In July 2021, I had the privilege of supporting one of my doula families at the Oklahoma City Birth Center. The OKC birth center had just recently opened and I had really been looking forward to it becoming a resource for our Central Oklahoma community! We previously had a birth center in Edmond that had closed a year or so prior to the OKC Birth Center opening and it was heartbreaking to see the resource and team behind it go.
Prior to my doula family’s birth, I had the chance to view the birth center with the family with one of the Co-owners, Brandy Harris. So, when the day came to head to the birth center with my doula family for their birth journey, I was very much looking forward to using the bright and peaceful space as a doula!
My doula family experienced a long labor journey and we spent the entire weekend at the center. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the OKC birth center after supporting a family there for an extended amount of time.
When you are in the space, it is clear that the two women who created the OKC Birth Center have a history in birth work. The individual birth rooms for families had everything you could need to support a labor and birth journey.
The bathrooms were cozy but spacious so birth team members had room to comfort and support the birthing person.
My client’s birth room had a bed that was comfortable and also able to move similarly to a hospital bed. This made it possible for my client to rest in a hands and knees position over the back of the bed.
The birth tubs style vary from each room, but the one in my client’s room was a large circular tub. It reminded me of a giant cereal bowl! It was spacious and beautiful, but the edges were a little on the uncomfortable side unless you padded them with towels or the blown up bath pillow.
One particular tool that I was thrilled to have available to use was the Swedish ladder, also known as wall bars. This ladder was fantastic for my client to use to stretch her legs and do assisted squats. I also attached my woven wrap for her to use for squats. Her midwife got creative and rigged a comfy spot with the wrap and bars as well!
In addition to these tools there were also birth balls, peanut balls, plenty of clean towels, a washer and dryer, a fridge, and an ice machine (although it is currently being repaired). We were the only people there that weekend as well so we were able to walk the halls, use the couches in the front room for lunges, and use the patio stairs.
All of these tools at the OKC birth center combined made a dynamic area to labor for my client!
Feeling comfortable and safe is such a crucial part of creating a positive labor and birth environment.
My doula family thought that the space was beautiful, clean, and cozy. Our room in particular had beautiful natural light that we all really appreciated. As a doula who has supported births in hospital settings where rooms do not always have windows, having bright natural light was such a welcome change!
Also, if anyone wanted some fresh air, we were only a few feet away from an exterior door. It can take a while to get outside of a hospital and families are not typically permitted to leave their room let alone go outside for fresh air.
(Covid restrictions have changed the ability to ‘walk the halls’ during hospital labor)
Personally, I felt very much at home as a birth team member during my doula family’s time at the OKC birth center.
Not only is the environment cozy and comforting, but the Oklahoma City birth center is also only four minutes away from OU Children’s Hospital. This was perfect for my doula family who wanted a birth experience close to a home birth with the extra reassurance that if anything was to go differently than they had planned and a hospital transfer was necessary, we were only minutes away from the hospital.
If a family is looking for an experience somewhat close to a home birth experience, the OKC Birth Center could be an option for them. Especially for those worried about being able to transfer quickly to a hospital in the case of a hospital transfer situation.
For a birth photographer, this space is perfect! The founders of Oklahoma City birth center made sure to create a beautiful space that feels welcoming for birthing families.
As a doula, I am looking forward to my next birth here! The OKC birth center feels homey, is aesthetically pleasing, has several tools available for birthing families, and is only minutes from my preferred OKC hospital.
I do wish there had been a couch or additional sleeping space in the birth room other than the bed. My doula family had a long labor journey which meant taking short naps when they did curled up in an arm chair in the room. This was very much the same experience I would have at a hospital on a very uncomfortable chair. The birth center chair was a little more comfy, but being able to lay down on a small couch would have been SO nice!
As one last thought, the birth center is a fantastic option, but may be out of price range for families who would like to use it as a perfect in-between hospital and home birth.
Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma City Bereavement, Birth, & Postpartum doula who serves her Central Oklahoma community. She is also a midwifery assistant with Holistic Birthing Services and planning to begin her student midwifery journey in 2022.
To learn more about Jenni, please click here.