Meet our Newest Princess: Miss Elliana Penelope

Elliana Penelope

Birth Story

Photography by: Tara Nicole Photography 

January 3rd, 2012 – I was so annoyed that I had to go to work this day, after a long weekend, I was hoping to go into labor and not return to work right away in the new year.  I could hardly sleep because I was hoping my water would break before I had to leave and at 5am or so I finally just got out of bed.  All day everyone stopped by my cubical at work and asked me what I was doing there – like I had a choice in the matter.  I guess I did, but that’s not important.  At lunch I had a suspicion that my water leaked a little bit and I soaked my liner I was wearing just in case but I still wasn’t having contractions.  At some point I got up to check the printer and something just felt different “down there”, like I was opening up (my cervix) but I also thought it was just wishful thinking at this point.  At 3:38pm I felt a contraction that lasted long enough for me to decide to record it on a post it note.  I timed 4 or 5 more before leaving at 4pm.  My husband, Dan, wanted to make Raisin Bran Muffins so I planned to stop a local natural foods store on the way home.  I had a really intense contraction about one block before the parking lot so I tried to call Dan, he didn’t answer so I decided to make a quick stop at the store for the ingredients.  I had a few contractions while I was in the store and tried to hide my grimacing face so no one would know I was in pain.  The cold air made my contractions a little more intense.  I called Dan once I got into the car and told him he should probably call his mom because I thought I might be in labor.  He agreed and hung up, only to call me back and ask “What do you mean you ‘think’ you are in labor?”  I told him that I would time the contractions on the way home for consistency and we should plan to have our 2 year old stay with his mom for the night just in case.  The contractions were lasting one minute long and 5 minutes apart the whole way to my house (about a half hour).  My mother in law was about 30 minutes away when I got home so I busied myself getting her bag ready and trying to eat something before we left for the hospital.  It was about 5:30pm when my mother in law arrived to take my little princess home with her.  I was able to poop before we left too which added to my denial because I was not able to do that with Ava’s labor, it just hurt to push…(TMI alert). Anyway, we left shortly after Ava was picked up and made it about 10 minutes away from the house when I realized we forgot the camera and made Dan turn around to go get it.  My contractions were more like 4 minutes apart at this point but I didn’t tell him they were getting closer together.  He took a different route to the hospital making me nervous because it seemed longer and the roads were snow covered.  During the drive to the hospital my contractions were 3 minutes apart and regular.  Dan was sweating because the heat was turned up so high in the vehicle so he rolled down the window at one point.  I waited until my contraction finished before I yelled at him and threatened him in some way to roll it back up – again the cold air was intensifying the pain.  When we got to the ER parking lot, some idiot was attempting to leave and blocking the entire entrance, Dan proceeded to yell and swear at him while I yelled at Dan to go around to the other entrance.  I was trying to hold it together.  As soon as I opened the vehicle door to get out the cold air hit me and the contraction was so intense that I didn’t think I could make it into the hospital which was quite the distance when in that much pain.  Somehow I made it in and a very excited friend from high school greeted us at the check in desk.  Her enthusiasm was irritating at the moment but somewhat entertaining.  She says “Yah! Come on over and we’ll get you checked in” in a very loud and excited voice.  Of course, my information was entered twice so that held us up but this friend called the OB nurse to bring a wheel chair for me.  When she got there, it was difficult to sit on the seat and not comfortable to stay in that position.  After I finally get in the chair the nurse bumps into the door frame…ouch! I was getting more irritated by the minute.  The walk to the elevator was not that far but I had several contractions on the way there.  Once we were in the elevator the nurse proceeds to lecture me on my decision not to get IV antibiotics for Group B strep.  I assured her that I did my research and I was not changing my mind.  In the meantime, my husband realizes that the nurse neglected to push the elevator button and we were not moving.  He says “Why aren’t we moving!?!” and pushes the button himself.   The lecture continued and she introduced me to the other nurse on duty that evening.  I hardly noticed what she looked like in the midst of contractions.  Once in the room, I finished a contraction in the chair stood up and made it a couple feet to the bed before another contraction started.  The nurse started her little talk about getting undressed and putting on a gown and providing a urine sample.  I asked Dan to help me get my boots off while I held onto the edge of the bed during a contraction.  Somehow I managed to make it to the bathroom and provide a urine sample but when I stood up my water broke and I looked down and said “Oh, I’ve got a leak” and sat back down.  I let the nurse know and made it to the bed before another contraction started.  She checked me and had a concerned look on her face and made a comment about being fully dilated then ran to tell the other nurse to get the doctor.  She started an IV “just in case”.  I had another contraction and told her that I wanted to push.  She told me to wait because the doctor was not there yet.  After the next contraction I told Dan that I wanted him to help me squat because it would help the pushing phase go faster (Ava’s pushing time was 2.5 hours so I was anticipating a long time).  Apparently he looked down and saw hair and told me I should wait until the nurse came back to help him.  When she came back she must have seen what Dan saw and inclined the bed so my tush was in the air and my head was lower.  The doctor showed up and I announced that I needed to push.  He was really good about guiding my pushing.  I pushed 2 or 3 times in approximately 5 minutes and she was out.  After the first push he said I was doing good and he could see the head.  I thought that was great and kept pushing.  He says “the heads almost out, keep pushing” during the next push and I thought “hold crap, I can’t believe it but okay let’s do it”.  There was only one short moment where he told me not to push and I wanted to so bad but then with the next push she was out.  I remember feeling her body slide out and saying “Oh my god, she’s already out” in disbelief and relief.  I got to the hospital at 6:45pm and she was born at 7:16pm.  They put her on my to clean her and the umbilical cord was tickling my stomach.  Dan cut the cord and continued to take pictures.  I didn’t rip or tear at all, no meds, no need for the IV.  Baby girl was 7 pounds 4 ounces, 20 inches long with a 13.5 inch head circumference.  Her breathing was rapid but regulated fairly quickly.  My blood pressure was steady.  They didn’t argue too much about the vitamin K shot that I was refusing even though they said it was their policy and told me it was illegal in other states to refuse it.

Dan called everyone and said “We’re Done” and proceeded with the stats.  We got mixed responses from people thinking we were just getting to the hospital, to thinking we were being sneaky and not telling them but most wanted to know her name which wasn’t decided until the next day.  We named our second little princess “Elliana Penelope”.

Ava came with Dan the next morning and was so excited to meet her new little sister.  She wanted to hold her and hug and kiss her.  She was really good considering all the changes.  She fell asleep on me in the hospital bed for a short time.  It was so sweet.

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Birth Stories: Juliet and Nora


 Juliet and Nora

While I was pregnant with my first daughter my pregnancy was anything but uneventful! As we got closer to the due date I could tell Juliet was not much of a mover, and I just had a feeling that there was more to the story than her just not wanting to move….I went in for my last ultrasound where they confirmed she was breech and the doctor gave me the option of turning her or a C-section. I was not seeing my “normal” doctor that day so I waited until the next week to discuss the options with me. Once I met with him at 37 weeks he informed me that turning her would not necessarily work, and would be very painful, once again my body told me not to go that route and at 39 weeks I had a cesarean section and my beautiful daughter … Now here comes the Fun part! I had never had any type of surgery before, first time with an I.V., first time in the hospital! My anesthesiologist had a student, who was very nice and much friendlier than the doctor, so I didn’t argue nor did I feel that I had a choice in the situation so I went with it. Nice girl, but after 7 pokes, YES 7 she finally got it, now I didn’t known that she was doing it “wrong” until the fourth poke…the nurses started to get a little closer, hold a little tighter, and talk a little nicer. Once she hit the spot I swore I was paralyzed. I then got a headache, sick to my stomach… The OR got very quiet and I knew something was going on, after a lot of tugging, nurses literally jumping on my stomach, Juliet was born, healthy and off with daddy! I then got stitched back together and off to recover, my doctor stopped by and informed me that Juliet had a short cord, and it was good that we didn’t try to turn her we could have not only lost her! They probably would have lost me too!!!

Even after my negative experiences I was still ok with having a C-section the second pregnancy. I signed a paper stating I would have to have a C-section the second time around if I wanted to have her at the same hospital. So throughout my second pregnancy I just knew what was at the end, but was going to do things a little different this time. So at 39 weeks I scheduled to deliver Nora, this time I asked more questions when speaking with the anesthesiologist told him my fears, and concerns from last time. He seemed to be on the ball, well then we got into the O.R…. It felt like forever for the actual “poking” to take place, things seemed slower this time, which not always a bad thing! After medicated, the sugary began. I felt very numb and comfortable this time, and the surgery went fine. After I went into the recovery room, I did not get to hold Nora I became so sick I couldn’t even move. Even after I was transferred back to my room I was vomiting sick and just plan out of it. I was unable to breast feed, I was unable to sit…I could barely move when Juliet came to meet her baby sister…I did my best for her but I was a mess. I asked my nurse why I was so sick and why Nora wasn’t crying or awake, she said it was the medication and it was affecting Nora also. I felt very sad about this since I had cut everything out to have a healthy baby… (even lunch meat) I was over the top! I am glad this was not my first C-section because I wouldn’t have wanted one a second time!

I have to say I loved my doctor, the hospital took care of us and even though it is not a fairy tale story! It is my story, and I have two beautiful daughters and I would do it all over again to have them here healthy and safe!

Birth Story: Baby Joshua


I asked a lot of questions about labor from girlfriends since my mother and sister both had c-sections due to breech presentation with their first babies. I had heard that sometimes the speed and difficulty of labor runs in families, but since they weren’t able to offer any information on contractions, etc…. I even asked my doctor if breech presentation ran in families in her experience where it might become more likely for me. She said probably not. Well…my son was head down towards the end like he was supposed to be and 2 weeks before my due date at my appointment she thought maybe he had flipped butt first. She recommended going to get an ultrasound the first of the week (I think it was Friday) to confirm, then schedule a c-section for the end of that week if necessary. I had read about tricks to flip the baby using positions or manual manipulation, but was not dead-set against a c-section if it was recommended by the doctor.

On that Monday the ultrasound confirmed he had flipped (so maybe that was the single “contraction” I had the other morning when I thought I might have finally experienced a Braxton-Hicks). Man! We had almost made it to the end! So maybe it does have a family component….

The next day I was babysitting my nephew and talking with my husband who had stopped home from work for a quick lunch. We were discussing the pros and cons of getting to plan the date of birth as far as using the fewest days of vacation for him to get the longest time off, etc. I was a little bummed about not getting to experience the excitement of my water breaking and the adrenaline of rushing to the hospital. My husband reminded me that that exciting moment might end up being at 3 am and I was a little less bummed. During this conversation I walked over to sit on the couch and thought I had an “accident”. Most pregnant women know this is not uncommon when you laugh or sneeze, but I had done neither. So I went to the restroom and there was more and then I called to my husband that I think my water broke. He kept asking if I was sure, which I wasn’t at first, but then I started mentally going through the checklist of the things I had read to watch for and then I was sure.

I just couldn’t stop smiling as we gathered our bags together, called his work, and called my mom to let her know we were dropping off my nephew and headed to the hospital. Bring on the adrenaline and excitement! Felt weird sitting on towels in the car on the way there (how much fluid is there?) but was excited to feel a few little contractions on the way as another confirmation that it was the real thing. When we were checked in and filled everyone in about the recent breech discovery, they wanted to confirm that again and had to do a lab test to confirm I was indeed in labor. I was told since I just had lunch they were going to have to wait and hour or two to do a c-section, which sounded okay because that would give our families some time to get there. The contractions were getting stronger, but just real bad cramps at this point. My doctor came in and checked me, then sat down to discuss c-section a little more since we were early and hadn’t more than briefly touched on it at my appointment the last week. She told me about how they can try to turn the baby, how successful that normally is and what it feels like (not comfortable), etc. When I told her I was okay with a c-section, she said she was relieved since most attempts are not successful and especially with it being my first baby a breech delivery would probably be very difficult. She also told me that I had the option of staples or stitches-she always does stitches because the scarring is usually less and they dissolve on their own. I was also was informed that most hospitals/doctors do staples because it takes about half the time and is therefore cheaper. Um, yes, stitches, please. She checked me again and I was dilating and progressing faster than they thought, so she upped the schedule and said I’d be in surgery in about half an hour.

I was grateful I had listened to the description of epidurals in our classes, and everything went just as described with who was there, what they’d tell me and what I would be able to feel. It felt like a long time before they held my little guy up for me to see right after, then they bundled him up and daddy got to hold him right by me as they started to patch me up. An even 8 pounds-so much for being a week early (our own figures were right all along!) ! I was coherent and could tell what was going on, although recovery was a little groggy (and a little nauseous) for the next half hour or so. Yes, that is precious bonding time, but the babe was with daddy and family and was in good hands. They made sure I was comfortable and gave me some anti-nausea medicine, anti-itch meds (the epidural can cause this reaction I guess) and pain meds that would not interfere with breastfeeding, then rolled me down to my room. And ladies-take advantage of the nursery! Of course when my husband and I were awake, he was with us in our room, but in the middle of the night while baby is sleeping, try to sleep too. My nurses were excellent in bringing him down whenever he was hungry, but not disturbing us if a diaper was all that needed fixing. They would come back after a bit to see if nursing was going okay, and if he was done, and then cuddle him back to bed. After the first night they didn’t check in as often which gave us some privacy, or they would just leave him to snooze with me until the next feeding.

The lactation nurse was very helpful the next day, and I was thankful the breastfeeding was going smoothly. I was also glad my husband was there to listen to her instructions too so he could help me remember and help move the baby into position. At first the pillows and boppies and stools are a lot to get arranged correctly when you are still figuring out what position works best. I had heard stories about other nurses being a little too helpful or intrusive, but mine were nice and asked before they started manhandling anything or showing me a technique that was touchy-feely. Another recommendation-make sure you go to the lactation nurse as recommended after discharge (maybe a week or two after?). It’s nice to hear confirmation that your baby is growing well and eating enough and her tips to help with the engorgement when your nipples are getting raw were way helpful. When they tell you you’ll know when your milk officially “comes in” they aren’t kidding! My trick I’ll for sure use next time is using those frozen slushy treats (all hooked together in plastic tubes) to help cool those milk-makers off for that 48 hours (or so) that is pretty uncomfortable.

So now my little guy is 1 year old and we are expecting number 2 this fall, and look forward to another good experience- whether c-section or natural this time I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The Midwives of London: the Waterbirth of Baby Diana

Retrieved from:
This is very similar to what I hope I can do with my second pregnancy/birth.  I would love to have a water birth.

The Midwives of London: the Waterbirth of Baby Diana

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by Melanie, Web Editor | | Find Out More About Melanie, Web Editor |

Thank you to Jennifer Barton for this guest post.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was incredibly excited. And absolutely petrified. In addition to the big, scary questions – Is labor as painful as they say? Am I going to be a capable parent? – I had another worry.

Even though I’m from New York, I live in the United Kingdom. I would be having my baby in London, under a health system I didn’t know or understand.

This meant free healthcare throughout pregnancy (score!) and also midwife-led care, unless I developed complications or had a problematic labor. I was definitely worried about this non-interventionist approach in the beginning. I had always assumed I’d spend my pregnancy surrounded by doctors, ready to administer a shot of anything I needed – just in case.

I look back at that scared person who felt insecure and incapable of delivering a child and I can’t help but smile at the way things ended up. I never had to see a doctor during pregnancy and I never wanted or needed to. I ended up having a water birth with no intervention other than Entonox (gas and air). It was without a doubt the most intense and empowering experience of my life, and I have never felt happier or more fulfilled.

How did I go from natural birth skeptic to Spiritual Midwifery-convert? It was all thanks to my midwives. I registered with a caseload midwife team which meant that a group of midwives in my area were responsible for my prenatal, delivery and postnatal care. Two midwives were assigned to me and they were calming, gentle, confidence-inspiring and stern (when necessary!). I always had the utmost confidence that my baby and I were in the best of hands.

One of the brilliant aspects of the UK healthcare system is that many hospitals are equipped with birthing centers with pools. It was the ideal scenario for someone like me, who was determined to have a water birth but didn’t want to give birth at home. I understood that complications of any kind would mean that my dreams of water birth would sink, but as soon as I conquered my fear of laboring naturally (thanks in part to pregnancy yoga and prenatal childbirth classes), I felt I could cope with any given scenario.

As my due date approached, I frantically devoured pineapples in an attempt to get things moving (I was terrified of having to be induced since it seemed that often led to unnecessary intervention – how things change!) and I was rewarded for my efforts when my water broke at exactly midnight on my due date.

I labored through the night and when my midwife arrived in the morning and examined me I was told that I was 9 cm dilated and would only make it to the hospital in time if I took an ambulance. When I arrived, things had slowed down enough so that there was time to fill up the pool.

I felt almost relaxed as I sunk into the warm water and my midwife pressed cold compresses to my forehead and used lavender oil to help soothe me during contractions. Even when I shrieked and moaned and thought I wasn’t capable of going through with it, she helped me stay focused and positive.

After 12 hours of labor, my precious baby girl, Diana, was born, weighing 8 lbs, 8 oz. I got to hold her straightaway (even as I delivered the placenta, out of the pool) and because there hadn’t been any tearing or complications, I was never separated from her for a moment.

We went home later that night, completely euphoric. And after a sleepless (and scary) first night with my newborn, the next day, my other midwife was back to check in on me. They both came back to examine me and baby for the next several weeks, until I was confident with breastfeeding and Diana had regained her birth weight. And they were a phone call away when I had my first bout of mastitis at 8 weeks.

We’re still in touch. Last month – nine months after giving birth – I saw them at a reunion party they had for all of the mothers whose babies they delivered.

The IVs and injections and doctors I had once expected to be part and parcel of my birthing process turned out to be unnecessary, and I couldn’t have asked for a better birthing experience. And if I am lucky enough to get pregnant a second time, there’s no question that I’ll be turning to my midwives once again.

Jennifer Barton is a freelance writer based in London who writes on pregnancy and birth for She also blogs on the (mis)adventures of life with a baby, The Newborn Diaries, on ParentDish UK. Follow her musings on motherhood on Twitter @JenBNYC.

Great Water Birth Story

Retrieved from (being pregnant link)

This has always been something that I wanted to try wiht my birth but it is “not allowed” in my area in a controlled environment such as a hospital or birthing center.  It’s too bad because this sounds amazing.  I know several people who live in my area who have had successful home births, some in the water and some out of the water.  What an amazing experience.

Why I Love Water Birth

Posted by KateTietje on April 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am
Daniel after birth 300x225 Why I Love Water BirthDaniel and me right after birth

Oh, water birth….

The first time I heard of it, I thought it sounded weird. And kind of gross. And, just kind of…wrong. Why would you want to birth your baby into water when it was trying to learn to breathe immediately? What kind of sense did that make? Of course, I was super mainstream with my first pregnancy (OB all the way, hospital birth, disposable diapers, and so forth).

That all changed slowly after my first baby arrived, and water ended up playing a really integral part in my second birth. Keep reading to find out why I love water birth now.

After the semi-disastrous experience the first time (“semi” because ultimately, everyone was healthy…just not very happy, and we had various feeding and other minor struggles in the early weeks), I knew I wanted things to be different the second time around. We went through a whole bunch of different thoughts about birth; first saying we were thinking about a home birth — but we were very nervous about that (I was convinced, because of my first experience that I “couldn’t do it” on my own). So we decided to do a hospital birth in a practice that had midwives and OBs.

But then even that ended up seeming too ‘medical’ to us, and we sought a doula…who happened to be a midwives’ apprentice too, and we discussed homebirth with her. I expressed my concern that I wouldn’t be able to take the pain and I’d have to get an epidural again. She very practically said, “If you need it…then you transfer and get it.” Oh. Right. We were less than 10 minutes from the nearest hospital, and it happened to be a very mom-and-baby-friendly one too. It gave me just enough confidence that I wanted to go with a home birth. If I could do it, great. If I couldn’t…that hospital was right there waiting for me (and they have tubs, too!).

(As a side note, I now think that mentality — that I “couldn’t” do it, that I could always transfer, that I really didn’t have full confidence in my ability to give birth without ‘management’ really held me back. I spent quite a lot of time in active labor wondering if I actually could do it, and made no progress for hours and hours, almost 12 hours of active labor. When I kind of forgot about whether or not I could and relaxed, things moved fast. But I’m getting to that.)

So, then it came time for birth. My contractions got into a regular pattern, 5 minutes apart, right at 8:30 (bedtime!) on July 15th. I was able to rest/sleep/ignore until about 2:30 am, when a strong contraction woke me up. After that things were too active for me to get anymore rest. Still I made no progress at all from 2:30 until 7:30, when I started crying and begging them to just take me to the hospital, even though trying to walk around, pack a bag (no, I didn’t do it in advance…), and get in the car was the absolute last thing I wanted. I also didn’t want to be separated from my daughter for a day or so, whom I hadn’t (and still haven’t) ever left overnight. I didn’t like anything about the “let’s go to the hospital” scenario, except the chance to make the intensity stop for awhile so I could rest.

At that point, they all (my husband and the two midwives) told me I needed to just rest, find something to slow things down (my contractions had been every 2 minutes for hours), and relax. My husband dragged me down the hall and said, “You will get in the water, right now.” I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to do anything. But he basically made me. Then they all left the room and (I later learned) had a little conference about what to do. He said I didn’t mean what I was saying and I didn’t really want to go to the hospital. They decided to try using the water and coaching to help me through.

At first I just tensed up in the water, fighting the pain, because I was so exhausted. I just wanted it to stop. But they all came back and coached me to relax, brought me water, talked me through it. They realized the water was rather cool (I hadn’t said anything) and replaced it with warmer water, which helped me to relax further. I reclined in the tub, forcing my body to work with the contractions and breathing deeply, instead of fighting.

I regained some composure. I felt that I could do it again, I could get through it. I was semi-watching the clock, just to see how long it had been, at first making deals — if nothing was happening by a certain time, maybe I’d ask to go to the hospital. But I was mostly focusing on my body and my baby at that time. I was no longer distracted by what I “should” do, or movies on TV, or anything else. I was just thinking about my baby. I kept my hand on his head most of the time (that ought to tell you how far I really was then — though I didn’t realize it!). Very soon, I started to bleed a bit, and feel a strong urge to push.

This freaked everyone out, because I had gotten in the water maybe 30 minutes earlier! I’d been stuck at 4 cm for hours upon hours and they were sure couldn’t be anywhere near ready. But I was about 6 cm then. Within 10 minutes, I was still bleeding slightly with each contraction and having an even stronger urge to push. They were worried about the bleeding and made me get out. (We’ve learned I tend to bleed easily from my cervix, but it’s normal for me, it’s not a problem — and it wasn’t much, anyway.)

At that point I still wasn’t sure I could really do it. But then the midwife checked me and I was 8 cm! She called the other midwife (who’d gone to breakfast) and told her to get back right now because the baby was on his way! That was when I suddenly realized I was doing it, this was really going to happen and it was almost over! The rest of this is mostly a blur to me. I remember her suddenly appearing in front of me, trying not to push, my husband breathing with me and yelling at me to blow and not push…. I remember them trying to move the last lip of cervix then telling me I could actually push. I didn’t even really hear them, but then I thought I had and said, “Wait, I can push?” They said yes!

In just three pushes, about two minutes, Daniel was born. It was that fast. I didn’t tear, either.

The water made the difference. He wasn’t born in the water because they were worried about the bleeding, but he would have been. I was in the water until moments before he was born and I did not want to get out. It was the water that allowed me to finally relax, and trust my body, and just focus on how my body felt and how my baby was doing. I felt disconnected from the experience up until that point. Then after I got in, I lost sight of everything but what was going on inside me. That was what I had needed — because in just over an hour I went from 4 to birth!

It’s safe to say that we will definitely be using a tub with this new baby! And much sooner, too! As soon as I am in really active labor and feel the urge to get in, I will. I had actually asked to get in sometime around 3:30 or so in the morning but they told me it was too soon, that it would slow things down. But of course that’s not what happened. (We know this now — so they’ll let me get in sooner!)

Water birth is amazing. It truly is. It removes the weight of your body so you aren’t focusing on positions or soreness or anything; you are able to just focus on yourself and your baby.

Hummingbird Health and Natural Birth

Here is a great article posted by Hummingbird Health out of Harbor Springs, MI. 

Prior to the 1930’s, more than 90% of all births in the U.S.A. occurred at home.  Then women were offered “pain free” birthing with medications in the hospital setting. It didn’t take long for the concept of “better living through chemistry” to catch on, and less than a century later, 99% of all births are now performed in a hospital. With this 99%, the United States now has the dubious distinction of having the highest Cesarean rate ( 31%) and the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized country.  The World Health Organization has declared that  NO country is justified in having a c-section that exceeds 10%.  Despite this, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently passed a resolution saying “the safest setting for labor, delivery and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex.”  According to the AMA, the reason for this resolution was due to recent media attention given to homebirths and their fears that more women would start to question whether a hospital really is the best option.

Statistically, there is plenty of data to support the choice to birth at home. The European countries that use Midwives and support decisions to birth at home have far fewer c-sections (under 5% in most cases), lower infant deaths, and lower death rates for the mothers due to complications of medical interventions.  

My mother was a labor and delivery nurse for over 30 years, and I’ve had the pleasure of being present at many births, both in the home and the hospital setting, myself.   We both agree that the hospital environment has turned birthing (the most natural process in the world) into a high-tech, high-intervention big business. Statistics support this as well.  Birthing is the number one reason for admission to a hospital in the US and it accounted for nearly four trillion dollars in health care costs last year, and these costs keep growing. No wonder the AMA and hospitals are afraid of women taking birthing back into the home. It would hit their pocket books… hard.  The average birth costs more than $8,000.00 not including all the pre- and post- natal care.  On the other hand, a midwife and a doula for a home birth is typically less than $3,900.00 and includes ALL the costs; prenatal, birth, and postnatal care. 

I have to say that I much prefer the home setting in most cases. I can list dozens of reasons why the home setting is better:  decreased risk of infection, little to no unnecessary interventions, freedom to choose any number of birthing positions, dad can delivery his child if he chooses, no rush to cut the cord (too soon, and the instance of jaundice and other nutritional issues increases), no whisking off the baby to be cleaned & blood typed and otherwise poked and prodded, quiet bonding time for mom, dad, baby and any other family members, the freedom to eat, the freedom from the mandatory saline lock or I.V., etc, etc, etc… I could go on for days.  But there is only one reason why I would want to be in the hospital; that very rare crisis. And I do mean rare, like a prolapsed cord – where the cord comes out ahead of the baby and gets pinched, cutting off the necessary blood and oxygen supply to the baby.  However, these kind of events only happen in less than 1 out of every million  births and in which case, given the mortality rate in the hospital setting, there is no guarantee that the outcome will be any better in the hospital than it would be at home. So, we are in full support of all the women who are looking at the option of a home birth.

Bring on the Birthing Centers!

Obviously I am passionate about women’s choices in their birthing options and I think this is something that Northern Michigan would benefit greatly from.  Please read the following and hopefully you are in agreement and support the cause.  I would love to have a birthing center in the area to have my children, at this point we only have the option to use a doctor in the hospital or a midwife at home…not a lot of options for those who are intimidated or cautious about a home birth but want a more holistic birth experience than the hospital often offers.  Please let me know your thoughts!

Help make Birth and Women’s Health Centers part of a national solution


The Birth and Women’s Health Center Act

The American Association of Birth Centers has developed new legislation which would make non-profit Birth Centers eligible for a range of federal grants similar to the type of grants made to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

Proposed Legislation

Under the proposed legislation, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services would make funding available to public and nonprofit entities for the following projects:

  • Planning grants for the development of new Birth and Women’s Health Centers
  • Operating grants including construction grants
  • Grants to support models of care that focus on reducing infant mortality and disparities for women and babies
  • Access grants for clients with limited English speaking proficiency
  • Grants that focus on treating obesity or diabetes
  • Grants that focus on adolescents or on instituting the “centering pregnancy” model of care
  • Grants to utilize or incorporate telehealth applications into services
  • Grants that will allow the center to expand dental health or mental health services for pregnant or postpartum women, or pediatric services for infants and children.



While we have made progress in the last 10 years expanding Birth Centers, much more needs to be done. Our goal should be to make sure that every underserved area in America has a federally funded Birth Center and that midwifery care in a Birth Center is available to communities with poor maternal and infant outcomes.


Bipartisan support is critical to our efforts. We are looking for lead sponsors and co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate.

  1. Call your Representatives and Senators ( U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121).
  2. Ask to speak to  your Senator’s or Representative’s  health legislative aide.
  3. Ask them to sponsor or co-sponsor the Birth and Women’s Health Center Act.
  4. Please let Karen Fennell (AABC’s lobbyist) know of your contacts with legislators.
    Tell her who you talked with and any comments or additional information requested. Call Karen at 301-830-3910; Send email to


Suggested Talking Points

Birth and Women’s Health Centers: Part of a National Solution  

  • Birth Centers increase access to care including rural areas.    
  • Birth Center improve maternal health and infant outcomes for all populations.
  • Birth Centers reduce maternal and infant health disparities.
  • Birth Centers increase breastfeeding rates.    
  • Birth Centers reduce cesarean section rates.
  • Birth Centers provide safe, quality care that costs less – Download the Birth Center Savings chart .


 Help us create a win-win for all: reduced health care spending and healthy mothers and babies.

Alexis – Introduction to a Home Birth Story

Here is a little about our pregnancy and childbirth, and what forms our opinions of a natural birth. While this may seem “extreme” to some, it is what came natural to us:

Prior to even getting pregnant, we realized an issue with Robyn’s thyroid. Knowing that could become an issue when we decided to start a family, we had it confirmed by Bridget Houston, and began to strengthen her hormone systems. Robyn also started taking a prenatal, knowing that nutrition was vital long before a pregnancy even begins. In October of ’07, Robyn’s thyroid finally came into balance, and weeks after we suspected we were pregnant, only to find out it was a chemical pregnancy. Around Valentine’s Day we had our first interview with Kathi Mulder in Traverse City, the closest midwife we could find that came to Petoskey (have since found out about another). Finally, on March 6th, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We went and saw Bridget the next week, and confirmed we were expecting! With no intentions of having an ultrasound, we were quite surprised when Bridget asked us if we wanted to know what we were having. Our immediate reaction was no, but at lunch afterward, we changed our mind. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in touch with her that afternoon, and she was closed the next day. 2 impatient days later, we were told we were having a girl! A few weeks go by, and then the nausea started. With our cabinets filled with ginger lozenges, nux vomica, and sprite in the fridge, we tackled the all day, all night, what-idiot-coined-the-phrase morning sickness. At 20 weeks Robyn started bleeding, and we called our midwife. Turns out she was on vacation out of country, and I spoke with her apprentice, who assured us it was normal. The next morning, as the bleeding had increased, we got ahold of Bridget and she got us in immediately. Turns out her progesterone levels had plunged, which prepares the body for the monthly cycle! In our quest to find something that Robyn could stomach, we discovered she could eat Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits. As any good husband would do, I went out and bought several boxes. Come to find out that morning that the rosemary was causing her progesterone to drop! This event reassured us that our approach was right for our pregnancy. As we progressed further into the 3rd trimester, we were given a few tips to prepare Robyn for delivery. When we finally went into labor 10 days past our due date, Robyn birthed our beautiful baby girl at 9 lbs, 4 oz, and 22 inches at home in a birthing pool in our nursery. Such a fitting place! I gave Alexis her first adjustment just minutes later. We had her first check-up with Bridget at 6 days old. Mild jaundice, and the recommendation was to drink a hoppy beer! I couldn’t have been happier! Then she said it was for Robyn. To this date, Lexi has never been to a medical doctor, never vaccinated, never on any antibiotics, eats organic, mostly gluten free, has a green drink (her power juice!) every morning, was potty trained at 15 months, and even says please and thank you! Her health care consists of regular chiropractic adjustments, and periodic trips to Hummingbird Health.

I was the first of 4 home births in my family. The first 2 were attended by midwives, the second two were not. They weren’t unassisted, but my father (also a chiropractor) realized if it’s uncomplicated, all you do is catch.

We are not sharing this with you because we think our birth is “better,” or that it’s “the right way to do it.” We just wanted to share with you exactly where we are coming from, so you can get a better understanding. Does medicine have it’s place? Absolutely. Without medical intervention, many people would not survive serious complications. What most don’t realize is that it’s the medical interventions that lead to the serious complications!

Stay tuned for the full birth story, coming soon!

Birth Story – Ava Piper

Ava's 1st photo shoot!


Ava Piper 7/26/2009 Mommy and Ava, 1st night together






Pregnancy –

I am a very organized person so of course about 6 months prior to planning to try to conceive, I met with my doctor (family doc not OB) and asked her what I should be doing to prepare my body and when I should go off the pill in order to conceive the month that I had planned.  Well, I decided to go off the pill in April of 2008 hoping to get pregnant by June in hopes of having an April baby.  One thing I did not expect was that my body did not cooperate immediately; my cycle did not begin until July, thus I did not get pregnant by June.  By June I was beginning to freak out thinking that something was wrong with me.  I took several pregnancy tests thinking that maybe I was already pregnant.  No such luck.  It turns out, my body just takes a little while to adjust from the hormones.  By August I was really frustrated and sad so I bought a puppy, which was not the smartest thing I have ever done because he was not potty trained until recently (December 2010) due to lack of energy and motivation on my part.  I digress; I found a few websites that helped to track my cycle and found some ovulation detectors and pregnancy tests that were quite inexpensive.  I began using the family planning method in order to become pregnant…and it worked!! I believe we conceived on Halloween of 2008! Immediately I was reading books and searching the internet for everything I could find on pregnancy and babies.


I called my doctor and confirmed my pregnancy at 8 weeks.  She referred me to an OB friend of hers and I had another appointment at 10 weeks with the new OB who used an ultrasound to determine the due date.  I was so excited and nervous all at the same time and had certain expectations of my new Doctor.  So when she walked in and said “Hi, my name is …” “Who’s this guy?”  I was a little caught off guard.  My husband was standing near me with his work jacket on.  My first thought was “You idiot, didn’t you read my chart?” Luckily, my husband has a sense of humor and said “Hi, I’m the Cable Guy, I’m here for the show” and laughed it off.  I was a little peeved and decided not to let that ruin what I was expecting to be more exciting than it had been so far.  So I got the ultrasound and the doctor told me my baby was due 7/27/09, I was bummed already because the internet estimated 7/21/09…oh well, I was having a baby!  I forgot to mention my appointment had already been cancelled and rescheduled twice that day which added to my frustration. Meanwhile the doctor was a little energetic and she kept buzzing around the little room we were in telling me to go off my prenatal vitamins that I had been on for over a year without any problems, telling me how to get ahold of her in an emergency, telling me what I could not eat, and all within a very short time. I felt like I should have been taking notes; she was talking so fast and continued to buzz around the room.  She kept saying “Hmm, is there anything else I should tell you?” Like I would know…  So, that experience made me question whether I should seek a new doctor but I kept my appointments for a short time until I heard from a CPS worker friend of mine who told me a few horror stories about this person.  I immediately switched doctors, and thus hospitals.  Unfortunately, I had to see all 5 doctors in the practice because I was a new patient.  I ended up liking two of them but they were hard to schedule with.  I saw them most of the time but the doctor who ended up delivering my sweet little Ava was the doctor I absolutely hated.  In the one and only appointment I had with him I expressed my desire to have a natural birth without drugs and told him my fears of C-sections.  He replied very matter of factly “If you need a C-section, you will have a C-section, and you will just have to deal with it” needless to say I was taken aback by his purposeful statement and lack of consideration for my uneasiness with the whole procedure.  I swear my husband was holding me down in the chair because I felt the urge to fly across the room and strangle him.  So that flashed through my head in the delivery room.  Otherwise, my pregnancy was fairly uneventful which was a good thing.  I was constantly concerned about gaining too much weight and exercising as to prepare for the duration of labor while also hoping that it would assist in my efforts to lose the baby weight after delivery.

Ava’s birth –

My due date fell on a Monday and no baby.  By Thursday I convinced myself that I was in labor even though my Braxton hick’s contractions were not too uncomfortable.  They were less than 5 minutes apart but not extremely painful.  I told myself that maybe I just had a high pain tolerance – yeah right.  So I called the doctor’s office around 4pm (their closing time) and the nurse instructed me to come in. As soon as we got there, the nurse took one look at me and said “You aren’t in labor, you look to comfortable”.  She was right; I was still dilated to 2 and effaced 95%.  I had been effaced 95% for like a month and dilated to two just as long.  Oh, and one of the doctors told me my daughter would be born before 4th of July so I got really excited – she was 6 days late! So much for that prediction.  The fourth of July would have made her 3 weeks early.


Actual labor felt like period cramps to me so I disregarded them.  I thought I was constipated and bloated so I didn’t really think anything of it.  It was a Saturday and I was getting a head-start on my birth announcements. I make my own greeting cards and I thought this would be a great way to announce my daughter’s birth.  I remember talking to my mom during the day too and she mentioned that I should start keeping track of the cramps.  At about 6pm, I decided to go for a walk because the cramps were steady and ranging from 6 to 8 minutes apart.  It was a really nice sunny day and a lot of my neighbors were outside so I stopped to chat with them and casually mentioned I thought I was in labor so I was walking to see if the cramps would continue or go away.  I think I freaked most of them out because I was walking alone but I only went a mile very close to home and surrounded by neighbors that knew me.  I also called my dad to let him know I thought I was in labor during my walk so he wouldn’t leave town as he had planned.  My husband had consequently decided to take a nap just in case and when he noticed I wasn’t home in my normal 20-30 minute walk time frame he started to worry.  I was in the backyard talking with a neighbor that was kind of funny.  We ate dinner and I became increasingly more uncomfortable around 8pm.  I kept going to the bathroom because I thought I had to poop but when I sat down I didn’t go and it hurt to push.  I started pacing around the house, I couldn’t sit, or lie down, or relax at all.  The contractions were pretty steady at 5 minutes apart. 

We left the house around 9:45pm and got checked into the hospital by 10:30pm.  I was told to get to the hospital early so I could get the antibiotics for the Group B strep.  The nurses almost didn’t admit me because I was only dilated to 3 and when they hooked me up to the monitor the nurse told me “if your body doesn’t start showing some harder contractions, we might send you home and you can come back”.  I think something clicked at that point between my brain and my body because she came back 3 minutes later and I was having some very strong contractions.  They started the IV and it took them at least an hour or longer to get the whole process done and over with, they couldn’t find m initially wanted a water birth so this was the next best thing.  I was in there for less than 2 hours and during that time I dilated from 3 to 8! I was so excited but I didn’t want to get out of the Jacuzzi.  I did bump the back of my head against the side of the tub during a contraction. 

As a side note, I was making really crazy comments during my labor.  I noticed a sign in the bathroom about abuse put out by the Women’s Resource Center and I recognized the number first because I am a social worker and had called it several time for referrals.  Well I said “that must be from the Women’s Resource Center, I call that number all the time” and the nurse was standing right outside the bathroom door.  Later, after I had my daughter a CPS worker called me to verify some information in my case notes and I checked the number on the phone and said “oh, it’s just CPS, I’ll call them later” and of course, the nurse was standing in the doorway of my room.  I felt the need to explain myself to the next nurse to prevent a social work referral that was un-needed.

Back to my labor – So I got out of the Jacuzzi and was placed in bed on my back.  The worst position for birthing.  They also tried putting me on my side to push and it just wasn’t working for me.  I thought it was funny that they kept asking me “do you want to try pushing while on your side?”, all I could say was “I don’t know” because I didn’t even know if I could manage to move at that point.  I was in so much pain and I thought for sure the blueberries and cottage cheese I ate earlier was going to come back up.  Yuck.  Luckily the nurse reminded me to breathe and that helped a lot.  The doctor was called and I started pushing shortly after.  I pushed for 2 ½ hours!  When I saw the doctor arrive, of course it was the doctor I hated as I mentioned earlier.  So, in my head, I was telling myself “maybe he’s not the one, maybe it was the other guy” mostly to keep my cool and prevent myself from worrying.  He broke what was left of my water bag and I began the pushing marathon.  It must have been a change of shift at one point during this time because another nurse came in and the one I had in with me told the new nurse “she just needs to learn how to push”.  I was so pissed, I was thinking “wait til I push this baby out and then I’m going to push my foot up you’re a**!”.  Again, I brushed it off.  Then the ring of fire came and it scared me so I backed off on the push and the nurse scolded me and asked why I backed off.  I couldn’t answer her clearly, all I could say was “I don’t know” I wish I would have had someone there to guide me through and tell me that was normal.  So, more pushing and still no baby.  I kept telling myself “just one more push, you can do it” probably because the doctor kept saying it.  So eventually I started telling myself “maybe he meant one more after the last one”.  Eventually my contractions stopped altogether but I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid to have a C-section especially after all that work.  I took a mini break and then pushed with all that I had, after about two of those mini breaks I had my little girl all slimy and beautiful at 4:50am. 

The doctor put her in my arms and I kissed her yucky little forehead.  I was able to hold her for about 2 minutes before they swept her away from me even though I specifically said I wanted them to clean her up while she was laying on me and allow us to have skin to skin contact for as long as possible.  The started cleaning her and weighing her and I remember yelling at my husband to get the video camera and take footage of the whole thing because I was totally out of it.  Apparently I had lost a lot of blood and a lot of fluids.  The staff looked worried and I briefly remember hearing something about my blood pressure being low (it’s always low).  The doctor wasted no time before her reached his gigantic (felt like) arm up into my womb and pulled out the placenta – thanks for allowing my body to work on its own.  And then he gave me a shot before sewing up my tear.  I never was told how big it was or how many stitches but my husband said it was really bad.  He wasn’t going to watch but said that he had a hard time taking his eyes off the whole process.  I was pumped with Pitocin while they were stitching me and encouraged to drink orange juice and water.  It took 2 hours before I was allowed to be transferred to the recovery room.  They told me I was grey and didn’t look well.  Well, they were right I was exhausted and went through trauma.  I could barely sit up, let alone stand up to get into the wheel chair. 

My dad and stepmom had waited all  night in the waiting room even though I told them not to.  They were so excited I think they forgot.  I hardly remember their visit because I was so exhausted.  I had the hospital bed almost completely reclined.  I look like a dying person in the photos.  Everyone was taking turns holding my daughter and all I wanted to do was hold her and snuggle.  I did get to hold her in the delivery room before they transferred me but I hardly remember that.  The nurses continually checked my blood pressure and I actually had to stay an extra day because it was still so low.  On the day they released me it was something like 82 over 54.  I kind of wish they would have told me how low it got earlier just to have a comparison.  I also forgot to use the bathroom after giving birth.  It was noon before I realized that I hadn’t peed since about midnight when I got into the Jacuzzi.  When two nurses helped me stand up I wasn’t prepared for a lot of fluids to fall out of my body.  I made such a mess and I was so embarrassed. 

Ava slept quite a bit on her birthday and screamed all night.  I didn’t sleep at all during the day because I had a lot of visitors and was excited to show off my perfect little angel.  My husband had to go home to care for our pets and he had to work the next day before his time off begun.  So I was left alone in the hospital to care for a screaming baby. I was determined not to allow my newborn to begin the pattern of sleeping with me because I thought behavior patterns would start right away.  I continually checked her diaper, tried to feed her and wrap her snuggly but once I set her back in the bassinet she would scream. It took 3 hours before the nursing staff came in to check to see if we were alright.  I was kind of angry because I thought that they would have come in sooner than that if they were so worried about my blood pressure.  I started using my alarm button more frequently after that.  The nurse suggested that I allow Ava to sleep next to me and it worked.  We snuggled the rest of the night but I still didn’t sleep because the bed was so uncomfortable and I was worried about rolling over on my little girl.  That was the beginning of almost 9 months of co-sleeping (I do not regret, by the way).  The next night I asked the nurse to take Ava for a couple hours so I could sleep and they took her for an hour before bringing her back.  Did they really think I slept during that time? 

Although I consider this a tragic birth event, the outcome is my beautiful baby girl.  I learned a lot about what I will change next time around and I learned that birthing a child is such an intimate event and I really need people around me who I trust to coach me in ways that my husband isn’t prepared for.  He was just as traumatized from witnessing the event.  Next time will be very different.  Ava’s birth will always be special but only because I have her to show for the challenges I faced.  I also have to say that I did not realize how significant the events that occurred in my birth experience were until I started talking to other moms about their birth experiences.  Most of them felt sorry for me when I thought most women endured similar challenges.  I knew childbirth was supposed to be difficult but it shouldn’t be too much to ask to be respected and treated with consideration and thoughtfulness.

Our First Birthing Story – Amber aka Pandapanda

Thank you Amber for being so brave and being the first to share your story!


My name is Amber, and I gave birth to my first son on 7/25/10.  

3:28am Sunday July 25th, 2010

    I awoke from a solid sleep, at first confused and disoriented. I began to roll over and slide out of bed when I felt the tightness and dull ache in my belly. There was no mistaking it, after weeks of doubt and prodromal labor. I laid back down to take advantage of any rest I could get before my contractions kicked in- this was going to be a life changing day. After what felt like a minute of sleep, I woke at 4:30am feeling the same pain I had felt before with more intensity and pressure. This was it, I knew. I got up to shower, with the help of my husband. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had seen an obstetrician who had implanted in my mind that since I was petite with narrow hips, that I would not be able to birth this child if I went past 37 weeks. Today I was 40 weeks and 2 days. This idea came into my head and had me in a panic. My husband called my midwife about an hour after we had been awake. My contractions were a few seconds shy of two minutes and were coming every five to twelve minutes. Her voice was so calming so relaxed. She told me not to come until 4pm or when my contractions were two minutes apart. Over the next few hours I moaned, took warm showers, and did my best to keep moving. It took intense physical, emotional, and mental control to not fight my body when a contraction came. 3:30pm came and I couldn’t take the intensity of the contractions. I did some aggressive convincing of my husband and we were out the door. I don’t remember the beginning of the car ride to the hospital, only the part where traffic backed up for 15 miles leaving us with no alternate route for our trip. I hit transition while we were in the car, in 104 degree heat. Our AC went out at this point, so I drifted off into my own world and imagined sun basking on a beach. During this time I didn’t feel the rushes of contractions and I became so silent that my husband began to worry. Poor thing.

    When I next opened my eyes we had arrived and my husband was helping me out of the car. I waddled across the parking lot and into the building, catching many stares from strangers. I didn’t think it was funny at the time, but a full term pregnant woman (whom looks like she is smuggling a bowling ball) speed walking through the hospital must have been at least a little bit interesting to watch. When we turned the corridor into the Labor and Delivery unit, it took one look at me for the nurses to begin scrambling to get my room together. My midwife came to me in my room, while I was resting on the bed while my birthing tub was filled. She asked to check me. I was 8-9cms with a bulging bag of water. My nurses and midwife (we’ll call her Blanche) were amazed at how far along I was with this being my first birth. Blanche held my hand and reassured me that I was doing a good job and that she was proud of my determination to bring this child into the world naturally. She guided me into the next room where my birthing tub awaited me. I was so unable to focus that my husband undressed me while my midwife supported me. The best part of the actual labor process was when I first sat down in the tub and felt the warmth of the water, the water pressure relieving some of my discomfort. My husband put on swim trunks and got in with me. I let my body float and just let my body and the water work together to finish the transition. Hours later I had not progressed much because I was so exhausted. I hadn’t felt like eating all day. In fact, I had completely forgotten to eat or drink anything in the last fifteen hours. A nurse brought me some watered down apple juice and a few crackers. Shortly after eating, my labor kicked into high gear and I am certain this is because I needed nourishment. The biggest part of labor is having the fuel to run off of, and I had neglected this fact.

      I felt a sudden relief of pressure followed shortly by the most intense contraction of my entire labor. This one hurt. I knew than that my water had broken. My midwife came in and put on gloves just in time for me to tell her that the baby was almost crowning. Sure enough, within a minute his head was crowning- I did not appreciate comments about how little hair he had. The “ring of fire” as it is called is very accurately named. I took deep slow breaths while he crowned. I pushed and pushed for five minutes and my son did not budge. I recall saying “He’s stuck! I can’t get him out!”. Blanche thankfully trusted that I know my body and had me get on all fours. My son still didn’t budge, but the position change did turn him a little bit. I started to cry tears of frustration, and she instructed the nurses and my husband to gently lift me from the tub. As they lifted, his head slipped out. They laid me on the floor on my back and he rocketed out of the birth canal. The next few moments went in such slow motion that I will never forget them. Blanche placed him on my chest and I held him close, kissing his head and smelling his skin. Somewhere in the background I heard shocked labor attendants commenting on how big he was. They started to pat him and tried rubbing him, because he was not crying. This wasn’t necessary. He had lifted his head to look at me, eyes open and alert before placing his head down on my chest. My husband began to get teary eyes, as did I- this was such a beautiful moment that every time I think of it, I begin to cry. Elijah was 9lbs 5oz, 21″ at birth. The aforementioned obstetrician was so wrong. I gave birth naturally to a “large” baby with what I feel was ease. Shoulder dystocia aside, it was a perfect birth.

      There are a few things I feel are worth mentioning. Trusting your care provider, in my case a midwife, is a major factor in any birthing experience. On my forty week appointment two days before my birth, Blanche had told me, “Just wait it out, honey. I’m on call Sunday; you’ll be in labor then.” Sure enough, my labor began bright and early Sunday morning and I felt so at ease knowing Blanche would be attending my birth. There is only one thing I would change and that is: the number of people in my room while I was delivering. The nurses felt like they needed to instruct me on pushing and speak over my midwife and this caused unnecessary stress and frustration. In the future, I will make it clear that it is to be silent while I am pushing. I am a water birth fanatic, and all future births will be in a tub. My experience has pushed me to become a doula and water birth advocate in hopes that I can help other women have the birth they desire.

Posted with permission.  If you are interested in posting your birth story to this blog please contact us at for more details.

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