Dorian's Birth Story
On August 18, 2011 early in the morning I decided to take a pregnancy test because I had that very strange feeling and my intuition was right. For the first month I was set on a hospital birth and thought I knew the doctor I wanted, I had never read up on home births and midwives, I had seen so many horrors on television that I was really nervous. After trying to ensure that I would have a female doctor the whole way through, I was denied and basically told that if I wasn’t okay with the occasional 50 something year old man riding a Harley then tough. After a couple sleepless nights I was skipping through Netflix when I came upon “Business of Being Born” and that documentary changed EVERYTHING. Before even really discussing it with my husband or doing a lot of research; I made the decision and started searching for a midwife, and I found Gina. After talking to her and making the decision final, no going back, I finally felt at peace with my pregnancy and the road ahead of me. Gina was surprised with my decision, as she stated first time moms usually don’t go straight to midwives and homebirths due to the fear that has been instilled in us from hospitals, but I felt completely safe and at peace with it the moment I swung that way. I kept up my running, walking and working out, kept an eye on what I ate and anticipated the day when I would hold my baby. We went ahead and found out the sex at 20 weeks, I had the names picked out for either sex since I was 13-14 years old and I was going to be a having a little Dorian Vaughn.
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The Birth of Carylise Melynn
The last week of my pregnancy was very difficult for me. I had it in my head that this baby would be here no later than when his/her brother arrived at 40 weeks, 5 days. So when we got to that same hallmark and still had no baby, I went a little crazy. The tears and the hormones had been raging all week. On Wednesday, my fabulous doula stopped by to check in on me and make sure I was hanging in ok. She even brought a whole fresh pineapple. Little did she know she would be back the next morning. Wednesday night, we went to church for Wednesday night dinner and our good friends, Tim and Kate joked that turkey had sent Kate into labor with Ben almost one year before. So that night I had two helpings of turkey. I was getting tired of hearing, “Haven’t you had that baby, yet?” At 9:30 p.m. right before I was planning to lay down for sleep, my water broke. At first, I asked the same question I think most women ask at that point, “Did I just pee myself?” I called my midwife who instructed me to put on a pad and wait a while.
I sent my husband to bed (big mistake). With my last labor, I had start and stop labor all night before things really picked up the next morning. I never called the midwife back because the contractions started an hour later. I did call my mother and tell her she might want to head to our house since she was going to be taking care of my oldest two during the birth. I really thought we had plenty of time since I didn’t expect things to pick up until much later. Honestly, at this point I was still in denial that labor had actually started. It wasn’t until 12:00 a.m. when I started having pink show that I actually acknowledged that this was happening. Anyone who knows my last VBAC birth story knows that denial for me is apparently par for the course when it comes to labor. When my mom came in the back door at 12:30 a.m., I told her excitedly, “This is real.” We joked off and on through a few contractions at how happy I was to be in labor and reviewed everything that the kids would need for the following day. Contractions were about 10 minutes apart and I was still walking and talking through them at that point. But the shift happened very quickly. By 1:00 a.m., I ordered my husband to get out of our bedroom so I could be near a bathroom without waking the kids. So he went to the couch and promptly went back to bed. I didn’t really tell him things were picking up because I still thought we had plenty of time.
At 2:30 a.m. when the contractions were averaging 5 minutes apart, my mom suggested calling my doula and I argued but finally agreed. I also had my mom call the midwife assistant at that point. I was getting a little panicky. My doula who is also pregnant told me she was actually happy to have been woken up out of her slumber since only the day before I had sat in my kitchen worrying about non-stress tests and induction discussions. I woke John up and asked him to blow up the tub.
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Stella's Birth Story
Getting Stella’s birth story on (virtual) paper was one of the motivations behind finally sitting down and setting up a blog. She is our third daughter, but this was our first home birth and I wanted to share the experience. Walt and I chose to birth at home with a Certified Nurse Midwife, two birth assistants, and to be followed by an Obstetrician in case at any point hospital delivery became necessary.
Baby Stella was due at the end of May. So when June 1 came and went with no baby, I tried to keep my head up, but as many mommas who have passed their due date know, one starts to stare awful hard at the calendar after a while. I am a birth doula, which means I support moms before, during, and after their births and often help them have a natural childbirth. Many times, this includes talking them down from the ledge of Mt. Crazy because they are past their due date and very uncomfortable/anxious. But this time it was me atop Mt. Crazy and it was NOT fun. With each of my babies, pregnancy lasted longer and longer. However, by the time I was 41 weeks and 3 days, even I was starting to falter. I had called my midwife to the house TWICE already for false alarms. Once because I was having hard contractions 3 minutes apart for a couple of hours and once because I was certain my water had broken. Normally, I wouldn’t have called the midwife at all until I was well advanced in labor, but since I was Group B Strep positive, I was a little antsy. That was because I would need to have IV antibiotics administered as soon as labor started in order to protect baby from developing a potentially dangerous infection.
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Amanda and Nova’s Birth Story
When we became pregnant with our first child we immediately knew that we wanted to plan a homebirth. We interviewed Gina and instantly knew that with her background and candor she was the midwife for us. She treated us and our impending birth with the same magic and wonder we had for the experience, not as just another patient to see.
The pregnancy went wonderfully. Our appointments with Gina were relaxed, yet thorough. She patiently answered all our questions and addressed our concerns. I felt safe and informed in her hands and ready to welcome our baby girl into the world at our home.
However; our little one had different plans. Late in the pregnancy something changed. I felt movements in different places than before and all of a sudden it was suspected that she was breech. We had an ultrasound and it was confirmed; our baby was full breech at 38 weeks. There was hope that we could encourage her to turn. Gina provided homeopathic remedies, we visited a chiropractor and I laid in positions to encourage her to turn; all to no avail.
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As soon as I became pregnant I determined that I wanted to give birth the most natural way possible and in a surrounding where I was empowered to make my own choices. I wanted to avoid being restricted in any way and to limit the interventions and confinements of a hospital. I had been going to a doctor (obgyn) because I initially could not find a midwife and was unsure about how to find the birthing experience I was looking for. After taking a birthing class, my husband and I began questioning how much input we would actually have during the birth at the hospital even if we had our “birth plan” in place. I had a long list of questions to ask at my next doctor’s appointment and was rather surprised at the responses I received. I was told many of the interventions I wanted to avoid were going to be implemented nevertheless because it was hospital procedure. After the appointment my husband and I completely agreed that a midwife was the only option for us and we set out again to find one in our area. Luckily we found Gina Herman just in time.
My due date was April 6th and as that date came and went we were becoming increasingly excited to meet our baby! On the afternoon of April 13th around 3:00, I began having contractions that didn’t stop when I laid down and relaxed. The contractions were in my lower back and were about 15 minutes apart so I was pretty sure labor had begun. Over the next few hours I tried to keep busy in between the contractions. I took a shower to relax, walked around outside and took care of some things around the house. Around 9:00 p.m. I called Gina as the contractions became stronger and closer together. When I began to feel too overwhelmed with what was happening with my body she helped redirect my focus elsewhere. As time and contractions progressed, she continued to monitor the baby’s heart rate after contractions which was reassuring that everything was proceeding like it should and Keegan was doing well. She offered positions and breathing techniques and provided support that was very intuitive to my needs during each stage. I felt very safe and in competent hands, as Gina had all the equipment needed to monitor mine and the baby’s conditions. Around 2:45 a.m. I began to push and three hours later our son, Keegan, was born at 5:40 a.m. on April 14th. After the birth, Gina and the birth assistant did a complete clean up of the area, you couldn’t even tell a birth had just taken place.
Although it was challenging and tiring I was so elated that I had successfully accomplished what I had set out to do. We are 100 percent certain that we made the right choice of natural childbirth for Keegan‘s safe, healthy and peaceful arrival into this world. Gina’s presence was very calming and her reassurance and encouragement was very soothing. Her assistance is no doubt what made a natural childbirth possible and such a rewarding experience. It was nice to have Gina’s help the following few days to monitor Keegan’s weight and make sure he was doing fine.
My husband and I had complete confidence in her midwifery skills and were entirely comfortable with her from the very beginning. We won’t even think twice about using her for our next birth!