Family has been everything to Lauren and Michael Erickson, especially since daughter Coraline’s arrival two and a half years ago. When they learned that they were expecting another daughter, they were over the moon about expanding their close-knit family. Little Maddy was born at Baby+Company in Knoxville in April, and the experience was everything Lauren had hoped for. Here, she shares the story of the big day.
The mood was so joyful; my husband and I were together with our new baby, and everything had happened exactly as I had wanted. The midwives didn’t rush anything. They let it all unfold as it was supposed to.
Maddy's Water Birth Story
“I believe that labor and birth should be as hands-off as possible. Coraline was born in a hospital, and I just didn’t like the way I had been treated. I was poked and prodded during labor, and the doctors and nurses continually offered medications even though I wanted to give birth naturally. I ultimately did give birth without any interventions, but I was looking for an environment that was more supportive.
I found that at Baby+Company. Every single person who works there is so incredible and respectful, from the women at the front desk to the midwives in the back room. They followed my birth plan and didn’t try to push things on me. I hate being told I “have” to do something, so I appreciated that the midwives gave me the space to make my own decisions. My prenatal visits were wonderful and set the stage for an incredible delivery. The whole air and environment is so relaxed and laid-back and natural. It was such a pleasant change from the doctor’s office.
The night I went into labor, I had just cozied up in bed with Coraline when my water broke. I didn’t freak out or anything, but I called to my husband to come into the bedroom. He was across the house and couldn’t hear me, so we just kept yelling back and forth to each other. It was too funny! Once I explained what had happened, we packed up our bag and headed to the birth center.
My brother picked up Coraline, and Michael and I met with the midwife. My contractions were really close together – about 3-5 minutes apart – but they weren’t too painful. I was only 2.5 centimeters dilated, so the midwife checked my vitals and suggested we try to get some rest, since it was the middle of the night.
We got in the bed and the nurse put some lavender oil in the diffuser, but I just couldn’t get comfortable. The contractions were getting more painful, so I got in the shower. That really got things moving! Those hot showers are incredible, with all the different valves and jets that you can move around.
After I labored in the shower, I moved to the bed. The midwives filled up the tub and I managed to make my way over to it. It was painful, but Michael was like a superdoula! I hadn’t done much research on breathing techniques or anything, but he had learned all about it. He helped me control my breathing, which was so crucial for pain management.
I labored in the tub for about a half hour, and then I was ready to push. After a few pushes, Maddy came into this world via water birth, which was exactly what I wanted. The whole labor and delivery was so fast. It was only a few hours from the time we arrived until she was born. The time flew by.
The moments after she was born were so blissful and surreal. They put her on my chest, and it was heavenly. The mood was so joyful; my husband and I were together with our new baby, and everything had happened exactly as I had wanted. The midwives didn’t rush anything. They let it all unfold as it was supposed to. We delayed cord clamping, and the midwives waited for the placenta to emerge on its own, which I appreciated because at the hospital they kind of pull it out of you.
I sat in the tub with the baby and soaked in the moment for a while. The baby and I moved to the bed to snuggle and breastfeed. Maddy latched on really well right away, and the midwives gave our family an hour to just enjoy being together, having skin-to-skin contact and gazing at our sweet newborn. It was truly perfect.
Being a mother of two is going well. I have friends who are having children, and I always tell them that they should go to a birth center. Giving birth doesn’t have to be a painful experience. The women at Baby+Company are so passionate about the community that they’re building there. I’m glad to be a part of it.”