Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Review of the Phoenix Baptist Hospital Birthing Center

A few posts ago I received a comment asking about my experience with Phoenix Baptist Hospital. Instead of writing a comment in response I’ve decided to write a whole post. First, it’s going to get wordy, and second, more people might be able to see and use the information!

Short version: Loved it!

Long version:

I chose PBH for a couple of reasons but it essentially comes down to my deep desire for a natural, unmedicated childbirth. One reason was that the midwife I wanted to use ONLY uses this facility. Another reason was that PBH has what is considered to be a “birthing center” instead of a traditional hospital labor and delivery unit. It is attached to the rest of the hospital but it sort of stands on its own. In some way this made it feel to me less like “I’m going to the hospital where sick people go to get treated” and more like “I’m going to the birthing center and I’m going to leave with a baby!”

I filled out a form or two long before I was actually in labor. I think this sped up the process. When I was actually in labor it was pretty seamless except for the part where I thought I could just go upstairs and check in but it turns out I was supposed to check in at the Emergency Room desk. Instead, I was taken to triage while Michael went to the ER to fill out something.

I had a false alarm/labor scare that turned out to be a kidney infection. What could have taken hours and hours didn’t and I was in and out of PBH in a matter of an hour and a half. That included getting admitted, sent to triage, changing into a gown, getting monitored, getting a urine analysis and other tests done and getting the results. Truly, despite the terrible pain and kidney infection, great experience!

Understanding of My Needs
This was a big one. I told the nurses that I wanted to go med-free. I told them I was doing Hypnosis. I told them I didn’t want to be offered pain meds…AND THEY LISTENED. I didn’t have nurses whispering in my ear that, “Really, honey, just get the epidural.” I thought that I was strong but I didn’t know if I would be able to fully tune out the well-meant advice of medical professionals. I know that they would have said something if anything was truly wrong, but they were very accommodating of my preferences. No one said “Why?” or scoffed at my plan to go med-free. They supported me and helped me get the birth experience I wanted.

The L&D Nurses
So wonderful, all of them. The one that was there for my actual birth (Jennifer) was a tough old bird who didn’t mess around, but was also funny in that way. I loved her. The nurses in Post-Partum were good too, maybe not as good as the ones in L&D. For example, the nurse I had right when I got to PP offered to give me some pain medication. I took some ibuprofen but declined anything else. She questioned why I was so anti-med and said that epidurals were the way to go. However, she was brusque and also foreign and I think she just might have had some different cultural opinions. All the other PP nurses were fine.

The Rooms
Great, fine. They're all private, thank goodness. It was bigger than I thought it would be. There was a cot-slash-bench-slash-pallet-covered-with-a-pad that Michael was able to sleep on. There was also an armchair that folded out onto what I can only assume was a very uncomfortable second sleeping option (Remi, you’re a saint!). My room (all rooms?) had a big jaccuzzi style tub that I didn’t use except to shower in. My only complaint is that the sliding door to my bathroom didn’t shut properly, causing it to gently drift open while I peed 10,000 times. I was all embarrassed in the beginning, by the end I was all, “RAWR GOTTA PEE MOVE.” It had a TV and maybe a DVD player but I didn’t use these once during my stay. There were a lot of lighting options including these spotlights that I was excited to use but don’t think we ever did? I stayed in this room for about 4 hours after the birth, this is where June had her first little bath, but then we made our way to the PP room down the hall. The PP room was fine, basically the same except a little smaller and no equipment to be found. The bathroom didn’t have a tub but a standing glass shower with a little seat in case you get light-headed trying to take a shower the next day (like I did).

Lactation Consultant
This was the one area that left me a tad dissatisfied. First of all, they have one LC but she works normal hours. So since I had my baby at 4:30pm, I didn’t get to see her until 8 the next morning. To a new mom whose baby hasn’t latched on properly yet, this is a lifetime. Also, she was so very sweet and was willing to work with us until the cows came home, but she just…didn’t work for us. June would cry and cry and I’d keep trying to stuff my nip into her open mouth and the LC eventually just said something along the lines of, “Yes, well, you’re getting there. You guys’ll work it out in time.” We weren’t and we didn’t. I’ll just say this: if you want a wonderful LC I can give you her information. Leave a comment with your contact info and I will send you her way. She lives in East Mesa which might be a drive for some (it was for us), but I was always of the opinion that it was well worth it.

I’ve never been a crusader against hospital food. Maybe it was just the exhaustion of the aftermath of labor but I thought the food was fine. I remember having a delicious breakfast (“ORDER ME EVERYTHING THEY HAVE”) and I remember a hamburger. It was all just fine.

And lastly, to answer some of Mrs. Scratch's questions directly: Yes, you have to first go through triage. When I actually was in labor (not the false alarm) I was in triage for maybe 30 minutes? I didn't have any problems with it except that people kept questioning if I was really in labor or not (wasn't in any real sign of duress at the time). Also: someone might have gotten back-handed if one more person had asked me if I was sure my water had broken and I hadn't just peed myself.

It wasn't busy at all. As a matter of fact I could have used a little more drama while walking the halls - no screaming women to terrify me! No other walkers to give empathetic looks to! No one to argue with over birthing balls! It was very quiet. I did see more people walking the halls while I was in my PP room, though. I loved seeing the women who were still pregnant and knowing that their lives, too, were about to be changed forever.

So there you have it. Overall wonderful experience, I'd say! I would go there again and would recommend that you do too. Like all things, make sure to do your research to see if the place fits with your birth plan and visit the place to get a good feel. Good luck!

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will respond as soon as possible.


  1. Thanks for the review! We plan to give birth there next month!

  2. Thank you for this post! My family is relocating to Goodyear from Raleigh, NC and I was a little overwhelmed with the thought of moving and finding the right care giver at five months pregnant. I'm aiming for a VBAC so I'm pretty specific about what I want. So far PBH is my top pick as a HB is not cost-friendly for us. Your post is another really good drop in the bucket toward feeling confident about my choice until a little further down the line. Once again, thanks, and happy parenting!

  3. This is where I had my second child and will go in next month to have my 3rd. I also loved the experience. My midwife from Bethany Midwives was super calm and quiet and fantastic during labor which was a HUGE difference from St. Joe's where I had my first child. St. Joe's is an educational hospital so all the interns were in and out and labor was a bit tramatic and abrubt, so having such a calm and quiet atmosphere at Babtist was a huge relief. Thanks for this post.

  4. Can any of you tell me if you have to pay your entire bill at the end of your stay? I asked if they do payments plans, and they said they require a credit card for that. I don't have a credit card. HLP PLZ (

  5. We recently toured and they seemed to have a plethora of issues, like the lobby where they told us to meet was locked. Someone told us to go through the main hospital and up to the third floor. There was absolutely nothing there and we asked a doctor where we were supposed to go. He had no idea and told us to go to the gift shop. Luckily they located the right person. We went back to the lobby where they told us to meet and it was finally open, but the lights were off. Had we realized there is a crossover between the main building and the maternity ward we would have figured it out. They had security problems, including elevators with no lights and people were riding in them to get into the lobby of the building that was supposed to be off limits. Once the tour started they packed a bunch of us pregnant women into the elevator and the elevator wouldn't go up! It makes me feel very discouraged from giving birth there, along with the bad experiences we have heard from our friends who gave birth at Phoenix Baptist. Unfortunately our doctor is the only somewhat affordable one we can find and same for the hospital, considering my husband recently lost his insurance when his company filed chapter 11 bankruptcy. People have told me that I need to like the doctor and the hospital but if it's the only place that can take me for a lower cost than the others, oh well? This is not how I imagined my first pregnancy would be.

  6. I would not suggest anyone to use this hospital. My young Niece just had her baby there and they were very disorganized. Our entire family was there to welcome the new addition to our family. I will start with the security. Since I have never been to this hospital before, I wasn't quite sure how to get into the labor and delivery building because everything was locked up (which was great). I went into the emergency room where a nice nurse told me to go out to the north side doors and call for security who would then let us in. I did what she said, called security using a phone outside who then told me that security was backed up so wait at the door for awhile and someone will open. Needless to say, no security opened the doors but different people coming out was letting anyone from the outside in. So the whole idea of locking doors with security to watch is a waste of time. No security. Went to the labor and delivery where my daughter and I were greeted by a nice nurse at the counter who had asked us to sign in. We did. She directed us to where we needed to go. I went to my Nieces room where the rest of the family was and waiting for my Niece to return. Unfortunately, my Niece had to get a C-section, and she was then switched to a different room. The nurse came in and told us to grab her things and ours and move to another room, except only ONE, person at a time was allowed to visit with her. My Niece returned, her vitals were good and the baby was born healthy. The only thing was that she was slightly groggy due to the C-section but was otherwise able to communicate and wanting all her family around her for support since it was her first baby and didn't know what to expect. Which didn't happen because they only allowed ONE person at a time in the room. During this time, my Niece did not get to hold or see her baby, and she continued to ask why she couldn't see the baby and they told her after a couple of hours, even though the baby was HEALTHY. The grandmother and great grandmother were allowed to go into the nursery to visit the baby for a short while. The rest of the family was allowed to see the baby though a window when the nurses felt like lifting the curtains. We didn't get a very good look at the baby because there was a lot of objects around the room blocking any view but whatever we could see the baby was just adorable. One older nurse came out very rudely and said to us, "this is the last time I'm going to lift the curtain for anyone," mind you this was only the second time she's ever had to lift the curtain for our family. We were not able to capture any photos for memories for my Niece. We spent most of our time in a very small cramped waiting space. All in all, I don't think this was a very good experience for having her first baby or for the family. This did not seem like a very welcoming place for family at all. Not very family oriented. I had my first baby at Arrowhead Hospital, and my experience was amazing. All my family was allowed to be in my room, they were all allowed to experience the joy of welcoming a new baby into our family. I am very saddened that my Niece did not get the same experience. I have never seen such a set up before in a hospital for labor and delivery in all my life of visiting friends and family that were expecting a baby. It was horrible.

  7. Thank you for this review. I was on the tour when the elevator wouldn't go up and the guide was very nice and knew her way around, there were other options. Also, the lights were off because the building was closed. It was not visiting hours. As for the review directly above mine, I don't think it effects me much considering giving birth (in my opinion) is such a private matter that family members can wait until we get home. I wouldn't want my newborn in a nursery where someone else's entire family (kids, aunts, uncle, third cousins removed, ect) could just pile in. That would not feel very safe. I have toured Thunderbird Banner as well and it was very hospital-like and dirty. The nursery was too exposed for my liking. I really liked the feel of the birthing center at PBH. The lighting, size of the rooms, bed for daddy, bathtub, view from the windows, and it was clean. The biggest difference for me was the people. Everyone we have dealt with just to tour Thunderbird was very rude, everyone so far at PBH has been extremely helpful. I also am planning on no interventions and have already been questioned enough and received the looks from people who think I'm crazy. I just want to bring my child into this world as peaceful and natural as possible. After reading this review I am confident that I made the right choice.

  8. Today I called to make my final payment.I have payed every payment on time with a Due date around the 20th of each month.My bank mailed December payment out on 12/4/2015 and it cleared on the 12/11/2015. today, I called to get this month's last payment, and they said they could not give me a amount because they sent the file to collections on 12/22/2015.This is B.S! I know there are a lot of people that don't pay there medical bill,but I do. I have good credit. I always pay my Bill's.they are not even willing to call the collection company to correct this issue.