This was the craziest, most amazing experience of my life. The midwives tell you-you can do it, but to actually give birth naturally, in the water – I felt incredible.
Amelia's Redeeming Birth Story
When stay-at-home mom and full-time photographer Ann gave birth to her oldest child, she spent her entire pregnancy preparing for a natural unmedicated birth in a hospital setting. Her story didn’t unfold quite like she expected though after only progressing 1 centimeter in 15 hours. She had very little knowledge of and exposure to midwifery care but when she photographed her first home birth, it was completely life-changing. She was determined to have her next baby at a birth center and when she first stepped into Baby+Company in Cary, it was a match made in heaven. Here’s what she said:
“My first labor and delivery wasn’t exactly what I had planned. I wanted a natural birth, but I felt like I had to fight the hospital every step of the way. I was in labor for a difficult thirty hours, and there were so many interruptions and interventions. I couldn’t labor the way I wanted because I had to be hooked up and in the hospital bed. After a hard 15 hours, almost no progression and a difficult decision, I ended up getting an epidural. I left the hospital uncertain of how I could have done things differently but knew that we ultimately made the right choices that brought our healthy son into this world.
When I photographed my first home birth, it was incredible. It opened my mind; I realized that this is how birth is supposed to happen. The mother was so supported – it was just beautiful. This was what I wanted for the birth of my second baby. My friends suggested I check out Baby+Company. I wasn’t sure about it, but from the first time I stepped through the door I felt like I had met my best friends.
We had a preconception visit to make sure we were okay to start trying. It was so relaxed. The midwife wanted to know all about me and my wishes and goals for pregnancy. They did some blood work and I learned more about the center and its philosophy. A month later, we were pregnant!
Amelia’s birth was nothing like Bennett’s, in the most wonderful way possible. Two days before my due date, Bennett and I spent some one-on-one time together, grocery shopping and hanging out. All of a sudden, Bennett started throwing up – and he kept throwing up. At ten o’clock that evening, I had my first contraction. I’d had prodromal labor since 37 weeks, so I was hoping it was a false alarm, but it wasn’t. I stayed up all night, soothing Bennett as he vomited and handling my contractions.
In the morning, the contractions were seven minutes apart so we called Baby+Company. At this point during my labor and delivery with Bennett, I was already stuck in the hospital. This time around, I got to relax, labor at home, and take a nap. When I woke up from my nap in the early afternoon, the contractions were stronger, so I decided to go in and get checked as it was near closing time on a Friday. We got Bennett situated with a family member and left for the birth center around 3 pm.
I was already three centimeters dilated, which was huge because with Bennett I had gone to the hospital when I was 0.5 centimeters dilated, and 15 hours later I had only progressed to 1.5 centimeters. I knew it was really happening, and I felt like I could do it. The midwife suggested we return home to rest, but since we live 45 minutes away we went out to dinner and walked around. Contractions picked up, so we went back to the birth center. I was only at four centimeters, so we headed back home for a while.
My contractions began to get much more intense, and we drove back to the birth center at midnight. I was still only at four centimeters, and I pretty much lost it. I thought that I wasn’t progressing, I would need an epidural, and it would be Bennett’s birth all over again. I really started to doubt myself. Even though I hadn’t dilated enough to officially be admitted, my wonderful midwives agreed to open up a birthing suite so that I could labor for an hour. If things still hadn’t progressed, then I would need to return home to labor and rest.
The midwives filled up the tub for me, and the warm water was a total game-changer. My breathing changed, I started vocalizing, and I just tuned everything out. Not even an hour later, I was eight centimeters dilated! I was so excited to progress but nervous about actually finishing what I started, but the midwives encouraged me. They told me I was strong and helped me to relax. I progressed from 8 to 10 centimeters in 20 minutes and Amelia was born after just three minutes of pushing (compared to 2 hours with my son).
This was the craziest, most amazing experience of my life. The midwives tell you you can do it, but to actually give birth naturally, in the water – I felt incredible. And it was so peaceful afterward. We got to meet her and be with her and love on her and just be a family. It was so calm and sweet.
My husband was wary about a birth center at first, but now he’s the biggest advocate. He saw how I was supported and how the midwives helped me deal with the pain. We couldn’t see the downfalls during Bennett’s birth until we saw how different it was with Amelia. I wasn’t just another person in a line of moms. The personalized encouragement made all the difference. I needed them to tell me I could do it…and I did.”