Houston Midwife Nanci Stanley Birth Stories
When choosing a Houston area midwife, reading birth stories is a great way to know what to expect! Nanci’s birth stories web page is one of the most popular sites among all the houston midwives and is very loved by her clients!
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Katie Crosby’s Birth Story
After using a midwife at a birthing center for our first child, we felt comfortable to go ahead and try a home birth with Nanci for our second. And we definitely do NOT regret it!
Having my baby at home versus a birth center was much more comforting, not to mention having all your things at your fingertips if needed. Throughout pregnancy, Nanci was never late for an appointment and she was very attentive. At each appointment Nanci made ample notes and referred backed to them the next week, so I always felt like I was being heard. I always felt at home when talking with her even if I ask a silly question.
I had confidence in her because I know at least 10 women who have used her and recommended her. During the birth she was soothing and knew what she was talking about. She had me try different positions that made my baby come faster. She encouraged me when I doubted myself and prayed for me to uplift my spirits during labor.
When I started pushing she coached me through every contraction so that I wouldn’t have any tears, and it worked! The recovery with this birth has been short and easy. Follow up care has been just as wonderful. Nanci has been just plain awesome and such a blessing to us. Thank you so much Nanci!
Mason S. Crosby
8 lbs 3 oz.
Laura Braun Birth Story
We cannot say enough about the care and experience we had with Nanci. This was our 4th child and the 1st using a midwife. As the pregnancy progressed we kept saying to each other “why didn’t we do it this way with the first 3 kids?!” And then after delivery, it was just an incredible experience. Nanci made us feel like her only patient. She answered all our questions, reminded us of what was to come, and gave us healthy and natural solutions when there were issues.
When we got pregnant, I knew I wanted something different this delivery, I wanted to have a say in my body and my care. BUT, I was already 42 years old, and I kept waiting for someone to tell me I was too old. With our 3rd child, the OB kept trying to do genetic testing and spent the majority of the nine months telling us the risks at my age – and I was only 35 years old at that point! Nanci explained that as long as I stayed healthy we were good to go. She kept an eye on my health at the appointments and I monitored my blood pressure and blood sugars at home. Everything went very smoothly.
Delivery was so much more than we expected. There was no getting in the car and being uncomfortable as we drove to the hospital. There was no need for my husband to leave me alone while he went to park the car. I was able to try stay in positions that were easier for me to deal with the contractions and then get into the birth pool when I wanted. We delivered in the birth pool in our own bedroom. Our other kids were able to see her right from the beginning. I slept in my own bed after we delivered. And the recovery was MUCH BETTER then with the prior deliveries.
We cannot tell Nanci thank you enough for all her support, guidance, and care during our pregnancy and delivery!!! She has truly been a blessing to our family.
Susana Yeager Birth Story
Nanci was my Houston midwife for my first and second pregnancy. Nanci was truly amazing. She is definitely an angel sent from above.
On my first pregnancy, my husband has given me the freedom to choose how I am gonna deliver our baby. He was thinking I would want to be in a hospital but I told him I’m doing it at home with a midwife. He was reluctant knowing that I am new in the country and did not know anybody. Even he had no idea about the processes of homebirth. As he had given me permission, we proceeded with my choice. With prayers, I began searching for Houston midwives online. I talked to several midwives and looked up into some natural birthing centers. In the middle of search Nanci’s name appeared to me. I happened (which I believed its God’s will) to be in her website, saw her beautiful smile and read clients’s birth stories. I was amazed by them and not only that Nanci seemed to be a nice lady by looking at her photo. Well, I called and talked to her and scheduled my first visit. She sounded like a sweet lady on the phone.
July 5th 2012, was the day I thought my baby would come. That day while I was walking in my neighborhood, I felt this little gush of fluid under me so I hurried home and it was the “bloody show”. Soon enough I felt cramps in my lower belly, like menstrual cramps. As a first time mother, I freaked out and called my husband who was at work to come home. I texted Nanci and she told me to time the contractions. But there was nothing, the day went by with nothing happened. That night around 11 while I was sitting on the couch watching a movie, I felt the gush of fluid again. This time there is plenty enough to wet my whole underwear and I was sure my water broke. My husband was not convinced that it was my water since he did not saw at leastany drops on the floor. I had to put on a pad and 30 minutes later my pad was soaked. I began to think I am in labor. Because it was my first time, I had so much in mind. I was laying in bed and just listened and observed how I feel. Around midnight, the cramps was getting harder and harder until 2am the contraction started. All this time I/my husband was on the phone texting Nanci and she was there with me telling me the things I want to know. My contractions became consistent around 4am (thats what I thought) and I wanted Nanci to come over right away. And there she was at my house at dawn. Seeing her was already a relief.She set up her stuff with my husband while I was in the birthing pool thinking I will be pushing the baby soon! 6am came but nothing happened. This time Nanci had to check me only to find out I was not ready! I was not fully dilated. That was bad news for me because I was in so much pain that I wanted it to be over soon. It was 7 hours after my water broke so I needed to get going. She helped me emotionally and spiritually. We prayed together and she let me do some exercise to help my pelvis open. I even got to have a hot shower in to ease the pain. I did all these with all the trust and confidence to Nanci. I did the exercises around 11am then she checked me on my bed and boom! I was so ready that I did not have time to get into the birthing pool which was just in my living room! A healthy, strong baby-Isabella came out at 12:02 that afternoon. She was 6.8lbs 18.5in long. Peace came over the house and I felt very blessed looking at my newborn angel.
Three months later I found out I was pregnant again! We called Nanci and there we were again. My second labor was shorter and the pain was more bearable. I started labor 12 midnight and Miriam came out at 5:22 am. she was 5.10 lbs 19in long.
Thanks to Nanci for without her help. I could not do it. She was very supportive during and after my pregnancies. God bless her heart.
Lacey M.’s Birth Story
Nanci is wonderful midwife in Houston and we plan to seek her expertise for future births. During the prenatal process, I appreciated her gentle care, patience in answering my questions, and flexible office hours. When I first called Nanci, it felt so nice to hear her say, “Congratulations!” In contrast, the secretary at a doctor’s office had treated my request for a pre-natal appointment as an annoyance, like I’d gotten myself into some irritating predicament that needed curing.
Home birth was also wonderful. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, as this was my first baby and I’ve never seen another birth in my life. Not a cow, not a house pet, not a single birth at all. So my own birth was a learning experience. People often ask if we did home birth to save money – no, we had the option of doing a hospital birth and we have very good health insurance. But ask yourself – when was the last time someone you know gave birth in a hospital and told you it was wonderful? I have never heard a positive hospital-birth experience, and so we decided that home birth was a better fit for us both from a health-safety and personal-comfort perspective.
I expected a water birth – we ordered the “Texas Special,” as my husband calls it. A big box arrived with a blow-up birth pool and a stack of plastic sheets. My husband got a hose and bucket at Lowe’s.
Are you wondering what a home birth looks like? Do you have white carpet, like we do? Nanci and Diana arrived with a big box of tools and gloves. By lunchtime, they left with black bags and dirty towels. Our place was immaculate. The carpet is still white. Midwives could teach serial killers a few tricks.
Here’s what happened….
Ten days before giving birth, I looked down at my tummy and freaked out. It was huge. I hadn’t seen my thighs in months. I could barely tie my shoes. The logistics of birth suddenly seemed impossible. The due date – February 22 – came and went. Nanci reminded me that the average baby is 8 days late, so “Furball” (as we’d nicknamed him) might take an extra week. Relaxing before Furball arrived, I’m sure I looked like a turtle: once on my back, I was stuck. To get up, I’d roll back and forth until momentum flipped me.
During this time, I was especially glad to have Nanci as my midwife. She had calming words, reminders to do (horrible) perineal massage, and recommended stimulating contractions by using a breast milk pump. (It works.) While friends told me their birth stories – doctors inducing birth, the loss of control, and babies in distress – it was comforting to know that my baby would not go through that.
At night, when the rest of the world slept, Furball puttered around in my tummy. He woke every three hours. Bump. Thump. Swish. Elbow. Kick. Eventually, I would get up and putter around, too. He liked lean his back against my left side and cuddle a tiny butt into my elbow. “Can you straighten him out?” Nanci asked during weekly measurements.
Leap Year day, I crossed my legs and moved as little as possible. The clock ticked over to March 1st – just after midnight – and a rubber band snapped. It was the sound of my water breaking. Exactly 8 days late. Contractions started about 30 minutes later. Within two hours, the contractions were less than four minutes apart, and my husband called Nanci. Nanci and Diana, the assistant midwife, arrived very quickly.
Around 6 am, Nanci and Diana asked for a breakfast recommendation. My husband looked panicked. “Is this a good time for that?” They assured him it was and brought him back a breakfast sandwich. Meanwhile, I tried to have patience about the birth process – contraction after contraction was getting boring. I’d walked around the pool for hours. Like a teenager enduring a bad class, I now tried to sleep. It would soon be over.
Birth is, I’m told, the most painful human experience. Without diminishing anyone else’s perception, I would say that this is not true. (My mother completely disagrees, but she gave birth without drugs THREE TIMES in a hospital that required her to stay on her back and one of the births was induced! Thank you, Mom!) From my perspective, I can imagine that a bad leg break is much worse than a non-medicated birth. However, it might be telling that it’s taken me quite a while (almost 2 years) to sit down and think about the birth again, to write this. Looking at my notes, I was in back labor – the baby’s head would grind down my spine as he came out. In a hospital, birth on my back would have been pure agony. At home, I could do whatever was most comfortable – stand, walk around, or rest on my hands and knees. My husband’s strong massage greatly helped, too.
The pushing stage took almost an hour and was, by far, the most painful part of labor. I hadn’t expected that, because I’d read that dilation between 8 and 10 cm is the worst part. This stage probably would have taken less time but I kept mistakenly relaxing during contractions. It was less painful than pushing. The midwives kept reminding me to push. After a while, though, I couldn’t tell the difference between pushing and relaxing – the baby’s head was in the canal and completely stretching the muscles. My body took over, and the muscles pushed on their own – I couldn’t have stopped them if I’d wanted to. I never had “the urge to push” – my body simply took over and pushed without my help.
I’d expected a water birth, but that’s not what happened. For me, I found the water uncomfortable and got out. Then I tried it again and got out. And again. By the end, all our towels were wet from drying me off over and over. I’ve heard so many glowing stories about water birth, but it wasn’t for me. (To each, his own.)
True to his personality, the baby arrived just in time for lunch. I’ve always wondered what the significant days in my life will be. We mark them on the calendar every year – my mom’s birthday, and dad’s birthday, and our brothers, sisters, cousins, then the anniversaries and the weddings. That day, we added March 1st, and a little guy who loves to eat.
Nanci and Diana took care of us – putting the baby on me, massaging my stomach (to help the placenta detach), and cleaning us. The baby was nothing like I expected – red, squished face, and a tremendous yell. The midwives took care of Max while I took a shower. Looking down, I marveled at the jellified, empty sack of my tummy. (Why had no one told me to expect that?!) We spent the rest of the day cuddling and sleeping.
I may not have mentioned my husband, Chris, enough to reflect his importance during the birth process. I couldn’t have done it without him massaging my back and helping me walk around, major pain relievers. I would have agonized if Chris weren’t there. And he served tea and coffee, snacks and sandwiches – keeping everyone energized. (For the next couple days, my husband’s hands cramped, sore from all the massage he gave me during contractions.)
After the birth, I clearly recovered faster than everyone I know who had medicated births. For example, I took a shower by myself immediately after the birth. The next day, I sat by the pool. Although I was careful to relax the first week, I could walk short distances. Within a week, I was able to walk around the neighborhood. There is a clear difference in recovery times between non-medicated and medicated births. Friends told me how brave I was to have a baby at home, but that seemed odd considering their birth stories and how long it took for them to heal. I got to stay at home, get massaged, and then sat by the pool after.
Nanci and Diana – Thank you so much for a wonderful birth experience!
Things that helped me:
Strong back massage during contractions
Hip swivels during contractions: put one foot on a stair and move hips clockwise in a circle, then the other way.
Back exercises – cat/cow, quadruped (aka bird dog), leg raises and circles. These began months before birth to ease back tension, and also helped during birth.
Breast milk pump stimulated contractions immediately.
A stocked fridge with daddy-friendly cooking items for the days after birth.
Friends brought frozen meals in disposable aluminum pans, ready for popping in the oven.
Rebecca Miller – The Birth of Noah John
I found Nanci through her website in the summer of 2012 before moving to Houston. My husband was retiring from the Air Force and we would be moving to Houston in a few months. I found out I was pregnant during this transition. My previous three kids were born in hospitals, but a homebirth had always appealed to me. I spoke to Nanci on the phone and she was very nice and answered all my questions. We kept in contact via email about my pregnancy and the care I was receiving in the meantime. 15 weeks into my pregnancy I had a miscarriage. Nanci sent me a very thoughtful, understanding email that really helped me through that time.
So, when I found out I was pregnant again a few months later I called Nanci right away and set up my first appointment. She was fantastic throughout my pregnancy! I never felt rushed at our appointments. She always made sure all my questions were answered, even if I felt they were silly ones. She even let me come in short notice just because I was worried and wanted to hear the heartbeat. I had anemia at the end of my pregnancy and I was glad she kept a close eye on it and helped me get my numbers up. She was very encouraging.
On the evening of August 23rd I went into labor and we called Nanci when everyone (but me, ha!) was sure it was the real thing. Nanci was great! She discussed things with me, checked on me while also giving me space to labor how I needed to, and handled my cervical issues (nothing serious) calmly and always let me know what was going on or what needed to be done. When I was pushing, I was having a hard time and she was very encouraging and helped me visualize what I needed to do and talked me through it.
On August 24th, 2013 after about 12 hours of labor my daughter, Savannah Rose, was born weighing 7lbs 8oz and 22in long. Giving birth at home was better than I imagined and I’m so glad we chose Nanci to be our midwife!
Sophia Renee Guzman’s Birth Story
Our birth story began on a Friday evening in June. Although the flow was slow, I could have sworn my water broke. I called Nanci to let her know and she told me to try to relax and that she would check in with us the next morning if she didn’t hear from us sooner. The next morning, nothing had changed. No contractions. Nanci came over in the afternoon to check if any amniotic fluid was present because if it had been and there were no contractions, we would need to go to the hospital. This was the worst news to me. A relatively unemotional person like myself, was shocked at how sad this made me. Luckily, there was no fluid present when Nanci checked and the waiting game resumed.
After the emotional rollercoaster of Saturday’s hospital scare, Sunday was pretty uneventful. Then Monday morning at 1:30 a.m. I woke up thinking I had to go to the bathroom. I quickly went back to sleep however. At 4:30, I woke up again (my husband just happened to already be awake) again thinking I had to go to the bathroom. I showered for work and thought this was going to be a rough day due to indigestion and the general uncomfortable feeling of being so pregnant. I could not have been more mistaken about the indigestion. Within half an hour of waking, the contractions were so intense and coming so fast relaxation did not seem to be an option. Hypnobirthing went out the window. The waves began at 2 minute intervals and lasted 30 seconds each. Nanci had given me a somewhat stern warning that my labor was not “real” until they were reliably 5 mins apart and lasted a minute each, so my husband and I waited to call her for about half an hour. After that 30 minutes, it was so unbearable I thought something must be wrong. Instead of the muscle contractions I expected, the entire feeling was in my lower back (she was turned the wrong way). Thomas Halpern’s Ocean Suite followed my hypnobirthing out the window… Oh well, sometimes the best laid plans go to waste.
Thank God Nanci arrived shortly thereafter. Everything improved once she arrived. In the future, we would call her earlier. Since I expected this whole process to last 8-12 hours, I was really worried about not being able to make it and needing to go to the hospital for the worst of all situations – pain medication. When Nanci checked me however (this is about an hour and a half into the time frame I knew I was in labor), I was fully dilated and ready to push. Hearing that was such a relief because then I thought I could make it. We quickly moved into the birthing pool where the rest of the work took place. Instead of the 8-12 hour labor I expected, it was only going to be a few hours – it ended up being about 4.5 hours from “maybe I need to go to the bathroom” to “baby is here!”. So, while it was faster and the back labor was harder than I imagined, the whole process was efficient and I am so glad we stayed at home. In the end, Sophia came into the world at home and into our arms with no interventions. She is the calmest sweetest thing I ever could have imagined. We are all so happy!
We will forever be thankful to Nanci for being there for the most important moment in our lives. Iwould definitely recommend Nanci Stanley to anyone considering natural birth. Homebirth is the best decision we ever made.
Sophia Renee Guzman was born at 9:15 am Monday morning at home in the birthing pool. She weighed 5 lb 7 oz and measured 18.5 inches.
Elisa Garza Kammeyer
Nanci Stanley was my midwife for my fourth pregnancy, and she was always prompt for our appointments, thorough and kind in her care and knowledgeable in her advice.
She’s just a delight to be around! While the care I received during each of my pregnancies have been comparable in their excellence, this last delivery stands out as being the best. After having four children delivered with midwives in four different cities around the country, I have had the fastest and easiest recovery with this one because of Nanci: she is simply an incredible delivery coach.
When it was time for me to push, her clear, concise and gentle instructions helped to guide my baby out in the most delicate way possible. And as a result, I had absolutely no tearing or swelling of any kind. Unlike my other recoveries, I had no lingering pain or sensitivity – and what a difference this has made in “bouncing back.” I can’t thank you enough, Nanci!
Birth story from Ashley Knight
Our home birth with Nanci was wonderful. We had our first son in the Hospital with all of the craziness that surrounds the hospital. When we found out we were pregnant with our second child we decided we did not want to go through everything we did with our first child in the Hospital.
We started to look for a Houston midwife, I have a friend who had 2 children with another midwife and she recommended Nanci to us. From the first time we met Nanci we felt completely at ease with her. Nanci is very caring, very knowledgeable and such a sweet person. Everything just felt right about having her as our midwife.
The birth with Josiah, our second son, was great, very quick, and the best thing was how personal it was. The end of your pregnancy, when your miserable and tired of being pregnant and the only thing your looking forward to is holding your baby in your arms, will be the best experience of all. That is why I loved our home birth with Nanci. No one is trying to take your baby away from you, you are the first person to hold that sweet little baby in your arms, there is just such a peace in the room when everything is done, and you have the comforts of your home.
Birth Story from Jennifer
“Our whole pregnancy experience with Nanci was fantastic. I really felt like we were in charge of having our child our way rather than being told what we needed to do each week as we were with both previous pregnancies at an OB’s office. I knew who was going to be at our birth and even though this was my third time pregnant I learned a lot more because Nanci took the time to educate our whole family and answer any questions we had. My kids got to be a part of the whole process which most kids now days in our country don’t get that kind of experience. They loved it and we as parents loved it. If you are looking for a phenomenal lady with a great heart and passion for helping families when they are growing and expecting a new addition, I recommend anyone to talk to Nanci and see if she and your family are a match for this awesome time in your life.”
Parents: Jennifer and Brandon
Siblings: Shane and Maegan
EDD/birthdate: June 17th or 24th/June 29th
Name: Lillith D’arcy
Weight: 8 lbs 13 oz
Length: 22.5 in
Head: 14 7/8 inches
In Attendance: Midwives: Nanci Stanley and Diana Nash; Friend: Lorena
6 am I woke up with Brandon’s alarm and then my own. Something said, this is the day, get some breakfast and go back to sleep. So I did just that. I told him he would be coming home early from work today and to expect a phone call or text message saying it was time.
I slept until the other two kids came in the room ready for their breakfast and was happy to find the contractions were stronger and had a rhythm. At 9 am I called my midwife, Nanci, who was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist to give her a heads up. I let her know they weren’t bad yet, but definitely baby day. She told me GREAT! And said she would give me a call when she was done there if I didn’t call her first. 30 minutes passed and I let Brandon know it was time to come home. He no more than got home (10ish)and my water broke, so he called Nanci back who had just sat down in the dentist chair, answered the phone and told the dentist, “Her water broke, I gotta go!” She got here sometime around 10:30 – my timeline is a little foggy – shortly after she arrived my friend, Lorena and the second midwife, Diana showed up.
I labored all over our home where ever I felt it was right to move. Lorena helped keep the kids occupied and me entertained so Brandon could focus on massage and just being there for me. I ended up in the tub upstairs for a bit until just before hitting the crucial contractions where I ended up on the bed in my room. At some point I begged them to turn on the radio because suddenly I was stuck with Johnny Cash “Ring of fire” in my head. Sure enough that’s where we were in the process, baby was ready to come out.
Between contractions I was able to completely relax enough with meditation I was aware of what was going on in the room, but I wasn’t in the room any more with every one else.
At 1:39 pm our beautiful baby girl came out after maybe 4 minutes of pushing all at once with the last push, her 14 7/8 inch head, shoulders, everything! Nanci helped me move her to my chest and we marveled at her hair and rolls. Yay for fat babies! Big yay for fat babies that only tore momma in two small places that didn’t need stitches even more!
She laid on my chest for over 20 minutes while the cord still pulsed. I delivered the placenta and Lorena and Nanci checked it out while Lillith wrapped her 22.5 inch long body around my boob to cuddle and have her first meal.
She is a great nurser and a snuggly little thing. She is currently sleeping on my chest as I type our story from my own bed just nine hours old.
Nanci is a truly amazing midwife!! This was my 4th child and I had 2 of my others with another midwife and the first one in a hospital with a midwife ‘section’ of the hospital. Nanci was the BEST midwife of all. She was very patient with me at every visit and even more so during the birth. I truly had the best birth experience with her. I’m so glad that the other Houston midwives I called first couldn’t take me!!
I got pregnant a month before I turned 40. People said I should have it “normal” at a hospital because of my age. I thought, well it HAS been almost 14 years since I’ve had a baby, maybe I should… So I made an appt with a “real doctor” and hated it! When I told her I had my other kids with a midwife, her entire demeanor changed and she turned rude. I decided as soon as I saw her eyes change that I would NOT subject myself or my baby to a hospitals ridiculous policies or a rude doctor!! So I started my search for a midwife.
I could not find the one I’d used so many years ago, so I started a search online and found the midwives alliance page. I tried 3 that I thought were closest to me. One couldn’t take me – too many in April. One never responded. One was very helpful but my husband felt like she was too far. So Nanci was the next closest and I emailed her. I think my email started off with “I’m old and pregnant…” so she HAD to know then I was not going to be a normal patient!!!
She met me and my husband on a Saturday morning. She answered all our questions with patience. This is my husband’s first baby, so he needed a little convincing that a home birth is WAY better than a hospital !! She made him feel so comfortable, and was such a happy person, that we decided to go with her for our midwifery needs!
As time went on, she lent us videos to watch which completely transformed my husbands thinking about hospital births and he ended up telling everyone who asked anything about the baby that “we are having him at home with an awesome midwife!” and he would proceed to tell them the dangers of hospital births (whether they wanted to hear or not!!).
I also have this need to have people present at my births. So pretty much anyone who showed interest I’d say “Hey, you can come too!” I love being surrounded by people who WANT to be there!
At 6 am I called Nanci and said I really think that maybe I’m having real contractions. She said she’d be on her way and called Diana – the other midwife. When they both got there, I asked them to check and see if I was dilated – just to know I wasn’t crazy!! Thank goodness I was…they didn’t come for nothing!
I chose to do a water birth this time and it did feel much better IN the water than when I had to get out. Nanci was amazing in her labor coaching (despite the noise I was making!!), and when she told me to breathe him out I did what she told me and by doing that, she made it so I didn’t tear at all (with all 3 of my other kids I did!!) Dad was right there with amazement on his face!! He did get to cut the cord – that wasn’t something he thought he’d want to do, but he did it! It was a great experience for this first time dad!!
Nanci also told me many things that no other midwife or even doctors had bothered to mention to me about healing afterwards. So many things I never knew and I’d already had 3 kids!! She’s very knowledgeable about so many different things relating to pregnancy, birth, and healing.
Enough can’t be said as to how much peace Nanci brought to our whole pregnancy and birthing experience. She is truly an amazing, loving woman that anyone who knows her could attest to! You know she cares about you as a person, as a new mom, and as her patient. She made Samson’s entrance into the world the best it could possibly be! Thank you from all of us Nanci!! You ARE the very best!! We love you!
Samson David Edge
April 6, 2010
9 lbs 7 oz
Nanci Stanley has been a blessing in the life of my baby and I.
I decided to go with a midwife during my fourth pregnancy because I was tired of the medical world and the way I was always treated like a number.
Nanci was very in tune with my needs and kept a close eye on my health. I also learned a lot from her- things doctors never had time to share. My experience with Nanci was the best of all my births, she truly loves what she does because of the care she puts into it.
Thank you Nanci !!
Birth Story from Laura
When I became aware of my pregnancy, I knew I wanted a Houston area midwife to deliver my baby. My family and friends recently delivered their children in hospitals, which seemed very stressful and nerve wrecking because the of the doctor’s impatience and determination to do Cesarean Sections. I did not want to endure this sort of treatment, so I researched online for a midwife. This was how I found Nanci! Nanci is and was a superb person and midwife. She was very understanding and willing to accept me as a client even though I was completely disorganized. Being my first pregnancy, Nanci guided me through every step of my pregnancy and prepared me for my new life. If it were not for her, I would be up a creek without a paddle!
Thank you Nanci for making this experience simple, stress free, and memorable! Also, I want to thank you for prepping me throughout my entire pregnancy and re-assuring me that I made the correct decision in choosing you for my midwife.”
Due Date: May 27 – 30
Birth Date: June 6, 2010 @ 6:57 am
Weight: 7lbs 8 oz
Midwife: Nanci Stanley
My Birth Experience:
It was the 5th of June when I visited my midwife for our weekly appointment. Two centimeters dilated and no baby yet! Around 10 to 11 pm my boyfriend and I were nearly fast asleep when all of a sudden I felt a really strong urge to pee. After using the bathroom, an hour later I woke up again for the same reason. I thought how unusual, but decided to head back to bed. Another hour later, this urge happened again and I soon realized that my body was getting ready for the big event!
Seven hours later, my bowel movements ended and my contractions two minutes apart. My boyfriend called the midwives and they both immediately came to my aid. I was so impressed with their promptness!
Once Nanci and Diana arrived, they both coached my boyfriend and me in pushing our baby into this world. Although I was not in my greatest state of mind, I do remember Nanci and Diana cheering me on as if I was running a marathon. Because of Nanci’s and Diana’s instructional guidance, I only endured a few scuff marks which made my recovery easy as pie! Nanci’s and Diana’s team effort in making my birth comfortable inspired me to call them for my future children.
Matthew’s Birth Story
This pregnancy was a complete surprise to us! Over the 2 years prior to Matthew’s conception, I had been working on taking better care of my body and spirit. I knew when we found out that I was pregnant that this would be a very different pregnancy and delivery from the previous 3. I immediately called the midwives with whom I had delivered my last 2 babies, but from the start, there were problems. At the first appointment, I was stuck in the waiting room for an hour before I even saw anyone, and it brought back all the bad memories of hours wasted during the previous pregnancies only to see the midwife for a few minutes and then pay a huge bill because our insurance was terrible.
It just happened that I noticed a post for a “Meet the Midwife” session for homebirthing the day before my husband and I were to make an enormous decision about whether or not to renew our health insurance. I jumped at the opportunity! I met Nanci the next morning and pummeled her with questions about homebirth. I left the session feeling elated! I knew that having my 4th baby at home was what I was meant to do, and that Nanci was the right midwife to help guide my baby into the world. I called my husband, Rudy, immediately and he felt confident that this was the right decision, as well.
Many wonderful months of healthy pregnancy later, I was (relatively) patiently waiting for my sweet boy to arrive. I was concerned that he might come a little early, as my other 3 children had, but Nanci continuously reassured me that I was much healthier this time, and my body was well prepared to grow a healthy, full-term baby.
On Sunday night, 3/14/10, almost at a full 39 weeks of pregnancy, I decided that cleaning the kitchen was of lesser importance than getting a little extra sleep, so I settled on the sofa to watch a little TV before bed. I don’t think I watched 2 minutes worth, and fell straight asleep. I awoke at about 3:30am feeling uncomfortable from having slept in the same position for so long. I headed over to my son, Nathan’s, bed, knowing that he would be up shortly to ask me to sleep with him anyway. As I was drifting back off to sleep, I felt a few of what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions, and didn’t think much of them, since I had been feeling them for so many weeks. At 4:00am, as I was having another one, I felt a little pop inside my belly! I was floored! It took me a minute to really think about what had happened, and as I shifted positions, I felt a little amniotic fluid flow out of me. I got up right away and went to Rudy. I gently rubbed his shoulder and told him, “We’re having our baby today, my love!” He stirred, bolted up in bed, and then sprang into action! He was instantly awake!
The contractions weren’t impressive at all, but I went ahead and called Nanci to give her a heads up. She said to call back when I had progressed a little. Rudy went to turn the water heater temperature up to the max, and to inflate my birthing ball. Now, remember that I had not cleaned the kitchen the previous night – I walked into my kitchen and discovered that sugar ants had invaded our counter! I went straight to work, as I just could NOT envision giving birth with a counter full of ants. Within a matter of moments, I was pausing my cleaning every 2 minutes to hold onto the counter to breathe through some serious contractions! I could not believe how quickly I went from nothing painful to some seriously distracting contractions! I only waited through a few more before deciding to call Nanci back and ask her to come right away.
Nathan had been born within an hour of my water breaking, and this was progressing so quickly that I was afraid that she would miss the delivery if I didn’t call. She said she would be on the way immediately, and that her backup, Diana, would be following shortly behind her. Sarah, my oldest, awoke from the noise of my cleaning, and came out to see what was going on. I told her, “We’re going to meet your baby brother today!” She became very excited! I finished the kitchen as best I could, but by then I could hardly stand when each contraction would hit. Rudy let me use his shoulders to work through them, but my labor was so fast and furious that nothing seemed to ease the pain much.
My other 2 children, Emma and Nathan, awoke, and there was a lot of commotion with the kids being very excited and Rudy trying to get them to calm down a little so that I could concentrate. I decided to see if the bath would help any. I managed to rip my clothes off in time for another contraction, and could barely climb in the tub! I was in a semi sitting/reclining position in the tub for quite a while, and really feeling the speed of labor progressing. I asked Rudy to call Nanci’s cell phone and let her know, and as he was hunting down her number, he must have heard her pull up in the driveway, and he greeted her at the door anxiously.
She came in and went straight to work, pulling out my birthing supplies and bags that I had prepared. She asked few questions and let me work through the pain without intruding. I asked her if there was a better way to labor, as I didn’t feel like the bath was easing of the discomfort, and she suggested that I lie on my side in the water. I remember loving feeling the cool tub against my face, as I could feel the sweat pouring off of me. The contractions were extremely intense, and there was barely a break between them for me to catch my breath. Nanci patiently sat by me and let me do my work, undisturbed. Diana arrived, and Nanci attempted to introduce us, but I couldn’t open my eyes enough to look up at her. They listened to the baby’s heartbeat, and he sounded wonderful. I think Diana commented that she could tell his head was being squeezed in the birth canal already. I suddenly felt the familiar feeling of his head moving into the top of my birth canal, and I grew VERY excited, knowing that I would get to push my little miracle out soon.
The pain seemed to lessen, and I was able to focus on the wondrous feeling of him moving down in me. Very suddenly I could feel that I wanted to push. Nanci asked if I wanted Rudy to hold my hand, but I felt like I couldn’t use my arms for anything other than bracing myself – I was so comforted just to have him there with me and be there for me. I felt a very mild ring of fire, and pushed through it. I think Nanci told me to slow down so that I wouldn’t tear myself. Sarah had been watching the whole time, and Rudy ran to get Emma and Nathan. Nanci told me to wait for just a moment while the baby turned, and then I was able to push the rest of his little body out. Faster than I could comprehend, he was on my belly, and announcing his arrival with the most beautiful newborn cries. I was elated!
I spent a wonderful amount of time just lying there in the tub with him on my belly. Matthew Thomas was born at 5:17am with his oldest sister as witness. He came out so quickly that Rudy, Emma, and Nathan made it back into the bathroom just in time to see him placed on my belly! I think at some point during my labor, I commented that this would be the last child, as the pain almost seemed too much to bear, but as I lay in my own bed with my beautiful new son less than an hour old at my breast, I knew that I would gladly welcome any more miracles that God may have planned for me. I’m so grateful that God brought Nanci into my life so that I could have this amazing experience.
Birth Story From Nicole Carroll
After Larry and I got over the initial shock and awe of becoming pregnant, I knew I felt very strongly about the people and energy I would surround myself with during the duration of my pregnancy.
Although I was a novice in the world of birthing and midwifery; I knew I definitely was not going to have my baby in a hospital. That, I was very clear about!
I had done all of my own extensive prenatal research as to what vitamins I should take and why, what foods properly coincided with my baby’s health and development, until all that was left was to find the perfect person to help us bring her safely into the world.
That was a trip! The choices were copious, and the options seemed to vary daily. I didn’t know anyone who had even considered having a natural birth, let alone had actually had one; so all of my research was done by my husband and me through the internet alone. Every midwife I looked into gave me a feeling that I had a somewhat distorted view of what the field actually entailed. Through talking with a few, it felt more “business-like” rather than that warm, personable energy I thought by nature a midwife would possess.
Being almost five months pregnant, we thought we would never find the right midwife!
Then I came across Nanci Stanley’s website.
I gave her a call, and the first thing she did was congratulate us on our becoming new parents! That was the only time I’d heard that! Also, instead of asking a bunch of linear questions over the phone she asked if we would like to meet for dinner sometime within the next few days. We agreed…..and I already began to feel at ease with her.
When we met for dinner, Nanci had a personality all her own. She felt so easy to be around as we talked about very common things; such as her being a proud mother to four beautiful children, and a wife to her high-school sweetheart. We talked about home schooling, and how she came about being a midwife; as well as where Larry and I were in our lives and the things we enjoyed doing. All of this, and then we discussed how the process of birthing with Nanci as our possible midwife might go. The whole ordeal was very casual, yet informative…..exactly what we wanted!
I remember getting in the car afterward, and almost shouting “She’s the ONE!!”
It was awesome after that. We alternated between her house and mine during my prenatal visits. She really encouraged me in educating myself on my body and pregnancy. She offered her library to me, and also let me borrow a couple of poignant dvd’s. My entire pregnancy was pretty “textbook” as far as my health and the health of my baby was concerned, but (like all first-time moms?) a couple of times I questioned some of my decisions, and when I did, Nanci was there to support me and let me know that whatever I decided throughout my pregnancy, the choices were mine to make. Her support, and the fact that she didn’t try to push me toward anything meant the world to me; it ultimately led to my complete trust and faith in her.
Well….when the day finally came that my daughter decided to be born, I was ultimately surprised…..even though I was measuring at 40” for the past two weeks! I started having heavy contractions about 7am, and by 10am I was calling Nanci. I alternated between the shower and my hallway, having Larry rub my belly and pacing my house.
When Nanci came to the house I was sure I was in active labor. Our assisting midwife; came by shortly after. She and Larry were setting up the birthing tub and tying up a few odds and ends while Nanci was soothing me with a backrub and reassuring words. When I finally got into the birthing tub the intensity of my labor decreased instantaneously. The calming effect of the warm water was amazing, I truly felt as if the pain ceased, and all I felt was pressure. Larry, Nanci, and the assistant were by my side with all of the love and intent I could ask for; the rest was just visualizing my body opening up to this beautiful experience so that my daughter could make her journey into the world. After about two hours in the tub, I began to feel the need to push. I tried a couple of different positions, and found that bent over the rim of the tub was most comfortable. I patiently waited for each contraction as I looked up at my bookshelf, and listened to Nanci’s voice. She told me she could feel Olya’s head, and my goal became that much closer to my reality. The last push came to be, and I felt so primordial as I looked into Larry’s eyes and felt my daughter make her way through my body and out into our world.
I was born again. Looking at this perfect little person. My Olya.
Nanci wrapped her up, and Larry cut the last remaining physical tie that held us both together. Nanci told me to nurse her before I even birthed my placenta. That, in itself was the beginning of another profound experience. We weighed and dressed her, and soon she was sleeping safe in my arms. Nanci took care of tidying up while we spent time with our daughter before leaving.
Nanci gave me such peace of mind throughout this whole experience. Her presence gave me a sense of security and strength. I needed that most of all as I birthed Olya, and she was there 100%. This experience changed me as a person, not only in my everyday life, but in my womanhood as well. I made the choice to take my birth into my own hands, and experience it as fully as possible. This was one experience I didn’t want to numb or water down. I see it as a defining step on my own journey. Olya was born into the world a healthy, beautiful 8 ½ lbs., and 21 in. long, and a pro at nursing! She hasn’t looked back since!
Thanks Nanci, for all of your love, support, help, and prayers. You are an excellent midwife, and we wouldn’t have wanted to ever do it without you.
Nicole, Larry, and Olya
Since my husband and I have been together; life has been an adventure. Everything we said we would do, we’ve done from traveling and skydiving to getting married on top of a mountain. The day we moved to Colorado we found out we were having a baby. Being the big surprise it was, we took it as life had something much bigger in store for us.
This being my first pregnancy I felt it was extremely important to educate myself on the month to month changes, proper nutrition and exercise. The first book I read, Having a Baby Naturally I came across the option of having a home birth. I fell in love with the idea immediately. I wanted to be in control of my environment. My environment being a calm and natural atmosphere. I was living in Colorado at the time but my husband and I decided the third month of living there that we needed to move back home to Texas. So I began my search for midwives in the Houston area. When I came across Nanci’s website I got the impression that she was passionate about women having a healthy and safe birth. When we started emailing back and forth, I knew she was the one. She was so personable and easy to talk to, I considered her a pen pal!
When we moved back, I visited with a friend who’s mom is a midwife/nurse at a hospital. When I told her I was having a home birth she basically pulled every negative outcome out of the hat, she advised me to not have a homebirth with my first child. Being she was a midwife herself and my friend’s mom, my husband and I for the first time felt maybe the hospital was the best choice. I tried to convince myself that I would be able to still be in control if I were at the hospital. Deep down I knew I wanted a home birth, subconsciously I was looking for something, anything to change my mind. It was one lovely day at the library that I came across the documentary, “Business of Being Born” .
After plenty of happy tears and heart fluttering, I was reminded of the reason I wanted a home birth. The next day I called Nanci and we met up the following day at the delicious Jason’s Deli with her associate and friend, Diana Nash. Throughout my pregnancy my husband and I have read so many books about pregnancy, home/water birth advantages, labor and delivery and babies. So the only question we had for them was what they thought about a “first time mom” having the baby at home. They had so much truth and confidence in their eyes that it only reassured me of what I already knew. I was determined to bring this baby into the world naturally with no complications and my husband by my side. After lunch, my husband and I were so happy about our decision.
I was 36 weeks. Exhausted from being at the beach the past few days visiting his mom in Port Aransas, we arrived home at 1 am. On July 23rd at about 6 am, I was awaken by a trickling wet feeling going down my leg. I went to the bathroom and switched on the light. Initially I didn’t think it was my water breaking. To be frank I was expecting a waterfall sensation of some sort, haha. Ironically I had an appointment with Diana at 10 that morning so I decided to go back to sleep and wait till the appointment. When I explained to her what happened in the early morning, she thought it’d be best to check me. Sure enough, I was dilated at 3 centimeters. She advised I go about my day like normal and to keep her updated. As soon as we left I started to feel light pains. As we are driving my husband said, “Sarah we might have our baby today!” He always been so supportive. “I bet we will have a wonderful birth, healthy baby with no complications!”Foreshadowing, anyone?
So we took Diana’s advice and continued our day like normal. Funny thing is, we had a few more preparations for the home birth. From Lowes to Target to James Eye Associates in Kingwood, the contractions kept getting stronger and stronger. As I’m swaying my hips and humming my favorite Bob Marley song, I had the realization…”Oh wow! I’m about to give birth!” It wasn’t until I got home that I had those infamous, “hurts like heck” contractions.
So being that I was 3 weeks early, my husband and I didn’t have the water birth tub up and running. So while I’m moaning, singing and crouched over the bathroom sink, my husband is frantically preparing the tub, contacting the midwifes and rubbing my back.
The contractions kept getting stronger and stronger. Nanci was the first to arrive. I’ll admit, she was like a glowing angel when she walked in the bathroom. I regained that confidence that “Hey, I’m in labor…this pain is temporary.” She was so encouraging and sweet. She kept telling me what a beautiful job I was doing. The tub was finally filled with warm water and I tell you what, it was AMAZING! Even though the contractions were still strong, I felt so relaxed and weightless. My sweet love Tyler was even pouring water on my back. I will never forget when Nanci said, “Sarah, do you know what it means when we put on our gloves?…you are almost done!” I’m not sure if I could conquer up a smile at that exact moment but I was definitely smiling inside. Tyler put on his swim trunks and got in the tub with me. Even with the painful, unbearable contractions I was having these thoughts of “Dude you are having a home birth…you’re doing it…you’re doing it!”
I couldn’t begin to explain how grateful I am for Nanci and Diana. I truly believe they are angels in disguise. They guided me the whole time(no tears!) with calm voices and encouraging phrases even my husband was joining in the jargon of “Come on Sarah!” “Listen to your body, do what it says!”.
From Lowes to home about 5 hours later, at 5:39 pm our handsome little man, Lucas Wesley Wells, was born. We remained in the water for twenty minutes while we just held our Lucas swaying him in the water gazing at this little miracle we created.
Nanci and Diana are fairy midwifes! While my husband and I showered, they cleaned my apartment like a birth never happened. I felt so pampered; Diana even made me delicious burritos while Nanci held the straw and cup of orange juice. While my loving husband and I laid in our bed with our beautiful bundle of joy, I couldn’t help but smile. I did it! I did it naturally and at home and I know I couldn’t have done it without my supportive and caring husband Tyler and midwifes Nanci and Diana but most importantly…the power I gave myself that I could.
After two hospital deliveries I wanted to have an intervention-free birth. With encouragement from a friend, I looked for a midwife and my husband and I were comfortable with Nanci from our first meeting. Nanci encouraged me to be confident in my ability to handle the natural process of birth. I read up on hypnobirthing for labor management ideas and tried to focus on relaxation throughout my pregnancy.
On the third morning after my estimated due date, I woke up in labor at 2:00 am. I labored in bed and on the sofa, going back and forth to the bathroom maybe ten times in two hours. I called Nanci and remember telling her I was having difficulty relaxing. Nanci was on her way when my water broke at 4:20 am. I instantly felt the urge to push. Was I fully dilated already? My husband seemed to think so! As he called Nanci again to check her progress I had a moment of panic when I didn’t think I would make it to the living room where my husband had set up a birthing pool.
Kneeling in the pool, I reached down and felt my baby’s head crowning. That was a tremendous moment. In a hospital setting it wouldn’t have occurred to me to check my baby’s progress that way and I probably wouldn’t have done it had Nanci already been there. It was just a marvel and I wouldn’t trade that first moment of contact for anything.
Nanci arrived and guided my delivery as my husband comforted and coached me. Baby made his grand entrance at 4:34 am. Through those few minutes at the end I was able to talk and breathe and quietly push with the exception of one small grunt. I held my new baby as I sat in the pool in my living room. It was good to be home surrounded by my everyday environment, not that having a baby is an everyday event!
In retrospect we waited too long to call Nanci, not imagining I would progress so quickly. (My previous deliveries took 6-8 hours.) But she was there when I needed her most and I was thrilled with the delivery. I am looking forward to my next homebirth already!
Franz Ferdinand Ziegler
This was my third natural delivery, but my first home birth, my first two were in the hospital. My husband Robert and I researched the subject extensively, watched videos and read about the natural delivery at home and found particularily the water homebirth a very attractive alternative for delivery because it is less painful.
It was on January 13 (an estimated due date was January 17) at 3am: I started having contraction at 03:05, the contractions were every six minutes on average. After fifteen contractions I decided to ask Robert to call Nanci, they talked about my contraction progress, after they hung up the water broke for two times and I knew that I was going into labor because I had an urge to push and that is what I did. I told Robert that I want to push now. Robert was busy with the pool preparation.
Nanci came a few minutes later and by 5:55, our family was one young healthy boy stronger! My homebirth happened in my own bed in a very calm atmosphere, with very little to now stress or excitement. How different from my previous experiences!
Three hours after first contraction I had my beautiful little boy, Franz Ferdinand Ziegler, at 5:55 a.m., 7 pounds, 11 ounces, 50 cm. long.
I thank my husband, Robert, he was so supportive, proud of me and be with me all the time and my midwife, Nanci for everything.
The Birth of Grace Renee Owen
When my husband Jonathan and I found out we were expecting in July of 2009, I knew that I wanted to have a home birth but it took a little convincing on my husbands part. So we set on the adventure of finding the right mid-wife. I googled mid wives in my area and found Nanci and a few other mid wives, so I set up appointments with a few mid wives including Nanci.
The 1st few I met with seemed nice but my husband just wasn’t sure about them. So I made an appointment to meet Nanci. We meet for lunch and just talked about what I wanted in my birth and what she offered, she answered all the question that we could think up. I called Jonathan and told him “She’s the one”!! So I called Nanci and told her we would love to have her as our mid wife and we set our 1st appointment.
I had my 1st appointment with her and got my paperwork for lab work. During my 12th week of pregnancy I suffered a miscarriage. It was a very difficulty time for Jonathan and I but we know that God had a plan for us and that we would need Nanci again for the next pregnancy he blessed us with. Fast forward to June 2010 we find out we’re expecting and I emailed Nanci right way to make sure she could take us on for a January birth. I was very excited that she could so we set up our appointment at her new office.
Everything went great during the pregnancy and Nanci was there to answer all my weird pregnancy questions. She was very sweet when we got into December and I started calling her ever time I had contractions that I could time at all. As we got closer to our due date I prayed that Grace would come sooner, I was tired of being pregnant and wanted to see my little girls beautiful face.
I started my maternity leave January 21st and to celebrate my husband and I went to lunch and a movie even in the cold rain. It was a lovely afternoon, but at bed time I cried to Jonathan that I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore and I didn’t think I could make it to my due date. He held me and reminded me that we only had a week left and that Grace would be here when she was ready. I went to sleep that evening feeling like I was going to be pregnant FOREVER.
Well I got up my normal 10 times during the night to use the bathroom, but at 4 I woke up to this pain in my stomach. I tired moving to make the pain go away but it didn’t but it only lasted a minute. I didn’t want to wake Jonathan just in case they weren’t the real thing. So I got up and found some Saved By the Bell reruns to watch and started timing them. The started at 20 minutes apart and lasted for about a minute. This went on until about 6 am when they started moving closer together at about 17 minutes apart, by 7 am when my 8 year old got up for school my contractions where 18 minutes apart but I didn’t want her to know so I keep it quite. Well I took her to school it’s only a 10 minute drive there so I made it to her school before I had another contractions and waited for the contraction to come and pass and headed back home to wake Jonathan up.
I made it back to the house and climbed back into the bed with Jonathan andgot really close to him and asked are you ready to have a baby today? He woke up and said Huh for real? I said “yes”, I have been having contractions since 4 am. I told him that they weren’t that bad and still only about 18 minutes but he wanted me to call Nanci and let her know. I called Nanci and she said “OK, just keep timing them and keep her posted”. So I waited to call and tell family for a little while, then realized that I should make the calls before I couldn’t talk to them. About 10:30am I called Nanci back to let her know that the contractions where now 12 minutes apart, I remember her saying “It looks like its time for me to head over there”. I keep walking around the house and watched some TV while we waited for Nanci to arrive.
Nanci got there about 11:30am and the other mid-wife showed up shortly after and started setting up our room for the birth. I keep walking around the house and ever time a contraction came, I bent over this orange chair in the living room. I stopped timing the contractions once Nanci arrived, so I don’t really know how far apart they where when she first checked me. I was progressing nicely and the baby’s heart rate was fine and she was moving down more and more into the birth canal.
The contractions started coming on faster and stronger so that I couldn’t walk around anymore, I just leaned on the bed and my husband rubbed my back for me. Nanci suggested that maybe I get into the bath to help with the contractions. I agreed, and the started the water and I climbed in, but Jonathan reminded me that I had said from the being of the pregnancy that I didn’t care how she was born as long is it wasn’t in water. So I started freaking out that I had to get out of the water. Jonathan and Nanci helped me out and I kept leaning on the bed which turned into kneeling on the ground by the bed and then laying on the ground by the bed with Jonathan sitting behind me holding me up.
Nanci checked me again and told me she could feel the babys head so to listen to my body and if I was ready I could start pushing. I was scared to push because I was worried I would poop, but Nanci said that it happens a lot during birth and if I did it would be no big deal (if I did she didn’t tell me which is great because I would still be embarrassed about it). I pushed at few good times and then need to take a breather and Nanci said feel that’s your baby’s head and she had A LOT of hair. Feeling her head gave me the extra strength I need to push.. Right at the end I screamed I can’t and then a “Damn it” and Grace was out. Nanci cleaned out her mouth and then laid Grace on me. My husband cut the cord and We just looked at the wonderful Grace from God.
Nanci was AMAZING during my whole pregnancy, but most of all during the birth. She helped me clean up and then cleaned up the birth and made sure I was ok and that I knew what to do once she left. My home birth with Nanci was more amazing then I could have ever expected.. Thank you so much Nanci for helping us bring our Grace into this world. I can’t wait to have you there for our next birth!
Elliott Devaney’s Birth Story
The night of my due date, I remember not being able to sleep. I had so wanted to have my baby by my due date, but as everything else in nature, my little boy was only going to come when he was ready. Well, I didn’t have to wait too much longer.
The morning after, at 7:30 am, I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. As I was wiping myself on the toilet, I noticed there was a bunch of goo on the toilet paper. I took a look at it and it was thick and dark brown. “Oh no,” I thought. I knew exactly what that meant. My water had broken and it was meconium, meaning the baby was possibly under stress. I had fallen on our concrete patio the week before, and even though I’d gone to the hospital at the time and all the tests indicated that the baby was fine, I knew we weren’t totally in the clear. My husband was just about to walk out the door for work. “Don’t go!” I shouted, and asked him to bring me the phone. I called Nanci right away while I was still on the toilet.
Nanci was very calm and reassuring, but matter of fact. My contractions hadn’t started yet, and since my water had broken and it was meconium she explained that I might have to go to the hospital to have an induction. We had planned for a water birth, so going to the hospital was not what I wanted, but I knew that the most important thing to do was what was best for my baby. I decided to remain calm and asked my husband to pack some bags while Nanci called an obgyn to see if he would accept me at the last minute.
While we were waiting for Nanci to call back, my contractions started. I’d experienced practice contractions, but these were totally different. Waves of intense pain would overcome me. I measured them and they were occurring every five minutes and lasted a minute each. When Nanci called back I told her this. She said we might have a home birth after all if I didn’t need to be induced, but that she would come examine me before we knew what we were going to do. So now that our bags were packed, I asked my husband to set up the bed with the shower curtains.
When Nanci got to our house and saw the meconium for herself, she decided it would be best for us to go to the hospital. I wasn’t really dilated at the time either. Nanci followed us to the hospital and stayed with me the whole time. My contractions became longer and shorter apart, and I soon began to dilate and efface, so I didn’t need an induction. The hospital staff were very supportive. My nurse, who had actually gone to the same nursing school I had and whom I’d met a couple of times, was sweet and understanding. She said, “I know this isn’t what you had wanted but we’ll try to do our best for you.” Nanci coached me through the contractions and guided me through the labor. She helped me to stay calm and relaxed and told me what to expect through each step. I ended up asking for an epidural. Once the contractions were only a minute apart, sometimes less, and without the benefits of water I had expected (plus having to lay reclined), I just wanted something to help me with the pain. I didn’t want pain medicine because that would affect the baby. The epidural was wonderful. I still felt the contractions but they were not painful.
After about six hours of labor we were ready to push. Nanci and my husband held my legs to help me and at 2:31 pm we gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Elliott Jareth. He weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 20 inches long. Big boy! I tore pretty bad, but luckily didn’t feel it at the time and the doctor stitched me up well.
We’ll never really know what caused Elliott to have meconium before birth. It could have been the fall. When he was just a week old we had to take him to the hospital for constant vomiting. It turned out he had a twisted bowel and needed emergency surgery. Perhaps that was the cause of the meconium. In all, even though we didn’t experience the birth I had planned for, it was still a positive experience and I still have a little bundle of joy to show for it. Nanci was wonderful and my family will always be grateful to her. Elliott is happy and healthy today. He’s over five weeks old and loves to smile. He also loves to cry at a certain time of night, but that’s just his way of saying he needs cuddles. Maybe our next birth will be a water birth. Or maybe we’ll just enjoy our lives with little Elliott and that will be enough. No matter what happens, I’m positive our lives are better for the experience of delivering Elliott into the world.
Elise Linnae Steeves
~Elise: Consecrated to God ~ Linnae: Lime or Linden Tree. Born Wednesday, February 23rd at 7:20am: 8.5 lbs 22inches long. Active labor: 3.5 hrs
Tuesday evening of the 22nd I began having hard Braxton Hicks contractions….strong enough that I didn’t really want to talk but not painful. I wasn’t sure if I would go into labor or not as I had been having increasingly strong and frequent BH over the past week, at night. I took a dose of Caulophyllum thalictroides homeopathic and 1 tablet of black cohosh around dinner time. I had also been taking an herbal “Labor Prep” throughout the day for 2 days – all to help contractions be effective.
When Jason and I went to bed we felt fairly certain that we were in early labor and so notified family that we were probably going to be having a baby by morning. I attempted to sleep in the bed but around midnight had to move to the sofa and recline in a semi upright position, as contractions were painful lying down in bed. Contractions averaged 10-20 min apart. Around 4 am I needed Jason (which is when Nanci estimates “active labor” began). A contraction hit and I yelled for him. Contractions were still around 10 min apart. When they hit, I was having a lot of back pain and really low abdomen pain – like I was being twisted in two. At first I would have Jason press on my back to relieve pressure (which worked GREAT with Madelyn) but this time it didn’t really help that much or for that long.
Until 4am, I rested on the sofa in an upright position surrounded and supported by pillows until a contraction hit, then I would stand in a semi squatting position and breath through it.
By 4am I was on my hands and knees on the floor, in a low squat position, or anything that might help relieve some of the low pain/”pressure” and I didn’t want Jason near me (also very unlike Madelyn’s birth where I didn’t want him to leave my side). However, I kept him busy running errands: filling the birthing tub, calling family, fetching ice, etc.
At 5:45am we called Nanci to update her on our progress (contractions still at 10 min apart but then having repeated clusters of 2-4 contractions a few min apart) and when she asked if I needed her I told her I didn’t…but she said she would get ready and come anyway…be there in an hour. What I failed to recognize at that point, OR convey to Nanci, was the intense urge to defecate or pee when I had a contraction. I never had the “urge to push” with Madelyn and so it took me quite awhile to recognize it for what it was.
I was waiting to get in the birthing tub, set up in the middle of our living room, until Nanci got there and could check my progress. I didn’t want to get in too early and have it slow labor down. However, by the time we got off the phone with Nanci I told Jason to fill it up and FAST! I was positive I was at least 5 cm and I needed something to help with the pain. I was getting in!
A friend had told us to allow the 150 gallon stock tank about an hour to fill up but I was able to get in after about 10 min and felt immediate relief! Contractions spaced out once I got in the tub but the warmth of the water definitely helped me deal with the intensity of them. By 6:45am I had a contraction and could not help myself but push. Nanci arrived at our house at 7am, checked me and I was fully dilated. I was having the urge to push with every contraction but as my family was not there yet and I wanted them to be, she told me to try to not push. My Mom and two youngest sisters got there at 7:10am. In the next 10 minutes I had about 3 contractions, pushed 5-6 times, and little Elise was born into this world with a head full of long dark hair, at 7:20am.
Unlike with Madelyn, Nanci coached me through the crowning process – having me hold the crown…um…excruciating! However, I didn’t tear and recovery has been SO much faster! I delivered in a squatting position on my knees, holding onto the side of the tub.
When her head came through I reached down to feel an incredibly soft downy head of hair! I had originally wanted to catch her but as they were telling me to get ready I started shaking my head and told Jason to do it. He caught her and then I reached down and pulled her up to the front of me. I saw the cord briefly between her legs and thought she was a boy. A few moments later when we checked, we were very surprised to announce “it’s a…girl?” ha ha
Whether it’s the birth of my own children or witnessing someone else’s, I always cry at that moment when they come out and immediately after. The first moments of a tiny miracle entering the world and beginning a life.
The only postpartum pain or discomfort I experienced was 2 days of nonstop “cramping” – felt more like contractions to me! – which Nanci assured me was normal. I took several doses of Arnica after the birth to help with any soreness, pain, etc (as I felt like I had been run over by a semi-truck with Madelyn). That, or the significantly shorter labor, and or the water birth – recovery has been swift and easy!
For months after Madelyn I would almost cry at the thought of laboring ever again. 1 week after delivering Elise I feel like I could do it all over again!
All honor and glory to the Father for His infinite blessings, mercy and grace!
Parents: Krystle and Coleman
EDD/birthdate: February 28, 2011/February 15, 2011
Name: Coleman Graham
Weight: 7 lbs 10 oz
Length: 19 in
In Attendance: Midwives: Nanci Stanley and Diana Nash; Family: Mother and Mother-In-Law
I always knew I wanted to use a midwife because I wanted to have the most peaceful delivery for my child without all the medical interventions, rules, and guidelines of a hospital. So, when I met Nanci I knew my husband and I made the right choice. She was always a pleasure to be around and very informative. The appointments were relaxing as they were never rushed and I was always excited to take something home to read or watch from her little library that further informed us on a natural birth, breast feeding, etc. Nanci had told us that most first time moms are typically 8 days late past their due date so she had told me not to become too excited as my due date neared.
On Valentine’s Day I was 38 weeks and she came to our house to do her home visit. I had called her about an hour before she arrived to tell her I had my “bloody show” but really that didn’t mean anything as birth still could be several days away. When she did her home visit she did the same as always: check my blood pressure, check the babies heart beat, check to make sure he was in head-down position, and so on except on that day I agreed for her to do a cervical check on me just to see if my cervix was doing anything. I was 1 centimeter dilated which that didn’t mean anything either as women can be dilated weeks before delivery.
Well, being a first time mom I couldn’t contain myself. I was filled with excitement and anticipation and told Nanci that I was having this baby today! She joked with me and said, “No your not but I will happily come back when he is ready. What day do you want to see me next week?” And she went on her way. That evening I started to have contractions but I couldn’t tell if they were Braxton- Hicks contractions or true labor contractions. My husband called Nanci to let her know what was going on. Nanci decided to call the other midwife that attends births with her to come to my house and check on me since she lived closer to me. Diana, the other midwife came quickly and did another cervical check on me and she exclaimed, “Nanci better get here quick because we’re having a baby tonight! You’re 7-8 centimeters dilated!”
Nanci got to my house quickly. It was such a nice labor; more than what I had expected. My husband was there for me 110%. He massaged my lower back every time I had a contraction and Nanci just guided us through and made suggestions. She never once intervened but to check the babies heart beat every now and then. I labored in bed, in the bath tub, and back to the bed again. My water broke and that’s when they knew something was wrong. I had meconium in my water so they did another cervical check only to find out that he was trying to come out butt first. He had flipped some time during the day or during labor! Unfortunately, I had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital for an emergency c-section. It definitely was a completely different atmosphere.
I would go into detail but all I know for sure is I would most definitely use Nanci again. Even though things didn’t turn out for me, my labor was the most beautiful labor ever! I was completely in the zone. I was aware of what was going on in the room, but I wasn’t in the room with every one else. I didn’t make one sound during labor. I was comfortable and even though it might sound weird, labor was fun for me. Painful but fun. I can say it was disappointing that I had to go to the hospital but there isn’t any disappointment knowing that Graham was a healthy and I was healthy and I got to do my labor the way I wanted to do it.
I always knew I wanted a home birth. It made the most sense to me, to birth in a familiar, loving, safe place. Even though this was my first pregnancy and many people didn’t understand why, I felt so strongly about wanting to birth at home. I just knew that normal pregnancies needed a normal birth and I knew this was the way to do it. Finding Nanci was an answer to prayer. She helped educate us on everything we needed to know throughout the pregnancy, and she is easy to talk to and makes you feel calm and confident in your abilities to birth and parent your child. I am going to miss not seeing her on a regular basis!
2 am Sunday morning (2/27/11) I woke up after feeling some leaking. Right away I knew it was my water leaking. I woke up my husband just to let him know and then called Nanci. She just told me to get some rest and go back to sleep. This was hard to do! At first my husband and I were both nervous, realizing what this might mean. I was worried that labor might not start right away, but I didn’t have to wait long before I started feeling light cramping and very mild contractions. After getting something to eat, eventually we both fell asleep and woke up just a few hours later. Sleep was difficult though because I kept feeling my water leaking. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the contractions were getting stronger, and felt different from the Braxton Hicks contractions I had felt so much during my pregnancy. I was glad I was feeling stronger cramp-like contractions because I knew that meant everything was progressing the way it should. Although it never really occurred to me that I was going to have our baby this very night!
I called Nanci back in the morning and she told me to try and walk around to keep things going- labor really was happening! So I walked around the house straightening up rooms just stopping to breathe and lean against a table or countertop when a contraction came. At first I could talk through the contractions, knowing they were there but not having to focus on them, but now the contractions were getting harder to ignore, taking more of my concentration each time, but I was still able to walk around and talk in between them. Walking around the house and rubbing my belly helped and I found myself going into quiet empty rooms during a contraction. In the early afternoon, Nanci and Diana came over and Diana checked me and found I was almost 6 cm dilated! I was so glad to know I had made it that far. My husband helped set up the birth pool and when the temperature was just right I climbed in, sinking into the warm water. It was very relaxing, especially now that the contractions were getting closer together.
After that point was when labor really became more difficult. I knew that my job was to breathe and relax through the contractions, but this became harder each time. I leaned over the edge of the pool and Nanci sat at the edge of the pool next to me and just kept reminding me to breathe out, breathe out. There was only one time that I really didn’t think I could go on, but listening to Nanci’s gentle reminders gave me something to focus on, and I knew if I could just get through this one contraction that it would be gone forever and I would be one step closer to seeing my baby. Also the midwives encouraging words throughout were essential in keeping my confidence that I really could do this and that I was doing great, especially when it felt like I wasn’t.
A while later they checked me again and found I was almost 9cm. I knew it wouldn’t be long now, but I really wanted the pushing phase to begin. Eventually, it felt like I wanted to push so I began not too forcefully, pushing. Soon the feeling intensified and I knew our baby was getting much closer when both the midwives came in the room turned on the lights and started getting things out of their bags, but it took longer than we all expected to push her out because she was posterior. But Nanci helped me find different positions to push to help each one be more effective. I pushed standing, leaning and squatting, even on the toilet. Pushing was probably the most difficult but I knew I had a job to do and I was the only one who could do it. Even when it felt like things weren’t progressing, Diana and Nanci assured me that the baby was moving down closer and closer. With each push closer and closer, the sensations became more and more intense and I was getting tired, but I knew if I could just push a little harder that my baby would be here and I could relax.
It seemed it was taking forever to push her out but they were able to show me her head with a mirror and at one point I even reached down and felt my baby’s head and all that hair! It was that moment I realized this was my baby and she really was coming! Nanci and Diana helped so much with encouraging words, advice on how to push and different positions and massaging me so the baby’s head could come more easily and quickly. I know I truly could not have done it without them! On hands and knees and after three and a half hours of pushing, our baby finally slid into this world, and I almost didn’t even realize it! I think because of all their help I never felt that “crowning” moment and that moment when she came out was painless. And even though they said I had a small tear, I never needed any stitches. Our baby girl came into this world perfect and pink and healthy, and I couldn’t believe she was finally here! And she was a girl! They put her in my arms and I got to hold her. My job was finally done and I am so proud I can say I did it!
At 1:15 am on August 28, 2010 my water broke. I was 40 weeks and 6 days expecting my first child any moment. Me and my husband chose not to know the gender of the baby so I had much to look forward to. When my water broke I was a little shocked because I had always thought that I would go into labor and my water would break as the baby was being born but obviously that wasn’t the case.
Around midnight on the 28th I was extremely restless and was running to the bathroom every 10 min not because I had to use it, but because my lower stomach felt gassy. So I would go sit on the toilet hoping the gas would come out so I could get some sleep! The baby was super active and I just figured he or she was as uncomfortable and wanted sleep as much as I did. I find myself in the bathroom once again but this time I’m leaning over the sink swaying my hips from side to side and squatting just a little to open my hips. I don’t know why I was doing this except it felt nice and it relieved a little of the pressure down there.
Around 1:10 am I get back in bed and all of a sudden I hear a noise come from my stomach. I’d always read that it sounds like a “POP” when the bags of water break and it really did sound like a pop. But the first thing that popped into my head was not was that my water breaking but is the baby ok. So I get up to go to the bathroom so I can look to see if everything’s ok down there, and as soon as I get up water starts coming down my leg! So I scream “HUBBY MY WATER BROKE!” “Are you sure? He responds. “Yes” I scream but now I’m grinning from ear to ear. I’ve waited 9 long months to see and meet my baby and I know that I will today.
So I text my midwife Nanci and tell her my water broke. Up until this point the only indication I had of labor nearing were Braxton hicks. No bloody show, no nothing. Nanci asks me if the fluid is clear, I say yes and she’s says good now get some sleep. Get some sleep? Get some sleep!? Do you know what just happened! I’m having my baby today I can’t get some sleep. So I get back in bed and try to fall asleep except that didn’t happen. I have my first REAL contraction and it actually hurt. That made me smile because I knew I was closer to meeting my baby.
I had an appt scheduled at 10 am so around 7 I get up and get ready. Contractions are coming every 7 min or so but nothing too serious. Around 9 my hubby and I hop in the car to go see Nanci and I have about 5 contractions on the way there (The drive is about 45 min). Being stuck in the car not able to move or sway made the contractions extremely painful. The first natural reaction I had to the contractions was to tense up but I read that when having a contraction breathing is the best way to get through so I loosen my body and take as many deep breaths as I can. This helps a ton.
We make it to the appt and it seems that my contractions stop. Not good. It’s a regular appt so I go to the bathroom weigh myself etc and while doing this I have a contraction…YES! They’re back! So I lean on the wall breathing deeply. Apparently I was pretty loud because as soon as I came out Nanci’s asks if I had a contraction. Yes, I said grinning. So she checks me and I’m 4-5 cent dilated. Yes! She can also feel the baby’s head. Yes! So Nanci sends us home around 10:45 and says call when things get serious. We get home around 12 noon and my contractions are picking up coming about every 5-6 min. I’m talking to my hubby walking around the house just trying to open my hips as much as I can. When I have a contraction I either hold onto the wall and sway or lean over my dresser.
Contractions really pick up around 2 pm and I find myself in my room leaning on my dresser swaying from side to side and humming. I stayed like this up until I was ready to push. My husband calls Nanci and lets her know my contractions are like clockwork, every 5 min. He also calls my mom and she too is on her way. Nanci arrives around 3 pm smiling with her assistant Diana who is just as sweet as Nanci. She listens to the baby’s heart beat, sounds great she says and lets me continue to labor.
While laboring its like time stood still. One min I was laboring and thinking wow this is a piece of cake who needs an epidural? Not me! And the next min I was asking my hubby how much longer I had to endure this pain… Since this is my first baby I wasn’t sure when it was time to push. I kept telling Nanci it feels like I have to go number 2! She just kept reassuring me it was the pressure of the baby’s head coming down the birth canal. This sensation was soo weird because it felt like I had to go but nothing was coming out! So I just began to grunt and push not knowing if I was doing it right. Nanci kept reassuring me that I was doing great and to just do what felt right.
It’s about 7:50 pm and I’m leaning on my bed with my knees on the floor pushing. Nothing was happening. I kept asking can you see the baby’s head, not yet Nanci and Diana said. I started to get discouraged because I felt like I was getting nowhere. So Nanci suggested checking me. I was fully dilated so then she suggested I sit on the toilet to open my hips a bit. This really helped. I gave a lot of hard pushes while on the toilet so much so that I started shaking. I was feeling really weak and drained. I remember asking do I need to go to the hospital because I just feel like the baby’s head is not coming. Nanci looked at me seriously and said no everything looks great. It’s just taking longer because this is your first and the baby’s head is squeezing through the birth canal. Ok I said. Now I was refocused and I began to get serious about pushing.
I was on the toilet pushing for about 30 min then Nanci suggested we go back on the bed so she could take a look. While on the bed I pushed some more and instantly started making progress. The more I pushed the more the baby’s head made way. Diana held a mirror up so I could see but I was too tired to lift my head ha-ha. She then suggested that I feel the baby’s head so she guided my fingers and oh man! I’ve never felt anything so squishy! I immediately started to cry. This made me more determined because I knew that I would meet my baby soon. I held onto Diana’s arm and pushed with all my might. The baby’s head started to crown. Ouch! I screamed as Nanci lathered me up with olive oil. I begged her to stop because of the pain, but she reminded me that it was the baby’s head causing the pain. Ouch! Ouch! I screamed and as the baby’s head was coming Diana said “I see a little ear and a cute little nose” By this time I was crying hysterically and finally the baby’s head popped out. With one more super push the rest of the body slid out!
At 8:45 pm on Aug 28 2010 my husband says say hi to Seth as Nanci laid him on my chest. It’s a boy! What a joy! I was soo happy all the pain and tiredness immediately disappeared as I stared at my baby boy. The umbilical cord was cut after it was done pulsating and he was weighed. 8 lbs 14 oz and 22 in long! Wow! All that inside little ol me! And no tearing! Yes! After I showered and the bed was cleaned up I breast fed him and he latched and ate like a champ! As me and Seth ate the midwives finished cleaning up and left shortly after.
I could not have imagined a more perfect birth. I’m so glad I chose to have a home birth with Nanci as my midwife she helped me through my entire labor and I could not have asked for more.
Carissa Burke’s birth story
In 2009 I began looking for a midwife to help me with an at home birth. I knew there was a better birth experience out there than what I had found within the typical “conveyer belt” hospital experience with my two previous births. The more I researched the more comfortable and
excited I became with home birth and water birth.
My water broke with both of my previous births and the hospital was very clear that the only thing I could do was labor in bed. No movement to naturally gravitate the baby down, no water birth because the hospitals are so concerned about liability. To this day I find that hospitals make more and more women feel like they are not capable of giving birth on their own for various reasons and excuses. So I began studying
midwifery and was given the DVD by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein “The Business of Being Born” very true and factual, unfortunately very sad.
So I found Nanci on the web and called and talked to her when we were only considering Gods plan to extend our family and found her very open and felt that she was genuinely interested in me. I had found who I was looking for in my heart of hearts and I know where God himself was leading me.
I became pregnant in February 2011. During each ofmy prenatal visits with Nanci I could open up to her about anything and everything that was going on in life. She is so much more than a midwife, she is a wonderful counselor and she has a wealth of wisdom. It’s not your typical
cold sterile doctor visit, she exams you just as an OBGYN would and much more. She listens to me and the baby and takes time to really listen to the family and children.
My labor began Wednesday night at 11pm and once I was sure that it was the real thing I had my husband at about 12:30am get the birth pool set up. My labor room, our master bedroom, was beautiful with dim lights the spa music I had chosen was playing and at about 3-3:30am as I truly listened to my body it was time to stay in the dimly lit master bedroom without any other distractions. At this point I got on my birthing ball and my husband held me and helped me rock back and forth as each pressure wave came. I was feeling very good and my husband Christopher was praying the “Delivery Prayer from Supernatural Childbirth” by Jackie Mize over me. At 4:30am my body gave me the sensation that it was time to call Nanci. My husband called her and I let her know that I would be giving birth in the next few hours.
When Nanci arrivedshe began immediately setting everything up and encouraging me with soft and kind words. Midwives are not there just to catch the baby and be on to their next patient. As the pressure waves grew I was able to walk around, breath slowly and find the exact place I wanted to be. It was wonderfully satisfying to be up and walking around using natural gravity and body movement to move the baby down into my pelvis. At 6:00am I felt the need to undress and enter into the birthing pool. As soon as I got down on my hands and knees I began to push
and my water then broke. This was where the pressure waves became the most intense.
As I called for Nanci to help me which she was already there helping, she just softly reminded me and encouraged me to push slow and that the low grunts were going to get him out. I prayed and found the mind of Christ and the peace of God. Twenty-nine minutes later Hadrian our latest miraculous addition sent from heaven above was born. At some point my 4 year old son had walked into the room and sat in daddy’s lap watching as his brother was born. As soon as he saw Hadrian’s head he began to clap and laugh and then excitedly said “Ms. Nanci go get the toys!” My 8 year old daughter came into the room as Hadrian was placed into my arms and was overjoyed her new little brother was finally here.
I held Hadrian and warmed him next to my body in the warm water. He cried for a very short time and immediately settled when in my arms. I felt his umbilical cord pulse and watched the placenta be delivered. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been able to do this with my other two children. Only after the umbilical cord stopped pulsating then Nanci clamped the cord and daddy cut the cord. As I was being taken care of daddy took care of the new baby Hadrian.
As soon as I laid down in bed after my shower I was able to nurse Hadrian. Nanci asked to take Hadrian so that she could wash him and then she took his measurements, weight and did a thorough body exam. Nanci’s exam was just as good if not better than any pediatrician I have ever seen in the last eight years. I am so very happy with Nanci’s services, I would recommend her to anyone and I am so very excited and happy that I not only found Nanci, but used a midwife. I am going to be a living testament to homebirth and midwives.
I also used Placenta Benefits with Serena Logue, which Nanci referred me to. I am so very glad to have met Serena and have my own hormones stored from the placenta and ready to use whenever I need them…I have decided to save the majority of them for later in life when I reach menopause and then I will have my own hormone supplement to use and not artificial chemicals.
Christopher Burke, homebirth Dad
This is Christopher. I wanted to say, “Thank you” so much for what I would consider a picture perfect birth at home. It was truly awesome watching you work and I know that Carissa is extremely pleased with the events of the late and early morning. This was without a doubt 100 times better of an experience than the hospital birth that I have experienced twice before. I mean, not me actually experiencing the birth but watching. Here a couple pictures of Hadrian Robert. Happy Holidays and Thank you.
Elaine Suzette’s Birth Story – Our Fifth Child, Our First Born at Home
I would call it a ‘simple’ birth. All of our other children were born in a hospital. We knew no different. We were actually headed down that path again when I, assuming this would probably be my last baby. I just wanted a doula at first. The doula search began by talking to my current OB who stated they did not like working with doulas which then changed my path entirely! I was now looking for a doula AND a new OB. Ugh! I was already 20 weeks pregnant! Then during a church book club I lamented on my search & really not wanting to have the same sterile hospital experience I had with my last pregnancy. A friend then piped up and shared she had her first baby at home. She was also planning the same for the 2nd! This totally baffled me. I thought I didn’t know anyone in my circle of friends who had a home birth!
Hmmm…a home birth? I thought & thought about it and figured I **might** be able to convince my husband to support a birth at birth center with a midwife & doula, but a home birth would probably be out of the question.
I started interviewing as many doulas & Houston midwives plus touring birth centers as I could and most of the time, with my kids in tow. The clock was ticking so I also rented from the library “The Business of Being Born” and “More Business of Being Born.” The first movie just sparked our interest of birthing outside of a hospital; the latter really opened our eyes. With so many hospital experiences already under our belt, we quickly realized a lot of the things we had previously experienced in a hospital could be avoided this time!
After interviews, videos & tours, my husband was totally on board for a birth center & using a midwife. (Yeah!) But the birth center we liked was a good 45 minutes away and that was without traffic! What would happen if we needed to drive during rush hour?
Nanci Stanley was our last scheduled midwife interview. Being that she was someone I equated with homebirths, I would have never set up an appointment if it wasn’t for the fact she was my friend’s midwife. Afterall, we had already planned on using a birthcenter and all other midwifes we had interviewed up to this point had been linked to hospitals or birth centers. We had our entourage of kids with us at the interview. I was so surprised about how relaxed she was around our kids. She answered a ton of questions – and hard ones, like what emergencies had she experience? Had she ever lost a baby? (No, btw…) All her answers were more than adequate & acceptable for both me & my husband.
After the interview, we had a lunch date with old friends, naps times, errands to run, dinner to make & bedtime routines to finish. Exhausted as normal parents are, we went to bed that evening without even discussing our interview with Nanci. The next day when we had a moment to talk, it clicked. Why not birth our daughter at home? It would save us the trip to & from a birth center & we’d still get all the bells & whistles of being outside a hospital setting! The decision was finally made. Nanci was to be my mid-wife & doula all rolled into one! I was 26 weeks along by then & soooo happy!
Nanci made it real easy to transition. I still had questions to be answered and she never hesitated in answer them. She constantly encouraged me to educate myself further. Instead of given paperwork on the way out of an office, I was given books to read in addition to a warm hug. I was asked what I wanted for each step along the way and given the pros & cons if I didn’t know. It was truly an eye opening experience.
I knew for sure I was going to have the baby when I was out shopping with my 7 year old and having to breathe through contractions. Today was the day! Ironically, today was also our wedding anniversary! I called my husband after arriving home & told him to cancel our dinner reservations. Our anniversary gift this year was going to be welcoming our new baby into the world!
By 5:30pm we called Nanci. Since my last baby came pretty fast, Nanci showed up within the hour. Her helper/assistant was Paula. I had never met Paula but liked her instantly. We already had a babysitter scheduled for that evening for our anniversary which we asked to just come anyways to help with the kids. Our babysitter had hoped to see the birth & stayed on to help even after the kids were in bed.
We had borrowed a birthing tub from my friend for the birth. Oh boy – what a relaxing way to give birth! The contractions were still coming but sooo much easier to handle once in the tub. In the hospital I had always had a fluid drip to keep myself hydrated and catheter in place thus confining me to my bed. Here at home, I was just told to drink fluids & use the restroom when needed – sooo much easier!! After a while in the tub, Nanci asked me to get out to “relieve” myself. I laugh now at it but little did I know after closing the door to the loo, my husband was informed that these next few contractions would be quite difficult! I’m sure they “lovingly” chuckled a bit upon hearing my groans of pain as contractions came & went when I was in the bathroom. Amazing what a little water does to relieve pain! Back in the tub I went after collecting energy to return.
At 10pm we woke up my oldest daughter, Evie, age 7, to watch the birth. Both she & her younger sister Amanda, age 5, said they wanted to watch but when it came time, my little 5 year old valued her sleep too much to be woken and moved out of her warm bed. We also have a 21 month old toddler, Isabella is who is a ball energy but was sleeping peacefully unaware of the “fun” going on downstairs. Nanci had said the baby would probably come at night. I was glad. With our family out of state, what was my husband going to do with all three kids in a pinch at night (or day for that matter) if we had to go to the hospital for the birth? Of course we had back up plans but God is good. No need to implement those plans and my kids all got to sleep in the comfort of their own bed & me in mine with my new little baby after the birth.
I was in the home stretch now. Finally it was time to push. It didn’t take long – a few minutes maybe but it was the hardest part for me. Nothing up until this part was very difficult or too undyingly painful which I couldn’t handle. Curling up in a ball to push is even more difficult when your tummy is the size of an overgrown pumpkin. With the help of my dear husband, Nanci & Paula, I managed to introduce our 4th daughter, Elaine Suzette, to the world. It was such a wonderful experience. Even during the birth, the mood was relaxed. They immediately put her on my chest. My husband and oldest daughter who had been watching it all helped cut the cord. To this day she has a special bond with Elaine. With the cord cut, there was no bright lights, no beeping monitors, or other craziness going on. Sure, I got out of the tub & got cleaned up. Elaine was weighted and measured but then she came right back to my arms to cuddle & nurse. It was all so peaceful, simple. Nanci came back the next day & 5 days after to check up with me & Elaine. It was so comforting to know I was being well taken care of & didn’t have to drive anywhere to get the care I needed.
Having Nanci as a midwife was more of a blessing to our whole family than I can ever explain. Sure, one can have a great experience with many great doctors out there! But having your child brought into the world in the comfort of your own home by skilled and loving hands is the only way for us to go ever again. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world & neither would the rest of my family! Thank you Nanci!!!
Janna Sullenger’s Birth
Woke 5am with contractions 10min apart. Jed prepares to catch a baby, and stays home. We wait and wonder when they will get stronger. We go for a walk to speed it up, then off to do errands, should of stayed home and napped. Finally when the children took their naps, Jed was encouraged to go to work, and I got my much desired nap. I woke hyperventilating and red faced, I didn’t immediately realize I was contracting. Children were up and we did our norm and waited for daddy to get home. I had a missing ingredient to my meal, so we decided to go out to eat. My contractions were still steady from nap time, but now were 5 min apart.
We took off at 4:30 and once in truck I had a contraction from which I was hiding the strength of the contraction from Jed. He saw me brace myself and said, “oh no, we are not going out to eat like this, no way!” I said it’s OK, we need to eat and I don’t want to cook. So while at Jason’s Deli, I had contractions, bracing the counter, just starring at the counter as if in a trance, then after the contraction I walk away as if nothing happened. I received a few strange looks. HA I called the midwife and told her I don’t want her over too early, but it was going to be soon that we wanted her over. Well, I convinced Jed to run one last errand, for which he agreed. So, on our way home, I had a contraction and felt a pop and gush of fluid.
At 6:15 Jed was on the phone with our dear pastor Ron, sharing our good news. I turned to him never expecting my water to break and said quick we need to call our midwife. I think pastor Ron was going to pray with us over the phone, but because of my sense of urgency Jed hung up the phone quickly. Sorry pastor Ron. I thought the contractions would get horribly more painful, so I got a little scared and panicky at that point. I calmed down, grabbed a roll of paper towels to sit on, and we laughed about it. Once home, we waited for our lovely caretaker, Leslie Synder to take the children. We did last minute things, aired pool, tided house, and loved on children. I was so glad to labor as long as I did with children and public as it allowed me to not get so focused on the pain at hand.
Once the children were gone, and Nanci (midwife) arrived at 7:00 all eyes were on me, that was a bit weird, so I attempted to keep the conversation lively. I didn’t really want the pain much more, so I found the most comfortable spot on the exercise ball and chatted with the midwives. I stood up and had to hold onto the dresser and after that contraction I was ready to ease the pain by going to the pool that was placed in our bathroom at 8:00. The pain greatly was reduced but far from painless. I wasn’t sure how long it would be, but was sure I was far from being close. I sat in different positions trying to see what was less painful, and found the best position for me.I felt the urge to push at 8:19, but resisted from pushing until 8:24. One push with no crowning, then relaxed. Then I realized it was near, and I was a little unsure I was ready, my midwives prayed and spoke blessing over me and baby, it was sweet and encouraging and helped me focused on what was important.
Finally I pushed and Jed said baby is crowning, while Nanci, told me to listen to her to when to push. Ouch, she told me to stop pushing and breath, I looked at her and waiting for more instruction while blowing puffs of air to endure the pain. She said push a little more, now stop, then again and the head was out. The shoulders next and there I was catching my own baby and embracing her in my arms. I realized then that she was Sara and not Nathaniel, I was greatly pleased with a girl. She latched on easily and we were all awed by the miracle that just took place. No pushing for hours, and instructions were simple, just listen to your body, Janna.
This goes to show how awesome God is in making a machine to perfectly create, develop, and produce a baby. I didn’t push for 4 hours like I did with Autumn, (just because you are dilated to 10, does not mean you are ready to push baby out). I pushed for a total of 4 minutes, which is absolutely wonderful. Autumn and Lee arrived soon after and visited with Sarah for a few minutes, they were tired and both had fever. Midwives left at 10, and our new family of 5 has quickly begun. Blessed are we!!!
More Thoughts on Home Birth from Janna
In addition to our story, for those considering a home birth I’d like to add my viewpoint and experiences. Initially we were going to go the hospital, but at 34 weeks, realized that we would prefer to do a home birth. We did have the influence of two educational films about home birth and hospital births. Nanci Stanley became our midwife and I started seeing her at 35 weeks.
My concern and dislikes about a hospital birth are many, but here are a few. The fact that polices must be in place to protect against law suits and hence am treated more like a product than a individual. The lack of interest to encourage natural birth. The only available birthing position was laying down which defies gravity. The requirement (though some hospitals allow a room in policy) that babies go to nursery from 2-4 hours. The experience that I was encouraged to push for 4 hours, which in my opinion was necessary because I was required to lay down. The experience that they only allowed me 35 minutes to nurse him then took him away for 4 hours. The statistic that there is a extremely high cesarean rate in the US, and seems it’s more convenient for doctors to do a cesarean on their time verses wait on a women to labor on the weekend. The encouragement of pain meds, which ministers to the painless at my convince lifestyle.
My new found appreciation of home birth and experiences are many. First the personal visits that allow my midwife Nanci to look at me as a whole person. Recognizing the emotional, spiritual, and physical involvement of producing a baby. The constant reminding me (some of you may not need it as much as I did) of trusting in God’s timing regarding the labor. I only received 7 weeks of care, but in that time I felt like I was attending a therapy session instead of a quick 10 minute visit with a doctor who pretends to show interest in my life.
One office visit with my doctor, I walked by his office 2 times waiting to be seen. He apparently was waiting for clientèle to build up as I saw him first texting on his phone and the second time reading a hunting magazine. Anyway, my midwife shows her sincere interest in my life and allows time to develop a solid relationship. Calling at crazy hours for silly questions, she was always available and never short with me.
I had several false runs, in that, I thought I was in labor, and the thing that was always mentioned was, I will know. And this showed itself to be true. Finally when I did call, of course her timing was prompt. The environment of my home was calm, peaceful, and sweet. The labor was amazingly short and not forced and pushed in any way. There were prayers being spoken, not nurses yelling out, blast that baby out. Nanci kept telling me to listen to my body. I was able to move about, do my own thing, and rest in God’s timing.
Best of all for me in a home birth was the freedom to go about my business as long as I could and then focus in on task at hand. Everyone deals with pain differently, for me, I just rather fight through by focusing on my children, or going out and doing errands. Finally when the pain become defeating and unbearable, that was perfect timing for the midwives to start speaking God’s truth over me and again allowing me to align my thoughts to not focusing on myself and woe is me mentality.
Pain is real, but rather a better word for pain is hard work. It’s a natural part of life and viewing birth as such alleviates a women to accepting all the up and downs of pregnancy. One lesson I learned that I will carry to any other births is this, “Being at Peace”, not allowing myself to be lead by my emotions. Resisting from questioning the unknowns and focusing on the truth of God’s Word. The midwife I choose was heaven sent, and I hope to use Nanci again. She gave stability when I was lacking, confidence when I had very little, and reassurance of God’s plan when I doubted. These alone give her far more credit than medical profession can offer. I was blessed to be a patient of hers.
Andrea Bacle’s Birth
To start Winston’s birth story, I really need to go back to my daughter’s (Birdie). Her delivery only took 4 hours from the start of labor to her birth; it was natural and in a hospital, and we have nothing but wonderful memories about it. Afterwards, however, was horrible. The stay in the hospital was terrible from start to finish, and I wanted to avoid all of it again, if I could. So, I started researching other options. I started my care with a great OB, but I knew I wasn’t going to need a C-section, so it seemed silly to me to see a surgeon; I needed an expert in low-risk delivery. I took a tour of a birth center, but it also seemed silly to me to have all the luxuries of home but not be at home. That’s how I found Nanci and planned our home birth. Throughout my pregnancy, we had Saturday appointments, so Birdie and David were both able to come and hear the baby’s heartbeat—Birdie loved that. We were never rushed and never had to wait. David and I were both eagerly awaiting our home birth, and I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, the only real anxiety I had was what I would do with Birdie once I went into labor. Fortunately, I had a long list of friends and neighbors who were “on call” to come get her if I was at home by myself.
So, it was a Sunday afternoon and 3 days past my due date. I was starting to get nervous that I was going to go way overdue like I did with Birdie and would end up being induced in the hospital. But, as I was in the middle of painting the kitchen, I started to have very minor and sporadic contractions, only 3-5 seconds long. I thought this might be the very beginning, so I went for a brisk walk to try to encourage real contractions to start. Nothing. I was pretty bummed. I went back to painting, but I just didn’t feel good overall. Birdie cooperated, and we all took a long nap. When I woke up, I was still having very short contractions, so I looked up my symptoms online, and it seemed like it was “false” labor. I gave Nanci a call at 6:10 to ask her if “false” labor ever turns into the real thing. She said, unfortunately, it was 50/50. It would either go away or it would turn into the real thing. I was getting a little frustrated, because I wanted to get things going. Birdie and I relaxed on the couch together and read books. David was cleaning up from dinner and doing chores around the house.
The contractions weren’t getting stronger or longer, but they were finally consistent, coming every 5 minutes around 8:00. I went to the bedroom to be by myself for a while. David and Birdie came back to check on me several times, but he kept making me laugh, so I kicked them both out and told him I was going to call Nanci to come. He was surprised that I would call her so soon, because he didn’t think I was in active labor. At 8:30, things finally picked up. I labored by myself in our master bathroom for a long time. I would lean against the towel rack and rock back and forth through each contraction and then pace around the room like a momma cat in between. I listened to the “labor” playlist David had made for me, but once labor got intense, the only song I specifically remember hearing is, and I’m not kidding, “I’m Coming Out,” by Diana Ross when I was pushing, and I remember giggling to myself. Seriously.
David finally came back to join me at 10, after he had finally gotten Birdie down for the night. (Yes, if she takes a nap, she stays up that late.) My water finally broke at 10:10, and my contractions started to get very painful. (I’d say 8.5 out of 10; it was 8 for Birdie.) Nanci and Diana (the back-up midwife) got there at 10:15 and started getting things set up. They filled up the tub and suggested I get in to ease the pain. I hadn’t planned on spending any time in the tub, but I thought it was worth a try. The water temperature was perfect and felt good, but it didn’t ease the pain at all. By 10:25, I was pretty anxious to get that baby out. I was having severe lower back pain with no break in between contractions. But, because I was at home, I felt completely comfortable to be as loud as I wanted to be, which helped. I was in transition and totally ready to be done. David said, “the baby’s going to be here before midnight!” I said, “Bull crap. He’s going to be here in 10 minutes!” I’m telling you, I wanted that baby out. And that’s what I really said—no swearing, although I thought about it.
Around 10:40, I felt like I was ready to push. That’s the beauty of having a midwife—she never checked me at all. I told her when I was ready to push, and then I did. I was pretty determined, so I got his head out in 2 or 3 pushes, which ended up bruising his little nose and forehead because it was so fast. Then, it got a little hairy.
Nanci kept telling me to push, and I was pushing with everything I had. I was surprised that he wouldn’t come out, because I had expected him to come right out as soon as his head was out. Well, it turns out his shoulder was stuck (shoulder dystocia). He was being stubborn and didn’t want to be helpful with getting out, so Nanci had me stand up and she had to turn him and finally got him out. This took a few minutes, but I was never worried. It was painful, for sure, but I never thought that Nanci wouldn’t be able to get him out. She finally got him turned, and he was out at 10:55. I sat in the water, and we put him on my chest; he was completely quiet and had his eyes closed. David was worried, because he was so still. Nanci gave him some oxygen and was rubbing him vigorously to get him to wake up and move and cry. I was completely relaxed, because I could feel him, and I knew he was just fine. I was just so happy—happy to have him and hold him in my arms. I was stroking his head and talking to him and just staring at him in amazement. It took probably a good 2 or 3 minutes for him to cry and start moving. It never even occurred to me to check to see if he was a girl or boy. Nanci finally said, “Well, what is it?” So I finally checked and saw he was a boy and looked at David and said, “We have a son.”
So, the best part is that after the baby and I were cleaned up and checked out and the midwives left, David, W, and I snuggled in bed together and went to sleep. David and I whispered to each other about everything that had just happened and how excited we were about showing him to Birdie in the morning.
With no exaggeration, I truly believe Nanci saved his life. And, while I’m sure he would have made it had we been in a hospital, I can’t say with certainty that he or I wouldn’t have come out 100% perfect. There are often side effects with shoulder dystocia (often from the doctor pulling on the baby), and the mother usually receives a very large episiotomy in order to help get the baby out—and I’m not saying that’s the wrong thing to do, becaus
e I would sacrifice anything to save my children. But, I do know that Nanci was calmer than any hospital situation would have been, which helped the outcome, and fortunately, Winston and I are very healthy and happy. In fact, my recovery time was shorter than with Birdie, probably because I didn’t tear at all, thanks to Nanci.
Although labor was really intense (but thankfully, pretty short), I wish I could relive that moment of holding that warm, wet baby in my arms again. I could never describe how amazing that miracle was. I have the best partner in the world, and I could never thank Nanci and Diana enough for helping me deliver our precious son.
- 9 lbs 7 oz
- 23 in
- 10:55pm, Sunday night
- Called Nanci at 6:10 about false labor
- Asked Nanci to come at 9:06
- 10:10 water broke, threw up, mucus plug came out
- 10:15 midwives showed up—they were busy getting set up
- 10:25 in the water, saying he would be here by 10:35
- Started pushing around 10:35/10:40; born at 10:55
- Water birth at home
Holly Tinklenberg Birth Story
When I learned I was pregnant with Jules I knew that I wanted to have a home birth and started looking for a midwife in Houston to help me on this journey. Nanci and I met and after talking to her for just a few minutes I knew she was going to be the one to walk with me. We had such a good time during my pregnancy and labor she was great to talk too and joke around with too.
I would and HAVE suggested Nanci to others looking for a home birth with someone as kind and caring.
Nanci your great! I will be calling you again but hopefully with a wider spacing then 18 months !
Jules Avery Nokes
- 7 pounds
- 19 inches
- Homebirth water baby
My Mother’s Day Birth Story (written to the baby)
The most shocking thing about your birth was how quick it was when we finally got into action. I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy and enjoyed how active you were the entire time. As we got closer to delivery I was very uncomfortable and some of that I’m sure was from chasing your sister around. I threw my leg out about a week before you were born and ended up going to the chiro and having Jesse’s mom
come into town early to help out.
On Wednesday May 4th I was having lots of contractions and felt that it might be time for you to arrive but it ended up being false labor. From that point on I had lots of false labor and felt that your time was very close. When I didn’t deliver on your “due date” it was a little amazing I wasn’t expecting for you to be “late”.
Pricilla, Aribella and I all went to the mall to walk on May 8th, Mothers Day. We traveled a good part of the mall before I decided that the contractions were getting pretty serious. In fact when we reached the car I asked your grandmother to drive because I wasn’t sure I could safely.
When I got on the phone with Nanci I still wasn’t for sure that she needed to come but wanted her to come anyway. If that makes any sense…. I remember telling her I wasn’t sure this was the real thing but wanting her to head this way in case I decided it was. She asked if I wanted her to call the assistant midwife and I said no at least not till we had determined I was in labor.
It seemed to me that time passed very quickly and before long we were letting Nanci into the house and I was most definitely in labor. Contractions had started getting much stronger at this point and I was really glad she was there already. Nanci came in and we chatted about how my contractions felt and then I asked if she would
check me to see how far along we were.
At the check we discovered that I was 5 centimeters and about 85 to 90% effected. I felt very unhappy about that, I thought it meant that even with all the strong contractions I was having that we were still a long way off. As Nanci got her goodies out and set up and Jesse worked on the birth tub; I was in the kitchen eating peanut butter and crackers.
Before long Jesse said that the birth tub was ready and I should get into it and enjoy the warm water. At this time I was very ready for the tub. The tub was very wonderful; I knew that I wasn’t going to want to get out the minute I arrived. At this point I went into transition.
At this point my account gets kind of foggy. I was very deep into labor land and was working hard to help Jules move down. My contractions were very strong and
intense. Nanci, Alicia, Pricilla, Diana and Jesse were all with me in the bedroom and we everyone was so positive and such a good group and force. I knew that everyone knew I could make it…. Not that I didn’t know myself. I got into the froggy pose as it was named with my belly on the bottom of the pool and my legs up on the side of the pool this made it a little more comfortable for me. After a while I started to feel
Jules as with everything about your birth the pushing part only took about 15 mins. I think I pushed about 7 times. It was while I was pushing that Jesse thought I needed hotter water and thought he was going to leave me. He was well informed that it would NOT be a good idea to go anywhere at this time. Nanci nicely added that we didn’t want the water too hot for the baby… I have been told that the look on your dads face was priceless and he went a little white.
While pushing I remember being asked if I wanted to feel your head and sadly I said No way! I guess maybe I should have but I’m ok with just getting to kiss and love on your sweet little head now. After I had pushed your head out, we all waited for you to rotate so that you could make your way the rest of the wayout. It felt like it was a very long wait and Nanci was great because she kept telling me that you were moving around in the right way and I should wait.
With the last push you were out and on my chest in seconds my cheesy baby. It was so wonderful to hold you and I had to check to make sure you were indeed a girl right away. We hung out in the pool for a few mins while you took your first breath and then worked up to a cry… it wasn’t a very determined cry just enough to let us know that you were just fine. When we finally decided that it was time to get out of the tub Nanci helped Jesse cut the cord that gave you life for so many months. Then I handed you over to your grandmother for the first time; she was so excited!
Jesse and Nanci helped me out of the pool and into bed about 3 feet away.
You were ready to nurse right away and took to the project. Nanci let me know that 3 things had to happen before she could go home! I had to pee, eat, and for the life of me I cannot remember the last thing sorry. While I was working on my list you were getting checked over from head to toe and making sure you had ten fingers and toes. You were of course perfect at 7 pounds even and 19 inches long. Nanci said she couldn’t remember a baby with so much vernix. You were born at 10:20pm and by midnight everyone was heading home to get a good night sleep.
Well that is except us because you decided it would be a great time to be away so your first night instead of sleeping you laid awakeand watched the world.
Michael and Ana Owens’ Birth Story
When my husband and I found out we were expecting our third baby we were very excited and blessed. Like many moms my mind immediately filled with concerns and
questions. And for the third time I found myself asking the question – to birth naturally or not?
I delivered my first two babies at a local hospital with the help of mainly a nurse and later the doctor. From the moment I learned I was pregnant with my first baby giving birth naturally was my ultimate desire! Unfortunately things did not turn out the way we had hoped.
With my first baby I was not given the opportunity to labor naturally – therefore was induced. I had no idea what pitocin was nor was I aware of the exaggerated pain I would feel as I began to progress in labor. I refused the epidural at first but was basically obligated to take it because I was so exhausted. By my second pregnancy I’d become fearful of giving birth naturally due to the unfortunate experience I had with my first baby and requested an epidural – and epidural gone wrong! It was a very scary experience for my husband and I. I also tore on both occasions. After that I was convinced that I would never request or allow an epidural. So there I was pregnant for the third time contemplating what to do.
Initially I was seeing my previous doctor. But in the early months of my pregnancy I met two lovely families who had delivered with the help of a midwife. They shared their testimonies with us and answered our curiosities. On a different occasion I met a different lady who suggested we watch “The Business of Being Born”. But time went on and I forgot about her suggestion.
The reason I was reluctant to have a homebirth was because I was afraid for my baby. At the time giving birth in a hospital was comforting because I wanted to make sure that my baby would receive proper care in the event of an emergency. Months
went by and I was sure I had made up my mind – hospital it is!
But God has a way of working in the life of His children and what I thought to be peace turned to uncertainly and more questions.
One day I felt compelled to research homebirths and came across the movie I was told to watch. I watched it. Tears were shed, a sense of relief was felt and prayers began again! My mind was set on a homebirth! God comforted me by reminding me of His sovereignty and His perfect will for families including the privilege of birthing naturally. He created our bodies so perfectly – a magnificent design by a magnificent Creator!
Now convincing my husband would be a challenge – at least that is what I thought. I asked him to watch it with me and he immediately agreed on my decision. The Lord moved rather quickly! So there I was twenty something weeks pregnant now asking the question – who will deliver my baby?
The families I’d come to know gave me different referrals to contact and one was Nanci. I called her and she answered me right away and made arrangements to meet with her. Our first meeting went great, so great that we decided she would be our midwife that very moment.
I have truly come to appreciate Nanci and her qualities very much. I appreciate her promptness in answering my questions (even the silly ones), her availability and punctuality, her generosity, calm disposition and above all her love for God, families and homebirth. With her help I experienced a wonderful pregnancy. She helped me a lot with proper nutrition and taking the right supplements and it made a huge difference while I was pregnant and recovering as well.
She always had a word of comfort and reassurance when I had concerns or when I felt like I could not go through with it. I appreciated her peaceful voice and disposition so much! I must mention how sweet and patient she was with my little ones too. They felt very much a part of every visit and quickly became one of Sophia’s (my daughter) best new friends.
Two days from turning 39 weeks I began to experience strong contractions but they were far apart. I called Nanci anyway to inform her and followed her advice to rest as much as possible. So my husband and I decided to stay home from church. I was too excited and began to tidy up the house and finish some last minute details as I was certain the arrival of my little girl would be soon.
Monday was the same, strong contractions but far apart. We decided to leave the house and run errands with the hope that by walking my labor would speed up. At some point in those days I lost my plug and knew I was progressing but no major change until early Tuesday. The contractions were keeping me up and by then I was breathing rather loud as I endured the contractions so I decided to lay down on my couch away from my room as to not wake up my little ones. At around 5 in the morning I was having a rather strong contraction when I heard and felt a ’pop’ and knew my water had broken! I was so excited and encouraged to know we would be holding our little girl soon.
My contractions got very strong and were very close so I called Nanci. She arrived promptly at 6 followed by her assistant Diana. I felt very relieved they were here to helps us. My parents too were present to help look after our little ones. I labored laying down on my bed for a while, but as the contractions got stronger I got up a few times. At around 7 I requested our tub to be filled and finished laboring and eventually birthing in the tub. I felt a huge relief once I got in there mainly on my back- it was a great experience!
Nanci checked me to see where the baby was and announced her head was soon to crown. At that moment I began to push and with their help and prayers was able to push her with no complications or tearing. My husbands encouragement and all their prayers made a huge difference! It was a clear contrast between my births at the hospital.
Everything went very quickly and at 7:31 in the morning Zoe Danielle was born. Her big sister Sophia and big brother Jacob soon joined us to celebrate her birth. Nanci took good care of us and my recovery was much better this time around. She truly helped me realize my ultimate desire – the opportunity to birth naturally the way God intended and for that we are very very thankful.
The Miracle Birth Story of Mandy McGee
(this is only a portion of the story – to read the full story and for pics, go to Mandy’s blog.)
Here’s the birth story from my point of view. Who knows how accurate it is, as it’s really difficult to recall every detail!
My pregnancy with Molly Jo was one of the best. Apparently, fifth time is a charm, because I finally figured out how to handle my severe anemia. I had plenty of energy, felt fantastic, and gained the perfect amount of weight (about 40 lbs). I was really excited to be able to have my good friend, Nanci, as my midwife. One of the highlights of my prenatal care was having lunch with her after our appointments!
As we entered March, my anticipation to meet the wee one grew immensely. We had originally estimated my due date to be around the 24th of March, but an ultrasound done halfway through the pregnancy dated my EDD three weeks earlier (March 3rd). Because I had been nursing and my cycles were pretty wonky, this made sense. Besides, my last period had been very strange, and we wondered if it had been a miscarriage (of a twin) instead of a period. Many of the signs pointed to such an event. (I suppose we will not know in this lifetime!)
March 3rd came and went. It’s not surprising that I would go passed the EDD as I had gone to 41 and a half weeks with our third child, but the anticipation was driving me crazy, especially since I had the wonderful opportunity of being present at my friend Becky’s beautiful home water birth in February. I couldn’t wait to hold my little sweetie!
Nanci suggested I get another ultrasound to see if everything was okay with the baby. For about a month or so, her heart rate had been really slow during my prenatal appointments, so we wanted to check up on that as well. The ultrasound revealed I had a surplus of amniotic fluid
(which we had suspected). The tech was also pretty sure that Molly Jo had something called situs inversus, a condition in which organs are
reversed, or mirrored, from their normal position. She also noted that her heart rate was a little slow…….. the rest of Mandy’s story
Sarah Starnes Birth Story
Abigail Sunshine Adams Starnes
8 lbs 1 oz
October 30, 2012 5:30 pm
After 8 births you would have the tendency to believe that babies almost walk out. That is a fallacy. They don’t. Our precious Abby Sunshine, #9, came to us with a long, slow, tiring labor and delivery. With contractions starting on the 29th around 10:30 at night, 20-25 min apart I was certain that we would have a baby long before the dawn’s early light. Unfortunately, my experience with birth was causing fear to rumble in me all during the night. While none of my deliveries have been traumatic, they are still intense and transition is still painful. The time of fear and my own heart struggling to allow my body to do the task set before it ended with the sunrise. Jesus spoke peace to my heart after the darkness of prayer. The sun rose and I was not afraid. I am so thankful that I did not know that many hours still lay ahead until the prize would be in my arms. Slow and steady through the morning and then the afternoon and as we began to fall into evening she was here. On my chest, in my arms. Beautiful, fragile, strong, determined to come in her own time, full of light and happiness, a ray of Sunshine.
The Home Birth of Archer Lux Guimbellot
March 11, 2014
From the moment I learned I was pregnant I knew I wanted a home birth. I hate hospitals and being around people when I’m not feeling well, so I couldn’t imagine trying to accomplish a natural birth in the presence of strangers and with the pressures of intervention.
As soon as we met with Nanci for our consultation we knew she was the one. Her experience, confidence and calm demeanor were the qualities I was looking for in a midwife. She was always quick to answer my first-time-mom questions and reassuring of my concerns.
My husband was well prepared to coach me and Nanci was excellent in supporting us both throughout the labor. Knowing I had two experienced professionals caring for my baby and me allowed me to be completely present and give birth with intention.
Labor pains began around 7 am and by 4pm things were serious. Contractions got closer together and more intense. I got into the birthing pool and was really able to relax between contractions. I pushed a few times but did not feel comfortable enough to continue in the water. We moved into the bedroom where I laid on the bed and, hands behind my knees, I continued pushing. About 20 minutes later he crowned. Nanci took my hand and placed it on his head. It was a huge encouragement to feel that progress! Another few pushes and his head was out. Another push and his whole body shot right out! Josh and Nanci caught him and placed him on my chest. He was tiny and purple and mad. He was perfect. He weighed 7 pounds and 1 ounce, was 20.5 inches long. Josh cut the umbilical cord and we were a family.
I write this summary of my experience. No one’s story is the same. Some women have pleasant memories of giving birth. Some women do not. I am of the latter. For me, this was a traumatic experience. I had no complications, no real issues, but it was inexplicably difficult. It was painful. I’d read birth stories, natural birth books, watched home births…nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of the birth of my son. It is something I could not think on for some time after. It is also something I would never take back.
Thank you, Nanci, for helping us to introduce our sweet baby into the world. Our lives are forever changed.
Read Talia’s Birth Story Here (PDF file)
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