Saturday, February 12, 2011

Women's Birth and Wellness Center - Hurray!

This afternoon we trekked over to Mesa for the grand opening of the new Women's Birth and Wellness Center. It was awesome!

I went into this not really knowing much about the center, nor about the midwife who is in charge of it, Claudine Calligan. For some reason, I've absorbed a lot of information about Phoenix's two other birth centers, but not about this one - why, I don't know! But there it was. It was a mystery.

A mystery no longer!

We had a chance to tour the center - something which would have been lovely if our little one had not taken it into his head to scream his head off the entire time - but I did get to glance around, albeit briefly. The center has 2-3 birth rooms, one with a birthing pool, a common room and kitchen, offices, etc., all equipped for births and exam capabilities - plus an ultrasound machine!

I met one of the midwives who is running the birth center, and she gave me lots of yummy information. Firstly, and most exciting of all news - this center (listen up, mothers of the world!) will be taking VBAC, breech, and multiples births! YES! Is that not exciting beyond belief? The other two birth centers are not able to take those types of births, due to insurance and licensing issues, but this one can and will. She told me that there will be a lot of restrictions on those births, to ensure that women accepted are all low-risk, but I am so excited to have a resource to offer VBAC mothers. (And the people rejoiced!)

The midwife told me that this birth center will have more "medical" capabilities than most low-tech birth centers or homebirths can offer. For example, they will offer IVs (offer, not mandate) to laboring mothers and to long-labor mamas who might benefit from IV placement. For those of us who decry mandatory IV placement in modern hospitals, this might seem like an odd benefit, but for mothers who need it or feel more comfortable with traditional labor trappings, this is great. They will also have a nurse attend all births. For friends of mine who want lower-tech births but need the comfort of a more medical setting, this will be ideal.

The midwife also told me that the center is now awaiting its first birth, as their first mama is "in the window" and will be birthing any day.

(After speaking with this midwife for half an hour, I finally realized that she was the same midwife who had worked with my own midwife five years ago when we were awaiting the birth of our first child! When I finally made the connection, it was fun to be able to say "Oh, it was you!" "Oh, and how are you? And what have you been doing?" and all of that.)

I am very excited about this birth center! I can't wait to learn more and get to know the midwives involved, and to hear about all of its adventures. Congratulations to the staff of Women's Birth and Wellness Center!


  1. So neat! I shared this on my facebook pages. What a wonderful thing!

  2. Do you know how this birth center was able to get around the rules and regulations of VBAC, breech, etc that other birth centers have to follow??

  3. Hi, Mandy! Thanks for visiting! Women's Birth and Wellness didn't skirt any state regulations - they were just able to meet the state's regulation for VBAC providers, in terms of staffing and on-site resources. One thing in particular that I heard was that the center is directed by a CNM, while the other two centers have CPMs, whose licensing does not allow them to attend VBAC. However, I don't know the whole story - you'd probably have to contact them directly to ask (there is contact info on their site). I'd like to know more myself! :)

  4. I am excited to find out about this center — and very close to home! I am going to give them a call tomorrow!

    I went to one other birthing center and liked it a lot, but the head doc (don't know her credentials, but she has OB rights at the nearby hospital) was condescending and had an agenda — not something I would have expected in that setting.

    Hooray! I have high hopes for this one!

  5. Heather, I'm so glad you're going to check the WBWC out! I'm very excited about it too, and I can't wait to learn more about it and get better acquainted with the midwives involved there. It seems like a really awesome thing. Good luck - I'd love to hear more when you know more!!

  6. Hi...Your post really got me thinking man..... an intelligent piece, I must say.

  7. I came across your website via Google. Do you happen to know what birth centers in Phoenix area accept VBAC? Or is the one mentioned the only one? I am guessing that home birth is not an option, but can't find any confirmation on this. Thank you!

  8. Hi, Jana!

    Of the three birth centers in the valley, this one is the only one I know of that is currently accepting VBAC. I believe that Blossom Birth Center has an eventual goal of being able to take VBAC, but I don't think they are currently (definitely call them to make sure). It's a liability issue and an insurance issue.

    I believe that there is also an in-hospital birth center at one of the hospitals (not sure which - sorry!!), and I'm sure they would be taking VBAC.

    There are also great practices of midwives in the hospitals here that take VBAC - try Valley Women for Women or Boojum Obstetrics.

    Homebirth midwives (CPMs) cannot attend HBAC in AZ (they can in surrounding states such as CA, UT, etc.). A CNM technically could attend a home VBAC (I think), so you might check out the couple of CNMs that are doing homebirth to see if they are taking VBAC. There are also two naturopathic doctors who do homebirths, and I believe both take VBAC - Anne Marie Palzer and Kristal Tellier; they're definitely something to look into.

    Best of luck as you pursue your VBAC!! Thanks for visiting!


  9. p.s. Jana - loved your website, your lovely pictures, and the pictures of your beautiful baby!! (Your OB is also my consulting OB. :)

  10. Thank you so much! What are the names of the CNMs that might do VBACs? I will check into those other names as well. You've given me hope. :-) And I'm glad you enjoyed our website! We are so grateful for our little girl!!

  11. Hi, Jana!

    I looked on the AZ Association of Midwives, and I could not find any CNMs - however, I know (I think!) that there are some! Your best bet would be to register with the Arizona Birth Network yahoo group and post your question there.

    However, when there are VBAC discussions going on, homebirth with CNMs doesn't play a big role, if any, so I may be wrong in thinking there are CNMs who do homebirth. Probably the most likely options would be the Mesa birth center or one of the NDs for a homebirth (or a hospital VBAC with one of the midwife groups). I'd love to hear how it works out for you!

    Diana :)

  12. Again, thank you so much! I will try to remember to post here down the road when we have another baby. :-)


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