On September 13th of 2015, we welcomed our first baby to the world. A brand new beautiful daughter, weighing 8 pounds and 11 ounces. We had a very calm (and very quick) water birth at the San Antonio Birth Center, in San Antonio, Texas. We had two great midwives, a doula, and a photographer. However, when we first found out we were pregnant, this wasn’t our first plan…

(all the photos posted are taken by Brittany Brooks Photography of San Antonio, Texas)

We found out we were pregnant January 1, 2016. I KNEW I was pregnant literally 2 weeks after conception. I just felt different, something wasn’t right. I remember going to our families house for Christmas. The only thing I had an appetite for was the super sour pasta salad. It oddly tasted VERY good to me, and I had thirds! I felt bloated, I had some cramping, and my nipples were extremely sensitive! Something wasn’t right! I had talked to my sister about it and she laughed hard, telling me there is no way I could know that early.

Something else funny that happened… one evening my husband and I were getting ready to go out to dinner. I was putting on my socks and shoes and all of a sudden our dog began hacking and trying to throw up. My husband tried to quickly move him away from the baseboards, and ended up shoving the dog over my foot and he threw up all over my foot! I started bawling my eyes out!!! I was so mad, and was crying so hard! 

So I made our first appointment with the OB/GYN I had been seeing annually. We did the initial sonogram (yes, there was definitely a baby in my belly) and had the first few appointments. As time went on, I quickly realized that I wasn’t liking the doctor I was assigned. The place I went was where everyone went, a group of doctors in the medical center. Every appointment we waited 45 minutes to be seen for 5 minutes. She would go on and on about how I need to stop gaining weight. In her defense, I had gained 30 pounds the first trimester! But a lot of family stuff was going on and I just couldn’t handle it. I had the problem of being nauseous, and the only thing helping was eating. I remember her exact words since they stabbed me right in the heart… “Just let yourself throw up. Throwing up isn’t bad, and at this point would be good for you so you quit gaining weight.” What really made me mad was my husband agreed with her! >:(  Each and every appointment she would insult me and talk down to me as if I didn’t know what I was doing. I had very bad lower abdomen pain that I kept questioning her about. Taking pain medication to help with it wasn’t something I did naturally. She said “If you weren’t pregnant, would you go to a doctor to get checked out?” Of course I would! It hurt, and there wouldn’t be a reason for it to hurt! She looked at me as if I was stupid. She then would reply, “If you were in a lot of pain, you would be taking painkillers.” She had also prescribed me medicine to help with my nausea. She had me get off of it when I told her I was only taking 1 a day instead of 4. When I informed her that the 1 a day kept me from throwing up every morning, she told me it’s a placebo effect and that I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Okay, Okay, maybe I am using this to vent a little. But it was bad! Our last appointment with her was the 20 week appointment. At the end of the very short appointment, she just left the room. My husband and I looked at each other wondering if that meant we need to leave? Was the appointment over? She never even said bye… Yup, the appointment was over. I dreaded going to the prenatal appointments, and I was so done with her crap.

Somewhere, something told me to come up with a birth plan. I did some researched and watched some videos and had decided that I didn’t want pitocin. I was okay with main management, but did NOT want to be induced at all. I kept trying to come up with ways to tell our OB. And then it hit me… I need a new doctor! I need to find someone else I can talk to comfortably. I called the Doctor’s office and asked to switch to a different doctor within the same practice. The lady I spoke with on the phone didn’t think there would be any issue with switching, so I was pretty happy with my decision. A week later, someone contacted me back to let me know the doctor denied my request and I would not be allowed to switch since I was so far along in pregnancy…. Whaaat!? I was barely 22 weeks pregnant! I had maybe 5 appointments with this doctor and I was too far along to switch? I asked the lady on the phone, “So ya’ll are going to force me to stay with a doctor that I can’t even talk to?” and she said, “Even if you were able to switch, you may not end up with that doctor delivering your baby at the hospital.. did you think about that!?” Uh.. yes mam, I did. And I was willing to take that risk. The next thing out of her mouth was,”Where would you like us to transfer your records?”……

HOLD ON… so I am too far along to switch to a different doctor within the SAME practice… but you are completely comfortable with kicking me out!? Are You Kidding Me!??!!??

I immediately called the San Antonio Birth Center since I had them in the back of my mind and explained my situation. They couldn’t believe what had happened. I had my records transferred to them and they gladly accepted me!

I had my first appointment with the San Antonio Birth Center and it went about 2.5 hours! There was a lot of basic questions, but mostly the midwife was getting to know me and getting to know what I wanted. I had some appointments after that to sort of make up for lost time, and every appointment went over the hour that was assigned to me. This is a common thing I’ve heard about the difference between Obstetricians and Midwives… one is in and out in 5 minutes and considers you just a number while the other actually treats you with respect and tries to get to know you as a person.

At the time I wasn’t completely comfortable with my decision just because of the unknown. I was a first time Mom choosing to have a natural labor and birth without even knowing what labor and birth felt like. I was choosing to go against the norm of being “safe” in a hospital setting in case anything ever went wrong. I was choosing to have care provided by “non-doctors” and “non-professionals” who didn’t know what they were doing. What everyone was most shocked about was that I was choosing to not have pain medication handed my way when labor got hard. 

We decided to sign up for a class called Birthing From Within. We learned the different ways women cope with pain. We learned to not be afraid of the unknown, and to not be afraid to be vocal. Surprisingly, every woman in the class was afraid to make a peep while in labor. Why is it that society makes us feel like we can’t have a voice? Why are we embarrassed to be loud? I can’t say that I was completely comfortable with it all after the class… but taking that class allowed me to have 100% complete trust in my body and that I just had to follow its lead.

Birth Day

After about a week and a half of consistent contractions and false labor, it finally happened. 

The day before birth day, I contacted our doula to come over and just be with me. I had had enough! I was 3 days passed my due date, I was huge, I was in pain, and I was so done with all the consistent contractions leading up to nothing. She came over and massaged my feet, applied pressure points to try to start labor contractions, she talked to me and gave me an enormous amount of love. She showed me how to use my breast pump and then went with me on a walk around our neighborhood. Later that evening we met my Mom and Stepdad at Red Lobster. All of a sudden, I started having contractions that were a bit more intense and actually stopped me mid-conversation. They weren’t bad enough I had to breathe through them, but they were definitely getting more intense. Of course, this was making my mom very excited!

Throughout the night, the contractions kept waking me up. I couldn’t get comfortable, and sometimes I would have to breathe through them to get by. Still, though, I wasn’t sure if this was real. I had made so many false calls within the last couple of weeks, I was going to make sure this was real before I call anyone again. I texted our doula to update her and I told her “If these contractions aren’t real, then labor is going to totally suck!” She told me GO FOR A WALK! She forced me to go walk right away. come home, take a break, rest, and then go back for a walk. Since it was a Sunday, my husband was with me and went for a walk with me. We did about a mile and a half and then took a break. I began coloring in an adult coloring book with really cool designs, needing to stop and breathe through the intense contractions. A couple of hours later I get another text from her saying “GO FOR A WALK!” Okay, I was starting to get pretty annoyed… but my husband wanting to do things right, dragged me out the door and we went for a walk. We talked about 2.5 miles total throughout the day. After that last walk, we got inside and I laid on the couch saying “I am taking a freaking nap! I don’t care what anyone says!”

3 very intense contractions later, POP! “God damn, my water just broke!” were the exact words out of my mouth! (For anyone offended, sorry. I didn’t mean to say God’s name in vein, but it was like what you see in the movies. Pop, huge gush everywhere!) All over the couch. All over a comforter I had been using. All over our rug. All over everything.

My husband panicked, called our doula and called our midwife. About 30 minutes later I was half naked and on my birth ball moaning and groaning with pain. My husband frantically called our doula and she came over to relieve some pain. After about an hour of being there with us, she said the words every mom in active labor doesn’t want to hear… “It’s time to go, we need to get in the car.” In all the birthing classes we took, we were told that if someone told you it was time to go and you didn’t want to get in the car, then you knew it was real active labor. I told our doula, “No!” and she responded with, “See, this is proof that it’s real!” I walked out in a bra and panties and an open robe on! My modesty was out the window by this point.

When they tell you that the car rides suck… believe them! THE CAR RIDE SUCKS!!!! Being in active labor in a car is the worst thing in the world! I was sure everyone looking at me through the window thought I was dying! I was screaming, nearly pulling the handle off the roof of the car, and basically naked. At this point, my husband called my Mom to tell them we were headed to the Birth Center and that they could head that way too. (They were the only ones I was informing. They were the only ones I asked to be there without a job or a role to play.) We arrived to the birth center and I remember sitting there waiting for the contraction to finish before trying to run to get inside. I looked to the right, saw our birth photographer, and ran left where I had to stop and hold onto our doula through another very intense contraction. This point was the only time I recall seeing our photographer until after our precious baby was born. When you are in labor land, you are gone.

The next things I remember… our midwife asking for a urine sample. Me complaining about having to give her one. Me peeing in a cup, ditching my underwear in the hallway, and then walking to the room I had chosen to birth in. No one was in there, I started having a contraction, I yelled asking where everyone went, and they all came running. Apparently I was supposed to go into the room where we had our appointments at to be checked. No one told me this was the plan! I was there to have my baby!

They checked me, I was 5 cm dilated, and the midwife started the water to the tub. Let me tell ya’ll… a warm bath tub is absolutely perfect for managing pain while in labor!

I got in the water and never got out. The midwife kept asking me (which I never heard, but remember my doula asking me while she was closest to me) to get out of the tub to go pee in the toilet. I kept saying I’m peeing in here LOL! Yes folks, pee and poop are a part of living! And I did both while laboring! Remember, all modesty was gone, I didn’t care that people had to fish my poop out of the tub. I was only in that tub for 3 hours before my daughter was born. The last 30 minutes I was pushing, and I didn’t even realize I was pushing.

Guys, no one tells you “Ready? Push, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.” No one does that when you are having a natural labor without pain medication. Your body knows what it needs to do! I had no idea that at the end of the contractions, me grunting and needing to poop was actually my body pushing my baby down.

I asked my doula, “Am I in transition yet?” and her response was “Oh honey, you were in transition a long time ago.” Between contractions I made jokes, laughed, talked, and was my normal self according to my husband and doula. It was almost 10 pm when my Mom decided to take my stepdad home. She told me that our midwife told her “she’s coming to the end of labor and pushing, but since it’s her first baby she could be here another 3 hours or so. Go ahead and go home and come back, you have time.” Literally right after they left, the midwife asked my husband to call my Mom back and tell her to turn around and come back. I screamed my baby girl into this world! She came out sunny-side-up, with the cord wrapped around her neck, and her shoulders got a little stuck. I had to get in squatting position for her to come out completely, but over all I had zero complications (besides having 3rd degree tearing). She came earth-side calm, peaceful, so happy to be in my arms!

Welcome to the world Baby Claire, born September 13, 2015 at 10:07 pm. 8 pounds 11 ounces and 21 inches long. 

Some important things I learned from this

  1. The only people who should be at your birth are the ones that have a job. And each person should have only 1 job, not 2 or 3. If we had hired our doula to also do photography, I wouldn’t have had her full attention when I needed her the most. I didn’t want her to ever leave my side, and every contraction I called for her.
  2. Know what type of labor you want. Know your coping method. Take a class. Take several classes. We wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for the class we took.
  3. Trust your body. I hear so many Mom’s tell me that their doctor wants to schedule a C-Section because their body forgot how to have a baby. I’m sorry… your body knew how to grow and make this baby, your body definitely knows how to birth a baby too!
  4. If you aren’t happy with your provider, don’t settle! Find a new one ASAP! You are the most important person in your birth space, your voice should be heard. The people you pick to be on your birth team should be there for you to honor you, not there for themselves for a pretty penny. Hire people who love their job and are in it because they love birth.
  5. Most importantly, hire a birth photographer! You will want to remember this! All these beautiful pictures I have of me and my doula, I would have never known this was our relationship during labor and birth. I do not remember this at all. I don’t remember kissing my husband and him being affectionate. Hire someone to take photos, and make sure that’s all they are there to do!

The OB/GYN we had was Dr. Satterfield from Seven Oaks Women’s Center in San Antonio, Texas. 

The 2 midwives on our team was Erika Obert and Cindy Lockhart from San Antonio Birth Center in San Antonio, Texas. 

The 2 midwives who attended our birth was Cindy Lokhart and Alisa Voss Godfrey (which our birth was her 924th birth!)

Our AMAZING Doula was Desiree Sangiuliano-Jemal from Pretty Sweet Doula.

Our AMAZING Birth Photographer was Brittany Reynosa from Brittany Brooks Photography.