When nurses and doctors at Franklin Memorial Hospital stopped delivering babies last year, mom's had to drive miles and miles, until now.
Inside an old brick house on South Main Street in Rocky Mount, Summer Swanson gave birth to Levi Judah May 22nd. The infant is the first to come into the world at the New Life Birth Center. Levi is Swanson's second child. Her daughter was born at her home in Stuart three and half years ago. "It was just real laid back and more like a home birth," Swanson said.
A midwife and some family members were present when little Levi was born, but there were no doctors telling her how fast to go. "So you can just kind of do what your body is telling you, what feels right for you as mother," Swanson explained.
The New Life Birth Center opened in January. Women have the option of having a baby in a birthing room or in a pool of warm water or even standing up. Not everyone can have a child at the center. "You do need to be healthy to deliver in a birth center," said Karen Winstead a Certified Nurse Midwife.
Winstead also provides prenatal and post partum care as well as yearly exams for women at the center.
While the New Life Birth Center is different than the traditional hospital setting, it is now the only place in Franklin County that provides birthing services. The closest place for a woman to give birth is 35 miles away in Roanoke.
"This is the only place for Franklin. Bedford has none. Floyd has none and then we see a good number of women coming from Henry county," Winstead said.
For those of you wondering about what it's like to have a baby without an epidural? Swanson was in labor for 15 hours and has this to say: "I think you can handle it. You just have to have the right perspective that you're going to have new life after you go through that pain," Swanson said. "It's bearable. A lot of people don't know what it's feels like because they've always gotten that epidural."
Winstead's been working for years to bring the center to town. She hopes to bring many more new lives into the world here. "I'm very excited. It's like a dream finally coming true," Winstead said.
Swanson said her childbirth was something she hopes other mothers can experience. "I had a wonderful expereince here and the birthing experience was wonderful."
The center is holding an open house Sunday June 24th from 2-5pm and Monday June 25th from 1-8pm. New Life Birth Center