real stories

Sierra. second time mom.

Christa's Birth Story

Sierra Hunt gave birth to her first daughter, Brilee, in a hospital with the help of an epidural. The doctors had told her that she needed an induction because they were concerned Brilee might “grow too big,” but the baby was only a little over eight pounds at birth. Sierra didn’t like the experience and decided to go as natural as possible when she became pregnant with another little girl. As one of the first moms to give birth at the new Baby+Company birth center in Knoxville, we were excited to talk with her about her big day!

Congratulations on the birth of baby Christa! When you first started going to Baby+Company, it was still the Lisa Ross Birth and Women’s Center. How did you feel about the transition?

christas-birth-story-sierra-room-shotLuckily, the new birth center was ready when I was 38 weeks pregnant, so we had plenty of time. I was excited to see the big soaking tubs for water births. When I gave birth to Brilee, I had a lot of tearing, and I’ve heard that a water birth can really help with that. Of course, I didn’t actually end up giving birth in the tub – nothing seemed to go according to plan on that day!

Oh, no! What happened?

Well, I had false labor the day before so I was just resting and taking it easy. I had been to Baby+Company that night, and I was three centimeters dilated. At about one in the morning the contractions started getting stronger, and by eight they were really intense. I called my mother to come and take me to the birth center. We live about forty minutes away, and by the time I arrived at the center I was six centimeters dilated.

My husband was dropping our oldest daughter off, but he didn’t have his cell phone with him. My mother and I assumed that he would be right behind us, but he didn’t show up – for hours! I was kind of freaking out, of course, but I tried to stay calm and not get too worked up. My mother was my primary support person anyway, and with my incredible doula and midwife, I never felt alone.

Why didn’t your husband arrive?

christas-birth-story-sierra-on-bedHe went to the gas station after dropping Brilee off and locked the keys in the car. We didn’t have a spare set and he didn’t have a cell phone. Finally, the police came and took him to my grandmother’s house. From there, he got to Baby+Company just in time to witness the baby’s birth!

So how did you manage to keep yourself calm?

I had written down some Bible verses and had other tools to help me cope…but they were locked in my husband’s car. Luckily, the midwives and my doula were amazing. I had a panic attack when they were putting in the IV for my group B strep treatment, and they stayed calm and helped me to relax. I had Christian music playing, and the warm water in the tub really eased the pain of my contractions.

What happened when you were ready to push?

christas-birth-story-sierra-mom-and-babyI went from the tub to the bed a few times, but when I felt like I was ready to push the midwives were going to break my water. I was on the bed for that, and right after it happened I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the tub. I had been terrified of giving birth outside of the water, but it was much better than I thought it would be. I barely ended up tearing, so I was really thankful for that.

Was your experience pretty much what you expected from the birth center?

I didn’t know what to expect! It was a great experience, even though I didn’t have a water birth. The midwives and nurses were so kind. It felt really personal, and I was very comfortable with them. The contractions were painful, but you couldn’t find a more serene, relaxing setting.

I loved that the midwives actually came to my house the next day to check my iron levels and give me advice on breastfeeding. They played with my older daughter, who was a little anxious about the whole thing. The nurses and midwives were personable, friendly, and energetic. I can’t believe what an incredible job they did, both during and after the birth. I never pictured myself having a natural birth, but I feel so proud and empowered that I did it.

Photos by Martha Howell, East Tennessee Birth Photographer
Baby and Company