Myranda knew she wanted a birth experience grounded in collaborative, Complete Care, which is why she came to Baby and Company for her first child’s birth. Read her story to learn more about her family’s involvement in the birth and how education classes can help prepare you for those times when the birth plan goes flying out the window.
I call Baby and Company my extended family.
How did you formulate your birth plan?
I didn’t even know that a birth plan was something you could have until the childbirth class (The Birth Journey). I was like, is this even necessary?
I’m very organized and a little OCD, so my plan was very well organized. I had people who were authorized to be there. I had everything sectioned off by the different phases of labor: what I wanted to be in the room, the kinds of pain management I planned to use, like hydrotherapy. Everyone who was going to be involved in the birth had a copy of the plan.
Then the actual birth started, and the entire plan went out the window. I didn’t use anything in it at all.
When did you realize you were in labor?
I went into labor about a week before I was due. I had come in that morning for an appointment with Mandesa (my midwife), and then went home and got on a conference call. I went into labor without realizing it!
I was on the phone with clients, was doing financials, had a conference call. I didn’t recognize what was happening until my water broke at around 7 that night, but even then, I wasn’t sure if it was my water breaking – I thought I had peed myself.
Even though I wasn’t sure, the childbirth class at Baby and Company had prepped me. I took down the time that it happened and checked the color. I called Mandisa, and my mom and I decided to go in. My fiance Shawn and my dad came running home, and by the time they arrived, it was close to 7:40. They drove us to Baby and Company like we were in a NASCAR race, doing more than 100mph down the highway. We got to Baby and Company by 8pm.
How did the birth go? Did you get to use any of the pain management strategies you had prepped for?
It was so fast. By the time we got to the center, Mandesa and my team were like, we’ve gotta get the tub running, but I was like, this baby is coming now – we don’t have time for the tub. I wanted to use it, of course, but everything was happening so fast.
We got into the room within five minutes, and Mandesa immediately got the heart tone, to check my daughter’s vitals.
Laura (another midwife) put her hand on my daughter’s head, cause she was already starting to come out. Briana, a doula who also does some classes at Baby and Company, happened to be finishing up a class that evening, so she came running to the birthing suite to help.
Shawn wanted to catch the baby. Mandesa was explaining to him that our daughter would come out head first, then there would be a pause, then shoulders would be delivered, and we’d go from there. But then the contraction hit, and Riley flew out. It was like catching a football pass.
I didn’t even push – she just popped out with the contraction and it was over. No tearing, no nothing. Just over with. I had been prepped that most first time moms have longer labors, but mine was extremely fast.
What position did you deliver in?
I delivered in bed, on my side.
How did preparation help you?
The best thing that prepared us was that we were thoroughly packed. They give pamphlets in class on what you need to bring to the center. We had everything packed and were ready to roll which, given how fast everything happened, was very helpful!
They were also very clear on what to identify during labor: the time water broke, the color and odor. Knowing those things helps prevent transfer [to the hospital], because you know right away what kind of situation you’re in. So I was very attentive to those things. I wanted to make sure that they had the information they needed so we could all be on the same page.
What was the postpartum period like? How long did you stay at Baby+Co.?
My parents were over the moon. They had never seen anything like this. I was born in a military hospital, and they were so impressed by the care.
Even I was impressed, and I knew what to expect. The lights were dimmed. We ordered food and ate in bed. My team checked on us and made sure we were okay and had what we needed, but mostly, they left us alone. I loved that we got to spend time with our daughter before they started to do any type of testing.
We got to have some really intimate time and weren’t rushed, and we really appreciated that – the whole family, my parents included. It was so special to not have Riley shuffled left and right and in and out.
I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to be in the hospital. In my experience in the past, I haven’t been listened to. I have not experienced collaborative care. I knew that if I ever had a child, I wanted it to be at a birth center. I wanted a natural birth. I wanted to be able to bond as a family, with Shawn and Riley. And we had that.
What advice would you give to other birthing parents who want to deliver with a midwife?
My mom and dad were like, you’re gonna do what? My friends were like, you’re going home right away? It’s unfamiliar and not widely known. I was like, I’ll be just fine. My dad was born at home. My great-grandmother delivered him. The doctor came hours later. This is normal.
For those who choose and are thinking about going into birth centers and midwifery, remember to be open minded, first and foremost. Block out everything you’ve heard, everything you’ve seen on TV. Come in clear and level headed and ready to receive. You don’t have to make an immediate decision. Understand that it’s a journey, from everything you’re eating and taking in environmentally all the way to the end.
The first thing I tell to young women I meet who are pregnant is to be an advocate for yourself. Know what you want and don’t be afraid to speak up. I truly believe in collaborative care. It’s not just one sided. It’s a team effort that everyone has to be involved in, and it’s key that you take time to do a little reading, formulate your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the stupidest questions you may think. You know your body better than anybody in this world. You’re with it all the damn time.
One of the things I love about Baby and Company is that I don’t feel as though I’m a number or a statistic. From the midwives to the center staff, I never felt as if someone did not care about me or this baby. I call Baby and Company my extended family.