Birth - Inspire, Educate, Empower
April 22, the day our sweet Shawna Quinn made her entrance into the world. It has been 4 years, but I can remember every detail of that day and I have been wanting to share it for a long time. But I have struggled with “why do I need to share it”. It is something you are so proud of yet you feel like no one asks to hear your birth story or cares to. In our culture we don’t talk about birth we don’t see birth as something beautiful and inspiring we see it as something scary and that our bodies are not capable of doing by themselves. I started searching why I needed to share my story. I came across this, “they inspire, they educate, they empower, they warn, they encourage, they help shed light on the transformative, natural, emotional process and help take away the stigma around birth. They help people to share different ways of approaching birth, in ways that expecting families may not have thought of. But most of all they tell a love story. A beautiful, powerful dance between a family welcoming their baby into the world”
That was it. That is why we need to tell our birth stories. That is why I need to share mine.
When we first found out I was pregnant I had no idea what a midwife was, or even natural labor was. I started out seeing a OBGYN. I had your typically prenatal appointment once a month in the beginning and I still don’t think I fully grasped or thought about what I wanted my birth to look like. Derek and I were in the beginning stages of chiropractic school and we started making healthier and more natural choices because we were learning about our bodies intelligence and how it is capable of amazing things if it has no interference. We started questioning why we were seeing this OBGYN once a month. We saw her for maybe 5 minutes and I don’t think she once asked me how I wanted my birth to go. It was pee in a cup, check my blood pressure, measure my uterus, listen to the heart beat (yes all important things) but I felt like just another patient in a hospital. Around 30 weeks Derek and I just felt like the hospital route was not for us to have a baby. We started looking into other options when we came across a birthing center. We did a tour we met the midwives and that was it. It felt warm and welcoming. It smelt like herbs. It was beautiful and we new we had to switch from our OBGYN to this birthing center with midwives. From that point on I felt like my birth mattered and my opinions mattered. Everyone was on board with my goal, my vision, my birth experience (except maybe my mom when I told her I was switching at 30 weeks 😂, but she came around!) We attended a 2-day class about birth at the birthing center and I am so thankful we did! One day was tips and tricks to naturally help with labor pains and the other was on water birth. They constantly were reminding us that this is a natural process and women’s body’s are designed for the entire process.
Fast forward to our last week of our first trimester in chiropractic school. It was Thursday and our last final I started having some cramping. Remember this is my first baby so I wasn’t exactly sure if I was in labor. As soon as the final was over I remember calling my sister and telling her I was cramping, but that it really didn’t hurt. She told me to start timing them and sure enough they were coming and going every 10minutes. At this point I still didn’t believe or know if it was true labor. I started to clean my whole house, like deep clean. I wanted to be distracted and not because I was in pain, but because I was excited, anxious to meet this little girl. That night Derek and I went out to eat because we wanted to celebrate finishing our first trimester of school. When we were sittting there waiting I told Derek this is it and it’s not because anyone told me. My body told me I was going to be meeting our girl soon. I went to bed not having much pain or serious contractions. I couldn’t sleep and not because of pain, but because I felt like I was a kid on Christmas Eve. I couldn’t contain my excitement. Around 3:00am I started having more pain. I was pacing around our apartment. I took a shower and my mom fixed my hair for me and by this point I needed to get on all fours to get comfortable. I started timing my contractions again and they were 4 minutes apart. My midwife told us to labor at home for as long as possible and to come in around 7am. When we arrived at the birthing center I didn’t have to wait they took me straight back to see how dilated I was. I was dilated to a 6 so they told me I could stay and get settled into a room. No I was not hooked up to monitors, no I did not get an IV, no I did not have to stay in the bed. Derek turned on our playlist that we had made, we diffused essential oils, and I had a smoothie that the nurse made for me. They reminded to stay hydrated and to eat if I needed to. They knew I was going to need energy for this natural birth. The nurse did frequent checks to see if I needed anything and was building a rapport with us. Our suite was large with a nice bed, medicine balls, pads to put on the floor, and a big tub. We had a peanut medicine ball that we put on the bed and I leaned over to get through contractions. Derek and my mom were there for every single contraction to provide counter pressure on my hips and sacrum to help with pain. I couldn’t believe how much a little pressure helped, another tip we learned in our child birthing class. I got in the tub for a bit to use gravity to help take the weight off but that didn’t feel right to me so I went back to peanut ball. I used steady, collected breaths to overcome contractions, even in active labor the frequent contractions I made sure they never got the best of me. After 4 hours of contractions finally the midwife agreed it was time to push. I pushed for 20 minutes before our sweet girl came to this world and I was able to bring her to my chest. 5 1/2 hours at the birth center and our darling was here. After necessary monitoring to see how baby and I were doing we were allowed to leave at 5pm, less than 12 hours between admittance and our exit.
No epidural, no wires, no c-section, no interference, nothing other than my internal and external innate instincts. I know emergency medicine has saved many mothers and babies, but we have turned this beautiful natural event into a scary procedure. We have forgotten how beautiful birth really is. I had a encouraging quote written down on a card that I could see at all times during labor and it said “you were born for this.” I don’t think it can be explained any better. Ladies, you were born for this. I am here to inspire, educate, empower, warn, and encourage you to have to the birth you desire! It’s ok if it doesn’t look exactly like mine as long as you feel educated and heard!
Every pregnancy, every birth, and every baby is different. Second birth to a sweet little boy coming up next! 💕
- Dr. Jessica