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A different setting for births

After facing challenges in licensing, Andaluz Cottage Center opens


It may have been a less than ideal process getting licensed, but now that her cottage birthing center near Dundee is open, Jennifer Garlardo couldn’t be happier.

“It’s been a long road to get it licensed. This was the hardest battle to fight and it’s the one I’m most excited about,” she said.

Back in 1991, Garlardo was pregnant with her second child. Dissatisfied with the hospital experience from her first pregnancy, she sought a mid-wife and never turned back.by: KATY SWORD - Alternative births - Jennifer Garlardo (right) offers full OB/GYN services to her patients at her new cottage birthing center near Dundee. This is her third center in the area.

“I actually open my first birth center (in Guatemala) before I was even done being a midwife,” she said. “When I was pregnant with my second child is when I started my midwife training.”

Since moving to Oregon in 1998, she’s opened two birth centers under the name Andaluz — one in Tualatin, one in Portland — and the home-based center near Dundee makes three.

“This is our one-at-a-time birth center,” she said of the cottage retreat. “We only take three births a month here. In our other locations it can be up to 20 a month.”

The center is just like visiting an OB/GYN, she says.

“People start their care right from the start with us, just like you would with an OB,” she said.

The cottage features a birthing tub, living room and recovery room. They spend an hour with each patient per visit, something Garlardo said is important to her and one of the reasons she became a midwife.

“I was so impressed with the difference and the care,” she said. “I would have hourlong appointments and someone who would really listen to my concerns and questions about pregnancy.”

The license to operate was approved in mid-June, but Garlardo said they’ve already had three births in the new space.

“In fact we were trying to hurry and get licensed because we had somebody who was due and was going overdue waiting to have our license go through so she could have her baby here,” she said. “It’s been wonderful. We’re open, we’re ready and we’re serving people.”

Since the cottage is on the same land as her home, Garlardo said it’s like going back to her roots.

“The very first birth center I owned was in Guatemala and it was on my property, so I almost feel like I’m coming home again to what I loved about it when I was first doing midwifery,” she said. “Even though it’s the smallest it’s my favorite location, you hear the birds chirping in the morning, it has that country feel. It’s really peaceful.”

Garlardo said she and her husband are looking at opening a fourth center in Hillsboro, but that’s still a few years down the road. For now, she’s going to enjoy the new space.

For more information about Andaluz water birth centers, visit www.waterbirth.net.



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