The Birth Center of Missoula celebrates over 500 births
“This is my baby,” said Jeanne Hebl, lovingly looking up and around at the walls of the Birth Center of Missoula. The little, unassuming building on 39th avenue with the alternating blue and pink balloons at its entrance is the product of her life’s work, a place in our community that offers an alternative birth experience.
It feels like home—pictures on the walls, plants whose limbs strewn toward the floor, the bubble and buzz of a fish tank to disrupt the silence before life begins in another room. The birthing room is like any master bedroom, large and bright with the warm feel of personal touch, and the recovery room is similar, separate from the main building and in full embrace of the privacy a new family warrants.
On this particular day, it was a girl who was birthed—Remington, the daughter of Chris George and Melissa Sinerius, and the 501st baby for the Birth Center.
“It was a really heart-warming experience,” said Melissa. “Personally, I have white-coat syndrome. Whenever I see a doctor I get freaked out. I don’t like being in a doctor’s office and that’s what pushed me to come here.”
The Birth Center of Missoula offers an atypical experience, a landing place for the wishes of women before they grab their readied bags and head for the hospital—I wish I could just stay here, home.
“The people who come here want a natural childbirth,” said Jeanne. “They don’t want the availability of an epiduralist right outside the door…they want to do it on their own and that’s the beauty of being here.”
Jeanne’s birthing center is the best of both worlds. Most of her staff, including herself, are certified nurse midwives, meaning that their support comes with a medication box for a variety of different emergencies that can happen. It’s a complete experience that offers support from the beginning, starting with prenatal care, and working closely with each client to ensure the best labor and delivery of their child.
“Whenever we called them, they were here, waiting,” said Chris, cradling a sweet, sleeping Remington in his arms. “We had personal support throughout the whole process.”
Kathy Crowley-Haywood, a registered nurse and certified lactation counselor for the Birth Center, is passionate about the knowledge she shares with new parents on being baby friendly—a concept that caters to the best pathways for newborns and encourages new mothers to breastfeed their babies.
The Birth Center is flexible and eager with the influx of new technology and information but remaining firm in their roots of the natural experience is their special ingredient in the recipe of family-making.