Who is getting baby fever?? Hearing about people’s births and anticipation of birth excites me so much! These positive birth stories are not helping me, either!
Brooke is amazing! She has five beautiful babies; 4 girls and 1 boy. She parents them so well and is a great example of love and nurture that our kids need. Brooke, started out with hospital births, and later came across great information that interested her in exploring the option of having an out-of-hospital birth.
Brooke was 19 years old when she gave birth to her oldest, Madisyn, in 2009. She had no experience with birth OR babies. The prenatal care,using an OB, consisted of her going in and doing what they said, but she didn’t know anything more about the process of pregnancy and birth than when she first started. The doctor was the expert and she didn’t need to ask questions. She didn’t even know what questions to ask. She did know that she wanted a natural birth, and the doctor actually laughed at her when she told him that. Due to personal reasons, she asked to be induced on her “due date”. She really had no idea what all that decision consisted of from a labor and birth perspective. The OB told her about the process — come to the hospital, get the pill to soften her cervix (she had no idea what that was!) that night, and start Pitocin the next morning — but what labor would be like and possible side effects weren’t discussed. She described the contractions with Pitocin as “crazy hard”. She decided to get the epidural, and once they gave it to her, her blood pressure dropped(which is a side effect of all the medicine they use to intervene with birth). In the midst of that madness, they prepped her for a c-section. Luckily, the medicine they gave her for her blood pressure worked and she didn’t have to have a c-section. Once her body relaxed from the epidural, She had her within a couple of hours. Her labor was about 7 hours from start to finish and she was 8lbs 6 oz!(She was given a routine episiotomy)
“If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.” -Diana Korte
Her next birth, she gave birth to another girl, Corlyn, in 2012. She was a bit bolder this time around. She was very adamant about having a natural birth, and even tried to find a birthing center. The closest ones she could find was 2.5 hours away, and at that point she wasn’t comfortable making the trip. Her and her husband(my older brother) decided to go with the same OB again. This time, she knew to ask more questions and was relentless in having a natural birth. No induction and no epidural! She was gaining a lot of weight this pregnancy. She was stressed and eating a lot. The doctor handled it in a very shameful manner and told her to “eat better”. That was hard for her, because she really didn’t know how to change or break the habit. Body image was something she struggled with for as long as she could remember, so it was embarrassing. When Corlyn wasn’t here by her “due date”, the OB immediately started talking induction. She told him she didn’t want to be induced and he told her he wouldn’t let her go any longer than a week and a half past her due date. She didn’t understand at that point that it wasn’t his choice. He kept telling her that the baby was really big and they didn’t need to let her get any bigger. That stirred up a lot of fear in Brooke. She and Wade decided to go ahead and induce, but she was asking questions at this point. The OB told her they could break her water before Pitocin, so that is the route they chose. He gave her a timeline that she had to be in active labor or he would start Pitocin. She was in labor, but early stages of labor, and he wanted her in active labor. So eventually they started her on Pitocin and she refused the epidural for as long as she could stand it, and finally caved in. After it finally kicked in and her body relaxed, Corlyn was born within 30 minutes.(Again, she was given a routine episiotomy) The labor lasted about 9 hours and she weighed 8lbs 11oz.
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.” – Jane Weideman
By the time she was pregnant again(with another girl 🙂 ), she searched even harder for an alternative to hospital birthing. That is when she found Carolyn Drake Reisman in Chattanooga (the same midwife I used). She is an amazing woman and tremendous blessing. Women, babies, pregnancy, and birth isn’t just a profession for her, but a passion! She treated Brooke like a person, and not just another patient to filter through. Carolyn catapulted Brooke on a journey of learning and growing! Teaching her how to take information, listen to her gut, and make her own decisions. Carolyn pointed her in the direction of learning to eat healthy and walked the process with her. Midwives see and understand that birth isn’t just a physical thing… but one of body, soul, and spirit, and the midwife tends to all three! It was life changing and so empowering for Brooke! Carolyn helped Brooke look fear in the face and overcome. Brooke carried her sweet Naomi for three weeks past her “due date”, and she was having to face all those previous fears that she believed were true; Naomi would die, or Brooke would die, She would be too big.. Once Brooke went in to labor, she kept expecting the contractions to get worse. However, natural contractions are nothing like contractions created by Pitocin. Labor was 3 hours from start to finish and she weighed 10 pounds. She only tore a tiny amount. Not even enough to have stitches. Brooke describes her recovery as “absolutely amazing”. She was up and moving around, and they drove home the same day! She had very minimal swelling and recovery time was quick compared to both hospital births. She not only had an amazing prenatal support, but also postnatal. She was educated about breast feeding, and pointed in the direction of other great resources. She was given permission to REST and enjoy this special time with her baby. First priority once the baby is born is time with mom. She bonded so much better with Naomi in the beginning, which made the rest of her journey so much easier. Brooke had a water birth, and for her, it was perfect! Water is so soothing and calming for her. She said it was really great to have that option.
Brooke used Carolyn again for her fourth child, and the prenatal care was amazing! They were in a group with other women birthing in the same month. Brooke felt very confident this time around. They were able to learn even more, and see things they hadn’t seen the first time around. She prepared herself that she might go past her “due date”. The fear of birthing outside of a hospital was gone. This time around Brooke’s placenta was low, so they got multiple ultrasounds to keep an eye on it. The placenta moved up and didn’t present any problems during birth. She was, however, naive and expected the birth to be like her last one. Carolyn tried to warn her that not all births were the same, but it was a lesson she had to learn on her own ha! Over all, she said everything was really amazing, and she learned to respect each birth for its own individuality. Labor was around 8 hours start to finish!
Fun fact: She was told that she would be having another girl, making it her fourth girl! Once she delivered, they just wrapped up the baby and handed the baby to Brooke! It wasn’t until about an hour later when they unwrapped her baby to put on a diaper that “she” was indeed a BOY! YAY! The girls were so excited for a little brother and it was a funny story to tell. Maximus weighed 9lbs and she didn’t tear at all! She had a water birth with him, also.
With her 5th child, Sophia, Brooke knew they would be birthing closer to home this time. She wasn’t sure what that looked like, so she just started exploring her options. She found an OB that moved here from Atlanta. Brooke said she is amazing! The OB is used to working alongside midwives, so she has an open mind in comparison to other OB’s in the area. She was very respectful of Brooke’s decisions and beliefs. Brooke also toured Crestwood hospital in Huntsville, Al and was very impressed with how mom/baby friendly they are. She said they were definitely focused on what is best for mom/baby instead of what is best for the OB. Brooke’s fear of using an OB and delivering in a hospital was gone after this. She didn’t want to birth in a hospital, but felt comfortable if that is what needed to happen. They ended up finding a local midwife that delivers right across the border in Tennessee, and decided to use her. Brooke said she was absolutely wonderful as well. She is kind and caring, full of joy, and a breath of fresh air!(Side note: she is the same midwife my mom used with her home births!) She had such a great experience using her for her prenatal care. At the beginning of January 2018, Wade and Brooke really felt like it was the right thing for them to birth at home unassisted. They told their midwife the change of plans, and then used all of what they had learned over the past few years and other resources to prepare for the birth. She described it as an amazing experience to birth at home, and also to be connected/working together with her husband and leaning so much on God. Wade was all in, and it was truly a remarkable experience. Early labor started at about 1:30 a.m. and was very sporadic. Active labor started about 8:00 a.m. and Sophia was born at 11:08 a.m. She was only 3 days past due and came earth side with a water birth weighing 8lbs 7 oz.
WOW! What great stories! Although, we wouldn’t consider her hospital births as a bad experience, our emotions can play a huge part in the outcome of our birth! Brooke explored her options and gained knowledge of what births can be and liked what she found! If you walk away with any information from this…
Know that it is YOUR birth and YOU make the decisions! Ask questions, get educated, and find out what you feel is the best option for YOU and YOUR BABY.
Birth Stories from 3 women that had both hospital and home births is a great way to gain perspective of what can happen and how great your birth can be!
Thankfully, all three of these women had home births before I did, so I was able to take their experiences and educate myself early. I was able to have a great first time home birth experience that I would not change for the world and I will do again and again until I’m done having babies!
I hope you all feel inspired to do the same!