Heather. second time mom.
Scarlett's Birth Story
Nashville fitness coach Heather Crouch has ten siblings, and her husband also comes from a large family. Six of her husband’s siblings were born at home, and the last baby Heather’s mother had was also a home birth. After seeing her mother go through it, and talking to several friends who had experienced it, Heather chose a home birth for her oldest son, Daniel. The experience was difficult and painful, and her insurance didn’t cover a lot of her care, so when she became pregnant with Scarlett, she turned to Baby+Company in Nashville for her prenatal care, labor, and delivery. Here’s her story.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Heather! Tell me a little bit about your birth experience.
It was so different than when I gave birth to Daniel. With him, labor was longer and way more painful, with contractions coming back to back. I was constantly in active labor. When Scarlett was ready, contractions started at three in the morning. They were twelve minutes apart, so I woke up my husband and we decided to go into the birth center. The contractions weren’t painful, but they definitely felt different than Braxton-Hicks, which I’d had a lot of in the past few weeks. My husband and I drove over to Baby+Company and met with Lauren – I love her, so I was really glad she was on call. When I got there at 5:30, I was worried they’d send me home because the contractions were far apart, but Lauren said I was six or seven centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. She told me to calm down and relax. I breathed through my contractions and could even talk with my family in between, since they had all arrived at the birth center.
Lauren was off shift at seven, so Taneesha stepped in. I didn’t know her as well as I knew Lauren, but as she helped me through my labor I ended up really liking her. I got into the tub around 8:30 because I was having stronger contractions and knew it was getting close. I stayed in the tub for a while until I was ready to start pushing around ten. Scarlett was born at 10:35. I was there for five hours, but only two of them really seemed like active labor. It was so much less painful than my first birth. I used the techniques I learned at Alpha Childbirth to stay strong through my contractions.
Pushing is hard for me; I have a tilted pelvis, so Scarlett came out a bit faster than we had anticipated, and I tore. There was a lot of bleeding afterwards, so they gave me some Pitocin. Even though there was some tearing it was a lot less painful than Daniel’s birth.
Your son was a home birth, right? What made you choose a birth center for your second child?
We had to pay out of pocket when we had Daniel at home, and Baby+Company accepted our insurance. Once I started going there for my visits, it was really nice to get out of the house. When I went there for labor and delivery, it was like going to a hotel. The environment was very calming, and I loved the giant tub. The midwives were really friendly, too. I ended up loving it.
What motivated you to seek out a birth center?
Hospitals and doctors have always made me nervous, and I wanted to give birth somewhere that felt calming and relaxing. The environment was so clean and fresh and welcoming, and everyone was just so sweet. When I think back on Scarlett’s birth, it was such a peaceful, calming experience. It almost makes me want to have another baby…almost!
What advice would you give to expectant parents?
Definitely make sure you eat well and stay in shape during your pregnancy. You’ll be so glad you did after the baby is born. Also, I think being prepared is important. With my first, I was so overwhelmed by the pain that I couldn’t focus on overcoming it. For Scarlett, I learned several breathing techniques that I could use when the pain was more intense. And having a doula was really helpful because she talked me through the more difficult moments.
Would you recommend a birth center to other moms?
Yes, and I already have! If anyone asks me about it, I tell them they need to go.