Colorado moms explore birth options
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
SILVERTHORNE, Colorado ” When she was 27 weeks pregnant, Tracy Mathison checked into a hospital for a minor complication.
Nurses hooked her to an IV, ran tests, and in the end, she figured out she did not want a similar experience when she gave birth. For her, the setting was uncomfortable and impersonal.
So, Mathison, of Silverthorne, began looking into different options, and through her sister, who was studying herbology and was also pregnant at the time, she found Cocoon Enterprises childbirth classes in Idaho Springs and Mountain Midwifery Center in Englewood in suburban Denver.
She learned everything about birth she could possibly want to know and discovered she wanted to have her baby girl at a birth center ” an option an increasing number of women are exploring.
Women in the mountains are often “outdoorsy and strong,” said Tracy Ryan, a nurse midwife and owner of Mountain Midwifery Center.
They enjoy rock climbing, hiking and so “the thought of an epidural because they can’t stand the pain of labor … they find that very insulting,” Ryan said.
Basically, the birth center offers a home-like experience, but it is also near a hospital in case complications arise. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Ryan said, adding that interest in alternative birthing methods has helped the Midwifery Center double in size.
The initial visit is about an hour-and-a-half and involves talking to women about nutrition, what is ahead and answering questions. “Our approach is education intensive. … It’s how women deserve to be treated,” she said.
Within about four to six hours after birth, moms head home with their baby, and two days later the midwife who delivered their child pays them a visit at home. The women are told what is normal and what is not, and told they should be near a place where they can get emergency medical care if that becomes necessary, Ryan said.
“This (using midwives) is done all over the world,” she paused, “And with better outcomes.”
In the U.S., more than 30 percent of babies are born via surgery, Ryan said. At Mountain Midwifery, about 15 percent of moms wind up at the hospital, and of those, 4 percent have surgery, she said.
Ryan says her birth center is not for everyone so she advises women to do their research, ask their hospital about how many Caesarian sections are performed there, and ask if the hospital is flexible about the physical position the woman is in when she gives birth.
Jen Matera and Heather Scott, who started Cocoon Enterprises Inc. in Idaho Springs, teach a four-week series of classes designed for women giving birth in the hospital, at home or at the birth center. Throughout the past year, they’ve seen an increase in calls and more women looking into the birth center or home births, Scott said.
“We’re really seeing a lot of different attitudes toward birth,” Scott said. “Women today are so excited to have different options.”
Scott was Mathison’s “doula,” a term for someone who provides emotional support for the mother and tries to make her as comfortable as possible during birth. Scott showed Mathison’s mom and husband about how to help, and helped Mathison her keep liquids and food down.
Mathison’s room at the birthing center had a queen sized bed, rocking chair, birthing balls, a little pool. It was quaint and “more personal,” Mathison said.
Mathison went into labor about 1 a.m. and gave birth 8 p.m. the next night ” July 11. Lillianna Grace weighed 7 pounds,10 ounces.
“They kept me going after my goals as long as they knew I could take it,” Mathison said.
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