I am very excited to bring you another Birth Center Project feature. To learn about my project, click here.
I’m going to be very honest, this birth center feature was difficult. Not only am I super biased (you’ll notice that I just chose to embrace this) about PUSH Midwifery—Z Nugget was born here and Robyn (midwife and owner) caught both of my babies—but I had also written about PUSH Midwifery two years ago. I wrote about this birth center before my project became what it is now. PUSH Midwifery was the first birth center that unknowingly gave life to this adventure of mine where I visit, explore, and talk to the midwives of these gems.
Part of the difficulty, I found, came from the pictures I took two years ago; they inhibited my ability to creatively find “new” beauty in PUSH. I decided to embrace the challenge, and in doing so I realized that I didn’t have to find “new” beauty because, like with pregnant mommas, the beauty never goes away, it just gracefully transitions according to life. You’ll see that there are similar images to my first post, but in allowing myself to simply photograph PUSH once again, I came to understand that I still find beauty in those things, in those small details, and there is nothing wrong with that. If anything, I feel like it makes me more genuine. I considered using some of the same pictures from my first visit in this post; however, I felt like that would be cheating you and my project out of updated images from one of my favorite places in my world. PUSH Midwifery holds a very special piece of my heart. It is my honor to present to you some details and pictures of PUSH Midwifery.
Thank you, Robyn. Thank you for being so caring, down-to-earth, and just all around kick-ass!
LNBN #1: What is your birth center’s fee and what services does it include?
Robyn: The fee for the birth center is $5800. It includes all of your prenatal care, your birth, and your visits up to six weeks after. The cost for homebirth and the birth center are exactly the same.
LNBN #2: Do you offer discounts? Do you have a sliding scale?
LNBN #3: Does your birth center participate in insurance plans?
Robyn: We are what’s known as “out-of-network”. We submit a claim to insurance and our clients are reimbursed a portion of whatever their insurance benefits would be.
LNBN #4: What community does your birth center service?
Robyn: We service Ventura County and some of Los Angeles, so some of the Valley area: Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Chatsworth, West Hills, Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Agoura, Simi Valley, and some parts of Camarillo and Moorpark.
LNBN #5: Where is the closest hospital?
Robyn: Los Robles which is 3.3 miles away.
LNBN #6: What services are offered at your birth center?
Robyn: We offer on-site childbirth classes. For those families that want to do Bradley Birth, hypnotherapy, or hypnobirthing, then we refer out to instructors that do those. We have IBCLC’s that work with us for lactation. We offer a breastfeeding class. We offer infant CPR. We offer momma support groups and new baby classes.
LNBN #7: Are a lot of those held here at the birth center?
Robyn: All of them are held here. The ones we refer out for are any specialty method that is not the general “out-of-hospital birth” such as Hypnobirthing or the Bradley Birth method.
LNBN #8: Other than English, are there any other languages that the services are provided in?
Robyn: I’m in the process of learning Spanish, but…I suck! Well, I’m learning.
LNBN #9: Does your birth center provide well-woman services?
LNBN #10: What type of providers administer care at your birth center?
Robyn: Licensed midwives.
LNBN #11: Do you work with student-midwives? If yes, do clients see you, the student-midwife, or both?
Robyn: I don’t work with student-midwives, and people that assist me are normally not met ahead of time.
LNBN #12: Can you give me a short back story on your birth center? What inspired it?
Robyn: I think the only inspiration I had in wanting to open a birth center was to offer more options. Those of us involved—or that have knowledge about out-of-hospital birth—know that home birth and using a birth center, the quality of care is identical. Typically, you’re no more safer at a birth center unless maybe you happen to live in a remote area. I have some families in Ojai and Malibu that feel safer birthing here because they are 3.3 miles away from the hospital rather than not having a hospital with a NICU nearby or whatnot. By having the birth center, I maximize the potential for business in the sense that if someone specifically wants a facility, then I have that to offer versus just doing home births. Also, some insurances will only reimburse for a facility. For example, if you have Aetna, Aetna will reimburse for a birth center birth, but not for a home birth. So, if you’re somebody that wants an out-of-hospital birth, you may just seek a birth center for insurance reimbursement.
LNBN #13: What is the birth center’s philosophy of care/mission statement?
Robyn: I want my birth center to be comfortable for women and families. I want people to feel safe here. I want people to feel heard here. I want people to feel that this is a reliable source of support in whatever factor. It’s not only about the birth experience, it’s about the connection that you have with your provider. I came to this conclusion based upon my own experience with my own midwives. I became a midwife because of the relationship that I had with my midwife, and what I recognized out of that was that the connection that I had with her was very dear for me and very very important in my life during such a huge change. Until you’re going through it, you don’t recognize that starting your family is a huge adjustment individually, maritally, with your partner, with your family, with your work, with your identity as a woman. Being able to connect with other women that had gone through that, meaning they were mothers themselves, was simply another support system that wasn’t my mom or my bestie, but somebody from the outside that was going to see me and was seeing me at very vulnerable stages of my life. We’re complicated human beings, women, and women on women support is rare. We know that.
I always say to everybody that I can’t guarantee that you’re going to have a magical birth because I’m not in control of that, but you will be informed. You will be supported. You will be cared for. You will be honored. You will be respected. Sometimes, if that’s all we can get, that means more than the actual birth experience itself. So, my goal was just that, to make sure that this was a place to come where you could talk, you could feel heard, you could feel supported, and still have those feelings if you were dealing with the disappointment of a birth that did not go as planned. We’re part therapist. We’re part OB. We’re part midwife. We’re part friend. We’re all women.
LNBN #14: Is there anything you’d like to add about your birth center? Is there anything that sets you aside from other birth centers?
Robyn: No…I don’t think so. I hesitate because I think that it’s easy to get into a business model that says I want to offer and do the best. I think in business that makes sense. You’re not going to be successful in business unless you stand out. You’re not going to be successful in business unless you think of how to make your business the place where people want to be instead of. The “instead of” for me, they’re my competitors, but they’re still my sisters. For all the birth centers that we have in this area, whether it’s Ventura, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Silverlake, or Valencia, I want those birth centers to all do well. I want my midwives to know that they can count on me. I want to know that I can count on them. I tend to just say, “Look, this is what I can offer. Other midwives in this area are great and they have their own sense of offering what that may be,” and it’s up to the clients to make a decision where they feel they can get the most. I’d rather that that be self-exploratory than me handing them a list of things that I can give them. Essentially, that would be me saying that this is why I’m better than everyone else. I’m just myself. I’m just who I am. We all have the same license. Some of us have a few more initials behind our names. I don’t consider myself a better midwife than other midwives. I’d like to think that we are all doing the best we can to do the best we can. I try to keep myself trying to make my birth center the best for me and for the people who think that it’s the best, rather than trying to talk anybody into thinking it’s the best. I want people to walk in here and feel that it’s the best because they decided that, not because I gave them reasons for that.
I don’t like to sell my birth center. I like to invite everybody and say come in and hear about birth. Come in and have a look around then go look at your other options. Go meet other midwives. Go to the hospital. If this sticks with you, I didn’t make that happen for you, and that’s where I feel comfortable operating.
LNBN #15: What is your favorite area of the birth center and why?
Robyn: My favorite part of the birth center is the wall of encouragement. The signs and notes left behind for others. The first quote was given to me after a birth. The mama wanted to leave me with something that showed how grateful she was for her time here, and her experience. Sometimes the quotes are things I’ve said to women in labor. Some are the feelings they were left with after birth. Some are bible verses that brought them comfort while laboring. I know who owns each and everyone of them, and no experience has been forgotten. Sometimes they come months after our time together has ended, in the mail, unmarked. Every woman who spends time here makes a difference in my life. I love them.
I appreciate you, Robyn!
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 PUSH Midwifery!