I’m so thankful for the midwives, who made sure we were taken care of at every stage and in every aspect. I’d recommend a birth center to anyone.
When Birth Plans Change: John-Rouen's Birth Story
When Jessica Poole was 14, she underwent a major medical procedure and was administered an epidural. There were complications, and she decided that she never wanted an epidural again. When she became pregnant with her first child, one of her friends referred her to Baby and Company in Knoxville. She and her husband, Jeremy, knew it was exactly the kind of supportive environment they were looking for. Things didn’t go precisely according to her birth plan, but this story has a happy ending!
Hi Jessica! Tell us about your journey to Baby+Company. How did you decide on a birth center?
I actually started receiving my prenatal care at a local hospital because it was more convenient, but I knew I didn’t want an epidural for labor and delivery. I spent a lot of time researching my options. Since I was getting rid of the epidural, I thought I might as well skip the other medications too. It just seemed better for me and the baby.
I also read a lot of the Baby and Company blogs. Seeing the other mom’s stories about their babies and reading about how comfortable they were and how much they loved the center made me want to check it out. And when we took a tour and I met the staff, I fell in love. The delivery room was like being at home. It was comfortable and peaceful – exactly the atmosphere I was looking for.
Did you take any of the classes?
We took as many as we could. We did the birthing class, the newborn care class, and the breastfeeding class. They prepared us so much for what we were about to embark on, and each of the classes meshed seamlessly with the others. What I learned in those classes kept me calm and confident during labor and delivery. We also knew exactly how to care for our new baby (for the most part – babies do throw curveballs!).
Tell us about the birth.
I was having intermittent contractions the day before John-Rouen was born, so we just relaxed at home. The next morning the contractions were still about eight minutes apart, but suddenly they were coming every two minutes. We went to the birth center, and they said I was about three centimeters dilated. The weather was awful that day, so we just relaxed in the room and prepared for the baby.
After several hours, labor began to progress. Everything was going well until the baby’s heart rate started to drop. The midwives were monitoring him very carefully, and every time I had a contraction his heart rate would decrease. After a short period of time, the midwives decided that I should transfer to the hospital. Once I arrived, the doctor broke my water, I pushed for about twenty minutes, and my perfectly healthy son was born!
What was the transfer like?
Normally this would have scared me to death, but the instructors had told us exactly what would happen in this kind of situation. The midwives came to the hospital with me, which was extremely comforting. They were by my side every step of the way.
Once I was coherent enough after the birth, I could tell that the midwives had spoken to the hospital nurses. There was a whiteboard in my room, and every single thing I had in my birth plan was listed on the whiteboard. The nursing staff followed it to a tee.
What stands out to you about your birth center experience?
Of course, the care and the classes were just top notch, but what started me off on a great foundation was the fact that they really made me feel like family. I believe that most people feel the safest and most cared for by family, and we were able to talk to every person there as though we’d known them all our lives. I had a great relationship with all of the midwives, and that was the most important thing to me. Chris and Kelly in particular were incredibly strong and supportive for us during some pretty scary moments.
Now that you’ve gone through it, what advice would you give to expectant parents?
I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak, but I like to have a plan and stick with it. One of the first things the midwives told me was that I would need to learn to be okay with Plan B (and C and D). There are things you just can’t control. My biggest fear happened – I had to transfer to a hospital. But because the midwives had prepared us to accept these challenges as they came, we knew we were in good hands. We probably did end up on Plan D, but we were more than okay. We were taken care of. We met those challenges as a family, and we had a great support team with us.
Your birth experience wasn’t exactly what you had planned for. How do you feel about it now?
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I’ve been blessed because I was able to create a relationship with the Baby and Company staff and be in their care the whole time, and I also learned that if I did need to go to the hospital, everything would be okay. When John-Rouen’s heart rate dropped like it did, it was best for us to be in the hospital. I’m so thankful for the midwives, who made sure we were taken care of at every stage and in every aspect. I’d recommend a birth center to anyone.