Heidi was in her fourth pregnancy when she found My Family Birth Center and began her prenatal care. She had heard about birth centers from friends who had used them before and she wanted more from her birth than what the hospital could provide.
Previous Pregnancies and Births
When asked about her previous births in the hospital, Heidi says, “I felt like a number.” As though giving birth was more of a market experience rather than a transformative experience.
Heidi’s first birth, she had Pitocin and an epidural. She felt more confident with her second birth and wanted to labor in the tub, and with her third child she wanted to give birth unmedicated.
With her fourth baby on the way, Heidi wanted to experience birth her way. She recounted the switch as coming from a sterilized, manufactured environment to one where the midwives listened to her body and she could tap into her natural instincts.
The birth center felt inviting, like she was walking into someone’s home. There’s a comfy couch for her husband, Scott, to sit on while Heidi had her prenatal check ups. She liked that the birth center was a safe place where she could be heard.
Leading up to Heidi’s due date, she had a few false alarms and experienced prodomal labor. Soon her due date came and went.
Finally, when Heidi was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, she felt contractions coming on. She took a shower, put on some calming music, then took a nap. Exactly what the midwives recommend for early labor. Get in some rest while you can! You will need the energy later.
When she woke up, her contractions were strong and felt like one on top of another. Her husband was at work in Salt Lake City, but she wanted support quickly and called her mom. The older kids were with the babysitter.
When her mom arrived, Heidi said she felt “pushy,” and they drove to the birth center. She had called her husband to let her know things were progressing quickly and to come to the birth center, but he had to battle rush hour traffic.
As Scott made his way to the birth center, Heidi’s support team got him on a video call. Loretta started the bath and began applying counter pressure to Heidi’s hips. Once the tub had filled, Heidi got in and labored on her knees.
Declan began his descent into the birth canal and Loretta told Heidi to stand up. As she stood, she felt like wonder woman. Heidi pushed and Loretta slipped the cord off from around Declan’s neck. Scott missed Declan’s birth by ten minutes and was heartbroken to have missed it.
When Scott did arrive, Heidi was still in the tub. Love drunk and basking in the scent of her new son. The experience felt beautiful, like being at home. It was therapeutic and healing in ways she hadn’t realized before. A feeling of empowerment washed over her.
Heidi was surprised that she could move around so freely after just giving birth. She explained that bonding with Declan was so easy and she felt tended to by the midwives. Heidi described her birth with My Family Birth Center as “fun,” and said she would definitely use the birth center again if she has more children.
When asked what she would say to someone contemplating using a birth center, Heidi said “I know it sounds scary, we’re taught that hospitals are a safe place. Hospital’s are for treating illness and death, not for bringing in life, though c-sections are great for emergency. Giving birth at a birth center will be a beautiful experience. Trust yourself and your instincts. Educate yourself on both sides.”
She loved that at My Family Birth Center, you can be yourself. Birth is very vulnerable and she wanted to move the way her body told her to, and to say and do the things she wanted to. Giving birth here felt organic.
At the end of her birth story, Heidi left me with this quote by Ina May Gaskin that spoke to her- “If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during labor, then someone isn’t treating her right.”
Are you thinking about using a birth center but still on the fence about it? Many women who have used a birth center have reported having a more positive experience overall and feeling a sense of pride or empowerment after giving birth. Continue reading to see why women are switching back to the midwifery model of care.
Want to get off of hormonal birth control while still preventing pregnancy? Or would you like to get better insight into your fertility while trying to conceive? Natural Family Planning may be right for you.
Pregnancy and infant loss still has so much stigma around them making it hard for women's stories to be talked about openly. By raising awareness to these issues, we hope to provide women with a safe place where they can express themselves and feel heard.