I will start off by saying that my birth experience with Titus was less than desirable and very painful and stressful. I gave in to the pressure of hospital staff and caved to pitocin and an epidural at the end. I felt like I had failed because, during my whole pregnancy, I was determined I was going to have a natural birth. But, I didn’t do what I needed to do to prepare for it. I read a little, but not near enough, took no birth class, watched no videos, and read no birth stories. I was totally unprepared for what I was about to go through and I really believe that’s why I was so weak during labor. My husband was also unprepared on how to deal with the hospital staff and their “rules”. He was very unhappy with how everything played out. We both decided after we came home from the hospital that we never wanted that type of birth again. We were going to do what needed to be done for me to have the birth that I wanted. (For my tips on how to have a natural pregnancy and birth, go here)
When I became pregnant with Asher, I knew what I wanted and knew what I needed to do to have the kind of birth I had hoped for with Titus. Even though I had liked the doctor I had when I was pregnant with Titus, I held off on making an appointment with him and looked into my options. My hope was that I could either have a home birth, a birth at a birth center, or a natural birth in the hospital. Having a natural birth in the hospital was my absolute last option. Thinking about having to labor in the hospital stressed me out. That wasn’t at all the kind of environment I wanted to labor in. I wanted to labor in a peaceful environment like my home or a birth center provides.
My sister-in-law, who was also pregnant at the time, was also looking into her options and ended up finding a midwife about 2 hrs away in Texas. She gave me the midwife’s contact information and we went for a consult. I ended up loving Charlotte (the midwife), birth center, and staff. I knew this was where I wanted to have my baby. THIS was what I wanted. So, we made follow up appointments with Charlotte and I became her client.
Going to a birth center is so much different than going to a doctors office. The birth center was very flexible. It was okay if you missed an appointment. No big deal, I’ll see you next month. It was okay if you couldn’t make a payment that day. No pressure, pay when you can. We understand. It was okay if you wanted to opt out of a test. Here’s what you need to make an informed decision about this test. Check here or here and sign here. ( I only took one blood test and my protein tests…that was the extent of my tests during my pregnancy. I opted out of every test I could. I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, so was free to do so). I built a relationship with Charlotte and her staff. When I called, Charlotte was the one that answered. We wouldn’t just talk about the changes my body was going through, my blood pressure, or swelling, we talked about names I was thinking about, how I hoped my labor would be, how the nursery was coming along, etc. It was amazing being able to build a relationship with my midwife. The more I got to know her and her staff, the more secure I felt under their care. I knew that they cared about me and wanted me to have the best birth experience possible.
Charlotte had her own library of books. Books ranging from getting pregnant to raising your kids. I loved being able to look through the books while I was waiting for my appointment, choosing ones that I thought would help me, and reading them later. I read every book I could get my hands on, watched all of The Business of Being Born films, and read lots of natural birth stories. I read blogs of doulas and women who had had natural births, I read Charlotte’s testimonials, I looked into birth classes, I did Bradley exercises and Barre… I did absolutely everything I could to prepare my mind and body for birth. I was hungry for information and knew that I needed all the information I could get so that I would understand what my body was going to experience, the emotional stages I would have to go through, and so that I could prepare my mind. The only thing I was afraid of was the pushing stage. You’ve heard of the ring of fire right? That’s real and I was scared of it. I finally read Birthing From Within in my last month of pregnancy and changed my mindset from “if I relax enough, this isn’t going to be very painful” to “this is going to hurt like heck, but I can deal with it. I’m a strong woman and the pain of labor will not last forever.” I needed that reset in my mind. That really helped me deal with labor.
Continued in Asher’s Birth Story Part 2: Labor and Delivery