What were your birth experiences like? My first pregnancy was spent in a lot of denial due to my previous losses. I'll never forget, at an appointment in my 7th month of pregnancy, my midwife looked me in the eyes and said, "You know this is happening....right?" At that point, I knew I was safe and that I was totally capable of birthing this baby. My first labor was 24 hours, almost to the exact minute. I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea, yet, the immense sense of accomplishment I felt, truly supported, would change me. That's when I knew I wanted to support and empower women in the same way. My postpartum was much harder than I expected. My babe was born semi-posterior, so the repairs I needed made moving on my own, the first few weeks, really hard. Not only that, my son had a tight jaw and needed some cranio sacral therapy, chiropractic and some time to literally un- twist after birth. He never learned how to latch to breastfeed, and that struggle, for me, was harder than I ever expected, much harder than the labor itself.
My second labor was planned at the Madison Birth Center as well, but was not at all what we planned. Despite everything I knew about birth, my first experience and my new experience as somebody studying to become a doula, my labor caught me totally off guard. To make a long story short, my husband caught our second son at home in the bathroom before we could get anywhere, and before the midwife could get to us at home. All was healthy and I always joke that it was the best thing I never planned. We were in bed, cuddling and nursing within hours and never had to leave home.
After the speedy entrance of babe #2, my midwife suggested that if I planned to have another baby, I should plan a homebirth as it was likely I wouldn't make it anywhere on time. My third labor was almost identical to my 2nd, and my third boy was born at home and caught by my husband before the midwife could get to us. The jury is still out on whether I would recommend the crazy fast labor over the average or long labor I had with my first. I will say, postpartum was much easier with the faster labors.
Why did you decide to get into birth work? I remember starting to be interested in birthwork in my highschool years. To be honest, I'm not sure how or why I was interested in birth work as I had no personal experience. I originally thought I was going to go the OBGYN route, but that changed when I realized I wasn't interested in doing 13+ more years of school post highschool. I went on to become a Early Childhood Educator and loved working with young kids. I learned about doulas with the birth of my first son in 2010. I went through some loss and struggle at the beginning of my pregnancy journey and the support I got from the midwives and doulas at the Madison Birth Center really turned me on to the idea that I could still support women in birth without having do provide the medical side. I'm, now, very glad I never went to medical school as I don't think that was the right path for me, and that I'm right where I need to be. Educating, supporting and giving a listening ear to birthing people is where I feel I am my most passionate self.
What surprises you about birth? Honestly, the strength and beauty of pregnant and birthing women surprises me and empowers me at every single birth I've ever attended. I hope that surprise never leaves me and I always appreciate the power of women.
If you could go back to when you were pregnant with your first, what advice would you give yourself? Breathe and enjoy it. Document it. Believe in yourself, you are strong and capable.