Cassandra's Birth Story
My first baby was born premature and via c-section, and spent the first month of his life in the NICU. It was all I knew and experienced with birth. When I was pregnant the second time with my daughter I knew I wanted a completely opposite birth story. I told my husband I was seriously considering a homebirth, but he was skeptical being a healthcare professional. I found Well Rounded Mama and we interviewed a couple of midwives together. Tiffanie was the second midwife we met with and we loved her from that first meeting. We were impressed with all her experience and training and who she had her training from, but I what I really noticed was how she made me feel. I felt like me and the baby were her first priority above all else. I was confident in knowing she was fully aware of what was normal and what would need medical intervention (my husband’s number one concern was in the case of emergency), and she wouldn’t hesitate to send me to the hospital is need be. Luckily, that was never the case for me.
Throughout my whole pregnancy she was always available to answer any questions and concerns... and I had a lot. I was always so worried about having another preterm baby, which would end up at a hospital since you can’t have a home-birth before 37 weeks. Tiffanie was my sound of reason and assured me that everything I was feeling was normal. She had great suggestions and solutions for all the normal discomforts a pregnant mama experiences in the latter months of pregnancy. I always felt safe and validated during our appointments and discussions, and she always took time with me, unlike the usual rushed feeling you have at the OB office.
The day came, I started active labor on my due date! I had some contractions the Sunday before and was dilated to a 6 and 80 percent effaced by Wednesday, but still no active labor. It was a Saturday morning and while we were getting ready to head to Kneader’s for breakfast I was having light contractions, but I brushed it off. An hour or so went by, and while we were having breakfast the contractions became stronger. I still didn’t want to bug Tiffanie for a false alarm, but my husband was insistent that I just give her a heads up. So I did, and by the time we got home from breakfast my contractions were 5 mins apart and even stronger.
Tiffanie came over with her doula student, Amy, to set up and get everything ready for the birth. I started to labor in my bathtub for a little while before I got out and labored the remainder of the time on my bed. Tiffanie would check the baby’s heartbeat periodically and give me words of encouragement; I loved that she gave me space but also let me know she was there if I needed her. I also had my husband, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law in the room, so it was a full house! When I reached transition, I was never commanded to push, I remember Tiffanie telling me to follow my body and push if I felt the urge.
It wasn’t until I was crowning when she instructed me to push with effort. I was so tired by this point, I took a micro-naps in-between contractions, haha. My daughters head was out, and during that break of contractions I closed my eyes for a second; my husband said later that that made him nervous, but he was reassured by how calm Tiffanie was.
Once my daughter was out, Tiffanie laid her on my chest and gave my husband and I a moment to admire her before she cleaned me up and stitched me up. The whole thing was such a beautiful and intimate experience, truly a birth story dream. I loved that I could labor in my own space with as little or as many people as I wanted. I could play whatever music I wanted and eat whenever or whatever I wanted. Once my baby was earth-side I could nurse her and hold her for as long as I wanted. I chose to delay the cord cutting until the placenta was delivered, and I chose to not have the vernix wiped off from her. It was all on my terms and that’s exactly how birth should be— on the laboring mom’s terms. Tiffanie’s care didn’t end once my daughter was out, but she continued her prenatal care and even after as a wise friend. Her knowledge and experience is invaluable, and I’m so lucky to have found her and befriended her. She is truly a friend.