Why We Chose A Birth Center (+ Unseen Edie Photos!)

These photos were all taken within the first eight-ish hours of Edie's birth. She finally found her way out just after 11 p.m. on Saturday night, we were home from the birth center before 5 a.m. and up around 7 to stare at her/get ready for family to come meet her. We chose not to let anyone know I was in labor and we are SO glad, because I ended up pushing for a very long time and we feel like it may have scared a family member or two if they had been there waiting. I also just didn't want the pressure of feeling like I had to get my baby out because I didn't want anyone stuck hanging out overnight. And that's what would have happened! An evening, overnight, and an entire day.

Even though we didn't invite anyone to be there for us, I never felt without support.  If I'm being honest, I was a TINY bit worried when I found out I wouldn't know which midwife would actually be present at my birth when I first transferred my prenatal care to the Birth Center of Northwest Arkansas, but not worried enough to make me pursue a home birth. For our first birth and baby experience Daniel and I really liked the idea of being so close to a hospital and under the care of certified nurse midwives who had lots of experience with the medical side of birth if things took a certain turn. We mostly wanted to feel encouraged that my body could open up and bring our baby into the world without intervention or pain medication. 

Throughout the course of my pregnancy I became more comfortable with the unknown parts of my upcoming birth by booking prenatal visits with each of the three midwives on staff. Their personalities were different but I felt confident they all had my baby's and my best interests in mind. I ended up giving birth under the supervision of the midwife I had spent the least time with (she had just started working at the birth center a few weeks before), but a few hours into pushing I realized I would feel forever connected to this woman. She convinced me to trust my body in a way I never had and didn't give up on me when I was screaming at her that I couldn't do it. "You will push this baby out, Jordan." She gently guided me and suggested new positions while allowing my body to do its job and totally trusting me when I crawled off of the bed and squatted on the floor on my own accord in my last few minutes of pushing. I can still hear her voice when I think back on Edie's birthday.

Immediately after Edie was born I spent almost four hours doing skin to skin. She was never taken out of my sight, not even when the sweet nurse went through my postnatal care protocol or when the student midwife took her measurements. I was able to get up and walk myself to the restroom, get dressed and load our things back into our car to head home just hours after giving birth.  

The Monday morning after Edie was born a nurse and student midwife visited us at home to check on baby and me. The care we received was so personal! I remember grabbing the student midwife's hands as she was kneeling over Edie who was asleep on my chest and telling her how gifted she was at her calling. She had basically acted as my doula throughout the birth--I think I held her hands more than I held Daniel's (they tag teamed it quite a bit--one of them rubbing my back or squeezing my hips while the other held my hands). I can honestly say my birth at the birth center felt more spiritual than medical, and almost 18 months later I still find myself missing the whole experience. It was raw and messy and loud and long and so, so beautiful, and I am forever changed.