After the traumatic birth of my first daughter, I desired a birth where I was in control of my care, with the support of people who believe that pregnancy and labor are not medical conditions that need to be dealt with. The birth of my second daughter was better and made me see it was possible, but I hadn’t fully achieved it. When I found out I was pregnant with my third daughter, I knew immediately that I wanted to have her at the new Birth Center of Baton Rouge. I went to every informational meeting, open house, and class they offered. Daniel and I met with the midwives and the rest of the staff, and we knew that was the place for us.
On September 21 around 4 p.m., I started having cramping. Not painful cramps, just uncomfortable. I didn’t really think much of it and actually forgot about them. About 6 p.m. it occurred to me this could be the beginning of labor. I was only 38 weeks and 3 days along and hoping to make it to my due date. At 8:30 I decided to call my midwife. She recommended I start trying to time them. At this point they were still just cramping and not painful, so I wasn’t even sure what to time. While timing them, they were all over the place with no rhythm at all. They ranged from 1-3 minutes in length but were anywhere from 3-11 minutes apart. Certainly not the definitive sign of labor I was looking for. At 10:30 I called my midwife again. Over the course of the 20-minute call I had 3 contractions. We were both a little nervous to prolong going in since I barely made it to the hospital with my second daughter. She told me to come in and in an hour we would make a decision. At this point I let go of the desire to postpone labor and just relaxed.
We arrived at the birth center at 11:30 pm. My midwife and doula meet us in the parking lot. I had already chosen the “Serenity” room to deliver in, so we grabbed my bags and headed in. Each room has a queen size bed, birthing tub, big bathroom with a shower, and all the labor tools you could think of but “Serenity” just seemed comfortable to me. When I walked into the room, the tub was filled, the lights were lowered, and there was no one else in the building but us. I didn’t hear the bustle of nurses or beeping machines. It was so calm and peaceful. Not anything like my two previous hospital births. My contractions were still very irregular but gaining in intensity. I didn’t want to get a vaginal exam because I knew I hadn’t been laboring long. The last thing I wanted to hear was that I was barely dilated. Everyone began preparing the room how I wanted. I had candles, soft music, pictures of my beautiful children, and a crucifix. I wanted all of these things to help keep me relaxed. Each time I would have a contraction, I would stop and breathe through them and would use a labor ball or lean against my husband for support. At 12 midnight I got in the tub and it was the most amazing feeling! I felt my body relax and rest. Soon I felt the urge to push but didn’t believe I was that far along. My midwife told me to let my body do the pushing. I didn’t really understand that concept because someone had always told me when to push. Moments later I felt my stomach bear down in the strongest contraction I had ever felt. For the first time ever I felt my body push! It wasn’t painful but very primal. My body was delivering my baby! In just a few pushes, I met Molly Elizabeth, my beautiful 6 pound, 5 ounce little girl! She made her way into the world at 12:31 a.m. on September 22, just 1 hour and 1 minute after arriving at the birth center! I held her and just marveled at the beauty of what just happened! After a little while, I got out of the birthing tub. My midwife and nurse checked me and the baby and assisted us with breastfeeding. They then left my husband, Molly, and I to rest. No checking vitals every few minutes or changing the trash at 4 a.m.! In the morning my two older girls arrived to meet their new sister! At 11 a.m. less than 12 hours after arriving to the Birth Center of Baton Rouge, I was discharged and we all went home as a new family of 5!
Reflecting on my birth, I was fully in control. I made my wishes and desires known and everyone respected them. My husband was able to play an active role in our birth, including catching the baby, with the assistance of our midwife. There was a trust between us and our midwife. I knew if she said something was needed, it was. And she knew I could deliver this baby! In the end I feel healed by this birth. I am no longer thinking of all the things that went wrong in my previous births and how I had no control in my care. It was not a medical condition that needed to be solved but a natural occurrance that the majority of the time needs no interventions. From my first prenatal appointment to my 6 week postpartum visit, I felt like family to the staff of the birth center. Not only had I had a perfect birth, I feel like I was part of something bigger. Something that will hopefully help women to seek and find care that is centered around them. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to join the Birth Center of Baton Rouge family. This was my redeeming birth!