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Birth Options in SW Florida

When my family moved to SWFL 2 years ago, I naively assumed that the birth culture would be as amazing and supportive as the one I had just left in Gainesville, FL. My babies were born in Gainesville, one into a homey birth center and another into my very own home. Midwifery care was abundant, and there was even a midwifery school right in our town. There were 2 birth centers to choose from, and when I decided upon a homebirth for my second birth, an awesome Midwive Co-op of 4 midwives came to my door, sat in my living room and answered all of my questions and patiently listened to mine and my husband's list of concerns. At least 5 of my *close* friends had already had homebirths with the Midwive Co-op. I felt safe, supported, and that I truly had made an informed CHOICE. Moving on to Fort Myers, I quickly looked into the birth scene as we contemplated having our 3rd baby. Ummm. Where were the midwives? Where were the choices? After some digging, I learned about 2 birth centers and breathed a sigh of relief. Both were in neighboring towns, a 30 minute drive in either direction, however none located right in Fort Myers. The mama gossip ran high, as well. "You do NOT want her as your midwife!" "Well I hired HER and here's what she did..." "She is a really crappy midwife!" "That hospital has a C-Section rate of over 40%!!" "Oh I love her, she safely delivered all of my babies." Names were thrown around without care, reputations shattered in a single sentence among groups of moms. Wow. I felt so sad. This is not the creative, empowering birth scene that I expected and longed for. So I decided to create Mindful Birth Services. If for nothing else, than to be a positive resource. To build bridges, to foster my own passion for birth. I attended my first Birthing From Within training at The Farm in Tennessee. I started teaching Birthing Fom Within classes in Fort Myers. The doors of hope and the seeds of OPTIONS were being planted in our growing town in SWFL. Somewhere along the way I decided to take my training a little further and become a doula. The ideas came easily, my passion was ignited, and the work felt so right all the way through my body, my belly and my bones! Local moms began finding my services, and my goal has always been to provide them with options, and honest, positive feedback. I decided firmly to take all of the warnings about ALL of the midwives, birth centers, hopsitals, and OB's and file them in my mental folders, but not to spread a word of it along to anyone until I had experiences with them firsthand. Admittedly, some experiences have been less than ideal. Some have been amazing. Ultimitely, it empowers the parents to do their own homework and make their own judgements and decisions about any given care provider. I'm here as a doula to support their choices, not direct them towards anyone elses agenda. As a doula, I've attended 2 birth center births, 3 hospital births at 3 different local hospitals, and 2 homebirths (including my own). We have CHOICES in SWFL; there are also many doulas available for support (I know of at least 5 others, locally), and options in childbirth education including Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, and Birthing From Within. We have a LOT of birth support locally. And we all need to work together to build something bigger than each indvidual. Let's support birth. And for your enjoyment, with the permission of the family I recently provided doula care for, and with expressed written permission from Megan DiPiero Photography, please click on the link to enjoy the following photo slideshow of a beautiful local homebirth in Fort Myers, Florida. Here's A Song For Mason:

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