The journey of Dakota’s birth actually started over 2.5 years before he was born. You see, Dakota has an older sister, Kamren. She’s my first baby and man do I have a story about her birth, but since this is about Dakota, I’ll keep it simple. I gave birth to Kam at a hospital after broken waters, Pitocin, and an epidural. Her birth went nothing like I planned so I decided for my next baby, I wanted something different.

Back to Dakota, or Kota as he will be further called. My husband and I decided we would start trying to conceive in November 2016. We were extremely lucky to conceive that following month and see a positive pregnancy test on January 12, 2017. There were 3 things I knew I wanted for this baby, pregnancy, and birth: a professional photographer to capture our journey, a doula to support me in labor, and a different type of care than I experienced with Kamren. I knew how to make the first two things happen, in fact I had my photographer booked before we made our pregnancy Facebook official! The third was a little trickier, but I had hope.

One of my running buddies, aka #solesisters, had told me a few months before that a birth center was opening in Wichita Falls. Hmm, maybe this is my key to having a different birth experience. I knew NOTHING about midwifery care, but I scoured the Wichita Falls Birth & Wellness Center’s Facebook page looking for an opening date. Five days after my positive test there was a post that the birth center would be accepting due dates May 1st and beyond. Hey, there’s a chance for me!! I went ahead and booked my 8 week appointment with my OBGYN because I couldn’t go 4 months without care.

At my 8 week appointment, I learned my OBGYN would be out the month of June for her own repeat C-section. Hmm, my doctor is voluntarily undergoing a major surgery…. at that point I realized this was not the person I wanted in charge of my care.

A few days later, my husband and I attended the birth center’s first Meet the Midwife. I fell in LOVE with the space. It was warm, inviting, and felt like home. I could tell Lenora was nervous, but her love for women and babies showed through. I knew right then and there, this was where I wanted to give birth. I had found my place and my people.

Fast forward six months to late August. I was experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions daily, but they were infrequent and only slightly annoying. I had three different experiences of consistent contractions in the late evening, but of course once I got my hopes up thinking “This is it! It’s baby time!” they’d fade out. My due date loomed closer and closer, but Kota seemed content to stay in the womb.

On September 18th, 2 days before my due date, the late evening contractions returned. I refused to get my hopes up this time. My husband, Austin, and I watched some TV before bed while I bounced on my yoga ball timing contractions. Austin headed to bed and I stayed up a little longer. After about an hour, I decided to take a shower thinking I would relax and the contractions world fizzle out again. To my surprise, my contractions sped up while I enjoyed the warm water. However, when I got out, they slowed down again. I headed to bed resigning myself to another false alarm.

To be continued….