The Journey to Becoming a Midwife
I've wanted to be a midwife since I was a teenager. However, I wanted to wait until I had a family of my own. I assumed that would be when my kids were grown (at least 10 years from now). However, God had other plans. In June 2011, I began an apprenticeship with Chris Duffy, LM in North Houston and began studying midwifery through the Association of Texas Midwives. I also attended births with Nanci Stanley, Holly Shearman, and Kathy Vande Giesen during my training. The journey to becoming a midwife was nearly three years long, and I learned so much from so many wonderful midwives along the way!
My Own Births
I have four children. The first baby was born in 2006 at 36 weeks gestation. I was induced early because the amniotic fluid level was low (oligohydramnios). I was fortunate that the induction went well and it was only ten and a half hours from the time they started the pitocin to the time he was born. I was able to have him without pain medications, however due to some intervention during the second stage (pushing), I needed quite a bit of repair. For this part, I requested demerol, which did nothing to reduce the pain. It only made me delirious. The repair took an hour and a half, so I didn't get to hold my son right away. By the time I held him, he was too sleepy to nurse. Overall, the experience was good (after all, I had a healthy baby and no cesarean), but because of the hospital routines and interventions, I wanted to avoid the hospital if possible for future births.
My second baby was born in a local birth center in 2009. My husband wasn't quite ready to take the leap to homebirth, so we compromised. I went into labor spontaneously at 39 weeks and 1 day. It was the middle of the night, and the contractions weren't as painful as the induced ones. But they came on hard and fast. I didn't have early labor contractions (unless you count the 6 months of braxton hicks... which were doing more than I thought because I was 5 cm dilated by the time I went into labor). After a couple hours of contractions, we left for the birth center... just as I was entering transition. The drive to the birth center was excruciating. I begged my husband to pull over as every little pebble on the road felt like a speed bump! By the time we arrived at the birth center, I was fully dilated and after getting settled in the tub, I pushed out my tiny, beautiful little girl. Labor totaled just three hours. Everything was perfect with one exception... the car ride to the birth center... which is why I had my third child at home!
My third child, born in 2011, was another girl and another waterbirth. In fact, my labors with the girls were almost identical. They were both born at 39 weeks and 1 day. This labor was 4 hours and again started in the middle of the night. I knew with each of them that labor had started after having only one contraction (it was just that strong)! Though I did have a false alarm with each of them as well. And I again started labor at 5 cm dilation. This birth was truly perfect! My older two slept peacefully in their beds while I labored in the living room downstairs. My mom, husband, midwife, doula, and birth photographer were my support team and because I was in my own home, I was running the show. I gave birth with almost no intervention (other than listening to the baby's heart tones every 30 minutes or so). She had the cord around her neck twice and her leg once, so I needed a little help "unwinding" her before I lifted her from the water. It was so perfect, so peaceful, and so healing! I could have a hundred babies this way!
My fourth baby was another girl (my poor husband!). Her labor was very much like my other girls, except that it began with my water breaking. This was new for me! I was only having a contraction every 30 minutes or so and it was dinnertime. I found out later that I was GBS positive for the first time, so that probably contributed to the premature rupture of membranes. I figured I would wake up in the middle of the night and have a baby, so I went to bed as usual. I woke up around 1 am with more noticeable contractions. They quickly picked up and we raced to fill the birth pool. She was born in the water at 3:10 am after just two hours of labor. The only ones in attendance were my husband and my mom. It was so beautiful and peaceful!
I have a surprisingly well-rounded experience of birth, and I truly believe God orchestrated it that way so that I could connect with more women in a variety of birth situations. I've experienced the standard care of hospital birth, the accommodating warmth of a birth center, and two perfectly peaceful homebirths. My passion now is to empower women through education and homebirth services. As the saying goes, I believe it's time for the women of earth to take back their birth!