Jessica and Kevin with baby Nola Penelope, 8 pounds 14 ounces
Jessica knew she wanted a natural birth from the moment she discovered her pregnancy. She didn’t think this would be possible if she gave birth in a hospital, and so she began her prenatal care with midwives.
In mid-October of 2010, Jessica took advantage of her labor by baking banana bread and walking around her neighborhood to help keep her mind off of the contractions. As the contractions grew stronger and longer, Jessica enjoyed frequent lower-back massages from her doula and continuously great support from her husband and her midwife. “Kim was very calm and let me move at my own pace while giving great advice,” says Jessica.
Jessica labored in her birth pool for a little while, but chose to push on the birthing stool. “I enjoyed the tub for pain relief, but I didn’t want to deliver in the water and have to make the transition to the bed after,” she explains. While on the birthing stool, Jessica started feeling lots of pressure and it was evident that her baby would be coming soon. She pushed determinedly and everyone cheered her on. Just when Jessica thought she couldn’t push any longer, baby Nola weighing 8 pounds and 14 ounces was born.
“It was the most overwhelming love I’ve ever felt. There’s no feeling in the world like it,” says Jessica as she remembers holding her daughter for the very first time. “[My labor] was better than I could have imagined despite it being so long. I think back on it all of the time and want to tell everyone how amazing it was!”
Shelby and Ryan Welcome Ryan Michael II, 8lbs 10oz
“Walking into a hospital, you are setting yourself up for the doctor’s birth plan, not your own,” says Shelby. And that is why she wanted her second birth experience to be different. When Shelby realized she was pregnant with her second child, she began researching natural childbirth. After reading numerous testimonials on a natural mothering site, she knew she wanted a water birth.
On December 8, 2010 Shelby’s baby was getting ready to come into the world. But there was no panic, no rush, no preparation for a hospital stay. “I wasn’t even at home for the first part of my labor. When I arrived home, I was already 7 centimeters dilated,” she says. During that time, someone took a picture of Shelby laboring on a birthing ball with a big grin, holding up 7 fingers. “I felt so comfortable, being able to do whatever I wanted to do.”
As her labor quickly progressed, Shelby’s physical and emotional feelings grew intense and everyone knew the baby would be here soon. As Shelby labored in the tub, her husband, her midwife Kim, and her birth assistant consistently encouraged her, especially during the “intense pressure” of her baby quickly moving down and out. “I honestly don’t even remember pushing because of how fast he moved down,” Shelby says of her surprisingly quick labor.
When Ryan Michael II, 8 pounds and 10 ounces, came out, Shelby experienced amazing relief. “I was glad it was over and he was in my arms.”
Looking back on her labor and birth, Shelby says it was a great experience and she is very pleased with her choice to waterbirth. “Unless something is medically wrong, I would never go back to the hospital for another birth again.”
Stephanie and Audi Welcome Dallas Connor, 8 lbs
From the moment she found out she was pregnant, Stephanie knew she wanted to birth naturally with a midwife.
After spending hours watching water birth videos on YouTube, Stephanie chose to have a water birth. “It looked so beautiful and natural… Plus, I read that the water was like an aqua-dural for pain relief.” And it was. On August 17 of 2010, as Stephanie focused and breathed her way through contractions, she surrendered herself to labor and let the warm water soothe her. “There was very minimal to no pain from then on,” she claims.
As the labor progressed, Stephanie was able to change positions frequently and let her body “work as it should with very minimal [vaginal] checks.” She was especially pleased that her water was not artificially broken. After 45-minutes of determined pushing, her beautiful 8-pound son, Dallas Conner, was born.
“[I was] totally shocked that it was over! I had my son in my arms and was a mother! I loved him so much!”
Meg and Mike Welcome Malcolm, 6lbs 7oz
Like everyone else I knew, I expected I would have my baby in a hospital. I pictured myself screaming for an epidural by 4 centimeters, and I assumed my baby would be taken away from me right after delivery, to make sure he was safe and given all the proper immunizations.
After all, these are the things I had been taught about birth; babies are born in hospitals because birth is a dangerous thing.
I was so WRONG! After spending the majority of my first and second trimesters avidly reading everything about pregnancy and birth, I realized I had been fooled this whole time. I realized that my body was fully prepared for natural birth and that I could birth in the comfort of my own surroundings, just like all mammals have been doing since the beginning of time. Towards the end of my second trimester, I started preparing myself for a natural birth with a midwife.
I transferred into the care of Kim Verbarg, my Licensed Midwife, at 37 weeks. It was very short notice, but Kim recognized that I was prepared physically and mentally for natural birth, and she provided me with amazing support. Before I was officially a patient, she said, “If you go into labor, call me. I’ll have you sign a consent for midwife care and I’ll help you deliver your baby.” I knew I liked her already.
At 39 weeks, I knew instinctively that my son was ready to meet his momma. On June 18th of 2010, I woke up and began natural induction. I did squats, fast-walked around my neighborhood, and drank a bitter cup of cumin tea. Halfway through the cup of tea, I began having contractions. From there, my labor quickly progressed. Before I knew it, five hours had passed and I was in my birth tub and ready to push, surrounded by warm water and loving encouragement. My husband in the tub with me, I was able to rest in his arms between contractions. I pushed determinedly for an hour, and just when I was about to give up due to exhaustion, I felt the amazing relief of my baby slipping out of me and into the water. I felt so empowered, and as I pulled Malcolm above the water and brought him into my arms for the first time, I knew that water birth was definitely the most beautiful and peaceful way to bring a baby into the world.
Kayli and baby Adeline, lbs oz
I was a bit apprehensive about having a home birth, but after our last birth center birth, and two unpleasant hospital birth experiences, I felt home birth would be the best option for us.
We were very sad when we found out our insurance was unwilling to cover our homebirth, but Kim was so gracious in working with us. When I met Kim (our awesome midwife), she made me feel so relaxed and at ease instantly (which is quite a feat because I’m a generally nervous person). Every time I had concerns or questions (and even with 4th babies there are always plenty of both!), Kim was there to reassure me. Starting August 20th, I had a few contractions and thought the initial stages of labor could be starting. I gave Kim a call and let her know we were expecting labor to come shortly.
I went to bed that night with fewer contractions than throughout the day. In the wee morning hours of August 21, at 2:15 am, our very grumpy 2 year old woke me. I woke my husband to help me with her and had a good contraction. I had another and my husband called Kim without me even knowing. Preparing for our water birth, we ran the bath. Kim arrived quickly. From the time she arrived, labor was about 45 minutes. My husband was still busy trying to calm our 2 year old and our 6 year old was coaching me. When Kim checked me, I was at 7 cm but I still was having pretty spaced contractions and was in good humor. Shortly thereafter, our son called my husband to our bathroom as I felt the urge to push. Kim pulled me through my mini-freak-out by calming me and reassuring me all was going well. I was just over 9 cm and a lip and feeling the urge to push. She helped guide the baby as I panted her out. Thanks to Kim’s guidance, our daughter did not experience extensive bruising from the fast labor and I also recovered very quickly. Adeline Elizabeth was born in our home with her brothers and sister and grandparents there at 3:47 am. It was the most incredibly relaxed and wonderful birth I could ever imagine! Our immediate bonding as an entire family was, and still is, completely priceless.