Understanding the Full Spectrum of My Birth Care Options


When we were expecting our firstborn, my husband and I took great care selecting where we would give birth, wanting the best environment, birth care options, and experience possible. I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted my birth plan to be and how I wanted my birth care to look, so we decided to check out the different types of birth care experiences that hospitals in our network of care offer.

Our birth care search (and lots of recommendations) led us to Saint Joseph Hospital

From the very beginning, we were excited about giving birth at Saint Joseph. We were initially impressed by the tour of the beautiful facility. Saint Joe’s has private spacious rooms with birthing balls, aromatherapy, large jetted tubs to labor in, lights that dimmed to allow for a dark and comfortable labor space, along with sleeping accommodations, lots of food options, and TVs for partners and loved ones.

Aside from the facility, we were thankful for the full range of provider options from Certified Nurse-Midwives using a low-tech, high-touch approach, to Obstetricians and Nurses to provide various levels of support and intervention based on the desired birth plan and needs. We liked that Saint Joe’s also offers Perinatologists for women with high-risk pregnancies and Neonatologists who provide 24/7 expert care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for premature and critically ill babies. 

I planned to be on the “I’ve got this” end of the pain management spectrum, rather than the “I don’t want to feel a thing” end, and was pleased to hear that either way, Saint Joseph Hospital has it covered. They are prepared and encouraging of natural and low intervention births, and also offer Nitrous Oxide and provide round-the-clock anesthesia services for administering epidurals whenever they are needed.

After hearing about their care and seeing the facility, my husband and I were sure, Saint Joseph was the hospital where we wanted to bring our son into the world.

Like many mamas, my perceived birth plan didn’t exactly end up being my actual birth plan. After a preeclampsia diagnosis, the possibilities of a “free range” labor and delivery where I’d planned to take advantage of the aromatherapy and jetted tub quickly faded away. I was disappointed, but confident that I was still in great hands for childbirth and my labor and delivery with the amazing staff at Saint Joseph

Our labor was long and so very challenging. Our nurse Katie reassured me that despite setbacks, my birth was still my own, and no one at Saint Joe’s would rush me make choices I wasn’t comfortable with.  She knew I was hoping to avoid a C-section, and honored my request to limit my IV fluids to only what was necessary, in order to avoid unwanted side effects. Before our sweet nurse Katie left, she hugged me like an old friend, reassuring me that when she came back that evening my baby would be in my arms. She was right. When she arrived back nearly 12 hours later, I got to introduce her to my son. I had the opportunity to thank Katie for her unwavering support, for championing our birth plan, even as we had to weave and bob, in response to a potentially serious complication.

Our complications required us to spend an additional 24 hours in labor and delivery, so we had the opportunity to get to know more of the incredible nursing staff at Saint Joe’s.  Our final nurse, Marvina stands out as one who we will never forget. She was incredibly nurturing and patient as we recovered from the traumatic elements of our birth, began the arduous journey of parenthood, and started to healing physically. Her gentle and impeccable care gave us the encouragement we needed as we quite literally took our first steps into parenthood.

The facilities, care, and most of all the nurses we encountered at Saint Joseph created a space where we could welcome our first born son with great joy, confidence, and with impeccable birth care— and for that we are forever grateful! 

Enjoy your pregnancy and know that you aren’t alone in gathering information and making decisions when it comes to your birth care. There are many resources that hospitals offer to help get you ready to welcome your baby into the world in just the way you want. Learn more about tours, childbirth, infant safety and daddy and sibling boot camp classes.  as well as the Baby-Friendly Designation which represents Saint Joseph Hospital’s commitment to utilizing the best maternity care practices for optimal breastfeeding.

And coming soon…! If you are considering having a natural childbirth experience outside of a hospital setting, Colorado’s first and only freestanding, hospital-owned birth center, Birth Center of Denver, is opening in the fall of 2018. It’s a beautiful compromise between a home birth and a hospital birth right in Saint Joe’s backyard, allowing for a seamless transition to the hospital if needed.  Learn more at sclcolorado.org/birthcenter/.


We are so thankful to Dani for sharing her birth story with us, and to our partners at Saint Joseph for helping us spread the word about great birth care in Denver.


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