BIRTH STORIES AND LOVE LETTERS
We entrust the care of our most precious one to you
And you guide this one from
First sounds of heart
To first sounds of breath
And you guide us from
Questions deep and wide
To mother/father wide eyed
We hold our Elliot
Who blossomed in your caring hands
and your warm touch still remains
Companions to the birth
Forest of wisdom and strength
Women of the Womb
Written for WMS by Eric, baby Elliot's Dad
HUDSON'S BIRTH - A 3RD TRIMESTER TRANSFER
“Experiences have clearly shown that an approach which “de-medicalizes” birth restores dignity, and humanity to the process of childbirth, and returns control to the mother is also the safest approach.” ~Michael Odent, MD
My only regret about choosing the Wenatchee Birth Center is not finding them sooner. This was my second pregnancy. I had called the birth center upon seeing that little faint line months prior, and I asked all the questions. It sounded a lot like this “So what happens if I want an epidural?” I was told that I would be transferred to the hospital. On one hand it’s exactly what I wanted, no option to back out. On the other hand it was nerve wracking to commit to absolutely no pain medicine or epidural knowing full well what a contraction feels like. So, like I have a tendency to do, I let fear lead the way and I continued seeing a hospital based midwife, I called it good. I convinced myself (and many others told me as well) that it was necessary to be at the hospital in case of an emergency after experiencing my first born swallowing meconium. I knew I would barely tolerate it but I figured it was only a small portion of time and it didn’t really matter if I loved it so long as my child was healthy. Most likely my hospital birth would go smoother than the first, normal people don’t enjoy labor anyway. I was too nervous to sign on to do something so intensely painful with no help, nobody was makin’ that ship sail but me. I knew this for sure because I had watched my sister have an all natural water birth six years prior, where I vowed I would never do that, that wasn’t for me. Oh, the things you say until you have knowledge and life experience.
After a while I realized that having another hospital birth was more frightening to me than a natural birth, in a birth suite, surrounded by women I trusted 100% who had brought many babies earth side before mine. I realized that I was making a choice solely based out of fear rather than what I truly wanted to do in my heart. What was the worst thing that could happen? I could try and I might not be successful but I would never regret trying.
So I made an appointment for a consult at thirty weeks pregnant, dragged my husband down town to the birth center, and talked to him about the importance of hiring a doula. As soon as I stepped in to that little house and met Danelle and Eva my mind was at ease. The way they smiled when they heard his little heart beat at every appointment, it was as if they were as equally thrilled as I was. They gave me confidence and reassurance, they took their time getting to know me as well as providing wonderful care at our hour long appointments. It was a completely different experience than I had during my first pregnancy. I looked forward to my appointments, and oddly enough I looked forward to the marathon and I couldn’t wait to truly experience child birth the way that nature intended it.
I had told Danelle at my last prenatal appointment that I had randomly met with a psychic and was told that I would have my baby within 3-5 days, that the labor would be fast and that he would be born around five o’clock. She kept kindly reminding me that because my first born was late, there was a great possibility this baby would be too. Hudson was born five days later, very quickly and it was around five o’clock, 7:57 pm to be exact.
My birth was what dreams are made of. I knew from the very beginning it was incredibly important not to have a negative mindset. So I never said out loud or even let myself think “I can’t do this” or “I want an epidural.” The most I did was look at my husband with pain in my eyes and say “Coooooody.” He knew what that meant, it meant, I’m in a tremendous amount of pain, this is really hard, and I desperately need some support so please dig your fists deeper in to my hips. At this point we knew it was really happening and it was time to call the doula.
I arrived with my husband and doula at the birth center around 6:20 pm. At this point labor land was in full effect. All I could do was handle one contraction at a time, my husband joked that this was as quiet as he had ever seen me. Between my wonderful doula Christine Potter keeping me focused and as distracted as possible with lavender towels, foot massages and quick drinks of water and the birth tub armed with jets, I had all the tools I needed. The biggest attraction to me about the birth center was that it was a beautiful calm space. During my birth the lights were low, all of the talking was a whisper, and I was only checked once. When we arrived at the birth center I was asked if it was okay for them to check for dilation and with my permission they were able to find out how close we were to having a baby. I was shocked to find out I was dilated to a seven. I labored on the comfortable queen size bed for a while before I was transferred to the tub. I remember my body trying to push and thinking “uh oh I’m not supposed to do that yet I hope nobody noticed.” I focused on the feeling of the jets on my feet and my breath. I made sure every muscle of my body was relaxed. Before too long I asked when I was allowed to push and Danelle said that I just needed to listen to my body and that if I felt it was time we were ready. I couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking “man! I could have had this baby an hour ago!” The whole process was focused around listening to my body. There were no monitors, no distractions, no interventions, no annoyances. I felt nurtured, safe, comfortable and in charge the whole time.
I’d like to tell you that a few quick pushes later he was here and everything was perfect, and that’s probably exactly what my husband will tell you, but the truth is the strength it takes to muster the ability to push the head out is enormous. I was biting the towel that laid next to the edge of the tub and everything I had read about pushing “feeling good” did not ring true for me. It was a challenge. But I did it. “Holy shit! We did it!” I kept saying. The only time I missed the epidural was when I realized everything wasn’t numb down there like before. But I still wouldn’t trade the experience for a little numbing.
My husband and I pulled in to our driveway four hours after having our new baby. There was no catheter and foley bag. There were no nurses waking me up every few hours turning on bright lights and throwing their authority around. There was no need for visitors to come to the hospital, we were home. Happy, healthy, and in absolute awe of the beautiful experience we had just endured. The next day the wonderful midwives came to our home to check on our new baby. At this point they feel much more like special friends than anything else.
The whole first week after Hudson was born was spent trying to convince my husband we needed one more child. I wanted to experience this magic again. Maybe next time at home with the help of these same amazing ladies. Have you ever heard a woman say she wants another baby solely based off of her birth? Yeah, me neither. I said it alright. And if for some reason I have another baby I’ll be excitedly ringing the birth center and I know they’ll be as equally happy for me. I’m still smiling from ear to ear thinking about my son’s birth. It was magical. It was powerful. It was transformative.
Not only did the psychic tell me when I would have my baby, she also told me not to give up, because the things I’m most proud of in life are the things I almost gave up on. She seems to really know what she’s talking about.
I almost let fear guide the way. For thirty weeks I convinced myself I couldn’t do it, I needed to be at a hospital, it would be too painful. I was too scared to try, and fail. Well I’m here to tell you that women were made to do this. Being in complete control of my mind and body was surreal. I have never felt more connected to my ancestors, to women, or to my inner strength. It’s a powerful, life changing experience.
I wish I would have had this self confidence three years ago when my first born came in to the world. Everyone should know that it’s possible to find women who will encourage, empower and lift u up when you need it most.
If you’re like me and your heart says you can do it, make an appointment. Schedule a consult. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to show yourself what you’re made of, you’ll surprise yourself!
PRESLI JO'S BIRTH STORY
Growing up, I always enjoyed sharing my own birth story. I love that I was born at home on Thanksgiving night in the company of my siblings, parents, and with the help of midwives. And, of course I adored the little extra detail that it had snowed the night I was born for the very first time that winter. 11 years later, my younger brother Miles was born under the same roof at our family home. All the same people were present. Including the midwife that caught me, Laurie Braunstein. I remember my mother powering through the painful contractions. I remember how strong and brave she had been and how much strength and support Laurie provided her. After Miles was born, my sister and I assisted in cutting the lifeline that connects mother and baby, his umbilical cord, just as my older brother had severed my years before. It had been a beautiful birth. Because of this experience, I grew up not fearing giving birth. I didn’t dread the pain or the long process. I also knew that I wanted to seek the aid of a midwife if and when the time came for me to birth a child.
In January 2016, my partner and I learned that we were expecting. I joyfully discovered that Laurie Braunstein was still in the valley working out of the Wenatchee Midwife Service and Childbirth Center. Although she was no longer actively attending births, she had an amazing team of ladies working with her. For the next 9 months, I had monthly visits with the ladies at the birthing center alternating midwives so we could all form connections and become comfortable with one another. These ladies became like family, making me feel so at ease I felt I could share anything with them. At every visit we would talk about how I was feeling, answer any questions I may have, listen to the baby’s heart beat and further get to know one another. With this being my first child, I lacked the courage to have a home birth. Instead, I chose to welcome my little one into this world at the birthing center.
The Wenatchee birthing center is a beautiful place that gives off a homey feel. I immediately felt comfortable the first time I toured it. It housed a large tub and a pleasant bed to labor in. Included in the space is a kitchenette and a pull out hide a bed for loved ones. More than anything I wanted to welcome my child in this space with these people. After 39 long weeks, the time finally came.
On the morning of September 18th we arrived at the birthing center. I had spent about 24 hrs, at home, in early labor periodically calling the on call midwife, Danelle, to keep her up to date on what was happening. When my contractions reached the magical sequence 5-1-1 (5 mintues apart 1 min long for a solid 1 hour) we loaded up the car and made the 45 minute journey to Wenatchee. When we arrived at the birthing center, I remember feeling extremely emotional. I had toured the center on my first visit with the midwives and now here I was at the end of my journey. My experience was coming full circle and it was a surreal feeling. After settling into the birthing center, I was checked to see how far along I was. The exam showed I was 2 centimeters dialated. I expected to be a little further along than that but I knew that the process was going to be long, especially with this being my first child. And long it was. For the next 16 hrs. I watched as the clock spun in circles. In the tub, out of the tub, walking around, using the stairs, I constantly tried to remain active. My birth team pampered me like a queen, hand feeding me snacks and offereing water. At times, my mind would wonder and my breathing would get off balance. In these moments, my eyes would find those of my midwife’s Danelle and she would help me get back on track. I remember struggling through the painful contractions by saying “ow, ow, ow”. The midwife in training, Krissy, knelt beside me and said with a soft, sweet voice, “I know the contractions are painful but maybe we should find a different word to use other than ow”. With a surprised, desperate look on my face I asked her what she recommended. She calmly said, “some ladies find exhaling with a deep ‘hmmm’ helpful”. So, I took those words of advice and ran with them. With every contraction I hummed low and deep and created a rhythm that worked for my baby and I. It felt as though I was singing my little one into the world.
Finally the time had come to push. While I lay on the bed with my midwife in front, my mother on my right, my partner on my left, my sister and Krissy documenting the experience from above, I discovered I had created a symmetrical birth team that offered all the support and love I needed to conquer the trials of labor and delivery. After a mere 45 mins of pushing, at 8:48 pm, we welcomed a beautiful baby into the world. We had waited to find out the gender and after Danelle placed my child on my chest, I placed my hand beneath the butt to support the baby. Feeling a large bulge in my palm, I announced to everyone “I feel balls”. Weighing in at 8 lbs 2 oz and measuring 21 1/4 inches long. I had a healthy little boy. For the next 5 hrs, we stayed gathered at the birthing center enjoying the new arrival. We took photos, laughed, joked, and had arts and crafts time making placenta prints.
On the morning of September 19th, before the suns awakening, we headed home with one more member than when we arrived. On the journey home, I remember thinking how I could not believe I had done it! I was astonished my mind and body were capable of that kind of strength. I thought of my support team and knew I could not have done it alone. My birth team was my strength and my backbone throughout the event.
Now, 3 months later, with a healthy little boy nursing from my breast, I feel honored to have had a birthing experience that I enjoyed. I was able to birth my way and without fear. An image of angels is etched into my mind when I think about my midwives. They provided so much love, guidance and support. With their help, I was able to have a beautiful birth.
BIRTH OF SUNNY
Midwifery: The profession or practice of assisting women in childbirth.
Throughout the course of my pregnancy people commented on my choice to use a midwife a lot. Typically it was people who were curious about the practice and how midwifery differed from an OB. Occasionally people excitedly shared their experience delivering with a midwife and praised my choice. Often I got worrisome looks and had to entertain all the “what if” scenarios that came to their minds.
The concerns came from a good place out of concern for me and my baby, but I truly believe it also came from a place of fear and misunderstanding. I did my due diligence when choosing a provider; I researched the practice, the different levels of education, questioned the methods and read the studies. I chose not to live in the land of fear and what if, and instead I trusted my body to do what it was made to do. I want to make one thing I believe very clear: the choice that each woman makes is hers, and there is no wrong choice. Midwife, OB, witchdoctor… whatever. Every woman should be able to choose what she is most comfortable with and be supported on her journey. Childbirth is a feat no matter the method; with the aid of drugs or not, vaginally or via cesarean, in the hospital or at home.
In the United States midwifery is on the rise, slowly. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) attended 332,107 births in 2014. This accounts for only 8.3% of births nationwide that year. The majority of these births occurred in hospitals, with only 3% of those births occurring in a birthing center, and 2.7% occurring at home. Why are so few babies born in the care of a midwife? A couple hundred years ago, when births were transitioning from the home to a hospital setting, smear campaigns were launched against midwives labeling the practice as dangerous. Later midwifery was banned altogether in the United States, but returned in the 1960’s. In the UK midwives attend 68% of all births, and their maternal mortality rate is nearly 1/3 of that of the US. A 2014 study conducted by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence determined that healthy women with low risk pregnancies were safer giving birth with the assistance of a midwife than they were with a doctor. In 2015 another study found that per every 100,000 live births in the United States, 26.4 women died of complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Compare that to the UK, where for every 100,000 live births only 9.2 women die.
Last year, on the evening of Christmas Eve 2016, two (very faint) pink lines changed life for my husband and I instantly. We had been “trying” for all of 19 days when that positive pregnancy test surprised us. I was excited right away, and started researching OBs. Being faced with a list of doctors I was unfamiliar with was overwhelming. So many thoughts and concerns ran through my mind while sifting through their names, pictures and medical backgrounds. Most of the OB’s operate on a call rotation for deliveries, so the chance that my doctor would deliver my baby was low. Who would deliver my precious baby girl? Would I feel comfortable with him/her? Would they honor my wishes and care about my experience? There were so many unknowns associated with this list, how was I supposed to choose?
I started asking around and got some great advice about the local doctors, but I still wasn’t enthused, mainly because of the above-stated concerns. Then one friend told me all about her experience at the Wenatchee Midwife Service & Childbirth Center. I couldn’t help but notice her smile and glow when she spoke of the midwives and her experience there. I needed to know more, so she directed me to check out their website and to watch a documentary called “The Business of Being Born”. I called my husband and told him all about this idea I had – to have a natural delivery in an out-of-hospital setting with a midwife. He wasn’t crazy about the idea, so when I got home we watched the documentary that had been recommended and decided that we’d schedule a consultation with the midwife center. Ben’s first order of business was finding out how they’d handle a situation that went south. The practice is committed to the health and safety of mother and baby, and any cause for concern is handled quickly and efficiently. I felt confident in their abilities to care for me and the baby; Ben had his reservations at first but supported me in my choice. He warmed up to it pretty quickly and later thanked me for talking him into it.
The Wenatchee Midwife Service & Childbirth Center is founded and owned by Laurie Braunstein. She began her journey in 1985 assisting women during home births and her practice has since grown into a clinic and community of women assisting and empowering families through the stages of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Laurie, Eva and Danelle are the midwives you’ll meet if you ever wander in to this magical place. Laurie is no longer delivering babies, but can be seen in the clinic on most days spreading cheer, and when absent her presence is still felt.
Eva and Danelle share patients throughout pregnancy, and as an expectant mother you will spend equal time with each midwife during prenatal appointments. Appointments last about an hour each and the midwife is with you through the duration of that appointment and performs all care herself. During labor and childbirth, either Eva or Danelle is present and supportive throughout the whole process, and each midwife has a birth attendant who is NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program) certified and present for active labor and delivery. All the same newborn screening and vaccinations offered at the hospital are offered through the midwife center, but here you get to be present and involved in the process instead of having your baby swept away and brought back an hour later. After childbirth is over, moms typically stay for 4- 8 hours, and if baby is born late at night you are welcome to stay the night if you wish. The day following delivery, your midwife will perform a home visit to ensure things are going well, and at this time will recheck weight, do the 24 hour newborn screenings, and address any concerns the new parents may have. The midwife who delivers will then take on postpartum care for mother and baby for 6 weeks and is also reachable by phone at all times.
My journey at WMS began January 23, 2017 and will soon come to an end. My experience thus far has been nothing short of amazing. My first appointment was with Eva, and while waiting for it to start Ben and I sat in the lobby and read all the names of babies who’d been born recently. They have a long roll of paper that serves as a running tally for all the babies they’ve delivered.
I really looked forward to visiting with Eva or Danelle each prenatal appointment, we always began by discussing my pregnancy and slowly formulating a birth plan, but almost always ended up joking and laughing about other things. I absolutely love Danelle’s sense of humor, and I could listen to Eva talk all day, she has the most soothing and angelic voice I’ve ever heard. Twice during pregnancy I had concerns and called in, both times I had a midwife on the phone in 5 minutes or less. The first time I had kidney stones, the second I had elevated blood pressure. With both of these issues I felt their genuine concern and care. Toward the end of pregnancy after a routine appointment Ben told me “I am so happy you chose the midwife center. You have two women caring for you who love what they do and really care about you.” It’s true, I felt love from these women, and I love them too.
Around 38 weeks I was just plain sick of being pregnant. I walked in for my weekly checkup and begged Eva to get things moving. She granted me my wish and did her best to convince Sunny it was time to start moving out. Danelle did the same for me a week later. Friday September first, 40 weeks pregnant, I lay in bed mentally preparing myself to take castor oil. Suddenly I heard a faint popping sound and that was it, my misery was coming to an end; my water had broken. I contacted Eva to let her know and the beginning of the end commenced.
Ben and I were so excited as we quickly ate breakfast, grabbed the labor bags, and stopped by Tyson’s school so I could hug him as my only child one last time (insert emotional hormonal momma ugly cry here). We headed to the birthing center to meet Eva. Once we arrived she checked my vital signs, listened to Sunny’s heart rate and did a couple of other things. When she was done she encouraged me to walk to regulate contractions. We happily set off down the alley, this was one of Ben’s favorite parts of the birthing center; the freedom we had to walk around outside. We enjoyed our time together with the comfort of knowing that Eva was accessible to us at all times. I felt like Shamu walking up and down the street with one foot on the sidewalk and one foot off and knew that I was a sight for sore eyes as the cars passed by.
After a couple hours of walking Eva recommended a series of yoga like positions called the Miles Circuit that was intended to progress labor. She knows her stuff, the circuit kicked contractions into high gear. Once active labor began I was offered the birthing tub, a giant Jacuzzi tub, which was one of the few items on my birth plan. When I got into the tub I remember breathing a sigh of relief as my body instantly relaxed. The birthing tub is as good as a milligram of morphine. I stayed there for the remainder of labor and Ben helped me through every single contraction by applying counter pressure to my hips, which was good for another milligram of morphine. For the last couple of hours I was surrounded by Ben, Eva and her birth assistant Danielle, and our birth photographer, Andrea, who is also one of my most loved friends. I felt more love and compassion in that room than I can remember at any other point in life. Sunny was born at 4:04 in the afternoon after about 9 hours of labor.
Natural childbirth can only be described as primal. I felt like an animal in the sense that even though this task required a huge amount of mental strength, my mind really was absent for the last couple hours and my body kicked in and instinct took over. All I could do was move forward one contraction at a time, one push at a time, until it was over. The moment Eva guided Sunny out and laid her on me is all a blur and I will be forever grateful to Andrea for capturing those moments. There is so much detail in the photos that I have no recollection of. In one photo I saw myself reaching for Sunny as Eva handed her to me, but I don’t remember reaching at all. In other photos I see the pain written in my expressions and I realize it really is true that a mother forgets almost instantly the pain of labor once they lay eyes on their child for the first time. I cannot put enough emphasis on the value of having these memories in the form of photos.
The whole midwifery experience was so special to me that it is difficult to put into words. From the very beginning Eva and Danelle were diligent in explaining each and every step and option to me and Ben. They put the knowledge into our hands and let us choose what felt right. In formulating a birth plan we started early, and they asked us things like who they should expect to show up when it was time for Sunny to be born. They made a list of those names and promised no one else would make it through the door should they find out I was in labor. They discussed different tests, treatments and vaccinations with us and asked us which ones we wanted. They never pushed anything on us, and if they disagreed with any of our choices they didn’t let on. During the labor process Eva was there for everything, but for much of it she remained in the shadows unless we wanted her to be front and center. When her birth assistant arrived any conversation between the two was hushed and minimal in an effort to respect the intimacy of our experience. There were no strangers, just friends. Eva checked me for dilation one time during the process, before I got into the bathtub to make sure I was far enough along in the labor process. Otherwise she was a quiet observer, monitoring my blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate. I remember asking her at one point if she needed to check dilation to know how close I was to pushing. She told me that my body would start to push on its own and at that point she’d begin to coach me through. I was not a pin cushion, nor was my body invaded regularly, and I was not hooked up to any uncomfortable monitors or machines. My body began to push on its own just like Eva had said it would. Once Sunny was born and she was given to me she was not taken away. Everything Eva needed to do and check was done while I held her.
When it was time to get out of the bathtub I passed Sunny off to Ben and walked to bed with Eva’s help. The placenta had a hard time coming out and the cord was weak so it couldn’t be guided. It ended up requiring more effort and support than I thought it would. While Eva worked on that Ben supported me and Andrea took care of Sunny, another huge bonus to having a friend present. Once it came out I got to snuggle up in a very comfortable bed with soft purple sheets – a stark contrast to the rough white sheets smattered with questionable stains on them at the hospital. We worked on breastfeeding and Ben and I relaxed and snuggled our new babe. After Sunny successfully latched Eva administered her Vitamin K shot. When she was done nursing Ben and Eva weighed her together and Eva gave her a good once over to ensure everything looked good. Once I ate and was able to pee we were free to go. At 8pm we were out the door. Eva checked our car seat, walked us out, gave us hugs and off we went. She came to see Sunny the next day at our home and that was so fun. Never did we have to enter a sterile, foreign environment throughout this process. Everything was warm, cozy, inviting and safe. No strangers, no wailing from the room next door. We went in for an office visit for Sunny’s one week appointment. It was so fun to see her name on the list of babies born.
The best way I can describe the relationship that we had with Eva is to compare it to a healthy relationship. There is love, commitment and empathy, and a sense of freedom to be whom and what you are. We very consciously built this relationship together. Ben loved the involvement we had in the whole process, and the support and commitment we received from our midwives. My body was allowed to do what it was made to do, in its own way and on its own time. There were zero interventions, minimal prodding and poking, and maximum amount of compassion. Where else can you find a provider who will sit on the floor next to you for hours and provide silent support? I would choose this over and over. I whole heartedly believe Ben and I chose the best start to life we could give our daughter. If you are in search of a provider to assist you through pregnancy I strongly encourage you consider a midwife.
AVERY'S BIRTH AT HOME
If you’re looking for personable, honest, and caring all-natural prenatal care and birthing experience then Wenatchee Midwife Service and Childbirth Center is the place to go. Our second baby was just delivered here after having such an incredible journey and delivery with our first in 2015.
I can not say enough amazing and positive things about the midwives Danelle and Eva. They were both there with our daughter and Danelle was here for the delivery of our son. All throughout both pregnancies I was given focused attention, unbiased information, and unwavering support through every aspect of pregnancy. During my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes which came as a huge surprise especially with continuous testing of normal blood sugars. Along with the diagnosis came an additional Dr consultation with weekly visits and non-stress test monitoring. If I had not been in the midwives care I would have been bullied and forced onto a pre-natal care and birthing path that I did not want or need. All of the midwives were incredibly supportive of my wishes, birth plan, and had trust that I could manage my blood sugar, grow a healthy baby, and bring him into this world without intervention. Their advice, guidance, and care was everything I needed to be able to progress through the last 4 months of pregnancy and deliver a healthy 7lb 12 oz baby boy in the environment and atmosphere that I felt most comfortable in.
The birthing suite is the most comforting and inviting space to bring a baby into this world. The freedom to move & act freely and use the space to my advantage during labor was exactly what we needed in each birthing experience.
Exactly one year ago today I got a call around 8am from my dear friend Whitney. Her water had broke and she was headed to the Childbirth Center to have a baby! I love her, so I was so honored when she asked me to be there as her friend, but also as her birth photographer. I had done a few “medicated” hospital births before, but never had I experienced a natural birth so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew it would be raw and beautiful but NEVER did I expect it to be as amazing as it was.
When I first got to the birthing center Whitney was laboring pretty hard and after a fairly hard contraction she looked at me and jokingly said, “if you do this again, go to the hospital and get the drugs.” The midwife there, Eva, got excited and asked if I was pregnant or planning to have any more. I just laughed because there was NO baby in sight. We had actually made the decision that we weren’t going to try anymore and were completely fine with just Paxton (our 10 year old). I laughed and brushed it off, but in the back of my mind thought to myself, “if we do have another this is exactly how I want to birth…surrounded by amazing women, Enrique (my husband) and Paxton. Birthing how I want…”
Fast forward a couple hours and Sunny was born. It was amazing. Whitney was so strong and labored so well. I saw my friend in more pain than she has ever experienced but I also saw her be stronger than ever before…when Sunny came up out of the water and was placed in her arms, I saw victory. I saw power. I saw pure magic. I saw what women are capable of.
I hung around for a little while longer to get a few pictures of little Sunny with her parents, but then I started to feel really sick. My stomach hurt and I just felt really off. I said my goodbyes and headed home…I remember calling Enrique to let him know I was on my way but to also let him know I didn’t feel good and would probably be going to bed when I got home. I felt terrible the whole ride home…I was really nauseaus and sweaty and my boobs started to hurt SO bad.
It HIT me…I WAS PREGNANT. I just knew it. As soon as I allowed myself to think about it, I already knew what would show up on the test. The next morning I went to the pharmacy and bought a test and the test line turned pink even quicker than the control line. I was having a baby.
So many people would ask me during my pregnancy why I wanted to birth at the birthing center where there was no option for an epidural. I didn’t really ever have a clear answer other than I knew the care I would receive would be amazing and simply because I could. I knew I could do it. I also knew it would be hard, but I was prepared for that. But MOST importantly I wanted to birth with the midwives FOR Paxton. I wanted him to be as big of a part of the birth as he wanted and I knew that Eva and Danelle would allow that and encourage it. And they did. During delivery Danelle made sure Paxton knew what was happening every step of the way. At one point during my final pushes it was too much for Paxton to see me in so much pain so he went outside, just like we discussed he could. But as soon as London was placed in my arms, Paxton was right there to see his sister because Danelle made sure to get him. He even had the privilege of cutting her umbilical cord-something he'll always remember.
I believe that every birth is beautiful and perfect no matter how you do it. In the hospital, at home, c-cection, with drugs or without.
BUT I can tell you that I have never felt more powerful in my own body and mind than I did when I gave birth to London. It was hard and I had to dig deeper than I ever have before, but I did it and it’s something I will remember for a lifetime.
So…this post is about me remembering a time that was so magical in my life, but also a shout out to Wenatchee Midwives. If you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant I encourage you to go meet the midwives and to tour the birthing center, because it was truly an amazing experience! I honestly know you won't regret it.
A year later and we've come full circle. We have our little girl and our family is now finally complete.
"To the Ladies of the Wenatchee Midwife Services,
I am so grateful for everything you have done for us since September. Words really can't describe how lucky I feel to have had all your help navigating the way on my pregnancy journey. Living in a new town and overcoming the obstacles presented by Coronavirus would not have been as easy if we were somewhere else with doctors who may not have drawn my blood with such care or given the space of a full hour at each appointment to hear my concerns or fears. The prospect of giving birth in your beautiful birthing center was so comforting. I didn't have any anxiety about what the atmosphere was going to be like, as I looked forward to the giant bathtub and being able to play my music and move around. It reminded me of places I have stayed on yoga retreats. It was also fun brainstorming snacks i could eat, which a hospital wouldn't have allowed. As it turned out, the only thing I could keep down was chocolate pudding! My baby may have been stubborn coming out, and of course we had no idea her head would be so big, but despite the prolonged labor, I wouldn't have wanted to change anything. With Danelle I knew I was in expert hands. When I became scared, I would just say, "Where's Danelle?" and she was always there holding space and her presence gave me renewed confidence. She let me do so much on my own. I can't imagine if she had said something like, "OK, time to get this baby out," and then brought over a vacuum or gave me drugs that numbed me, which has been a reality for so many women. I had gone in planning to have a quick labor (ha ha), but when that didn't happen I never felt disappointed in myself. I knew the baby was doing well because of how often we listened to her heartbeat, which was so reassuring. I can't say enough about how miserable I could have been in a hospital setting, with machines and people I don't know and Miella missing out on a once in a lifetime experience that she handled like a champ and will remember forever. I have never had an IV and I hope it stays that way. I could go on and on about how much I appreciate your services and how much I had the complete opposite of a "traumatic" birth experience (not even a tear - miraculous!! Or just a great midwife). After taking Libby's class I was even able to view throwing up as a good sign that yes, I was definitely close to giving birth. In all the books i read that was never mentioned.
I know that i will be eternally grateful for Laurie, Eva, Danelle, Libby, and Melissa for all the combined years of work that you have put in that lead to Naomi's perfect birth story at the Wenatchee Midwives Birthing Center.
A million thanks,
Melissa, Brandon, Miella, and Naomi