So I Goggled "birth center." One came up in the search - an hour from where my husband and I planned to move. I was eight out of ten months pregnant.
All things considered, we decided the birth center was our best option. I made an appointment.
When I finally arrived for my checkup, I almost cried with relief - the atmosphere was so pleasant and baby/mama friendly compared to the hospital checkups I had experienced. The midwife took her time talking with me. She felt my belly and skillfully described my baby's position.
When I came moaning at eight centimeters dilated, the midwives were as calm as lilies in the morning sun.
They don't think of birth as an emergency. They see it as a gift.
That's been my experience. Places and practitioners differ of course. What's been your interaction with a particular birth center?
Want more info? Check out this wonderful birth center: Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center. They also have wonderful resources.