After buying a house in August of 2019, Ethan and I decided to hold off on having another baby and trying to get pregnant until fall of 2020. On top of this, we were still doing therapy with Athena and figuring out her needs.
December 4th 2019 after reading our Advent study, I took a test expecting it to be negative- it was almost instantly positive.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely panicking. I was petrified. In case you don’t know, I was nearly bed ridden with Athena through my first trimester I was so sick. I had all day nausea and was a wreck. There was no way I could handle Athena and be that sick. Fear is an understatement.
(Praise Jesus I was barely sick this time around.)
At that time I had considered switching to a local birth center from my OB practice but decided my L&D with Athena really wasn’t that bad and I have very quick labors so the extra distance was scary.
Even before Covid hit, my prenatal care had been awful. The staff had been so mean, inconsistent, and just down right terrible. At the sweet encouragement of friends, I made the decision to switch to the birth center. I started the process at 28 weeks.
I had 3 appointments before I delivered. Each one was amazing. The midwives were insanely kind and wonderful. They were the kind of women you envision having by your side. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more experienced team. I was heard. I was valued. My questions were answered. I was treated with dignity and respect. It was how obstetric care SHOULD look like all of the time- everywhere.
On Friday July 24th, my Braxton Hicks started to progress that afternoon. Knowing I had quick labors, we had Ethan’s family come up and sit with Athena until my mom could get here while we went to the birth center. I was 3cm. Frustratingly, my labor stalled and we came home around 4am at 4cm.
I woke up Saturday morning still stalled in labor. My contractions were erratic and not getting any stronger. That afternoon I saw our friend Kari for an acupuncture appointment. As soon as she started sticking me, my contractions became regular and the strongest they had been so far. I came home, showered, and waited. My parents took Athena home so if I went into labor we wouldn’t need to wait for someone to come, we could just leave.
When Ethan got home from work my contractions were still about 7min apart and not quite painful enough to warrant leaving. We made sure to have everything we needed and sat to watch TV while eating a flat of Oreos. By 8:30 I rounded the pain bend and they got closer together. We arrived at the birth center at 9:45pm and I was only 5cm.
I went from chatting between contractions to game face very quickly. I was able to labor on my hands and knees in the bed. The midwife came in at 10:45 to check the baby’s heart rate. At that point we brought up a yoga ball that I leaned over to help with gravity. I asked Ethan to start the tub to try and labor in there a bit. By the next contraction I needed to push.
Rebecca our incredible midwife came back in at 10:55. My water broke on its own after I started pushing. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this baby was coming fast and I did not want to tear. Rebecca talked me through, and Ethan let me crush his hands while reminding me to breathe and encouraging me through.
Miraculously, unlike my L&D with Athena, not only did I not experience a ring of fire, not only did I not tear even a little, but I delivered her at 11:01pm after only 6 minutes of pushing.
After dealing with the placenta & cutting the chord, and making sure we were generally ok, the midwife and nurse tucked us into bed and left. I wasn’t rushed off to pee. The baby wasn’t taken for measurements. They left us to do skin to skin, nurse, bond, and breathe. After a while I passed her to Ethan for some skin to skin. I had a snack. I got a shower. And after an hour or so, they came back to do measurements and check on me. It was the first and only time they turned the main lights on. The nurse did come in and check my blood pressure & bleeding a few times, and not once did she turn on the main lights or turn up the dimmer lights.
We were free and cleared to go by 5am and were home just a little after 6am Sunday morning, not even 12hrs after arriving.
Our Birth Center experience was everything I hoped for and more. There was so much stress & anxiety about giving birth in the hospital- even outside of all of the Covid crap. Switching to the BC was like a magic wand that erased all of the stress and worry almost instantly. I was calm and relaxed. Our midwife Rebecca was truly incredible! By happen stance, she was on call both Friday & Saturday, and fit our personalities beautifully. At no time did I ever feel like I was not in control of my body, my labor, or my baby. We were the only ones there that night, and had our pick of the rooms. I chose to deliver in the Willow Room, which was extremely comfortable and I felt the best set up for us.
I’m so thankful to have had a healthy pregnancy and even have the opportunity outside of a hospital to deliver. I know that not everyone has this option, and I do not take it for granted.
If you are in Pennsylvania, I can not recommend Birth Care & Family Health enough!