Family Beginnings

I’m continuing my “reviews” of different places/events/restaurants in the area, with a focus on how save money when we go out.

Please remember that what I write here is only my opinion. No one is paying me for this or asking me to write this. This is just my personal experience and I hope that it will benefit someone who is reading this.

Disclaimer: The Family Beginnings website has several pictures of their facility…but I don’t have access to them. There are several local Dayton photographers who have taken pictures inside Family Beginnings, but I also don’t have access to those. Google images does not have many pictures, so all the blurry/grainy ones that I have will have to do. You will have to remember that I was either in labor or we were all infatuated with my darling Tera, not taking pictures of the rooms! Ha!

Family Beginnings is a special review for me, because it is where Tera Evelynne was born. Family Beginnings is a birth center located in Dayton. It is (according to the website), the only accredited natural birth center located inside a hospital in the state of Ohio.

…this place is wonderful.

As I prepared for the birth of my precious daughter, I knew that I wanted to at least attempt a natural birth. Everything I was reading was pointing out all the benefits of natural birth, and that is what I wanted to try. I read that a woman should give birth in the matter that they feel most comfortable. If a hospital birth is the most comfortable for you- go for it. If a home birth is most comfortable for you- do it! For me, I knew I would not be comfortable or relaxed if I tried to birth at home. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy trying to give birth in a hospital setting. So for me, family beginnings was the best of both worlds.

Family Beginnings has three birthing suites. Each room looks like a hotel room with a large queen sized bed, some decently comfortable chairs, a large private bathroom with a jacuzzi tub/shower/toilet and sink, and all the necessary items for baby after it is born (warmer, crib, etc.). One of the perks to this set-up is that you never leave the room. You are admitted into the room for labor, you deliver the baby in the room (or the bathroom in my case!), and you stay in the room your entire stay. Since the bed is big, there is room for Dad, and the crib is perfect for the baby. Tera didn’t leave us once! I was told the only exception to this is if a boy is being circumcised….then you take him elsewhere in the hospital. Family Beginnings also has a lovely living room area that is perfect for the Grandpa or family members that want to be there but that you don’t want to be there, if you know what I mean.

A teeny, tiny picture of one of the rooms. Google Images failed me this time around.

And a picture of some of my family in the sitting/waiting area:

As awesome as it is to feel like you are at home, Family Beginnings is actually located inside the Miami Valley Hospital. This means if something goes wrong during labor, transfer to an OR is immediate. Just knowing this put my mind at ease, and made my natural delivery easier. I think if I had been at home I would have worried more about all the “what ifs”.

So what is the difference between labor at Family Beginnings and labor in a regular labor and delivery? First off, at Family Beginnings you are not hooked up to anything. No IVs. No contraction belt. No heart rate monitor. The babies heart rate is measured by Doppler (exactly the same as what is used in your prenatal appointments), and eating and drinking is encouraged during labor, instead of an IV to push fluids. The nurses are specially trained to help you cope with natural childbirth, not just labor. They also allow however many people you want in the room with you. AND they allow however many visitors you want at any hours of the day. It really did feel like we were at home.

So, let me tell you about my personal experience there, from start to finish.

At 36 weeks pregnant, I had to go in for a little meeting. During this meeting, I had to hand over a birth plan and give my medical history/allergies, and my preferences for after delivery (my pediatrician, Vitamen K shots, etc.). This meeting is done at 36 weeks so that it doesn’t have to be done at 4o-something weeks when you are in the second stage of labor and who-the-heck-cares-if-my-grandpa-smoked!!!!

They also require the couple to take a natural birthing class through the hospital. I think it was a 6 week course, and it was actually very helpful.

So, at 40 weeks, 1 day pregnant, I called Family Beginnings to say that I *thought* I was in labor and could they please save me a room?

Here I am at 40 weeks…

Since there are only three rooms, they go fast. And it’s first come, first served. If you are the fourth person to go into labor that is signed up for family beginnings…sorryio! To regular L&D you go (although I must add that they send you to L&D with the FULL knowledge that you want a natural childbirth. The nurses in L&D work with you on this, and if they are able, Family Beginnings will send one of their nurses with you). Also, if you are person #4 to arrive and you are more dilated…you get the room! Anyways, I called and they said that there were rooms available and to just give  a call if we were on the way in. No sooner had I hung up than my water broke. Yup, I was in labor. I called back and they said to come in as soon as possible.

So that we did. I got there and the check-in was smooth, and the nurses were wonderful. It was so relaxing to know that while I had to do all the work, I had an awesome team surrounding me. I couldn’t wait to get into that tub! Since I was GSB positive, I had to have two doses of antibiotics. We got the first dose in, and then I was able to labor in the tub.

It was wonderful. Wonderful, I tell you. I will go back to Family Beginnings just for that tub. It had jets and lights and enough room for Theo to get in there with me.

I also labored on the bed and eventually gave birth after sitting on the toilet. I delivered Tera onto the bathroom floor, which was graciously covered with those white things, along with all the rest of the floor. Everyone helped me into the bed and the nurses cleaned the whole room/tub. I didn’t even notice anyone clean…I just know it was cleaned. Unfortunately, since I didn’t have the second round of antibiotics, I had to stay at the birth center for 48 hours. However, I know some women who deliver their babies and walk out of there as soon as 6 hours later. It all depends on how the delivery went, how many children you have had, and how Mom/baby are doing after the delivery.

I will say that my 48 hours in the birth center were not the best of my life. The TV was pretty crappy so I was bored out of my skull. Plus I’m a pretty active person, so laying in bed for two straight days just about killed me. Not to mention all the exhaustion, hormones and pain that I was in.

The bed was actually big enough for my whole family…haha. Me, Tera, Theo, my brother Daniel and his wife Kelly. My Mom and Dad are sitting in the chairs that around the bed.


The food was amazing. The food for me was included in the overall birth center bill, but it didn’t include food for anyone else. So we had to continually find food for everyone else who was visiting me. This was not hard, as there is a ton of restaurants nearby. Also, they give you parking tokens…which is SUPER helpful, because it costs $1 every time you drive your car out of the parking garage (yes…CASH!). And when you have to leave to buy every single meal, those dollars add up!

And one more thing! After your baby is born, the nurses bake you a loaf of bread. Yes, a loaf of bread. First…it smells HEAVENLY. Second…it takes AMAZING. And third…isn’t that such a cool tradition? They bake you a loaf of bread!

Ok! So I hope if you are planning a birth at Family Beginnings this is somewhat helpful for you. I would love to answer any specific questions that you might have….please leave them in the comments or shoot me an email. I will come back and edit this post to include any questions that people might have + the answers. Please remember that this is just my personal experience at Family Beginnings. I do have several other friends who have delivered there, so some of this information is based off of that. And if you need a good doula….just email me and I can get you in touch!

To sum it up:

Family Beginnings Is Awesome:

  • A home-like setting
  • In the hospital, so close to help should a problem arise
  • Jacuzzi tub (with lights and jets!)
  • The same room the entire time
  • Excellent nurses who are trained to help you deliver naturally
  • Good Food/Parking tokens
  • A large bed so the spouse can stay with you…comfortably
  • Baby stays with you at all times.
  • Free lactation consultants… (use them!!!)

A Couple Downsides

  • $$$$- It’s not all that much more expensive than a hospital birth, but I’ve learned that giving birth is pricey- and this place is no exception!
  • Space is limited- you might plan on a room and not get it
  • The TV didn’t have a lot of variety on stations
  • We had one nurse that was a little bit rude. It ended up being fine, and I think that could happen ANYWHERE…but I’m just being honest here.
  • You get interrupted just as often as if you were in a hospital. You probably get interrupted every 30 minutes. Nurse, Pediatrician, midwife, hearing person, a photographer, the nurse again, the food service, the cleaning service, a new nurse, etc. etc.
  • Since you are in the same room for labor, delivery and your entire stay…you have the unfortunate circumstance of hearing other women in labor in the room next door. It’s not always super loud, but it does depend on your neighbor!

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