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ABC7 Smart Shopper: Midwives

(click on video to view) WZVN News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral

Fort Myers, FL - Birth with help from Midwives costs less

Having a baby can cost about $8,000 and even more if there are complications.

Parents opting for a birth with assistance from a midwife pay half the cost of an average hospital birth, according to Baby Love Birth Center owner Samantha McCormick.

"It is safe and we have resources available to go to a hospital if needed," McCormick said.

Doctors urge these births should only occur if the mother-to-be is in a healthy physical condition.

Fort Myers-based Dr. William Rincon said hospital births often provide more resources on the spot in case of an emergency, but he agrees alternative styles of birth can cost less and provide for a more intimate atmosphere.

"These births do cost less on average," Rincon said.

Fort Myers mom Ashley Sterling gave birth at the Cape Coral center.

Sterling said she does not regret the decision, especially since she spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child.

"I had a heart condition and did not want to be in a hospital anymore," Sterling said.

Sterling said the alternative experience is the best decision she has ever made.

Story reported by Nina Moini, ABC7 Reporter

Southwest Florida Parent & Child: Everything you always wanted to know about Waterbirth, but were afraid to ask...

(Published in Southwest Florida Parent & Child, September 2005)

By Samantha McCormick, CNM

Is being in water during labor or delivering your baby under water really safe? Is it really a better way to have your baby? Can a simple tub of water really manage the pain of labor? How does it work and why does it work?

After 10 years as a midwife and over 100 water births and countless water labors, I can tell you that it really does work, and really is better and that all of the women I have helped to have an underwater birth have absolutely loved the experience. Imagine giving birth to your baby and being able to say afterwards that it was an awesome experience!

sam01Let's tackle the issue of safety first: the baby knows not to breathe underwater. Don't forget that the baby floats in water for 9 months. Being born into water is a smoother transition and less stressful for the baby, because it feels like "home." The baby is protected by the Dive Reflex – all babies are born with an automatic response to being in water: they open their eyes and close the back of their throat. Please don't attempt to prove this by tossing your 2-month-old in the pool, but trust that it is true and that all babies have I this ability for the first 2-4 months of life.

The primary effect of warm water immersion during labor is in reducing the pain of labor. Most of us know well the total relaxation a nice bubble bath provides. Being in water during labor does the same thing. It promotes deeper relaxation. As the woman relaxes, her hormones kick in and she starts progressing faster; labor becomes more efficient. Water minimizes pain so effectively that most women need no other pain control.

Water supports the mother's weight so that she can assume positions (such as squatting) that would otherwise require more muscle energy. Water immersion for labor also promotes more efficient uterine contractions and better blood circulation, resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, more oxygen for the baby, a shorter labor, and helps the mother to conserve her energy while reducing stress on the baby.

sam02Water immersion, with or without whirlpool jets, can be as effective as and safer than drugs or an epidural. At the Family Birth Center Fort Myers, we call our two deep Jacuzzi tubs our "aquadural." The "Gate Theory of Pain" explains that contact with water stimulates the touch and temperature nerve fibers in the skin, which then block impulses from the pain fibers. We use the same principle when we shake our arm after hitting our finger.

Water relaxes the pelvic floor muscles and softens the tissues of the birth canal, making pushing and birth easier, reducing the need for stitches or an episiotomy. Water immersion during pregnancy lowers blood pressure and relieves swelling.

In the end, though, what the gentle way of giving birth in water provides is a peaceful, private, and empowering way to welcome a new life into this world. When we become parents, we have, after all, committed to the process of creating healthy adult human beings who will inherit the world we create for them. The relationship between a mother and child starts before birth, but is firmly established by bonding at the time of birth.

A mother who has had a beautiful and empowering birth experience will have an especially positive connection with that child; and a baby who has been welcomed with gentleness will have an especially positive association with the parents. The deep, positive bond created will permanently enhance the parent-child relationship. Many psychologists believe that babies born gently grow up to become more gentle adults, and have a greater ability to deal with problems non-violently. Which means that by choosing a gentle way to give birth, you can take a step towards moving humanity in a positive direction. Isn't that the most empowering idea of them all?

News-Press Feature: Water of Life

Some parents are choosing bathtubs over hospital beds

Published in the News-Press September 5, 2006

Writer: Francesca Donlan

Photographer: Amanda Inscore

Some parents are choosing bathtubs over hospital beds

Jana Lampe felt her contractions getting stronger after dinner.

About 9 p.m. on July 20 she tried walking outside with her mother and sister in her Cape Coral neighborhood, but she didn't get too far; her contractions slowed her down.

At 10 p.m. her water broke in the middle of the living room. By 2 a.m. the 33-year-old chiropractor was ready to have a baby.


Instead of driving to the hospital, she and her husband, Mike Lampe, 30, drove to The Family Birth Center Fort Myers.

Jana arrived at the birth center in labor; 6 centimeters dilated. Instead of ushering her to a hospital bed and hooking her up to an IV, Samantha McCormick, a certified nurse midwife, drew up a warm bath.

Samantha lit candles, sprinkled drops of lavender into the water for relaxation and eased Jana into the bathtub. Mike put on his bathing suit in case he needed to help. Jana's sister, Rachel Roeder, and their mother, Margie Postlewate, kneeled beside her.

Jana labored in the bathtub throughout the early morning hours. The warm water alleviated painful contractions. She didn't scream for a single aspirin. About 5 a.m, she wanted to push.

jana02"You're doing awesome," Samantha coached. Jana's husband, mother and sister all cheered her on.

At 5:48 a.m. Jana gave her final push. With a Neil Young CD playing "Cinnamon Girl" quietly in the background, Marin Lampe slid into a warm bath with a head of strawberry blond hair.

Samantha gingerly scooped Marin out of the water, placed her on Jana's chest and covered the newborn with warm towels.

The 7-pound, 6-ounce infant just looked around. Marin, which means "of the sea," didn't utter a single cry.

jana03Mike cut the umbilical cord, and baby and mom lay together. Shortly afterwards, Samantha gave the newborn a complete physical. She scored 9.9 out of 10 on the Apgar, which is a standard newborn test. Her tiny footprints were taken and birth certificate filled out.

One hour later, surrounded by her mother, father, grandmother and aunt, Marin Lampe had her first birthday party. The family sipped on champagne and ate chocolate cake at 7 a.m.

"It's just amazing, so amazing," Jana said when she recalled the sight of Marin. "For nine months you wonder about this child, and then you actually meet her. When she was on my chest, it was the most amazing feeling in the whole world."

Mike beamed with pride.

"It's something no one can really prepare you for," he said. "It's an emotion you didn't know you felt until she came out."

By 8 a.m. mom, dad and daughter curled up for their first nap together on a four poster bed.

"We got to let everything settle in and bond with her," Jana said. "We got to chill, decompress and talk about what we had been through. In a hospital you can't just lay there as a family. This was really great."


And both new parents felt relieved and happy.

"I felt so powerful too," Jana said. "I did it on my own. I didn't have any help. I did everything. That's so empowering. I brought that baby into the world the way nature designed." 

Mike Lampe bonds with his daughter, Marin, just after her birth while midwife Samantha McCormick takes care of Jana Lampe.

Jana and Mike Lampe chose to have a waterbirth at The Family Birth Center Fort Myers. 

"A lot of people think regular birth is a medical emergency, and it's not," said Mike Lampe. "It's a natural thing. Most women should not have problems."

The Lampes are both chiropractors who run their own practices. They wanted a more natural birth experience.

"The water birth is so gentle for the baby and for the mom as well," she said. "The warmth of the water acts as a 'aquaderal' and controls the pain. It eases stress, tension and pain and drastically reduces tearing."

Certified nurse midwife Samantha McCormick, helped coach Jana Lampe through her labor and delivery.


"It was an exquisitely beautiful birth," McCormick said. "It was perfect on every level."

The Lampe family continues to talk about the amazing birth of their daughter, Marin Lampe.

"It's good for women to see that it's an option," Jana Lampe said. "It's a positive experience."

Here are some of the questions the Lampes and others have posed to the staff at The Family Birth Center Fort Myers:


Q. Is underwater birth safe?

Most people worry about the baby breathing under water, and this is a very common question. Researchers into waterbirth have determined that the risk of the baby breathing under water during birth is a false fear.

Don't forget that the baby has been "under water" the entire time he or she was in the womb. Water is the most natural environment for a baby.

Babies are born with all kinds of "reflexes"; automatic behaviors; one of them is the "Dive Reflex." A newborn immersed in water will close its mouth and open its eyes (do not try this at home!).

When the baby is born in water, it is still attached to the umbilical cord and receiving oxygen exactly as it was in the womb. A baby born under water doesn't even realize it is born until you take him or her to the surface. It is a very gentle way to welcome a new life.

The midwife brings the baby out of the water within a few seconds of birth, to minimize any risk.

Q. Why would I want to have my baby in a birth center?

Not only are you allowed to walk around during labor and eat and drink, we actually encourage it. You can have your baby in any position and are never confined to a "birthing bed" or strapped to monitors. During labor we monitor the mother and baby and the progress of labor in a way that doesn't interfere with your ability to move around.

jana07You and your family will have complete privacy. You will get to know our small staff during your pregnancy and by the end we usually all feel like family.

Your baby will never leave your side. Your partner will play a pivotal role in assisting you in labor. Your other children can be present for the labor and birth.

We will encourage and assist you to nurse your baby soon after birth. We have a pro-breastfeeding policy.

We follow up with a home visit and daily phone calls for the first week, so that we can help you with any difficulties that arise.

Q. What if something goes wrong?

The chances of you having a problem are very small. Unlike the stories one hears or the dramas on television, birth is generally a straightforward and safe process. Most problems that develop during pregnancy or birth have clear warning signs well ahead of time, and we can calmly plan for preventing or managing a problem.

Q. How much does it cost and will my insurance pay?

Because we contract with some insurance companies, we cannot quote an exact price, but complete care at the family Birth center Fort Myers costs about 1/2 to 1/3 of a typical delivery in a hospital.

We have very affordable self-pay rates and payment plans can be arranged. Insurance companies in Florida are mandated by law to cover midwives and birthing centers.

Copyright (c) The News-Press. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.

jana08The Lampes were so pleased with their experience that they are planning to have their second child in the new birth center.

Here's Jana, holding 2 year old Marin, in front of a copy of the News Press article.

She is expecting their second child in April 2008.


News-Press Feature: More Moms Choosing Birthing Centers

Erica's birth of Caleb was part of an article in our local paper.


More moms choosing birthing centers

Baby Love a personal alternative

By Camber Clemence

Special to The News-Press

August 23, 2008

There is not an electronic fetal monitor, only a midwife. There is no IV threaded into an arm, but a mother allowed to eat and drink as she feels necessary. There are no nurses, no doctors, no residents, no janitors coming in and out of the room - just a husband and daughter looking on, waiting for the arrival of a son and a brother.

Erica Cooper recently gave birth at Baby Love Birth Center in Cape Coral, and she said it was peaceful, natural, quiet and perfect.

"I chose the birth center because I wanted a more personal and less medical setting," Cooper said. "A natural unmedicated birth was appealing to me after my experience with my first birth."

More expectant mothers are looking for birth options other than the hospital, and they are flocking to Baby Love, according to Samantha McCormick, who owns and operates Baby Love. McCormick is a certified nurse midwife and is licensed by the state of Florida as an advanced registered nurse practitioner.

"We offer a low-intervention approach to prenatal care and childbirth," she said. "We believe that childbirth is a natural process and that most women can give birth naturally. We are just here to assist with that process."

McCormick, or Sam as she is commonly called at Baby Love, is the midwife who handles prenatal visits and is present during birth.

Prenatal visits take place in the Baby Love office and are generally 30 to 45 minutes long. The visits are designed so clients can ask questions and talk about what they want and need.

"We want each woman that comes in here to be informed and in control of her pregnancy and her birthing experience," McCormick said. "We strive to get to know each client so that we can assist them in achieving whatever experience they are hoping for."

Baby Love has three private birthing rooms - each with a whirlpool tub, a private bathroom, and a full-sized bed. There is also a full kitchen and a comfortable waiting room equipped with plush couches, a flat-screen television and toys for the kids. The facility offers freedom, privacy, personalized care, safety, choices and bonding. Breastfeeding is encouraged from the beginning, and a new baby never leaves the new parents' sight.

"The best part of birthing at Baby Love was the care I received," Cooper said. "Sam and Leslie offered me encouragement and support throughout my pregnancy and during labor. They celebrated along with my family and I after Caleb was born - it was great. I felt like they were part of my family."