Why I Chose a Midwife for My First Child’s Birth

I am not made of sterner stuff. I cried when I fell down too many times on my first attempt at snowboarding. I over exaggerated a sprained ankle in middle school, requiring me to dramatically exit…only to return with crutches. So when I pictured how my experience with childbirth would go down, giving birth drug-free in a birthing center was not at all on my list of things to do.

My experience with babies and first glimpse at a delivery, up until my own, began with my older sister Ashley giving birth to her first daughter, Morgan. I will never forget the details of that birth, or lack thereof. {Thank you very much every movie featuring pregnant women in unrealistic labor.} The lull of the beeping machines measuring contractions and the baby’s heartbeat, and an overall calmness in the dimly lit room created a very serene and ideal environment for birth. The drugs seemed to be a way to protect yourself from the trauma of birth and keep things moving! It all made sense to be in the safety of a hospital that had a finely tuned system going for the business of birthing. Even during our initial talks about having a baby, before I was pregnant, my husband and I agreed it was normal to go to a hospital, and that he would be standing at my side, shielded from any traumatic scenes of birth.

However, a good friend in my life changed my view of birth drastically by having her firstborn at HOME with a midwife. No drugs? No doctor? What exactly was a midwife, anyway? I had lots of questions that needed answering! Turns out, when I educated myself on alternative ways to give birth, and that I actually had choices, I was shocked at how much the wimp inside me was on board with giving birth without drugs and with a midwife. After doing my own research and having discussions with my husband, who was incredibly skeptical at first, we both decided we didn’t want to have the risk of unnecessary medical or drug intervention for our birth. The idea that drugs were readily available in a hospital was my main reason for opting out of that situation when it came time to bring Layla into the world.

Let me be real – had I given birth in a hospital with my plan, I don’t know if I would have lasted, which was incredibly important to me. I also wanted to be certain I had freedom to eat, drink, and move about as I pleased; whatever made the job of bringing new life into the world a little more comfortable.

I had very few choices on where I could give birth in my area, as only one midwife in a 100 mile radius was covered by my insurance. I’m grateful that I loved the entire staff at Rite of Passage, where my midwife Bernadette Olivier practiced. I didn’t want to have a home birth. {The mess alone made me shudder, plus 2 excitable dogs didn’t paint the serene picture I had in mind.} Throughout pregnancy, I reminded myself that women have been giving birth for generations without medical intervention, and that our bodies were made to do this! That thought kept me calm my entire pregnancy.

Birth Center (1)The night I went into the birthing center, I had been in labor for hours at home and was reaching my breaking point. Back labor was in full force for hours, and my magical hypnobirthing wasn’t producing the calming effects as I hoped. I remember my midwife telling my husband to wait for contractions to be 2 minutes apart before we drove in, but at 2 minutes 30 seconds, I couldn’t wait anymore. I couldn’t speak I was in so much discomfort, but I mentally convinced myself that even though she couldn’t give me anything, her presence alone, and the magical birthing tub, would relieve me of all my contractions, back labor, and I would sink into the tub and say “aaaahhh….”

Ah, no. I came in, wincing in agony at the contractions that had been coming full force in the car 1 minute apart. I was still coherent enough to want to change and hop in the tub with at least my nursing bra on. I really didn’t want to be “that” naked pregnant woman in labor. {Warning :: when people tell you that you’ll lose modesty during birth, they are not lying to give you something else to fret about.} The midwife suggested I remove it as it would get wet before it could be used later on. Did I object? Nope, I snapped it off and didn’t even blink. At the time, I didn’t think – “Well, there’s a lady I just met tonight {the midwife’s assistant} and she’s watching me lurch about naked like a scared, wild animal.” Let alone the fact that my husband had to witness this all go down. Only afterwards could I really process what happened. It couldn’t have been FURTHER from our initial baby talk, and he 100% stepped up to the plate that night and was there for me, in sickness {literally} and in health, giving me drinks, energizing snacks, a hand to hold, and reassuring words. It was better than I could have hoped for.

Birth Center (3)And then it happened. I stopped panicking, saying “I can’t do it! You’re hurting me! I just want a margarita!”…and I DID IT. After bouncing around from tub, stool, bed, and floor, I finally brought Layla Megan into the world. And just like that, all of the fretting and pain of labor were over. That second after the very last moment of pushing, it almost erases the entire painful process. And there you are, with your lovely screaming, slippery new babe.

You may read this story and think it sounds like nothing you would wish on your worst enemy, and that’s okay! But for me, I know I didn’t get a chance to read a lot of positive, yet slightly scary, natural birth stories when I was pregnant. It seems the internet is littered with a lot of stories that are either “it was magical, I was quiet and serene” or “I WILL NEVER HAVE A NATURAL BIRTH AGAIN.”

I feel my delivery was a nice balance, and maybe you can see it that way as well. It was magical and serene once she arrived, but I endured quite a bit before we could reach that moment, as all moms do. I am grateful that my friend kept it very real when she recalled her homebirth story to me. Where it perhaps should have deterred me, I took it as a challenge to face my fears, knowing it was in the best interest of my baby and was aligned with what my husband and I wanted.

Birth Center (2)

Lindsey BioAbout Lindsey M.

Lindsey is a kid at heart and lover of coffee, children’s books, and animals. A lucky wife and devoted mama whose heart is easily won through laughter. After spending the first half of her life in Iowa, Lindsey is happy to call herself a Texan. Married for 5 years to her best friend, she traded in her position as her husband’s co-worker at an oil and gas company to raise their super cool 2-year-old, Layla. In between reading all the books, watching Daniel Tiger, and playing outside with their two dogs, Lindsey is working to develop her photography hobby into a successful business.


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