Jenny is a mother from our Nashville birth center. Her story of her son’s birth is a great example of how amazing birth is even when it might not go as we plan.
Obviously, this labor and delivery was not even close to what I’d expected or hoped for. But I was so lucky to have this amazing, knowledgeable midwife who wasn’t afraid to push us past what we thought we could go through, and who knew when it was time to give in.
A Change in Plans: Oliver's Birth Story
My husband, Matthew, and I have been married for four years. We have three adorable pups, but really wanted a new (human!) addition to our family. We had spent a long time talking about our ideal prenatal experience, and were interested in a natural, more holistic approach to childbirth. Relationships are so important, and we wanted to make sure that the person who would deliver our baby into this world was someone we trusted, who we knew would have our best interests at heart. A woman is at her most vulnerable during labor and delivery, and I needed to know that my team would be reliable and trustworthy, and that I could put my life and my baby’s life into their hands.
We were thrilled when I first got pregnant, but shortly into the pregnancy I knew that something was wrong. I called several doctors, but no one was available to see me on short notice. Then I called Margaret at Baby+Company in Nashville. She was so thoughtful and understanding, and really listened to how I was feeling both physically and emotionally. She gave me her personal cell phone number and texted me throughout that weekend. I did have a miscarriage, and Margaret’s support helped me through that process. When we got pregnant again, we knew that we wanted to work with Margaret and the Baby+Company team.
Baby+Company was wonderful during our prenatal visits. The center is so clean and cozy. I could tell they put a lot of effort into everything, from the bed linens to the wallpaper. I’m a very visual, creative person and aesthetics are so important to me. Baby+Company is like everyone’s dream living room! I had a vision of giving birth there, snuggling with my child and husband in the big bed, and then going home to rest and recuperate.
When I was four days past my due date, I woke up with a little bit of cramping, but I didn’t get my hopes up. I took a trip to the chiropractor, and then went to my appointment with Lauren at Baby+Company. She told me later that she knew I was in early labor, but she didn’t want to psych me out by telling me. I went about my day and spent time with my brother, who had come to town for the birth. After lunch, I started having more consistent contractions and by dinnertime I knew it was time for Matthew, my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and I to head to Baby+Company.
As a first-time mom, I expected that I’d be able to find a position that wouldn’t necessarily take away the pain, but would at least be somewhat comfortable. That just wasn’t happening. I was all over the place, from the toilet and the wonderfully heated seats to the birthing ball. I felt best when I could lean over. The baby was posterior and soon I went into back labor. It was excruciating. Lauren and my doula, Megan, were amazing at putting pressure on my back to alleviate the pain, and Lauren suggested some positions that would encourage him to turn. He didn’t, but those positions were definitely more comfortable.
I had been using the tub intermittently and about the third time I got in, I was feeling pretty good. I was on my hands and knees, and I could hear the baby’s heartrate on the Doppler. The beats were speeding up and during the next contraction, they slowed and almost stopped. It was terrifying. Lauren told me that she had been monitoring the heartrate, and that it had been dropping significantly during my contractions for a while. She said my son was giving us the white flag, and it was time to go to the hospital.
I don’t remember much after that. I’m not usually one for mantras, but all I could think was “keep him safe.” I was only six centimeters dilated when they put me in the ambulance, and Lauren was encouraging me not to push. I knew in my heart that we were headed towards a C-section, which wasn’t what I had hoped for at all, but at that point I just wanted both of us to be safe.
When we arrived at the hospital, only a couples minutes drive down the street, I was nine and a half centimeters dilated. It was crazy how much I’d progressed on the trip over! I started pushing, but I’m a bit claustrophobic and at the hospital I had to lay on my back. Everyone was blowing on me, which I feel horrible about now, but it was the only thing keeping me from having a full-on panic attack. The baby started to crown but kept receding, and I just wasn’t progressing. After several minutes, the doctor gave me an episiotomy, and Oliver Talmadge was finally born! We were all so relieved that he was healthy and breathing and fine and perfect.
Obviously, this labor and delivery was not even close to what I’d expected or hoped for. But I was so lucky to have this amazing, knowledgeable midwife who wasn’t afraid to push us past what we thought we could go through, and who knew when it was time to give in. My doula was beyond supportive, and my husband and my family were there to keep me strong. You hear that it’s love at first sight when your child is born, and the feeling is utterly unexplainable. It was especially bittersweet for me; after my miscarriage, I realized how fragile this life is. Meeting this magnificent creature that my body had grown, I was instantly in awe and in love. It was incredible, and although the delivery was stressful, I’m so proud and happy with the outcome.