I grew up believing that people only safely have babies in hospitals, but when my husband and I found ourselves expecting our first child, I realized I desperately wanted another option. My initial media-driven apprehension (home births don’t typically end well in movies) led me to a couple of disappointing visits at my OBGYN office. I saw a different doctor every time, all of which were distant and impersonal in their approach. It didn’t feel like there was any continuity of care, and my 15 minute appointments did nothing to address what I was going through emotionally, let alone get out all the questions I had. My doctors didn’t seem to share my excitement, and I left each time feeling unfulfilled, and no less at ease.
I’d heard wonderful things about Kirsten, who was so committed during a friend’s 36-hour labor that she even napped sitting on a trash can next to her in the bathroom. A few prompting emails from Kirsten later, my husband and I found ourselves in the River Valley office. ALL the midwives sat down with us together and discussed our fears about having a baby, doing it at home, and what we were going through emotionally regarding the pregnancy. We left that day convinced that we wanted a home birth with these women beside us! They CARED, they were excited with us, and they gave us the time we needed as first-time parents to ask all of our questions. Appointments were an hour, which gave us plenty of time to forget–and then remember again–all the things we had on our minds. We left every one feeling more prepared.
As the pregnancy progressed, I had things I felt I needed to ask between appointments. The midwives were available to me on the phone in a way that no OB would ever be. Even though our conversations were often lengthy–sometimes up to 45 minutes! – and my questions many, they always made me feel cared for, and never like I was a bother. Those phone calls were a lifesaver.
The thought of childbirth had always intimidated me, but when my water broke and labor started, I could not have felt more supported, or less afraid. Their apprentice arrived first, and had such a tenderness about her, she immediately made me feel safe and loved, setting the tone for the next 12 hours in the most wonderful way. The midwives soon followed, and the three of them came in and out of the bedroom where my husband and I labored, alternately helping and giving us space to be together. They were gentle and reassuring at times, spoon-feeding me sorbet and squirting energy drinks into my open mouth, and they were firm with me when I needed them to be, pushing me to change positions and tap in to the strength they knew I had inside when I thought I’d already given everything I had.
The experience of giving birth was more difficult, and more challenging, than I had anticipated, but because of our months of in-depth discussions with all the midwives, I knew–at the deepest level–that I was being cared for by people who loved me and really knew me. I was sure that they would be there in the way that I needed them, and not for one single moment during the entire labor did I feel unsafe. I felt secure in being completely, utterly vulnerable in front of them. And when I had a bit more bleeding than usual after Liam was born, they acted quickly and effectively to stop it, and to stop me from being scared by it.
Being able to stay in my own bed with my husband and our brand new baby, and have our midwives come to us for postpartum visits was one of the most wonderful parts of the whole experience. I felt so fundamentally surrounded and supported, it was beautiful. They helped me make sense of the roller coaster of emotions that comes with a new baby, and they were invaluable in those tough early days of nursing him. I can’t imagine doing any of it any other way. I will heartily recommend them to anyone, and if I have another baby I will not hesitate to work with them again. They helped prepare me to become a mother on so many levels, and they will always have a very special place in my heart.