For some women, including Palo Alto resident Miranda Ford (featured in the main article), the ideal compromise between a hospital and a home birth would be a birth center, a facility staffed by midwives or doctors.
But the closest birth center is in San Francisco; Menlo Park's The Birth Place closed in the mid-1990s.
To fill the gap, Redwood City doula Sandy Caldwell is working to bring a center to the South Bay.
For the last three years, Caldwell has been working with a handful of other women to research the project and fundraise. Birth centers are regulated by the state and must be close to a hospital, she said.
They need at least $100,000 to begin renting a facility and $300,000 to purchase their own space, Caldwell said.
"We are very committed to providing the service to anyone who wants to use it," Caldwell said. "It's really important to us this isn't just a privilege for people who can afford it.
For more information, visit http://www.birthsanctuary.org .