Tamara. new mom.
Tsehay's Birth Story
Tamara gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, Tsehay Elaine, at our birth center in Charlotte, NC. Here is her story of Tsehay’s birth.
When my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child, I did what I usually do when I become obsessed with something, I hopped online and started Googling. I was currently taking a yoga teacher training course and I knew I wanted to provide the most relaxed and natural entrance into the world for our child.
I think I naively imagined myself meditating peacefully while I birthed in a warm body of water. Then I would effortlessly and painlessly will my baby out, all the while smiling of course. In retrospect, this scenario and these adjectives sound ridiculous and pushing was anything but effortless. I do, however, appreciate that my misconceptions led me to finding Baby+Company birthing center.
I researched what different hospitals offered and quickly dismissed the idea of giving birth in a small bed where you aren’t allowed to eat and your labor may be rushed, depending on the doctor’s schedule and or lack of patience. I watched documentaries that warned against falling into the c-section cycle which is all too often replayed when labor isn’t progressing “fast enough.” In these cases induction takes place along with an epidural to numb the pain, then the baby’s heart rate drops, and before you know it, your headed to surgery. At what was most likely going to be the most uncomfortable time of my life, this was not something I wanted to worry about. I started my prenatal care with a local OB/GYN since Baby+Company had not yet opened in Charlotte when I became pregnant. After visiting their sister websites and lightly Facebook stalking their other locations, I was very impressed and decided to transfer my care.
When contacting Baby+Company, I was warmly welcomed and the transition was incredibly smooth. I enrolled in their prenatal education series and when my husband couldn’t attend a class, the RN, Rebeca, scheduled a private session for us to ensure he would get the much needed information. Everyone I encountered at Baby+Company was helpful and awesome to work with. I looked forward to visiting the center for my prenatal visits and the staff was always excited to see my growing belly. I shared the same due date with one of the midwives and it was always fun to compare pregnancy symptoms with her. She wanted her pregnancy to go past our due date and I was hoping to go sooner than later since my back pain had been getting the best of me.
Of course, how luck would have it, she had her baby right on our due date and my water finally released 6 days later in the middle of the night. During the birth education series, we had learned what to do at different stages of labor so when my water broke I documented my “TACO” (time, amount, color, odor) then fell back to sleep. The next day I woke up and texted my doula, Lori, the details. She told me to keep in touch with any intensifying symptoms and to enjoy my day, so I did just that. I got a massage that morning, went shopping for a new camera, and got a much needed pedicure since everyone in the birth room would be looking at my feet of course. All day I had dull, lower abdominal cramping but nothing major.
That evening my husband and I were watching TV when Lori checked in. When I told her nothing really had changed since that morning she suggested I contact the midwives since their policy gives a 24 hour window from water breaking to active labor before they recommend going to the hospital. The midwives told me to come in to the center to verify that my water had actually broken so my husband and I nervously headed down there. I had my heart set on giving birth at the center and now I was worried that it wasn’t going to happen if my labor didn’t progress soon. When we arrived, my midwives, Holly and Alice Ann, checked me out and determined that my water had in fact broken. They tried to cheer me up and suggested I return home to relax and try various methods to induce labor. I called my doula as we drove home and updated her, she gave us a recipe for a castor oil smoothie and when we stopped by the store to pick up some ingredients, I noticed my contractions had kicked up a notch. By the time we got home I was pretty uncomfortable and decided to take a shower. I drank my smoothie and ate a little bit between contractions. My husband calculated the frequency and duration of my contractions as I tried to focus on breathing. It was finally time to call Lori over and I labored at home surrounded by candles and soft music in my bedroom for about 4 hours. Then it was time to head to the birthing center.
The drive over was a blur, I was in pain and the bumpy ride made it worse. I remember yelling at my husband to follow the GPS for the quickest route, even though he had driven there countless times throughout my pregnancy and didn’t need directions. He reluctantly obliged without giving me much of a fight. Smart man. When we arrived at the center I was taken to the familiar room which I had chosen for my birth room earlier during one of my many visits. I remember laboring on the birth ball as my husband applied counter pressure and rubbed my back. The midwives checked my vitals periodically but nothing seemed intrusive and I was left to focus on breathing and surrendering to the pain that was demanding all of me at the time. Never having been a patient in the hospital before and working in a hospital, I always wondered what type of patient I would be. I assumed I would be considerate, grateful, and an overall model patient, being a healthcare worker myself. Let’s just say when you’re in the worst pain of your life, being polite is the last of your concerns. During one instance, while laboring in the tub, I remember raising my head after an excruciating contraction and seeing no one except my husband in the room. For some reason, at that time, this made me irate and I cried to my husband that I didn’t like that everyone had left. Soon after, my doula returned and my husband mentioned my concerns to her and she quickly apologized and explained that she had went to the restroom and the midwife had gone to retrieve some supplies. My midwife then came back with said supplies. As I went into the next contraction I half laughed through my grimace as realized I was becoming that very same needy and irrational patient that I said I would never be.
This continued throughout my labor and when I began pushing I required everyone’s attention to stop everything and hold a leg or squeeze a hand with each contraction. This comical routine was so necessary to me at that time and I am so grateful to each of them as I look back. Towards the end of labor, I recall protesting the pain through clenched teeth and tears as the baby began to crown and the midwives gently explained how the sensations were a good sign. I remember arguing angrily that the intense burning pain I felt was definitely not good and asking them to stop talking to me! During my postnatal visit with the midwives the following week I apologized as we laughed at my colorful commentary during labor. They reassured me that in fact I wasn’t rude or needy and birthing a tiny human was nothing short of a miracle and very hard work.
As I look back over the whole experience, however, the thing I remember clearest is seeing my daughter’s tiny face peering up at me as she nursed for the first time minutes after birth. Wet, sticky and smelling so sweet as our bellies rose and fell against each other with nothing but life between us. That’s what I remember most. Baby+Company helped me feel educated and empowered enough to have the birth I wanted. They helped my husband feel confident and define his role during this precious event in our life. For this we will always be grateful.