I have birthed 3 babies. All 3 experiences were very unique, but I’ve learned more about myself, and my body during these 3 births, then probably any other time in my life.
With my firstborn, I was young and not quite prepared for all I was in for. I did take a childbirth class, it offered some relaxation techniques and we watched some birth videos. It talked us through the steps of a hospital birth. I don’t recall it ever mentioning birth centers or homebirth and I never really questioned that I wouldn’t birth in a hospital, that is just where you went to have a baby.
The birth was long and difficult, and full of interventions. I went home feeling like I had been hit by a truck, run over and broken. All while trying to breastfeed a very unwilling newborn.
I can’t quite remember now, when exactly I knew that there had to be a better way to have a baby, but I remember thinking if I ever did this again I would have to have a different plan.
Fast forward 8 years, and I was pregnant again. I changed providers, thinking that would help. I took a 12 week childbirth series, which did help, and I felt like I knew what I wanted and needed to have the birth I wanted. I thought I still wanted a hospital birth, just without all the interventions. Throughout the childbirth series we attended, I kept thinking maybe I should switch to a birthcenter. But that felt overwhelming and hard. So I stayed where I was. At 36 weeks, preeclampsia landed me in the hospital for an induction. My childbirth classes helped me avoid a c-section and I was able to make informed decisions, but this is definitely not what I wanted. My second born was little but healthy. Once again, I came home beat up, and knew that what we had been through was not something I would ever want to experience again.
Four years later I got pregnant with my third baby. I was very concerned about preeclampsia occurring again, so I interviewed and toured several birth centers in our area. I begrudgingly went back to my old provider because I was hesitant to switch to a birth center if I was going to be pushed back to the hospital at the last minute. I saw my old provider until 28 weeks, when my anxiety was so bad over delivering at the hospital I was secretly wishing and planning for an unassisted home birth. It was then, that I realized if I was more comfortable having a baby at home ALONE, then at a hospital with my providers, that I knew I must switch. I went to Heritage Birth Center, I was treated with respect and love and care. They never doubted my ability to birth naturally and when my blood pressure started to rise, we treated it with diet and supplements and herbs. I went into labor on my due date, she was born 15 minutes after midnight on the spring equinox. That feeling of, “I KNEW I COULD DO THIS!!!!” still hasn’t gone away. I’ve never felt more empowered, strong, or full of purpose. I relied heavily on my education from my previous 12 week childbirth series, as well as the support of my midwives. I read and reread Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth, and drew on the strength of the women in that book to get me through my toughest contractions.
I went home, just four hours after she was born, and we slept in our bed and awoke to the older kids coming home from grandma’s to meet their little sister in the morning. It was the first time after giving birth that I felt stronger then before the birth. I felt stronger then I ever had in my life.
In the days and weeks after my spring birth, I kept thinking, “I want to harness this power and strength inside me, I want to use it, and I want to share it.” This is what childbirth education is all about, sharing knowledge and strength and building up women, so they can see the power inside
I am so excited and honored to have the opportunity and privilege to teach childbirth education in my hometown of Eagle River. I want to help build a community of women who are empowered by their births and confident in their choices. I want to support birth partners, and show them how empowering birth can be for them as well.
So welcome to my little world. I hope you’ll stay awhile.