Sara Shreve, owner of Sirona Health & Wellness (formerly The Birth House) in Burton, believes that when it comes to giving birth, women know their own bodies. She shares that philosophy at her business, a holistic birth and wellness center. On staff are a midwife, assistant midwife, doula, childbirth educators, massage therapists, yoga instructors and counselors who work together to make the birth of a child a very positive experience for not only the parents, but extended family members, as well.
“I’ve been a birth worker all of my adult life,” says Sara, who not only runs the business, but is also a doula. A doula provides the mother with emotional support through the delivery and helps keep her calm. “I’m also dad’s co-pilot,” she smiles.
“For me, it was a calling, and it’s wonderful to help the moms.”
Goldie Parker, Midwife
Goldie Parker is the Direct Entry Midwife at Sirona and has practiced midwifery for 30 years. She trained through an apprenticeship and has delivered well over 1,500 babies into the world. As a midwife, Goldie works with the mother throughout the pregnancy, offering services similar to those of a primary doctor – analyzing urine, blood pressure, nutrition and weight gain. The births are completely natural and drug-free. “But sometimes, the mom gets tired and if it is determined that drugs are needed, we go to the hospital,” she says. Goldie has handled many difficult births, such as delivering twins and breach births.
If it at any point in the delivery there is a need for medical care, the mother is immediately transferred to a hospital. “We don’t hesitate to make that call,” Sara admits. “And, we come prepared with electronic charting that can be immediately transferred. McLaren and Hurley are absolutely superb to work with. We’ve worked long and hard in this area and have great relationships with all three major hospitals.”
The birthing center provides a calm delivery atmosphere. “We love water births,” says Sara. “The baby goes from one aquatic environment to another.” According to Sara, a water birth helps with labor pain, and some believe it can be as effective in managing pain as an epidural injection.
The staff at Sirona Health & Wellness treats the mother throughout the entire pregnancy – from prenatal to after-care at her home. Services include belly-casting, birth photography, home visits by a breastfeeding specialist, and placenta encapsulation, to name a few. The placenta can be dehydrated, ground and made into capsules, which according to Sara, can be very beneficial to the mother’s health, helping stabilize hormones, replacing iron and increasing energy. It also helps with breastfeeding and the “baby blues.”
Experiencing and sharing in a child’s birth is what Goldie enjoys the most. “For me, it was a calling, and it’s wonderful to help the moms,” she says. “I get to be part of that special occasion. We make the birth a celebratory moment; kids and grandparents are all there. I love having siblings at the birth.”
“It’s my passion,” adds Sara. “It’s always been a part of me – the drive to help others and to heal in a natural way.”
Sirona Health & Wellness offers many other classes and services. For more info, visit TheBirthHouseFlint.com.
Caitlin Hauser-Esper gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Eleanor Onyx, at Sirona Health & Wellness on September 17, 2016. That date was extra special, with the occurrence of both a Harvest Moon and Lunar Eclipse. “I was two weeks past my due date,” the new mom recalls. “We joke that she waited for that day to be born.”
Both Caitlin and her husband, Jon, had a wonderful experience at The Birth House. Once labor pains began, the expectant parents, along with Caitlin’s mother, arrived at the facility at 11:30am. “My doula [Sara] was there and Stephanie Winford, the midwife assistant. My midwife, Goldie, arrived shortly after.” At first, the labor progressed slowly, so Caitlin spent time outside walking, enjoying the beauty of the Harvest Moon. When contractions got stronger, she got into the birthing pool. “It was very nice and made me very comfortable,” she says. She delivered Eleanor in the birthing room on her knees, her arms wrapped around Jon.
As the owner of a health food store, Caitlin found a natural birthing method more appealing than a hospital birth, and The Birth House is near all of the hospitals. Jon didn’t want a home birth, as they live in the country. “It was the best of both worlds for both of us,” he says.
Her delivery drug-free and completely natural, little Eleanor entered the world at 7:37am. Caitlin felt so good, she was able to shower and go home that day. She was also very happy with the services the assistant midwife provided. “She is certified in car seat safety and went out to our car with us to give us instruction,” Caitlin says. “It’s really helpful, especially for first-time parents.”
Caitlin also valued the in-home after-care services Sirona Health & Wellness provided. “Goldie came every week for six weeks,” says the new mom, adding that it eliminated the need to see a pediatrician right away, because Goldie checked the baby’s health, too. Caitlin opted for the placenta encapsulation, as well. “I healed very quickly,” she reports. “It was such a positive experience! I would definitely do it again.”
Photography by Eric Dutro and provided by Caitlin Hauser-Esper