How did you hear about the birth center and what made you decide to consider giving birth there?

When I was about 12 weeks pregnant with my second, we received orders to Wichita Falls. I began to scour the area for anything that could give me a more natural experience than my first and found the Birth Center.

Did you have any concerns about giving birth in a birth center? What were they (if so) or why not (if not)?

I would say my biggest concern was the possibility of being unable to give birth at the birth center. My first was born all natural in a hospital setting and it was incredibly traumatic, so I was desperate to have a healing experience with more control and less chaos.

If you had concerns how did you overcome them?

Lenora always talked me down off the ledge. She would listen to me go on and on about how worried I was that things wouldn’t work out for me and I’d end up going to the hospital anyway (I was really overcome with anxiety and negativity). She never once made me feel invalid, in fact she empowered me to move past it and visualize what I knew we (my husband and I) deserved in a birth experience.

Was your husband/spouse/partner on board? What about extended family members or friends?

Once I found the Birth Center and learned that they accepted our insurance, there was no question of “if” we would. My husband and I were overcome with relief that there was another option and it was basically set in stone after that.

How did you know you were in labor?

Well, I experienced a bit of prodromal labor and a couple of “false alarms”, even with it being my second baby. I got so sick of sitting on the edge of my seat so to speak, that when labor finally hit I didn’t believe it was the real deal. I woke up at 1:30am to some sharp pains and I decided to get into the bath to see if they would subside so I could sleep some more. Around 3:00am I tried walking around because my contractions were 2 minutes apart and it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. I tried to wake my husband up and he asked “are we going to call Lenora?” I told him i didn’t want to bother her yet and he went back to sleep. At around 4am, I started sobbing in the shower and the thought “I can’t DO this” crossed my mind. I knew at that point it was the real deal.

How did you know it was time to get to the birth center?

My husband came in after he heard me crying and said “babe- what’s going on are you okay?!” I couldn’t really give him an answer that made sense so he picked up my phone and told me it was time to call Lenora. I tried to argue still because I felt so guilty waking her up but he dialed anyway. When she answered, Matt started to explain what was going on. He tried to hand the phone to me and I just whimpered that I couldn’t talk and Lenora said to head on in. We got our 3 year old dressed and he was so sweet about it all, holding my hand to get to the car and exclaiming excitedly “Sissy is coming”! When I tried to get into the car it took 5 minutes because the contractions were so intense that I felt as if I had to turn myself into a taco just to get into the seat.

Tell us how your birth went-did you use water, nitrous, movement, a doula, etc.? How did you cope?

We arrived to the Birth Center at 4:50am. I kind of stumbled into the back door where Lenora stood smiling and I immediately started apologizing for waking her up. Then a really bad contraction hit and I just started sobbing on to her shoulder that I couldn’t do it (I’m 6’1″ so you can imagine how funny that looked) and she reminded me to breathe and told me “you CAN do it”. Somehow I hobbled up the stairs with my husband and son all while Lenora darted to and fro preparing everything. She started running the bath and got my IV in for the antibiotics I needed all while I did rhythmic breathing and had Matt call our doula, Amy. Our son sat patiently on the couch with his tablet and didn’t make a peep. As soon as the IV was done I got into the bath and I FELT my body completely open and it started pushing all on its own. My doula arrived moments later and her and my husband sat on either side of me while I fell into a labor trance. Lenora coached me expertly to control the pitch of my sounds and helped me focus on each push while Amy kept a cool rag to my face and reassured me. After years of pushing (okay maybe only 30 minutes) Lenora told Matt to come to the edge of the tub and he delivered our beautiful baby girl and put her on my chest at around 6:00am.

What was the best part of your birth, aside from meeting your baby?

My husband and I were able to achieve the healing experience we truly wanted. We got to work as a team and conquer all of those fears and anxieties that seemed so hard to overcome during my pregnancy. WE did it.

What was the most challenging part?

Getting past my own doubts and fears and accepting that I was in labor.

How did you feel about going home so soon after the birth?

It was amazing to be able to go home and relax afterward. I loved it.

Did Lenora come all the way to your house for a home visit? What did you think about that?

She came the next day and I was beside myself with excitement to see her again. It was such a nice visit.

Are there any parts of your story with us you’d like to share? Anything funny, heart warming, or even something that was hard but you overcame it?

While I was pushing, our 3 year old son shouted from the other room “Mom, can you please stop making that weird noise, I’m trying to play Minecraft.” It was so funny that I was laughing despite the pain. After his sister was born, he also came in to cut the cord. It was so special.

Submission provided by: Aly Walters