Veronica Barth decided the water was just fine.
Veronica and husband Dylan wanted a water birth for their first baby. But their south metro hospital had other plans, so Veronica switched at 20 weeks to Northfield Hospital’s Birth Center. “Some friends had an amazing experience there, so we checked it out,” Veronica says. “We wanted a low-intervention birth – unmedicated but open to it if things didn’t turn out that way.”
A few days past her due date, labor came on fast. “We were planning to labor at home with a doula for a while, but everything came on so quickly it was really intense,” Veronica says. The 25-minute drive from their Lakeville home “was so smooth and easy on I-35, no bumps or turns” to jostle her during contractions.
At the Birth Center, her birth team wanted to follow the baby’s heart rate with a wireless monitor that can go in the water tub. “All the monitors on my belly were waterproof so I could get right into the tub with them without having to adjust anything, which was awesome,” Veronica says.
Laboring in the tub was “really peaceful, even with all the people in the room. We turned off all the lights; there were lights in tub so the midwife and nurse could see what they needed,” she recalls. “We played music. It was so calming . . . a good environment that helped me stay calm.
“The tub made it very relaxing – calming, even when it felt chaotic in my body.”
Certified nurse midwife Jessica Bohren, APRN, CNM supported Veronica’s birth plan for low intervention and no medication. “Even when I was doubting during labor, she knew what I wanted and kept to the plan,” Veronica says. “There was no doubt in Jessica’s mind that we could do it, even when I was doubting it in the moment.”
When it was time to push, Dylan sat behind Veronica outside the tub, supporting her weight (made lighter by floating in water) and holding her in his arms.
Addison was born alert and active. “They put her on my chest right away,” Veronica says. “She was pink and cried right away. She was finally with us, and it was so amazing.”
After Addison was born, “they said ‘Get out of the tub whenever you’re ready.’ There was no rush,” Veronica says. “I handed baby to my husband, took my time getting out of the tub, went to bed and delivered placenta. I felt so good after she was born.”
Later, Veronica and Dylan nestled with Addison in their post-partum room with a queen bed (“my husband was happy to have a real bed to sleep in,” she laughs) and turned on the U of M Gophers basketball game. “Her first Gophers game! That felt really special to us.”
The Birth Center “felt like a small-town hospital in the best way: a very personal connection to midwife and nurses. Nicole [Harris, RN] even texted us the next few days to see how we were doing. We’re still on your mind when you’re not at work, when you’re with your family? It was so nice that it felt special to our nurses because it felt special to us.”
Her advice for other first-time moms? “It was important to me to have as many options as possible for labor. The Birth Center has so many options for natural childbirth, plus medication and intervention if you need it.”
“Everyone was so welcoming, and the space is beautiful,” Veronica says. “We’ll definitely be coming to Northfield Hospital again when it’s time for baby Number Two.”
Another Gophers fan, no doubt.