The story of Lyla’s birth really begins several years ago with the birth of Jasmyn, our six year-old daughter. Jasmyn was born in the hospital, the way most people have babies, with pain killers and plenty of other medical interventions. During my hospital stay, nurses and doctors were constantly in my room drawing blood, checking my blood pressure or doing something else. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to get any rest, so when I went home, I was completely exhausted, and in quite a bit of pain, as I was given a large episiotomy, and had a sizeable tear as well. For the next two weeks, I did little more than sleep. I was so very thankful that my husband was able to take those first two weeks off of work and be with me. After those first two weeks, I slowly recovered, but I was still very tired for a while later. All in all, it was months before I was back to feeling like myself.
After my first experience of having a baby in the hospital, I decided I wasn’t going to do that again. It was all worth it, because we got Jasmyn out of it, but if there was another way, we were going to do things differently if there was a next time. As the years went by we learned about midwives and home births. When we found out that we were going to have another baby, we met with Toni, and immediately felt very at ease with her. We were somewhat scared of the idea of having a baby without doctors and an operating room nearby, but Toni provided us with information and studies that proved to us that having a baby at home was AT LEAST as safe, and in reality much safer than having a baby in the hospital, when the mother has good prenatal care and the pregnancy is free of complications. We decided shortly afterwards that we wanted to try to have this baby at home, and knew after our first prenatal visit that we had made the right decision. At that first visit, Toni spent two hours with us, going over nutrition, exercise, ways to keep myself and Lyla healthy, and many other things. She was able to answer our questions thoroughly and set us completely at ease with our decision.
As the pregnancy progressed and we regularly saw Toni for prenatal visits, and later for childbirth classes, we grew more and more confident in our decisions, both to have Lyla at home and to have Toni be the one to deliver her. Toni spent an hour with us at every prenatal visit, answering questions, and sometimes just talking. When I saw a doctor for prenatal visits when I was pregnant with Jasmyn, we would normally see him for about five minutes, and the nurse for five or ten minutes in addition-an hour would have been unheard of! Toni’s prenatal care was very thorough-much more thorough than that of Jasmyn’s doctor. She did not just listen for heart tones, but she was also able to tell me if Lyla was breech or head down, and she was able to tell me that Lyla was posterior, just by feeling and paying attention to where she heard her heartbeat. When I asked my doctor if Jasmyn was breech toward the end of the pregnancy, he sent me to have an x-ray to find out-and I later learned that at that time it was almost completely unheard of for a pregnant woman to have an x-ray because of the potential risks to the baby! We most definitely felt as though the level of prenatal care that we receive from Toni was much better than what we received from Jasmyn’s doctor.
We went through Toni’s series of childbirth classes, so when I finally went into labor, we were both as ready as could be. In the two weeks preceding my going into labor, we had several “false alarms”. I wasn’t really sure what it would be like to go into labor this time, but when it did happen, I knew it. It was very fast, and I was ready to push when Toni arrived shortly after we called her. During my labor with Jasmyn, I looked to the doctor and nurses to tell me what to do, but this time, I looked only to my husband to lead me and get me through the difficult parts of the labor. Toni was there to give us directions, but it was my husband who led me. When I said “I can’t”, he said “yes you can,” and together, with the help of Toni, we were able to bring Lyla into this world. She was born pink and crying, and was healthy and perfect!
Lyla’s birth was a truly beautiful experience for all of us. Minutes after Lyla was born, we got Jasmyn out of bed to meet her sister. When Jasmyn was born, Greg and I felt powerless and like we were being dragged through the birth experience by the doctors and nurses. Having Lyla at home was the exact opposite–we felt empowered, and knew that we were in the proverbial driver’s seat.
My recovery time was much faster after Lyla’s birth as well. Since I didn’t tear at all, I lost the normal amount of blood, so I wasn’t anemic and I had much more energy. I was back to my normal self within a week or so of delivering Lyla.
Now, having had a baby both at home and in the hospital, I can honestly say that unless there was some major complication that required the medical technologies available at the hospital, I would not have a baby in the hospital again. I definitely prefer the comfortable surroundings of my own home to the sterile surroundings of the hospital, and I definitely preferred working with Toni to working with a doctor.