Exhibiting genes borrowed from the realm of homebirthing and hospital child delivery, a third option for baby-making Missoulians arrived this month in the form of The Birth Center, which brings midwives and doctors under one roof to facilitate natural childbirth.
“Women deserve choices, and up until now, there really were no choices—they had a homebirth or a hospital birth. Now there’s a third choice, and we believe it combines the best aspects of each of the other choices,” says Jeanne Heble, the certified nurse midwife (CNM) who’s partnered with Lynn Montgomery, M.D., OB/GYN, Perinatologist, to create The Birth Center, which will begin hosting births by May 19.
Currently in the process of securing national accreditation and state licensing, The Birth Center has two rooms with windows, fireplaces and a Jacuzzi where women in labor will be helped along by Heble or Deni Llovet, CNM, in the case of uncomplicated pregnancies, or Montgomery, who specializes in high-risk births. Prenatal, postpartum and family health-care are also on offer, and Heble says their main distinction from hospital birth centers is found in The Birth Center’s atmosphere and the fact that it doesn’t practice intervention through cesareans or epidurals.
The new center isn’t the only new birth-related endeavor in town, though. Community Medical Center, long the sole institutional birth setting in town, will begin remodeling its birth center in June, having raised $1.5 million toward a $5 million capital campaign for the Montana Center for Women’s and Newborn Care, according to spokeswoman Karen Sullivan. And St. Patrick Hospital has entered the baby market with construction of a facility scheduled to open in December, says Joyce Dombrouski, vice president of nursing and patient care.
Missoula’s changing birth scene isn’t without hints of sibling rivalry, though. Community’s recent ads in the Independent and the Missoulian pose the question: “Shouldn’t a birthing center have more birthing experience than you do? Experience isn’t something you gain by renovating a floor or erecting a building…” While Sullivan won’t comment on the ad’s clear jab beyond saying that the veteran hospital is “trying to convey in a pointed way that we have the goods and we want people to know about it,” it seems apparent the big kid may be suffering from a bout of new-baby syndrome.