I felt so welcomed. When I got there, the essential oils were ready and the tub was filled. I knew my arrival had been prepared and planned for, and that was so comforting to me.
Neilie's Birth Story and Video
All births are exciting, but it’s especially fun for us at Baby+Company in Nashville when the mother is one of our own! Nurse Heather has been with us since before we opened our doors here in Nashville, and the arrival of her little one was a true event. The staff had a big chart where we guessed the baby’s gender and birth date. Heather’s mother’s intuition was working already – her prediction of a baby girl born on October 6th was correct! She shares her story (and birth video!) with us.
Photography and videography by Kalimana Film Stories
Congratulations, Heather! How are you feeling?
These past several months have been a real whirlwind. Tyler and I just got married in September – we had the sweetest ceremony about a month before Neilie was born. So in the past few months, we’ve gotten married and had a baby, and Tyler went back to school for counseling. It’s been a real adjustment but there have been so many blessings.
Everyone at the center was so thrilled to have one of our own give birth here. How do you think your career as a nurse and a doula prepared you for labor and delivery?
I’ve seen so many women go through the birthing experience without medication, and that gave me the confidence that I could do it as well. I’ve also seen several different scenarios unfold, including transfers to the hospital, inductions, and emergency situations. That was actually helpful because I was less worried about the unknown. I was very specific in my intentions and my prayers. I had a certain way I wanted it to happen. Then, of course, I let go of all that because I knew I didn’t have any control.
What was it like to give birth in your workplace?
I already know about and experience the incredible love, support, care, and safety our clients experience from my everyday activities. I immediately felt comfortable and welcomed as I entered the birthing suite. I remembered all of the courageous and powerful women who had given birth in this space before me, and I could feel the sacredness of the room. I felt confident and at peace, surrounded by the grounded and supportive presence of my midwife, nurse, and husband.
Tell us about the birth.
I’d been having early morning contractions for a few nights, but on the morning of October 6th it felt different. I didn’t want to wake Tyler up because he definitely needs his sleep. I just tried to mentally prepare myself to welcome my labor and my baby. Things calmed down after I took a bath, but after Tyler left for work I lost my mucus plug and began having what felt like menstrual cramps.
I didn’t want to worry over whether this was “it” or not, and I eased my anxiety by writing a letter to my baby saying that I trusted him or her, and that Baby+Company was a great place to give birth and if the baby felt like it was safe, he or she could be born there, today. I felt better mentally, but still didn’t believe that I was anywhere close to active labor.
It was a beautiful day, so my mother and I took a walk. I had to breathe through my contractions and bend over, but waved off my mother’s suggestions that we call someone. After my mom left, I called Baby+Company and told one midwife that I might be in labor, but asked her not to say anything to anyone since it might be a false alarm.
Things intensified throughout the day, but I was still in denial that I was really in labor. When Tyler came home around 4:30, I felt like that was when I really gave myself permission to get things moving. I asked my doula to come over with a fan, and then I did some water therapy in the tub. When I got out of the tub after an hour and a half, I vomited quite a bit. I knew that this could be transition, but I thought I might still be in early labor. The doula convinced me to call the birth center, and they told us to come in (even though I was trying to be very cool and calm on the phone).
I just kept thinking that it wasn’t really happening. Even when we got there and Margaret told me I was eight centimeters dilated, I was sort of in denial. That changed as labor progressed, of course. After four hours of laboring and pushing, our little girl was born!
What was it like to be on the other side of the birth center experience, as a mother rather than a nurse?
I felt so welcomed. When I got there, the essential oils were ready and the tub was filled. I knew my arrival had been prepared and planned for, and that was so comforting to me. I was also fascinated by the “zone” a woman enters during labor and delivery. I had talked about it with so many of my clients, but it was amazing to experience it myself. I felt so deeply connected with my baby and the labor. I really needed to look inside myself for the strength to deliver her. It was very empowering, and I don’t think I could have done it without the support of the people in the room who were giving me the space to do that – even though I was barely aware of it at the time. The birth was surreal for me. It was everything that I hoped it would be, and I just couldn’t believe that it all unfolded exactly as we had wanted it to.