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Client Birth Stories 

I am forever grateful for the families that have chosen me to stand by their side in one of the most important milestones of life. Please read below to see what my clients have to say about their experience with me. 

If you'd like to submit your birth story, email me. 

Kennedy's Birth Story 

On November 15, 2020 I found out I was pregnant. I was suspecting it for a few days prior but had a negative test. Tiffany and I were just familiar with each other at this point so I asked for advice and she convinced me to take another test. She’s the first person we told we were pregnant. I remember saying “hope you’re free in 9 months.” Tiffany was such a valuable person to have in our back pocket. She helped us pick a provider (based on experiences and our preferences) and did our education classes with us. Which if you know Jacob, you know it was a huge chore for her. He’s about as immature as a 6 year old, haha! At 20 weeks, we had a scare on our ultrasound. I remember texting Tiffany from the room in a panic and she helped calm me down and gave me the facts. I know this is one of the reasons why her and I are such good friends. She knows what I need in each and every moment without me having to tell her. Thankfully, the scan was truly just a scare and the rest of our pregnancy was unremarkable. If Tiffany taught me one thing, it’s that a day in labor world is like a year normal time. So when my due date came and went, I was like “oh well.” I did end up stopping work on my due date because Crew was positioned funny. As a chiropractor, I have a manual job that was strenuous on my core. As soon as I stopped working, he repositioned. Then 41 weeks came and went. I had an appointment and everything looked great. Baby boy was just comfy. I was starting to get nervous. Now I was on a time clock because I knew my midwife would drop me from care if I went past 42 weeks. I started having random and inconsistent contractions but nothing progressive. We tried acupuncture and nothing happened. I’m not knocking it, because I loved it and it made me super comfy. But it just didn’t induce labor. On the morning of 41 weeks and 3 days, I woke up having some very minor contractions. I went and got adjusted and had acupuncture done. I told Jacob to pack the car because I was thinking that we wouldn’t need to come back home. I was hopeful we could walk this baby out at the zoo pending my contractions kept progressing. I went it for a regularly scheduled appointment very nervous I would be pushed into an unnecessary induction. I know what you’re thinking- am I nuts?! Honestly no. I was super comfortable still and had nothing but faith that my body would do exactly what it needed to bring my baby safely into this world when he was ready. I should have skipped the appointment. Also, I need you to keep in mind that I KNOW my “due date” was off by 4 days. But with modern medicine, apparently we “must” go by the date of last menstrual period rather than conception date. Insert dramatic eye roll. Anyway- we get to the appointment after eating a huge breakfast and in true Crew fashion, he falls asleep. No big deal right. WRONG. The little stinker would not wake up on the monitor for my NST. So of course let’s try a whole bunch of sugary juice and the whole nine trying to get this kid to wake up. Nothing worked. And of course, today is the day I’m scheduled with my least favorite midwife. She starts talking about an induction because we failed the test. I promise you that I am well versed in the birth world. I have done all the research and read all the books but I promise you that when someone looks at you and threatens your babies safety, the world stops turning. Words cannot explain my feelings in that moment. I remember calling Tiffany sobbing because I didn’t know what to do. We went through all the options and for our (Jacob and I’s) comfortability we opted to go for a slow induction. Mind you, I’d already been having contractions and I remember thinking that I knew I’d be able to hold them off on drugs as long as they could monitor me. We get checked in and inform our families that there was a change of plans. My family is so dramatic they were convinced I was dying. Which, to me, this was the complete opposite of what I wanted so I was struggling in all aspects. We get to the room and the midwife asks if I’ll consent to a cervical check and I knew that I would probably need to in order to convince them that I didn’t need drugs and could do this on my own. HA! I was a 1 and 50%. I wanted to jump out of the window. Even though I didn’t want an induction, I was still researched and prepared. I refused cytotec firmly. They tried everything under the sun to change my mind. I agreed to cervidil which is another cervix softener. They even tried a last stitch effort of telling me how expensive this was and how cytotec was much cheaper. Not to sound like a brat, but money doesn’t matter when I’m talking about birthing my child. Let me just tell you something. I was having easy contractions throughout this whole morning. The SECOND they placed that drug, my contractions went from a 1 to a 7. 10/10 do not recommend. Insert cascade of interventions. Jacob kept in touch with Tiffany over the next 12 hours. We tried everything under the sun to calm down the back labor and intensity of the contractions. Around dinner, we were offered to switch to a low intervention birthing room which was supposed to make it more like my experience in the birth center should have been. The intentions were good but sometime around this time the cervidil fell out and I had only progressed to around a 2 or a 3. So the mental game was getting really tough. I agreed to low dose pitocin and then things really started getting intense. I was having a weird contraction pattern and nothing was helping. I told Jacob to get Tiffany here because I was losing control. Tiffany got there and we tried all the things. I can say this because she’s one of my best friends but I’m convinced she was trying to kill me at some points. Do you know what dilation station is? It’s sitting on the freaking toilet backwards. Never in my life do I care to do that again! Now that I’m not in labor and writing this, I can laugh but in that moment I was cussing her. We continued to try comfort measures. Her bicep muscles are from me. You’re welcome, Tiff! The only thing that helped the discomfort was counter pressure on my sacrum. Her and Jacob took turns forever. I took baths every day of my pregnancy. It was my favorite part of the day. It was so relaxing and felt amazing. I begged for them to let me get into the bathtub. We finally tried it and that’s where things got rough. The second I got into the tub, things intensified to the worst and most intense pain I have experienced yet. I remember agreeing to get checked because I was done. There was no way I wanted to meet my baby in this state. My brain was not in a good place. I refused to get out of the tub to get checked and they were having a hard time checking me in the tub. I told them I was done and had enough. I asked for the epidural. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I was thankful for this option. But this is not what I wanted. This comes back to not letting my body do labor on its own and ending up in being that the fake hormones were too much for me and I could not take it. This was not a victory. I was able to rest for some time after the epidural was placed. Don’t get my wrong. I’m not saying it wasn’t nice to have a break in the pain, it’s just not what I wanted. Until it stopped working. I felt every contraction again in my back and it was worse. Obviously because the pitocin was continuously cranked up at this point. I was 9 centimeters when I opted to have the epidural replaced because I didn’t feel like I would be able to labor down comfortably and I didn’t want to exhaust myself by pushing too early. When I started feeling the pressure and getting the shakes, I knew it was time to push. We positioned around a peanut ball and starting trying to birth a baby. I have to add this tidbit. I will never forget Tiffany looking at me as the Olympics were on asking if this is really what I wanted to listen to as I had a baby. She always knows when I need a laugh. But that’s a true friend. Not to brag or anything, but I had that pushing thing figured out. The peanut ball was very helpful because it helped me visual pushing with my whole body. I remember asking if what I was feeling was the “ring of fire” and everyone cringing because we weren’t even there yet. YIKES! Shortly after (literally this part flew), Crew came flying into this world. I remember my midwife almost missed it because she was delivering a baby in the parking lot. After Crew was born, we just hung out and enjoyed our little bundle. We got him to latch after some work because of the delay with the epidural (this is common). And Tiffany was the first one (outside of Jacob and I) to hold him. After being up for a long time, and with us for over 14 hours, Tiffany went home and we weren’t shortly behind her the next day. I know what you’re thinking. I have a healthy baby and nothing else matters. That’s not true. Your birth matters, you matter. You need people to advocate for you in your corner. If it weren’t for Tiffany, I would have never believed that I could have gone 11 days “overdue.” I wouldn’t have questioned the mainstream things. I wouldn’t have felt near as empowered as I did. I’m so blessed she was such a crucial part of our journey. I am so glad to have found such a friend. You would be so lucky to have her on your team and in your life.

Stephanies Birth Story

Tiffany made my birth a completely different experience than my first birth experience. I was very interested in getting my VBAC so I asked her to be my doula! From there, she recommended many things (including changing my provider) that would give me the best possible chance of fulfilling that goal. She came to my house, educated my husband and I, gave me tons of resources, spoke to me about the best evidence and recommended I start seeing a Webster certified chiropractor. A handful of weeks before my due date she came over and taught us some ways in which to help get baby in the best possible position. My contractions started the Wednesday before I gave birth. They were manageable- I could still work on the floor with kiddos providing therapy. As the day progressed they started getting stronger in intensity. I wasn’t able to sleep through the night and was super uncomfortable. During this time she offered to come over. I tried to manage myself. I went through the next day with no change but I continued to do the things she recommended. Fast forward to Friday, I believed it was time to head to the hospital, so we did around 10. Tiffany met us at the hospital and immediately started helping me through my contractions by coaching me through breathing and getting into various positions. Throughout the night she remained present entirely, helping support me and my husband in various ways. She diffused some oils and made the room feel more at home. At around 11 I wanted to check on my dilation. I was a 5. At this point I decided I wanted an epidural bc I was exhausted and felt that I needed to rest in order to progress. She knew this isn’t what I originally planned for, so she asked if I’d like to try some other things before. I was convinced to do the epidural so she honored that choice and made me feel better about the decision bc I was feeling really defeated about it. I rested for about 8 hours. During this time I was having some moments of intense anxiety as the baby’s heart rate kept decelerating and this was why my original attempted vaginal delivery had ended in a c-section. I remember her covering the monitor and telling me that it was going to be okay and this experience was different than the forward.. then it was time to push! She was so helpful during this process. She coached me along and took the most beautiful picture I have of the event, finally getting to hold my baby in my arms!! She stayed for a little and checked the baby’s latch and stayed with us for a little bit. She checked in on me in the days following and was so caring and attentive. I’d recommend her over and over again. thank you Tiffany for helping me get my VBAC.

Andi's Birth Story

My pregnancy with Sylvia was very similar to my first, I had some growing pains but overall I felt a deep sense of peace and joy in my whole body and mind. After my first was born, I knew I wanted to do extra preparation for the birth of any future children. My first birth didn’t go to plan and I had to do some soul searching to come to the realization that there were things in birth that were under my control and a lot of things that were not. That is why I knew I wanted to have an experienced doula to educate and advocate for me and to be cared for by midwives at a birth center. I felt confident that this would set me and my baby up for the best outcome when it was time. I (re)met my doula and friend Tiffany virtually in 2020 when she shared her birth story on my blog. Her story inspired me because she felt empowered in her birth and all of her choices leading up to her labor. I knew she was a doula and told her that I also wanted to become a doula and that I was signed up to complete birth doula training. She immediately became a mentor for me. During the throws of the pandemic, my husband and I decided to relocate our family from Colorado back to our roots in Southern Illinois. After connecting with Tiffany in Illinois and getting pregnant with Sylvia, I knew I wanted her to be my doula. Tiffany is a doula’s doula, that is how amazing and special she is. She was extremely knowledgeable and also someone who would support whatever kind of birth I wanted while also giving me the truth when I asked for it. I had my eyes on the Mercy Birthing Center because they had Certified Nurse Midwives that practice in their own suite within the Mercy Saint Louis Hospital. After doing a lot of research and getting essentially a stamp of approval from Tiffany, I decided to go with them. For my entire pregnancy, we were living with my parents in Trenton. This was such an extremely special opportunity for us and gave me the ability to stay home with Magnus and not have to provide income for our family. I felt like I was living in a giant nest, being held and loved by not only Ben and Magnus but also my parents. During scary and unknown times, that house was a precious harbor for my family and an experience I will never forget nor take for granted. Leading up to my delivery day, I was having so many intense Braxton-Hicks. These are contractions that don’t put the baby into labor but exhausted me. My body was doing a lot of work preparing for the right time but that meant that I felt as if I was having early labor contractions every day for weeks. It made it hard for me to finish physical preparations and do much of anything with my son, who was 3 at the time and full of energy. I could only focus on cuddling, nesting, and resting. I spent a lot of time learning to accept that this productive pain was ultimately going to help my body push Sylvia out. During these last months, I also had been going to the chiropractor, keeping my pain manageable and keeping Baby Girl happy and aligned. The day I went into labor, I had a hunch that it was time. Baby Girl was low and engaged, head down and anterior. My contractions that day were time-able and consistent but didn’t feel any more intense than any of the days before. I was able to soak up some time with my husband Ben and my son Magnus. Because I knew it was possible that I would be going into labor, I made sure to give Magnus that extra special time and wanted to put him to bed that night. Tiffany helped guide me to follow my gut and to rest as much as I could at home. Early in the evening, my doula mind was telling me one thing but the fear in my mind was telling me another. The fear was adamant that I get to the hospital earlier than later. I called Tiffany and I know that my conversation with her on the phone and the support of my husband helped give me the confidence to move forward with listening to my intuition. They were my guide posts throughout my entire labor. Tiffany said if things were ready and moving, that after the sun went down, contractions would get more intense. She was right! As soon as I put Magnus to bed, I laid down with Ben in our bed and started watching Shitt’s Creek. I had to keep getting up to go to the bathroom and have bowel movements (oh the irony!). My body was definitely preparing for something. With my new confidence, I was prepared to labor at home as long as I could. Ben was so sweet and made me a PBJ to eat while we laughed at the show. Around 10pm, I passed my mucus plug and everything looked healthy. I noticed it was getting harder for me to laugh through the contractions while watching the show, so I knew this was real labor happening. At this point my mom wanted me to go to the hospital but I didn't feel like it was the right time. I’m so proud of Ben for trusting my intuition. After 11pm, I went to the bathroom and realized that my body was wanting to bare down, which means to push. Ok it’s time to go! The 50 minute drive to Mercy was uneventful, other than contractions, and thankfully the roads were trafficless. It was admittedly hard to walk from the parking garage to the birth center but I refused a wheelchair because I knew the walking would help Baby Girl to come down. Tiffany was on her way! Upon entering the birth center, I was led to the Spring room, which is where I chose to labor. The room has beautiful lighting in a spring time theme (each room is themed a different season), a laboring tub, a big bathroom, and a queen-sized bed. I was allowed to labor anywhere in the room, in any position that I wanted. The nursing staff did intermittent monitoring and because Sylvia was doing so well, I wasn’t bothered much. I started in the tub and immediately was able to relax again. Ben got my playlist started on the speaker we brought. I was GBS positive but because I labored at home as long as I could and I was already close to pushing, they decided to forgo antibiotic drip because there wasn’t enough time. I knew that would mean that we would be required to stay at the hospital to monitor Sylvia for any signs of infection for 24-48 hrs. I decided to embrace the longer stay so that Ben, Sylvia and I could have some extra time to bond. Contractions were coming on stronger but I still felt like they were manageable. At this time Tiffany arrived and helped me get into a better position to let Baby Girl come down. It was really hard to change positions, mentally and physically, but I trusted her. What felt like a few minutes later, I started bearing down again. The midwife Maria was in the birth center and would be delivering my baby. Knowing that really put my body at ease. Maria radiates calm and empathy, which in turn makes me trust her completely. Not only that but her cervical checks are gentle, at least as gentle as a cervical check can be. She always asks for consent when she needs to touch her patients which always relaxes my body. If only all midwives and OBs would show this level of love and respect. The downside to giving birth in a hospital birthing center is that they typically do not allow you to give birth in the labor tub for fear of infection. Unfortunately when Maria heard me bearing down from the other room, she let me know that it was time to get out of the tub because now it was time for pushing. I knew I wanted to deliver on the bed but I wanted to try to utilize the toilet for pushing. It was such a good place for contractions at home so I knew it would be effective. The bathroom was uncomfortable for the most part but I wasn’t there to relax anymore. I don’t remember how long I was there but it didn’t feel long to me. Finally I decided that it was time to make my way to the bed for pushing. I think I tried a couple of positions but settled on hands and knees. I know I had Tiffany at one side and Ben at my other side. I could feel the intense pressure of Sylvia’s head. After many consistent pushes, my water broke. Things got really intense at this point and I couldn’t keep on top of the contractions. I felt like I was losing control and mentally I was scared. I started praying in my head, “please please God help me”. My whole birth team helped me use breathing to calm down. Ben and Tiffany each took one of my hands for the rest of the pushing. Maria suggested that I reach down so that I could feel Sylvia’s head of hair. It was so much hair!! That gave me a huge boost of confidence and the adrenaline was kicking in. It took everything in me to work with the contractions and push. It felt natural and also arresting, intense, and exhausting. I felt so much pressure on my pelvic bone and I knew that was the barrier that was keeping her from coming out. When I pushed, I could feel her precious little head navigating around it. Delivering her head was really difficult and when her head started to come out I had to stop and pant so they could finagle her coming out without doing too much damage to me. Pushing out her body wasn’t hard for me at all. I felt so much relief wash over me and I immediately wanted to hold her. I burst into tears because I had done it!!!! And Sylvia was finally here!!! At 2:39am. And no wonder she was a lot of work to push out, she was such a big baby! At least bigger than I imagined she would be. She had a beautiful mohawk of bleach blonde hair. The comedown from the adrenaline was rough. I was able to lie down but I began shaking uncontrollably because my body was trying to raise my temperature. That part was horrible but the pure joy and exhilaration that I felt after that marathon that I completed was towering over. I also had to have some stitches in my perineum, it took so much focus to not let my body go into full PTSD from my first delivery and tearing as Maria numbed and then stitched me up. I kept focusing on baby girl and Ben until Maria was finished. Tiffany stuck around for a long time after the birth because they were waiting to weigh Sylvia. Tiffany said she was so curious about how much Sylvia weighed that she didn’t want to leave. I am very grateful for all the time she spent with us. She always knew exactly what I needed and when. She knew what to say. I felt so loved. Ben was a fantastic partner and such a champ with helping me stay focused and breathing. He was elated when Sylvia was born and doted on us both. After a long wait, we finally found out that Sylvia weighed 9 lb 13 oz. I was AMAZED at the fact that I pushed out an almost 10 lb baby! Sylvia’s birth was so empowering for me. I still feel such a full sense of pride when I think about her birth story. It is a reminder for me of the warrior strength that is required for women to bear children. Sylvia’s birth also healed me. I had so much fear surrounding birth after experiencing PTSD with my son, but all the preparation I completed put me in a safe place, and I felt like Sylvia helped me feel full of joy and peace so that there wasn’t much room for anxiety.

Becca & Bodie's Birth Story

I knew we would be challenged with many obstacles during pregnancy and planning for the birth of our third baby. If you read my prior birth story with my second, perhaps you’ll understand or relate as to why it could be more challenging than the run-of-the- mill pregnancy. If not, shortened version: my second pregnancy/labor was as Beyoncé would call *flawless*, but following delivery our sweet girl with an Apgar of 1, she was brushing up next to lifeless. But we knew our family wasn’t complete, #3 was the puzzle piece our family was searching high and low for! My husband and I are the 3rd kiddo in our families and we couldn’t wait to welcome another Meredith baby. I felt confident with labor and delivery. I had my affirmations sealed. My support team and providers were prepared and ready to go. But the “what ifs” arrived all throughout my pregnancy. Finding talk therapy, practicing yoga and mindfulness, journaling, and birth rehearsals helped me prepare for the unknown. I controlled the controllables. As a 3rd time mama, things moved faster, not like have-the-baby-in- the-car-fast, but for this mama with a history of lengthy labors lasting around 30 hours, we clocked in this time around 15 hours. We got to the hospital around 4:15am after they called with an open bed. The hospital had been full with inductions so we were a few days later on the list. After 2 rounds of oral cytotech and TONs of intentional positioning and purposeful movement, things were moving. Around 5pm my cervix “dropped down”. Waves of contractions were consistent so my midwife suggested a water break. My body, heart, and mind were ready, so I said YES to the water pop. About an hour after laboring on the toilet with my favorite squatty potty, it was time to hop in the tub (my favorite coping management tool), hot water= heaven. I was able to use counter pressure on my own, by pressing my toes into the tub wall, which forced my low back into the opposite side of the tub. Once our beloved photographer, Victoria, arrived I was ready for some relief. I knew baby was close, so I requested the epidural. Our lovely doula, Tiffany, arrived during the 50 mile walk from the tub to the bed and boy was her presence essential. Moments of self doubt and worry crept in, and my birth team nudged me into the direction of reassurance. Once I received the epidural (praise be), I was side lying for only a moment and everyone said in perfect harmony “it’s time to push, baby is almost here”. Yeah yeah yeah, I probably shouldn’t have gotten the epidural.. I knew baby was just about crowning, but it gave me the feelings of medicalized (not sure if that’s a word or not) comfort. Gentle reminders from my birth team floated in the room to attempt pushing on hands and knees. So I rocked into pushing position and began whispering my mantras to myself knowing baby 3 was oh so close to my arms. After a handful of moments and intuitive pushing, Bodie Wells was caught by my husband who declared the gender as a boy, and then most importantly, directly handed to me like a football handoff. The feelings of immense powerful love crashed over. Bodie wrapped himself tightly into my heart space, placing his tiny hand at the nape of my neck gesturing “I’m here and we are OK.” He was here, safe and healthy, completing our family and fulfilling my mama heart. His birth story could never replace or provide redemption to our previous traumatic birth. But it was an extension or an opportunity of enlightenment on this so called motherhood journey. Knowing that I had the choices to make on my own empowered me during my motherhood journey. And here are some of the choices I made nonjudgmental because they worked for ME: chose a gentle induction 2 days after our due date, chose our birth team, chose an epidural (20 minutes before baby came out), chose to push on hands and knees. Birth doesn’t have a specific protocol or look a certain way. It can be magical and powerful, life-changing and raw, heavy and meaningful.

Kelsey's Birth Story

Sunday morning, February 13, 3 days “overdue” started out like any other Sunday morning. I quickly sent a message complaining about still being pregnant to my girlfriends at 8:33 am and then rolled over in bed to tell Drew I was going to get up and get ready for church. We sat in bed talking for a few minutes then as I went to roll over to get out of bed I HEARD (yes heard) and felt a huge “pop” in my belly. I looked at Drew and said, “Well that was really weird, I’m going to sit here for a minute until I feel the baby move.” A few seconds later I felt a big gush of fluids between my legs. I looked at Drew hesitantly and said “I think my water just broke but they told me that’s not likely how labor will start.” I stand up out of bed and just like the movies show it... my waters burst all over the place. A surge of adrenaline hit me with a little bit of nervousness. We text Tiffany, our doula, and called Maggie our midwife. I canceled our Super Bowl Sunday plans and looked at Drew with a “what’s next” face. Our midwife assured us labor would probably start later at night so to get some rest and eat. Drew cooked an amazing breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast which I devoured. Really at this point I wasn’t “feeling” anything but excitement. An hour or so passed and contractions started. Around 12:30 in the afternoon I started feeling pretty uncomfortable but the shower relieved most of the discomfort. Tiffany suggested trying some different positions as she made her way to our house. Tiffany got here and I couldn't have been more elated to have a female present who was a bit more sympathetic than my loving husband who was at a loss on how to help me. Around 6 that night, Tiffany suggested we start heading to the birth center. I just knew I was going to explode in the backseat of the escape while I had to sit there for almost an hour to get to the birth center but honestly the drive was exactly what I needed. I was keeping my eyes closed and rolling down the window every time a contraction came. 45 minutes or so later we got to the birth center. I briefly opened my eyes to see Victoria, our photographer, hopping out of her car. We went in the backdoor of the birth center and met the midwife. Our midwife checked the baby's positioning and offered a cervical check in which I declined. As soon as the tub was full enough I jumped (ok not jumped but was assisted very slowly) in the water for some relief. I am pretty sure I could have just laid here for a few hours (which I did). When I was in the tub every contraction was so much more manageable. After a few suggestions to move during contractions and several “5 more minutes” from me, I decided if this baby was going to come in the near future I should probably switch positions in the water. While I was in the water I started feeling super “pushy” but didn’t realize this meant the baby was anywhere near coming. This was the point in which I started counting contractions and attempting to wheel and deal with our birth team asking questions like “will the baby be here in 50 more contractions if I just move.” I don’t remember any certain answers other than “you will be closer.” Eventually I got out of the tub and labored outside of the tub before deciding I was not up for that and got back in the tub to rest. I remember at one point hearing Tiffany say, “you’re going to have a Valentine’s baby.” I kept my thoughts to myself, but I remember cringing thinking “either I’ve been laboring a lot longer than I feel like I have or they expect me to be laboring a lot longer” either way I was feeling so defeated. After reminding the midwife that she told me she pushed for 7 hours with her first baby, I agreed to a cervical check. The midwife told me my baby had a lot of hair. HAIR, what this really was happening?! Maggie commented I could stay in the birth tub and have the baby in a few hours or I could get out of the tub, lay on my side, and use the peanut ball to get in a better position and meet my baby sooner. I chose the latter. The contractions and discomfort were REAL now. Soon Drew and the team said they could see the baby’s head. Not for one second did I believe them so they put a mirror towards my feet so I could see the baby. At this point I still didn’t believe them until I felt her! It wasn’t until I reached down with my hand and felt her head during a contraction that I realized I was really having this baby. Honestly, this was the first time I felt birth was absolutely unbearable. However, I knew the ring of fire meant the baby was almost here. After a few seconds (maybe minutes time is morphed when in labor) I felt the ring of fire again... refusing any suggestions of going slow to decrease my risk of tearing, I pushed with all my might and Harbor was born at 1:09 am on Valentine’s Day. Immediately she was brought to my chest and for the first time in 40+ weeks I realized it was real... we really were having a baby. Harbor started crying, I started crying, Drew started crying. It was all so raw and real. Time stopped and it was just the three of us. After a bit, it was time to nurse for the first time. With some help, Harbor latched right away and nursed for about 45 minutes while we all made our guesses about how much she weighed. Drew and I were ecstatic to have a healthy baby girl with a head full of hair. I was anxious to see her stats so I asked them to weigh her and check her out after we nursed and spent an hour or so skin to skin. Harbor was a whooping 9 pounds 4 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

Anne's Birth Story

When we officially decided we were going to try for 1 more child, it was a big decision. I was 37 and my hubby, Nic, was 41. We weren’t spring chickens anymore and our lives were finally “easy” with 2 older boys who were 10 and 6 at the time. However, I never felt like we were “done” and it took a couple years for me to talk my husband into thinking about a third kid. I always loved being pregnant and even loved the labor and delivery side of things. When having my 2 boys, there were both hospital births and I remember the labor and birthing process always intriguing me but it was definitely something that happened to me instead of me being the decision maker. I truly had no idea that there were options. Of course, I knew about birth plans and took the classes at the hospital, but had the mindset that I just go in and see what they want to do to make baby arrive safely. When I first found out I was pregnant with Cali, I switched gears on my podcasts and paused listening to the crime and murder series I loved and dove into podcasts about pregnancy instead! I learned so much just about my body in the first 2 episodes and it snowballed from there. Next thing I knew, I was actually contemplating having an unmedicated birth (my previous births were inductions, Pitocin and epidurals) at the hospital. I met with my providers and said I was considering an unmedicated birth and I just never truly felt supported with the conversations. I know many others have great experiences but I was looking for something different and it took me awhile to not feel bad about that. I loved my hospital experiences with my boys and don’t have any birth story trauma or anything like that, I just felt different this time. Next thing I know, I’m contacting Tiffany (Doula) about having this baby at home....... What???? My husband truly thought I was crazy. Hell, I thought I was crazy but we agreed that we would at least meet with a midwife and we could learn about how this all works. Our husbands are used to being our protectors and that’s what I just kept telling myself. He is allowed to feel nervous and unsure. However, we met with Maggie the midwife over coffee one day and we both felt good about the possibility of doing this at home. So, I kept diving and reading books, listening to more podcasts, and really soaking in all the education I could about preparing for labor and just taking care of myself while pregnant. I will say that is one HUGE aspect that is lacking in the typical hospital prenatal care we receive. Education about what is happening to our bodies during pregnancy and during labor is out there but most moms-to-be have no idea what’s going on with our bodies during this time. We are creating a life inside our bodies and then bringing that life into the world. Our bodies were made to this and I can tell you that this pregnancy and birth was 100% different than my first 2. Not only was the setting different, but my understanding of what was going on was what really made it a completely different experience. Even though I had support from Maggie and Tiffany regarding education, they assured me it was always my decision on what I wanted or didn’t want. Cali’s Birth Date During pregnancy, I just knew that I was going to go past my due date, so I think when my contractions started on Friday ( 4 days before my due date) I didn’t fully comprehend that’s what was happening. I had a LOT of Braxton Hicks throughout this pregnancy and they started early on, around 17 weeks. That’s what seemed to be happening the day Cali arrived. Looking back on that day, even when I was getting ready for work that morning, I remember feeling a little crampy but wasn’t anything that set off my radar. I went about my day like normal and then had a massage from 1:00-2:00 and I guess forcing myself to be still and lay down is what made me realize these could be contractions. During that hour massage I had 3 good, what I assumed to be contractions. So every 15 minutes at that point. Again, nothing that stopped me in my tracks or still even made me believe “this was it.” I had listened to all sorts of birth stories and I knew this could go on for some time or even stop all together. I did not think that I would be one to labor super-fast. The contractions continued in a slight pattern and stayed consistent but still distant for a couple hours. Eventually I started tracking them and they were getting closer and strong enough to where they got my attention and I had to sway through some. At this point, it was around 7:00pm and I was home with my 2 boys and my husband was a work for the night. I messaged Maggie and Tiffany and told them that I was tracking my contractions but still felt completely fine and didn’t need any support yet. I honestly thought this was going to be something that went through the night, so I was preparing for the long haul! I texted Maggie around 7:50 pm and told her my contractions were anywhere from 3-7 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute. They still weren’t too intense but enough for me to sway and breathe through. She said to take a shower and see if they slow down at all. I think I got in the shower around 9:15 and they actually started picking up! I stayed in the shower for about 3 contractions and when I got out, I knew this was happening! Haha I think that’s when it hit me. So I went to my closet and I remember looking for items that I wanted to wear in the birth pool. You know, like a cute bra or something. ha. My “plan” the whole time was to have this beautiful and serene water birth in front of my Christmas tree in the living room. I would calmy push my baby out, pull baby out of the water and admire them in front of the twinkling lights. That didn’t happen ☺ At that point my water broke in the closet and I froze. I never experienced that before and it was the craziest feeling. I remember calling Maggie at that point, and telling her that my water broke. I had one contraction while I was on the phone with her and had to stop talking during the contraction to focus but we still pretty chill. Maggie said I still sounded very calm and I agreed that I was still ok. She did suggest calling Tiffany so she could come over and at least assess the situation. It was literally the next contraction that my body started pushing. It caught me completely off guard, and it truly was like the birth stories I had listened to. There was nothing I could do to stop the pushing and it was intense! At that point, I remember trying to catch my breath and told both Maggie and Tiffany that my body was pushing and I needed them. I went from calm to crazy within 2 minutes. It changed that fast and no matter how much prep work and mental work I did for this moment, I am so thankful that I had their support. My husband was still at work at this point, but on his way home and my two boys were downstairs not really knowing what was happening because I hadn’t made it back down there since the shower. I was having contractions with them around, but again, they weren’t crazy intense so it didn’t set off their radar that I was in labor either. I was very open with the boys during the pregnancy and they were very aware of how the homebirth could go and that they could be involved as much as they wanted to during the process. They both agreed that they wanted to be home but that they didn’t want to be in the room and I completely supported that. So when Nic got home, he tucked the boys in and they weren’t even aware of what was going on. Tiffany arrived around 10:10pm and she came upstairs and saw that I was pushing during the the contractions and she went back downstairs and told Nic there was no time to fill up the pool. She came back upstairs and asked where the Tupperware was. Flashback to my last prenatal appointment with Maggie, she gave me a Tupperware box that had essential items in it, like gloves and a suction bulb, etc. It also had a note in it titled “What To Do If Baby Arrives Before the Midwife.” I remember us joking at the appointment that from what she knew about Nic, this is probably a box that I should not show him. Whoops. Honestly, I stuck the box in the corner in my office because it wasn’t even a thought that my labor would go that quickly. So when Tiffany asked me for the box I remember thinking, “oh she’s serious.” Both Tiffany and Nic came upstairs and I remember feeling a little out of control at that point. I thought I was going to be in this stage all night and I think that’s why I felt out of control. Turns out, I was actually in transition and baby was almost here. Even though Maggie hadn’t arrived yet, I always felt like Tiffany was there to bring me back to earth and support me....even though she was probably freaking out herself because she was about to deliver a baby! I wanted to add this moment from Tiffany’s point of view because I LOVE it. From Tiffany: 10:12: I walk in, set my stuff down in the kitchen and go upstairs and see that you’re pushing during the beginning and middle of the contraction. You were standing at the vanity when I walked in. I run down to get Nic and tell him to stop setting up the tub and that baby would probably be arriving before the tub was finished or Maggie arrived. This is when I asked him where the tupperware was LOL. 10:15pm: This is about when you sat on the toilet saying you had to poop. I tried to convince you that it wasn’t poop, that it was baby’s head, to no avail. I finally convinced you to get off the toilet, and I believe that you were on your hands and knees on the rug. 10:20pm: I text Maggie and let her know that you are definitely pushing. She said that she was about 30 minutes out and that I could call and put her on speakerphone. 10:22pm: This is when I called Maggie. She said that Nic could still try and fill up the tub downstairs, but that there may not be enough time. You asked if you could get into the bathroom tub. We started filling up the bathroom tub, and you went back on the toilet (me freaking the F out!!!). I think this is when I told you that you HAD to get off the toilet, because you had a few strong ones on there and I thought baby’s head was going to pop right out there! (Maggie agreed). From here I think you stood up for a few contractions and then went in the bathroom tub. At some point, Nic did go back downstairs, but I called him back up within a few minutes. From here, you labored in the tub for about 20-ish minutes. But, because you didn’t really have anywhere to move around in the tub, it looked like you were uncomfortable. At this point, I had found the tupperware, had gloves on and was applying perineal pressure to you, in case baby wanted to join you in the water. Every contraction, you would lift up your butt out of the water (because you had nowhere else to go!!!), but I tried to gently remind you that your butt either had to be in or out of the water when baby was born. It was probably about 10:50-ish when you thought that you might want out of the tub, I told you that you had to do it quick, because I could feel a little bit of baby’s head. You stood up (literally like nothing was wrong!) got out, and landed on your hands and knees. The next contraction, you pushed and baby’s head came out. You had 1 small break and you pushed and her shoulders and body came right out! Cali James was born!!! She came out perfectly pink, with no nuchal cord or hand. About 1 minute later, Maggie joined the party! As I type this, Cali is 11 weeks old. I remember so many moments vividly and others I have already forgotten. I am so unbelievably grateful for the entire experience and still can’t believe that it happened the way it did. Just shows that we are in control as much as possible but then God also has a sense of humor. Instead of my beautiful Christmas tree in the background, I have pictures of my toilet behind me. Nothing like I planned but absolutely perfect.

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