The Allen Birthing Center, located in historic downtown Allen Texas, is the birthing center my daughter chose to deliver her baby in May 2009. Allen Birthing Center is a free-standing birth center, staffed by 3 experienced and highly-educated certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), offering prenatal care, labor support, delivery and exam of the newborn, postpartum care, well-woman exams, family planning, and primary care.
As soon as my daughter learned about her pregnancy, she had what seemed like a million questions and fears for a first-time mother, which is understandable. We discussed birthing options, the average cost of delivering a baby in a hospital vs. a birthing center or homebirth, pros and cons of each option etc, so she could make an informed choice for herself and her baby.
I was very careful to just explain the facts of each option because I didn’t want her to feel any pressure or influence from me about how or where to have her baby. Just because I chose the home birth option to deliver her and her older brother, and hospital births for my first four children, doesn’t mean she should make the same choice I did.
My daughter asked me, “If you could do it all over again, which option would you choose now?” I had to be honest and tell her that if I had known years ago about certified midwives, birthing centers and homebirth options, I would have chosen to give birth to each of my children at home. The differences between laboring and delivering a baby in a hospital vs. delivering at home or at a birthing center for low-risk pregnancies are huge.
I suggested she check out Ricki Lake’s Business of Being Born documentary, and explained that she needed to create a birth plan where she would list her personal preferences for labor and delivery, including how and where she would decide to give birth. I also explained that she needed to decided whether or not she wanted pain medication or an epidural for pain relief during labor, because that would have everything to do with where she would labor and deliver her baby.
After doing a considerable amount of research into Dallas/Collin County birthing centers and midwifery, she and the baby’s father decided to tour the Allen Birthing Center and interview the certified midwives, Rebecca “Becky” Burpo, Lana Amelia “Amy” Giles and Elizabeth “Betty” Hoffman, to get answers to their questions from the experts.
The Allen Birthing Center’s philosophy about childbirth is equal to that of my daughter and the baby‘s father – that birth is a normal process that needs very little intervention, but support and encouragement throughout their pregnancy, labor and delivery would be provided, ensuring their personal natural childbirth choices were respected.
My daughter did not want an epidural or any pain medications at all during labor, and she was thrilled with the prospect of being able to move around freely at the birthing center during labor vs. staying flat on her back in a hospital labor room, as well as the waterbirth option if she so chose. Knowing that the Allen Birthing Center works in close cooperation with nearby hospitals reassured her even more, just in case something unplanned or unforeseen were to occur and she needed to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency c-section.
In order to find Texas birth centers and midwives in our area, we checked out the Association of Texas Midwives (ATM) and the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) website for listings by state and county. Allen Birthing Center is the only natural birth center in all of Collin County, but I found a total of 12 birthing centers in Texas:
Allen Birthing Center
406 West Main Street
Allen, TX 75013
Contact: Rebecca Burpo, Director
Birth and Women’s Center
3100 Swiss Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
Contact: Cherie Boettcher, Director
Gentle Beginnings Birth Center
1817 Harwood Court
Hurst, TX 76054
Contact: Ann Crowell
Inanna Birth & Women’s Care
1823 N Locust Street
Denton, TX 76201
Contact: Jean Sala, Owner
513 W Church Street
Grand Prairie, TX 75050
Contact: Betty Winford
North Houston Birth Center
7007 N. Freeway #435
Houston, TX 77076
Contact: Kathleen Vande Giessen, CNM
Reunion Women’s Health & Birth Center
201 Kingwood Medical Drive # B 300
Kingwood, TX 77339
Contact: Janet Little, Midwife/Owner
Bay Area Birth Center
3210 Strawberry Road
Pasadena, TX 77504
Contact: Jackie Griggs, Director
Rite of Passage Women’s Health & Birth Center
2206 E Broadway, Ste E
Pearland, TX 77581
Contact: Bernadette Olivier, Director/Owner
Lovers Lane Birth Center at Cottonwood
304 S Cottonwood Suite A
Richardson, TX 75080
Contact: Dinah Waranch, Owner
San Antonio Birth Center
7272 Wurzbach #101
San Antonio, TX 78240
Contact: Nicole Voge, Office Manager
Nativiti Women’s Health & Birth Center
26614 Oakridge Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Contact: Melanie Dossey, Director/Owner
My daughter’s labor and delivery at the Allen Birthing Center went very well. Her labor lasted 10 1/2 hours, which is pretty darn good for a first-timer, and she went from 6cm to 10cm (complete) in just 40 minutes! She had quite a bit of back labor, which can be extra painful if you’re stuck laying flat on your back in a hospital labor room for the doctors and nurses convenience, but she didn’t so much as whimper, cry or scream during any of her labor pains. She’s a tough cookie! She was able to walk around at will, have her back massaged by the baby’s father, stand/sit in the shower with strong water flow massaging her sore back and eventually moved to deliver her baby girl by waterbirth in the tub.
Each of the two birthing suites at the Allen Birthing Center are very comfortable and decorated beautifully, and the website provides photos of the birth center inside and out for expectant mothers to check out before scheduling a free consultation visit and tour. The total cost of pre-natal care, labor, delivery and aftercare for both mother and baby was only $4750.00 – PLUS they file medical insurance for patients – and they even allow payment plans. What’s not to like about a birthing center staffed by phenomenal experienced midwives, and a cost that even young expectant parents can manage to afford on their own? My daughter said that if she chooses to have any more children, that she’ll definitely use a birthing center and midwives again, and may even decide on a homebirth.