Special Reports

Mother of Bellingham Birth Center’s 1,000th baby was also born at center

Last September, Nancy and Nate Leavitt’s daughter Gabrielle became the 1,000th baby born at Bellingham Birth Center, which owners and licensed midwives Catriona Munro and Christine Gibbs opened at 2430 Cornwall Ave. in 2004.

Not only that, Nancy Leavitt herself was born in the same building, the same room, 30 years ago. During the mid-1980s when Nancy’s mother gave birth, the building was a different birth center. That birth center closed, and the building was used for different purposes for a decade or so until Munro and Gibbs launched the remodeled Bellingham Birth Center.

“It was empowering that my mom had me there,” says Leavitt, who lives in Lynden. “How wonderful, how sentimental.”

Gabrielle, now 8 months, joins big sister Gwyneth, 5, who was also born at the center. Young Gwyneth, who was present when her little sister came into the world, told her mom that she wanted to have her baby there, too.

Nancy, who chose to deliver without pain medication, appreciated the center’s focus on her preferences.

“Nothing was pressed on me” she says. “Instead, it was about what I wanted. I managed pain through the calm environment, meditation, rocking, swaying, keeping my voice steady, and the midwives encouraging me to change position. It takes your mind off it a little bit.

“I was like, ‘I’m going to take this on, I’m going to tackle it.’ And it wasn’t that bad.”