My journey began in Brazil, where my husband and I were living when we decided to start our family. I was 11 weeks pregnant at my first doctor’s appointment when the OB grabbed her calendar and began rattling off my options for when I could schedule my birth. Turns out the private health care system in the city where I was living had somewhere between a 70-90% Cesarean Birth rate (depending on the hospital), mostly elective. And while I was open to the idea of a Cesarean birth in the presence of some medical necessity, it was far from my personal first choice of birth options.
After it became very apparent that this doctor and I were not on the same page, I scurried around and got a recommendation for a different doctor. My husband and I liked the new OB from the very beginning. She was relaxed, easy to talk to, and said she was fine with the list of requests I had created for my birth.
The months flew by as we prepared for baby’s arrival, read Marie Mongan’s HypnoBirthing®, prepared my mind and body, and tweaked my birth preferences. At my 36-week appointment, I presented my final birth plan to my OB. Her eyes got big as she read through the one-page document. She shook her head a few times and let out several sighs and a couple gasps. She finally looked up, pointed to the piece of paper before her, and, in no uncertain terms, let me know that the natural, limited-no intervention birth I was asking for was impossible for her and the hospital we were planning to use. (Never mind she had been agreeing to it verbally at all of our prenatal appointments up until this point. When she saw it all on paper, I guess she realized we were actually serious!)
So at 9-months pregnant, we began the search for a new doctor to attend our baby’s birth. Luckily, I had come across a local doula in my natural birth research and already hired her to support us. Upon this latest news, she was able to refer me to a doctor who was active in the local natural birth movement, and he gladly accepted us as patients!
With the unwavering support of our wonderful doula and doctor, we had the beautiful, calm, comfortable, intervention-free hospital birth we had dreamed of and were ecstatic to bring home our 7 pound little bundle of love the following day.
My experience left me with a love of pregnancy, birth, and babies. And the trouble I initially had finding care providers who were supportive of my birthing wishes left me with a strong desire to help other women have the birth of their dreams – whatever that may be!
Eight months later, life brought us back to Burlington, Iowa, and we began preparing for the arrival of our second baby girl. As we planned our second birth, I came to realize that while we had supportive providers and a fantastic hospital, sadly, there were not any doulas in the immediate area.
I immediately began the process of training and becoming a DONA certified doula [CD(DONA)]. From the very first birth I supported, I knew that this was where my heart was and this was my calling, at least for this season of my life. Each and every family I have worked with has only served to reiterate those feelings.
After experiencing a completely euphoric, pain-free labor and birth with the arrival our second child (with a certified nurse midwife at the hospital), I knew I also wanted to be able to train families in HypnoBirthing®-The Mongan Method. In 2011, I became a certified HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator (HBCE).
In March 2013, we were blessed with our third daughter who was born in the comfort of our home with a traditional midwife. The two big sisters watched as she arrived and supported mom through labor with back rubs and kisses.
- Our fourth birth was quite a bit different. With a number of special circumstances, including a complete placenta previa (a rare condition where the placenta blocks the birth path), we decided a Cesarean birth would be the safest path of arrival for our son. He arrived in August 2014.
I believe birth is a moment that changes your life forever.
- I believe that birthing a baby is something a woman does, not something that happens to her.
- I believe that families should have access to all the information they need to be able to work with their care provider to guide the direction of the birth of their child.
- I believe families should be supported in their educated decisions and their birth preferences should be respected.
- Whether a family is planning a midwife attended homebirth, or if the mother knows she wants an epidural, or if they have decided a Cesarean birth is the safest birth for their child and their circumstances, I believe that they deserve to have someone in their corner that will support them as they make their way along the journey to welcome a new life into the world.
I am honored and humbled that families allow me to take part in such a monumental moment in their lives. And I do it for the love of birth!