Central Illinois' Newest Birth Option - Bloomington Normal Birth Center!

Can I be real with you all for a minute? I was really not excited to move back to Central Illinois. The birth community in Hawaii was LOVELY and I had a terrific out-of-hospital birth experience in Colorado. Out of Hospital births have a HUGE spot in my heart. So, I was dreading coming back to an area that wasn't particularly friendly to those who may not want a hospital birth experience. I LOVE hospital births and think they can be fabulous options for many pregnant women, but I don't think it should be the ONLY option. 

Well, I want to introduce to you the NEWEST out of hospital birth option in Central Illinois... the Birth Center of Bloomington-Normal. Now, being a home birth mama myself, I really thought I was gonna be a tough sell on the birth center. Like, why would I want to leave the comfort of my home? Riding in a car in labor is the WORST, you guys. But my expectations for the birth center were BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER. It felt like I was walking into a friend's (SUPER WELL DECORATED) home. Check this out!

When you walk in, you're greeted by an open, and welcoming living room-style waiting area. There's a cozy and inviting feel right as you walk in. I can just imagine family relaxing around the fire, waiting to meet their little one. 

Next, there's a full kitchen and dining room, complete with complimentary snacks and refreshments. Have something special you'd like to eat in labor? Bring whatever you'd like! I was given some delicious blueberry-infused water to sip on while I chatted with staff. 

Next, you can walk into the birthing suites, where there are three beautifully-decorated private rooms to chose from. Now, here's where my mind was REALLY blown. 

Isn't it STUNNING? Look how inviting these rooms are! It truly feels like home. Only you don't have to clean it or decorate it and the bathtub is ginormous ;) To the right of the bathtub, you'll find a bathroom with a separate shower. You can see that these suites were METICULOUSLY designed. 

The birth center is only the second in the state of Illinois, and the only birth center outside of Chicago. The birth center is ideal for low risk woman who desire a customized birth experience without traditional medical interventions. 

Wouldn't it be nice to see the same provider throughout your pregnancy and KNOW she's going to be the one to be there on the day of you birth? Wouldn't it be nice to let your guard down and have control over your birth experience? If those things are important to you and you're a low risk pregnant woman, I HIGHLY recommend you set up a tour! 

Want to see what giving birth at the Birth Center of Bloomington-Normal really looks like? Hit play below!


Congratulations to CNM Amie Hernandez and all the staff at the Birth Center of Bloomington-Normal. They're state-licensed and ready for you to welcome your baby! I'm looking forward to working with them in the future. 

For some FAQ and to connect with doulas who serve the Birth Center, click here.

To set up a tour with the birth center and for additional information, be sure to visit the Birth Center of Bloomington-Normal's website at birthcenterbn.com.

And seriously. Schedule that tour. Right now. You'll fall in love. 


Finn's Birth - An Unexpected Story of Hope

It was a Thursday night. We had just wrapped up dinner and were winding down for bed when my Facebook messenger dinged. I was in a group message with a friend, who volunteers for the organization, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. NILMDTS is a volunteer organization whose mission is to provide "remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture."

My friend Debbie had been asked to photograph the birth of baby Finn, who had been diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 13.  Tina's doctors told her that Finn may not be compatible with life and she and Jayson prepared for the worst. Debbie was there with them at their final ultrasound (see her blog here.) Finn was due to arrive by scheduled c-section the following week, but the delivery date was unexpectedly moved up, leaving them scrambling to find a photographer who could volunteer. 

Without a second thought, I said yes. It had been on my heart to volunteer and though I cried and shook at the thought of it, I needed to be there. 

I spoke to Tina, and she expected her surgery to be no earlier than 7:30 am. I got a message from her just after 3:00 am on the morning of the 8th, but my phone didn't ring. I woke up on my own, 40 minutes later and felt the urge to check my phone. When I saw her message, saying her c-section had been moved up and would be done right away, I was out the door and driving in under five minutes. 

I arrived about ten minutes before they took Tina back to the OR. 

You could feel the tension in the room as they worked. No one knew what to expect... what he would look like, how he would do, how long he would live. And then....

He was beautiful. I know none of us will ever forget the moment he was held up over the curtain. 

He looked perfect and was doing perfectly. He went down to the NICU for observation, where he had lots of eyes on him. Tina patiently waited up in the Labor & Delivery unit for a bed to open downstairs. She waited... and waited... and waited. Eight hours after Finn's birth, she was able to go down to the NICU and REALLY meet her baby.

I think the photos speak for themselves from here...

Now, they have confirmed what the prenatal tests found and know that 2.5% of Finn's cells are affected.  Since he has tested to have a VERY low amount of affected cells,  this could mean he continues life as a healthy, average kid, or it could mean that there are special considerations that come as he grows. It definitely means treasuring every moment and taking one day at a time.

It was SUCH an honor to meet Tina and Jayson and their beautiful son, Finn. I am so full of gratitude that our paths crossed and am so thankful she graciously has allowed me to share this part of their story. 

If you or someone you know are in need of a photographer for the loss of your baby, please reach out to me or to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep for more information and support.