, I was very impressed. If I was going to have another baby, I would go here. They are very pro-doula as well, which is a bonus in my book! =)