We transferred to Mosaic Midwifery at 26 weeks. We were being seen by an OBGYN and didn’t have any issues with him. What we didn’t like were rushed appointments and the pattern of searching for inconvenient pregnancy symptoms (stuffy nose, constipation, etc) that were solved by prescriptions that we never filled. We decided to check into midwifery and had interviewed 2 other midwives by the time we met with Michelle (Jes was out of town). On our way to our initial consultation, Anne was feeling frustrated and believed that all midwives were the same. When we left our consultation, she remarked that she was wrong about midwives being the same…we LOVED our consultation with Michelle!!! What stood out the most about their practice was their affirming attitude toward the LGB community and their inclusive language. Up until that point, we had found that were spending a lot of our time explaining our relationship, hoping that our relationship wouldn’t be an issue, and trying to trust our medical providers when they said that they would work with a lesbian couple. It was exhausting to lead every conversation with “Are you open to working with a lesbian couple?” and then bracing for the response. But Michelle didn’t bat an eye. She said that they welcomed all family structures and we knew she meant it. We walked away from that consultation feeling differently from any others and while Anne was open to midwifery, she was a bit apprehensive about not birthing in a hospital. Jes and Michelle offered the option to birth in a birthing center and Anne felt comfortable with that. (Anne says: I was under the delusion that a birthing center birth was somehow safer, more sanitary, and had the option of medical intervention if necessary. I just kept thinking, “there is no way we should be allowed to have a baby at our house!”).
The pregnancy was great and was facilitated by Jes and Michelle’s knowledge about natural ways to have a healthy pregnancy. Three weeks before our due date, we found out that the birth center would still be undergoing renovations and was no longer an option for birth. Anne was freaking out. (Anne says: I mean, we are hippie but not home birth hippie. Right? Wrong.Turns out we are exactly home birth hippie!). We were lucky to have found out about the birthing center during one of our prenatal visits because Jes and Michelle were calm and reassuring, which helped minimize Anne’s fears. We spent time in that appointment adjusting plans and getting ready to have that baby in our home!! Oh…its also worth mentioning...our home wasn’t built yet. Our house's due date was a week before the baby’s due date, so Jes and Michelle really had their work cut out for them with us! They, of course, were consistently calm and reassuring about all of these stressors.
At ten days post due date, Anne’s water broke. Or so we thought. Luckily, we were ten minutes from leaving for our appointment with Jes and Michelle. They gave Anne an examination and we learned that she was 40% effaced and dilated to a 1. The midwives came to the house later that night and we reviewed our options. It turns out the amniotic sac is actually made up of two. I’ll spare the health lesson but only the outside sac broke. The inside sac was still in tact. We had options of waiting and seeing or inserting a Foley Ball to induce labor. The midwives encouraged us to sleep on it and the next morning we decided to insert the ball. (Anne: I think I was feeling impatient about the process and, looking back, probably wouldn’t have elected to do this.) The catheter took about 30 hours to fall out and during that time contractions were speeding up and becoming more painful. We had tricked the body into dilating and contracting, but we weren’t much closer to the actual delivery. The midwives were angels. Anne was scared and wanted them at the house and they were so patient and kind with us. We think they knew we weren’t close to delivery, but they were accommodating.
Anne labored for about 24 hours. It is impossible to describe how they impacted us during these 24 hours. Let’s see what we can we describe…we joked that Anne was at a spa because they were hand feeding her strawberries and giving her sips of water or grape Powerade. They performed their responsibilities discretely but always anticipated our needs. It was an overnight labor and Anne was never left alone. Each time she looked up, one of them was there. They always knew when to offer laughter, encourage rest, and provide essential oils or other homeopathic remedies. All the while, Jes was unexpectedly cataloguing the event with pictures and videos. They consistently encouraged Anne to listen to her body and reminded us of our options such as the importance of fresh air, trying different body positions, and movement. They are such an unbelievable team. A word has not been invented to describe their compassionate, kind, caring, thoughtful, humble, authentic, knowledgable demeanor.
Now comes the pushing part. Our birth plan was for Anne to labor and deliver in the tub; however, Anne was having a difficult time getting the baby past the pelvic bone, so Michelle gave the option of trying a different an angle. We moved to the living room floor and with the help of the student midwife, Danielle, Anne’s pushes became more productive. Danielle suggested a sling made from one of our bedsheets that Anne could use as leverage to push against and that made a huge difference in Anne’s pushing ability. Throughout all the pushing, Anne was encouraged by Michelle’s calming affirmations, Danielle’s more direct style of coaching, and Jes’s reminders of how to use her breath to push more effectively. We knew we were close when Michelle signaled for Claudia to come down and get ready to catch the baby. At 4:44pm, Sheahon was born peacefully and Claudia was there to catch him. We were blown away by the calmness of his birth…society has taught us that babies scream and cry at birth, but our son entered the world with some sneezing and coughing. The loudest sounds were his Grandma’s text message alerts and his Momma’s sobs!!
Following his birth, Anne’s placenta separated from the uterus prematurely which caused a hemorrhage. Michelle and Jes knew exactly what to do and they calmly solved the problem without causing any alarm or unnecessary panic. Once it was time to move to the bed, Claudia took over skin to skin while Anne moved to the shower. Michelle went with Anne and coached her through what to expect, the degrees of normal, and how to care for her body in her warm, comforting, Michelle way. They ate pizza that evening with our family members while they got things cleaned up. We never could have imagined that our first postpartum hours would be spent in our home with our family and midwives present. It was amazing!!
They came back the next day to suture Anne from some tearing. The process took 5 hours and was uncomfortable due to the significance of the tear and use of only local anesthetic. Again, Jes and Michelle were the best team. Jes took the external tears and Michelle was responsible for the internal ones. True to form, even an experience as unpleasant as suturing was made bearable by their nature. Anne jokes that their suture jobs should be put on display!
We are now 6 months post-delivery and having them as our prenatal, labor, and delivery team built our confidence up for motherhood. We often still channel Jes and Michelle’s voices telling us that everything is okay and that there are variations on normal, and Danielle’s voice coaching us through. The hardest transition for us from pregnancy from postpartum was no longer having regular appointments with the midwives. We miss their presence in the process of our lives!!
- Claudia & Annie