I am very excited to kick off my Birth Center Project with my first feature, the Ventura Birth Center. To learn about my project, click here.
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant with Little Nugget in 2012, my husband and I saw The Business of Being Born and agreed that a hospital birth was not going to be for me (us). After finishing the documentary, I reflected on everything I had seen and learned from it. I found that the documentary’s essence resonated with me. I was convinced that the journey my first pregnancy would take me on would be a peaceful and empowering one…and it was.
Shortly after having two visits with an OBGYN and confirming how far into my pregnancy I was, I began to research birth centers in my area. To my surprise, there weren’t many options. At that time, the closest one I found was in Whittier or Ventura. I began making phone calls. After calling the Ventura Birth Center and speaking to Sue, the owner and head midwife, I set an appointment for me and Josh to visit. The rest is history.
The Ventura Birth Center holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first birth center I ever visited, and Sue was the first midwife I ever met. With deep appreciation for the kindness and support Sue and her team showed and continues to show me, here are some details and photographs from my last visit to the Ventura Birth Center.
LNBN #1: How long has your birth center been in practice?
Sue: Twenty years.
LNBN #2: What is your birth center’s fee and what services does it include? Do you offer discounts or have a sliding scale?
Sue: We accept insurance. Our fees are $5,000 which includes all things done at the birth center. We offer hardship cash pay discount on an individual basis, it is typically 10%. We don’t have a sliding scale.
LNBN #3: Does your birth center participate in insurance plans?
Sue: Yes, we have been billing insurance since the birth center opened. We accept all PPO and some EPO plans as well as Christian Fund plans.
LNBN #4: What community does your birth center service?
Sue: People come from as far away as six hours, so Southern California.
LNBN #5: Where is the closest hospital?
Sue: Across the street.
LNBN #6: What services are offered at your birth center?
Sue: We offer: Childbirth Education (CBE) classes by a retired midwife, breastfeeding classes by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Sacred Pregnancy classes by two sisters who are doulas, referrals to chiropractic care, prenatal and postpartum exercise, massage, naturopath services, licensed therapist for prenatal and postpartum issues, and photographers.
LNBN #7: Other than English, are there any other languages that the services are provided in?
Sue: Yes, Spanish, and we have interpretation for Chinese and Tagalog.
LNBN #8: Does your birth center provide well-woman services?
LNBN #9: What type of providers administer care at your birth center?
Sue: Licensed Midwives (LM).
LNBN #10: Do you work with student-midwives? If yes, do clients see you, the student-midwife, or both?
Sue: Yes. I have had students for about fifteen years. I teach for a midwifery college. The law requires that the student is observed so that clients see both.
LNBN #11: Can you give me a short back story on your birth center? What inspired it?
Sue: I opened my birth center twenty years ago. At the time, there was only one birth center in our area which was on the east end of our County. I felt that I was called to open a birth center giving women another option for birth. I prayed that if God wanted this to happen, that he’d open doors for me, and he did. I had businesses volunteer materials and supplies, I found a building where the owner gave me reduced rent because he loved the idea and even gave me the first six months free.
LNBN #12: What is the birth center’s philosophy of care/mission statement?
Sue: That birth is a normal, natural event that doesn’t need tampering with.
LNBN #13: Is there anything you’d like to add about your birth center?
Sue: Just that it is a welcome place for the community.
LNBN #14: Is there anything that sets you aside from other birth centers?
Sue: Yes. My birth center has been in the area the longest and is the least expensive.
Thank you Sue!
Now, let me walk you through the birth center Big Nugget style…
Thank you so much for visiting with me! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new. If you have any comments, questions, or thoughts, I encourage you to share them with me.
Cheers to the Ventura Birth Center!