A couple of months ago, I decided to browse local (well, local-ish) birthing centers. I set out with the goal of finding a birthing center that would accept standard Medi-Cal. After all the hospital horror stories I’d heard, I just wanted piece of mind that my delivery wouldn’t be a constant struggle of abstaining from medication. However, my financial situation severely limited my options, or so I thought.

I first stumbled upon Beach Cities Midwifery through a chat forum on Yahoo. The woman claimed Beach Cities accepted Medi-Cal. I was overjoyed. Immediately, I went to their website, found their contact information, and called their office. The receptionist said yes they do accept standard Medi-Cal, but there was still an out-of-pocket fee you wound up paying. Curious as to how much this out-of-pocket fee was, I decided to schedule a free consultation.

About a week later, Charles and I drove up to the Beach Cities Laguna office from our apartment in Long Beach, a 35 minute trek. Ironically, the birthing center was nestled right next to a mortuary in a small complex of offices. It was a little more urban than I was expecting, but it was still far better than any hospital we’d been to. The inside was furnished with couches and typical items you’d find in a dentist’s office lobby. Everyone we encountered was extremely cordial and friendly.

BCM lobby, taken by Chris Snell

Our visit first started with us meeting BJ Snell, the founder of Beach Cities Midwifery and certified midwife. She went over standard procedure there and answered all of Charles and I’s questions. We then were given a tour of the birthing center by the receptionist/midwife assistant which was more like a walk down the hall considering the total square footage  of the place couldn’t have been more than 1,000 ft.. They had two birthing rooms, both of which I was impressed with. They resembled nice hotel rooms with large comfy beds and a luxurious bathroom set up.

Main bathroom with BJ Snell and Vicky, taken by Chris Snell

The hallway, taken by Chris Snell

Big comfy bed, taken by Chris Snell

To conclude our visit, we met with two men in their financial sector to discuss potential payment options. Without any sort of insurance, the total cost for the birthing center was $5,500. However because we had Medi-Cal, our total out-of-pocket cost would be $3,500 with a possible return of $1,500. They were very sincere and also said they had payment plans for couples who couldn’t pay the money all up front. Charles and I said we’d think about it, thanked them for their time, and left.

After a few weeks of really figuring out if we could afford to birth at Beach Cities, we made the decision it was important enough and that we could. I’ve now had multiple prenatal check ups, and I’m still happy with our choice. I feel like this enormous weight has been lifted off my back, and I can’t wait to bring my son into the world using their facility rather than a hospital.

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