Natural birthing center provides a choice for expectant mothers
Fathers brave enough to help birth their children inevitably concede mothers are the stronger sex. The painful birth process that mothers often endure proves it, said the owners of a new, independent birthing center in Grand Junction.
The experience presents medical hazards for mother and child, risks some believe are too great to bring a child into the world any place but at a hospital. That is a valid and reasonable choice, they said.
But other mothers want options. They believe the risks of child birth are manageable in the hands of a qualified professional, not necessarily a doctor.
Natural birth outside of a hospital setting is a choice many expectant mothers want to make for themselves, said Patty Kandiko, a registered nurse and certified midwife who launched the center, Colorado’s second.
Cost is often a factor in the decision. Hospital births with no complications cost around $12,000 at area hospitals. The physician fee adds another $5,000 to the total. Kandiko charges around $6,000 for the service.
If complications arise, St. Mary’s Hospital is located right next door, Kandiko said.
The only other independent birthing center in Colorado is located in Denver, she said.
Over the last six years, Colorado averaged between 40 and 60 midwives attending between 500 and 700 home births per year, according to the Colorado Midwives Association.
Kandiko launched the center earlier this year to provide mothers with choices. Competing with local obstetricians is not her goal.
“I need to be able work with those doctors in my practice. My patients need them,” Kandiko said during a tour Friday of Bloomin’ Babies Birthing Center, 2241 N. 7th St.
The birth process fascinated Kandiko from the time she was a child.
“As a teen, I learned about midwives while reading novels about nurses,” she said. “My first summer job as a hospital nurse’s aide in obstetrics confirmed for me that this is the kind of work I wanted to do. I’m just passionate about it.”
In her entrance essay for nursing school, Kandiko said she wrote her long-term goal was to become a midwife. The new birthing center realizes that goal, she said.
A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy, co-owner and husband Dick Kandiko said.
When the care required is outside the midwife’s scope of practice, the patient is referred to a health care provider with the needed credentials.
Kandiko can prescribe medication and issue other medical orders similar to a physician. However, she must work in consultation with a local obstetrician as required by her license.
At the center, a spacious, tastefully decorated and comfortable waiting room greets patients and their families at Bloomin’ Babies.
Two birthing rooms look more like first class hotel suites than the typical hospital delivery room.
Four-post, queen-size beds festooned with soft, white LED lights, comfortable blankets, and a mountain of pillows greet each patient. An enormous tub deep enough to comfortably accommodate a mother giving birth is nearby in case a water birth is desired.
Over the years, Kandiko and her husband moved their family several times to facilitate his career.
Each time, Kandiko said she looked for nursing positions in places that supported mothers, babies, and families in birth.
“I worked with midwives at Family Hospital in Milwaukee, and at a birth center in Greenville, South Carolina,” she said. “I loved every minute of it and I often thought, this is the way it’s supposed to be. Someday I’ll have a birth center.”
After graduating from midwifery school and moving to Grand Junction to be near her grandchildren, Kandiko’s dream of starting a birth center blossomed.
She found support in the local birth community and gathered help from her husband and business partner, as well as their daughters, neighbors and friends.
“The birth center is a result of both my passion for birth and public health. We need more birth centers and options for women and families today,” she said.
The center provides a nurturing place where patients receive personal attention, a sanctuary where mothers give birth, and a learning place for intimacy, Kandiko said.