My second child, Phoenix Wagner, was born on February 24, 2018, during a winter storm, in the water, out of hospital, at Roots Community Birth Center about a mile from our house located in North Minneapolis. Those present at the birth include our midwife, Holly Fix; a birth attendant; a student midwife, Evelyn; my husband, Devin; our 6 year old son Griffin; another student midwife/our doula, Britt Duncan; a sibling doula, Cheyenne Johnson, and a birth photographer, Raven Dibble.
Pressure Wave = contraction; Birthing time = labor; Guess date = EDD or due date; BOP = bubble of peace; “Tracks” are a tool for entering hypnosis as is the finger drop technique; Using my light switch in "on", "off" or "center" positions is about when I’m in hypnosis or not.
Before I jump into my birth story, first some background insight into this pregnancy. My original guess date for this pregnancy was March 21, 2018. This was calculated as 40 weeks from the first day of my last period (LMP), June 14, 2017. An ultrasound in September showed the baby was measuring 4 weeks “bigger” or older by gestational age showing a guess date of February 24, 2018. I fought this for many months because I KNEW I had a period and because we were not trying to conceive (TTC) in May but we were in June. My first child, Griffin measured “big” or 3 weeks ahead at all of his ultrasounds and came on his own, without induction on his 40 week guess date, weighing 9 pounds 2 oz. He had been a “big baby” I birthed without drugs and in the water and therefore, I was not thrilled about changing our guess date based on baby’s size alone. We kept asking if there was anything besides the size of baby that could help us understand his true gestational age. Finally, on December 26, 2017 one of our midwives told us she could do a blood draw to show the level of progesterone in my blood which will steadily increase throughout pregnancy. Based on LMP, I was 28 weeks at the time of the blood draw but multiple ultrasounds still showed I was at 32 weeks. The blood test came back and showed I was exactly 32 weeks. When I looked at the chart to see if the 28 weeks was still possible, it was more than 2 standard deviations off. And thus we “changed” our guess date, moved it forward a whole month to February 24 from March 21, and immediately entered our third trimester. Looking back this seems like it should not have caused as much stress as it did. I wish I had my Hypnobabies Bubble of Peace (BOP) and fear clearing tools sooner to process this aspect of my pregnancy.
Unfortunately, that same blood test showed I failed the one hour gestational diabetes (GD) screening. However, given how poorly I give blood, the decision was made to not have me take the 3 hour GD test. Instead, on January 15, when the test results came back, I began daily testing in the morning and after each meal to make sure my sugars were within the approved range: 90 fasting and 140 after meals. It took me a couple of weeks to get the hang of things but ultimately I learned what to eat, and what not to eat to control my blood glucose levels without needing insulin. In order to have an out of hospital birth, it is crucial that I was not insulin dependent. I did not want to change my birth plan until medically necessary so I had a lot of motivation to drastically alter my diet. However, due to the potential complications gestational diabetes can cause, my midwife team wanted to induce me at 40 weeks to prevent baby from growing “too big.” While I had my BOP tool, I had not gotten to class 6 yet and was not using my fear clearing track. If I could go back in time, I would have used fear clearing sooner to help process the GD diagnosis and the fear from any potential complications it could have caused. (Editor's Note: This is an option for moms who need extra fear clearing before they finish the course!)
On Wednesday, February 21, three days before my guess date and induction date, one of the midwives, Aly, offered to do a cervical stretch and sweep, but I declined. I knew a stretch and sweep carried a risk of breaking my water. When the water is artificially broken, it is not a guarantee that pressure waves will begin or that the birthing time will begin. Once the water breaks, it starts the clock ticking for how long before a risk of infection becomes a concern. I did not want to chance my water breaking, not having my birthing time begin, and needing medical intervention to move things forward. However, even though I declined the stretch and sweep, I agreed I would come in on Friday evening, February 23 to have a foley bulb inserted. This was explained to me as a small water balloon that is inserted into the uterus and then filled with water until it is about 4 cm in diameter. This sits on the cervix and helps it to slowly open. The theory is that the baby’s head is not always pressing directly on the cervix, but by having the foley bulb place pressure on the cervix, it helps to dilate and efface the cervix which are crucial to birthing time. I knew that I was having light pressure waves throughout the week. Some times it was only a couple times a day but on Thursday it had been every hour. I knew from my Hypnobabies complete childbirth education course, that pressure waves could have continued like that for weeks. I knew my body was getting ready but I also knew it was no guarantee that my birthing time would be soon.
On Friday evening I arrived at the birth center for the foley. This visit was already different. The rest of my prenatal care took place in the clinic on the first floor. But on this day, the midwife, Rebecca, had me meet her in the birth center upstairs. We went into the birth suite and she began to get out the things for the foley bulb. When she pulled out a TWO FOOT rubber tube I was shocked to learn THAT was the foley that she wanted to insert inside my uterus and hang out of my body. (My original mental image of a foley was more like an IUD... inserted in the uterus and out of the way... a foley is NOTHING like an IUD!) I immediately had second thoughts but for some reason the only thing I could focus on was, “so you mean I can't go home and have sex tonight?” The answer I know you are dying to know is no. No you cannot have vaginal penetrative intercourse with a foley bulb inserted. :D Prior to inserting the foley, Rebecca explained she was going to check my cervix. She discovered I was about 40% effaced and 1 cm dilated. (The goal before pushing baby out is 100% effaced and 10 cm dilated) Rebecca saw my hesitation to continue the procedure with the foley and asked why I had declined the stretch and sweep a few days prior. I explained my only concern was that I did not want to have PROM (a premature rupture of membranes.) Rebecca stated that in order to insert the foley, I would essentially need to have a stretch and sweep and she thought the stretch and sweep alone could accomplish the same goal as the foley. Therefore, we changed plans again and did not have a foley. (And yes, that means I could go home and have sex!) Rebecca explained that a stretch and sweep can be very intense. She is well versed in hypnobabies and she prompted me to use my hypnosis techniques and put on a track before we got started. We agreed she would wait while I entered hypnosis and I would let her know when I was ready. I turned on the “Deepening my Hypnosis” track and used my finger drop technique. Once I was in hypnosis, I turned my light switch to center and told her I was ready and then quickly turned my switch back to off for the procedure. The stretch and sweep lasted only a few minutes but it was very intense and I felt a lot of pressure. When she finished she told me that now I was 70% effaced and 4cm dilated! Wahoo! That is so much progress and it hardly took any time or effort. Rebecca reminded me that I might experience cramping, pressure waves, or spotting after the stretch and sweep but that was all normal.
Before I went home, Friday night, Rebecca and I went over the plan for the next day, induction day/guess date based on the original ultrasound. Since I was an out of hospital birth, the induction would not be the typical pitocin induction. I was to come in to the birth center at 8 a.m. for a non-pharmaceutical induction. Julie Colby, my acupuncturist would meet me there and get things started. After the acupuncture, I would get to have ice cream! After two months not even eating fruit because it would make my blood sugar all wacky, I was so excited for an ice cream shake I didn’t even mind it was going to be filled with castor oil! HA! After that, every 15 minutes for the next 4 hours, I would take another herbal supplement or homeopathic tincture. From there, I would be sent home and wait for my birthing time to actively begin. I left the birth center on Friday night to go home and update the various members of our birth team: Julie Colby my acupuncturist, Adrienne Caldwell, an amazing body worker who agreed to be on call in case I needed or wanted her, Britt, my doula, Cheyenne, Griffin’s sibling doula, and Raven, our birth photographer. We packed our bags and went to sleep knowing (and hoping) we would wake up in our birthing time so the induction was not needed. While I didn’t use the “visualize my birth” track nearly as much as I felt like I needed, I sure knew I wanted it to begin naturally, at home, in my bed and that is what I went to sleep dreaming about. At least three times during the night I woke up to light pressure. Each time I acknowledged it, kept my eyes closed, let out a deep breath and went back to sleep.
At 6 AM I woke to one of these pressure waves. I had to pee anyway, thanks pregnancy, so I decided to just get up and go sit in my favorite rocking chair while Devin and Griffin still slept. I wanted to enjoy the quiet peacefulness of the morning before what I could tell was going to be a big day. I rubbed my belly and talked to my baby. I thought about how before I went to sleep that night, I would more than likely have him in my arms. I watched a music video of “Monster,” one of the new musical numbers added to Frozen on Broadway. As it was ending, I was surprised to see Griffin sleepily emerge from his bedroom and up before 7am. He came and cuddled with me in the rocking chair. We talked about the plans for the day and how he probably would have a baby brother before the day was over. Then we watched “Monster” together before Dad got up and joined us to start our day. In hindsight, I wish I had listened to my Hypnobabies tracks “Your Birthing Day Begins” and “Birthing Day Affirmations” as soon as I got up. I could not have imagined the day going by as fast as it did and these important tracks were not ever used.
I started to feel light, easy, consistent pressure waves but I wasn’t timing them since I knew we would be at the birth center by 8 a.m. My best guess is that they were about every 20-30 minutes because I know I had around 6 during the two hours between getting up and getting to the birth center. I could talk through these easily and commented I could have continued with that intensity wave for days. These were similar to the ones I had been experiencing all week so I was not even sure if it was “enough” to be considered my birthing time.
8 AM came and it was time to head to the birth center. We had packed our bags the night before so we were ready to go. That morning we took everything with us to the birth center so we were ready for whatever the day had in store. Devin and Griffin dropped me off to begin the induction and then went to go run errands and do some grocery shopping. When I told the midwife, Holly, about the consistency of the pressure waves that morning, we decided the induction was no longer necessary. YES! I was officially in my early first stage of my birthing day, without induction, and on my guess date just like my first son, Griffin. We still decided to start the day with acupuncture and then I would return home until I was in my active birthing time and ready to return to the birth center. I requested to use my Hypnosis relaxation music instead of the music the acupuncturist normally uses. She was used to this because I usually listened to my daily affirmations during my weekly third trimester sessions with her. I had several more waves during my session that morning but they were always very light and very easy I did not even feel like I needed any hypnosis tools. After acupuncture, I said goodbye to Julie and she told me to call her if I wanted her to come back later during active birthing time.
At 9:30 AM I updated our birth photographer and our two doulas that we were in the early first stage. Then I sat with Holly at the birth center and we chatted while I waited for Devin and Griffin to come back to pick me up and take me home. It took Devin about an hour to come back and pick me up. Only once did Holly comment that she could tell that a wave had been ”a hard one” and she had been right. We bonded talking about theater and music and our children. Devin arrived and Holly told us to go home, eat lunch, watch a movie, or try and sleep and to let her know when things picked up.
At 10:30 AM we were home again. I again updated the birth team that we did not induce because I was having consistent waves, that I was at home, but we were doing ok on our own. I was having consistent waves and Devin made tacos (taco salad for me since I was back to no carbs). I finally started using an app to track the waves. They were about 6-8 minutes apart lasting a minute. At this point, when I had a wave, I could not talk through them. I had to focus on it. I would close my eyes and focus on my breath. When it ended, I would open my eyes and smile - just like my Hypnobabies taught me. I sat in the living room on my birth ball and circled my hips while we ate. Griffin had seen the Greatest Showman without Devin and I the previous week and kept singing this one song to us, “A Million Dreams.” Devin found it on Apple Music and played it for Griffin to sing along to while he sang to my belly. Those two minutes are one of my favorite parts of the day. The sun was shining through the windows, snow was softly beginning to fall, we had a nice healthy meal in our tummies, I sat and worked with my baby while Griffin and then Devin sang to me.
Editor's Note: Click here to listen to this song on YouTube.
At 11:00 AM, after we had finished lunch, we went downstairs to watch Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I was still on my birth ball and the waves were still 8 minutes apart but they were getting longer. I caught myself opening my eyes during the wave to see how long it had been. Several times in a row, I opened my eyes right at the one minute mark and relaxed knowing it was almost over. Despite the waves getting a bit stronger, I felt so grateful to be in my home with my family during this time. I checked in with Raven and Britt again. I felt guilty about having them come if we were just sitting around watching a movie and I was doing fine and not even needing support from Devin so I told them to wait a bit longer. If I had not been enjoying family time, I know this would have been a great time to listen to “Visualize Your Birth” and “Fear Clearing” tracks.
Then at 11:30 AM, about 20 minutes into the movie, I had a very intense wave. I jumped off my ball, paused the movie, and grabbed Devin’s hand. If Griffin hadn’t been right there I think I might have cried. While Griffin wanted to be present for his brother’s birth, he expressed distress about seeing me in “pain.” When I had that first wave that took my breathe away, I felt frantic and helpless. I knew that I needed to start using my hypnobabies tools immediately and get control. I told Devin I wanted to get into the bathtub as quickly as possible before the next wave started. We put on a different movie for Griffin, and Devin helped me upstairs. We decided to have our doula Britt come over but we were going to wait to have Cheyenne, our sibling doula, join us until we went to the birth center since Griffin was content to watch movies in the basement.
Once I was settled in the tub, Devin put on “your birthing day begins“ track. This is a hypnobabies track to remind you of all the tools you have during your birthing time. My waves had very quickly become very intense and I wanted to get into hypnosis and I was not content listening to a reminders track. I begged for a different track and Devin tried to remind me that our classes taught us to start with that track. Then I snapped at Devin that if HE wanted to listen to it he could go in another room but I NEEDED to be in hypnosis. HA! He put on a hypnosis track but neither of us remember which one. I think it was probably “easy first stage.”
It was 12:00 PM, we told Raven, our photographer to come over. We also checked in with Holly our midwife. She asked “How are you feeling - wanting to stay home a little longer or head in?” At 12:18 PM I responded, “Home a bit longer we think.” Raven, our photographer, had arrived at our home but we were still waiting for our doula, Britt. I could not get the water level high enough to submerge my body but I desperately wanted warm water covering my pregnant belly. I grabbed a cup we use for bath time and began to scoop water out of the tub and slowly pour it over my stomach, repeatedly. I closed my eyes and kept this smooth, constant pattern. At times Devin sat by my side and would hold my hand or take over the steady, constant pouring. Then I realized cup duty had been passed onto Griffin. I loved having my sweet boy caring for me. He got a few good pours in before he started to play with the suction the cup made! :D
Then at 12:34 PM I sent another text to the midwife: “We would like to come in now.” It took just 15 minutes for me to be content at home to knowing it was time to get to where we would have the baby. Holly told us she would be at the birth center by 1:00 PM. Just when I thought we should tell Britt to meet us at the birth center, she arrived. We waited for a wave to end and then I quickly got out of the bathtub and got dressed. Once out of the tub, I switched to listening to my hypnobabies with headphones while I sat in the living room through the next wave while Devin got Griffin and anything else we needed loaded in the car.
When I got in the car, I discovered Devin already had a Hypnobabies track playing in the car from his phone — I know this is a big no no! However I was too deep into things to deal with it - it was easier just to take off my headphones. We only needed to drive one mile to our birth center and Devin insisted he was not going to fall into hypnosis in that short distance. Well... the Hypnobabies fairies must have been watching us because as we turned the corner at the end of our block, the hypnosis cut out just as a wave was beginning. It took another few blocks for us to realize that Devin had left his phone at home. It was able to play in the car through Bluetooth, but once we got out of range it disconnected. So, I did the only thing I cared about, I put my headphones back on to keep listening to my hypnosis tracks. I had my eyes closed and was breathing through a wave when I heard the car blinker. The only problem is we should have stayed going straight on that road. I pulled off my headphones, opened my eyes, and asked Devin what he was doing. He informed me he was going back home to get his phone. I told him there was NO WAY that was happening and he needed to go directly to the birth center. I told him if he wanted to drop me off and go back home for his phone, so be it, but I was not going to wait any longer. :D I put my headphones back on and used my finger drop technique to re-enter hypnosis when I realized Devin was again talking to me and trying to justify why he needed his phone. I pulled off my headphones and again pleaded my case that he could not turn around. That he did not NEED his phone but I NEEDED the birth center. Three times this happened with me trying to listen to my tracks, during waves, in the car, while he tried to turn around or talk to me to convince me to turn around. Finally I yelled at him that he is supposed to be my “hypno-guardian” and protect me from other people disturbing me during my waves and he was the one causing the problems. HA! Looking back I realize how absorbed this sounds but I knew I needed to get to the birth center. He didn’t say anything else the rest of the drive. (Side note to anyone reading this who does not know Devin: He is so incredibly supportive of me, especially during my birthing time, which is probably why this is so funny looking back. I can appreciate his perspective that in this day and age most of us would want to go back for our cell phone, especially if only two or three blocks from home.)
At 1:14 PM I let Holly know we were about a block away and asked her to fill the birth tub if it wasn’t already. Devin stopped the car, and I jumped out, with my slippers on, into a foot of snow. Devin, Griffin, Britt, Cheyenne, and Raven were all there but I did not wait for anyone. I RAN inside and up the flight of stairs in record time. As I kicked off my wet slippers, I saw Holly in the living room. It was like I saw her in slow motion smile and asked how I was but I ignored her completely and went into the birth suite. I went into the toilet room, closed the door, stripped down and collapsed onto the toilet. Everyone on the birth team had told me if I need time, space, or privacy during my birthing time to just ask. I hadn’t verbally asked, but I think they took me closing the bathroom door as a sign to give me space. I stayed on the toilet, silently, through two waves while I kind of adjusted to being alone after an hour of being surrounded by people. I could hear Holly our midwife, Raven our photographer, Britt our doula, and Evelyn the student midwife beyond the door. Eventually I heard Devin say, “Where is Kimberly?” I can just picture him walking into this space after getting Griffin settled with his sibling doula in the living room and wondering where his birthing wife disappeared to.
When I came out of the toilet room, I immediately got into the tub. I had my blood pressure checked and they listened to baby’s heartbeat with a doppler. I was having a wave while Evelyn tried to use the doppler to listen to baby’s heartbeat but I did not want to be touched. Holly, agreed to wait until the wave ended and then listened for a moment and then let me be. Devin got a Hypnobabies track playing on the speaker in the room. I rarely opened my eyes while in the tub. I got into a zone and everyone quietly watched me and anticipated my every need. I wanted water poured on my belly which I think our doula Britt mainly took point on. Devin was offering me my ice water, holding my hand, and reading my Hypnobabies prompts to me even while the hypnosis tracks continued playing in the background. Someone was getting cold wash cloths to place on my forehead and every few minutes would switch it out with a new cold one. During my waves I would use my hypnosis prompt “peeeeeace.” In between waves I simply kept my eyes closed and rested.
I feel like I had only been there a few minutes when I started to deeply vocalize through waves. I opened my eyes after one and Holly asked, “Do you feel pushy” I cried and said yes. She reminded me that was good because I would meet my baby soon but I whined and told her it was awful because I wanted to take a nap. :D Holly, our midwife told Devin to switch the track to “the pushing track.” So he went and fiddled with the speaker. I stayed in the tub with my eyes closed and swayed my body to make gentle waves. After a few minutes I heard Holly tell Devin that he put on the practicing to push track (Prep for Comfortable Birthing) and that there was actually a pushing track (Pushing Baby Out) and he should go find the right track. I have a very competent, supportive husband but he was in such a hurry to get back by my side he rushed and picked the first thing he saw with the word “push.” Hypnobabies has over 18 tracks. We discussed it ahead of time but did not think it was necessary to create a separate playlist with just the birthing day tracks so the practice track showed up first. I adore this part of my birth story because it so clearly shows me one of the many ways our midwife supported us. I did not realize how well our midwife knew the Hypnobabies program but I am amazed that she was able to prompt Devin to find the track meant for the pushing phase.
At some point around here I vomited. I remember saying I was going to be sick and within a few seconds someone was holding a cold metal bowl into the tub for me. I remember how nice that cold metal felt against my skin. Even though my childbirth education explained that this is a very normal part of birth, my birthing brain seemed to forget everything so I cried and asked if I was ok to which my team reassured me, I was.
During the next couple of waves I ignored the urge to push. I felt “pushy” but I just wasn’t ready so I tried to relax. Finally, I decided to try a little push but I hated it so I stopped. The waves when I felt pushy were so intense. I would go from laying very still in the tub to thrashing around the way a fish would jerk if you took them out of water. My team was so support. Britt would tell me how great I was doing. Holly and Evelyn would smile and Devin would continue to hold my hand and read me pushing prompts. Finally, I tried one hard push but I felt and heard a pop. I had no idea what happened and opened my eyes to seek reassurance and find out what had happened. I was informed my water broke. It was 1:57 PM and I had been at the birth center for a mere 40 minutes.
The push where I broke my water was super intense and I didn't want to push again so I tried to ignore the next several waves and relax and let my body move baby down. During this time, I’m told Griffin came in the room. He looked at me quietly resting in the tub and went back to the living room, shrugged, and told his sibling doula “nothing’s happening.” Right after Griffin left the room, a wave started and I pushed. Once I started, I immediately felt baby move quickly into the birth canal. I reached down and supported my perineum, felt his head, and pushed one long hard push. Seconds later, he flew out and Evelyn, the student midwife, caught her first baby and placed him on my chest and into my arms. Phoenix Wagner was born at 2:19 p.m. I cried. It was over. I did it. I held my perfect, healthy baby boy in my arms. I kissed me, whispered “We did it,” and cried some more.
Someone told Griffin to come back into the room. I spent a few minutes staring at my little miracle with my husband and older child at the edge of the tub by our side. After a short break, I birthed the placenta while still in the tub. It floated in its own little metal bowl while I offered Phoenix the breast for the first time. Eventually Dad took off his shirt and took the baby, still attached to his placenta to go have skin to skin time in the bed.
BOP - I started to bleed slightly faster than they would have liked. They offered me constant fundal massage (dont let the word massage fool you into thinking this is something pleasant) or pitocin. I hate needles but I hate fundal massage even more. Not only is the fundal massage more unpleasant than the pressure waves, it would have been continuous until bleeding stopped versus the needle is quick and then it is over. So I agreed to a quick shot of “pit.” It was one quick shot in my upper right arm and the bleeding stopped immediately. That was our only “complication” and it was such an easy one!
I joined my husband and newborn son in bed. Griffin came in and jumped in the middle of the bed to join us. Immediately, he leaned over, rubbed his newborn brother’s back, and began to sing:
I close my eyes and I can see
The world that’s waiting up for me
That I call my own
Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fills my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we are gonna make
I looked up and nearly everyone in the room had tears in their eyes. Griffin took his shirt off so he could have some skin to skin time with Phoenix. Next, big brother Griffin got to cut the cord. I think it had been almost an hour since he was born. I loved seeing the umbilical cord completely white and totally done pulsing to get baby all the goodness it carried. Once detached, Griffin watched in awe as the midwife examined the placenta and explained to Griffin how it had been Phoenix’s house.
Despite being told for two months that my gestational diabetes was causing me to grow an abnormally large and disproportionate size baby that would require induction, he weighed just 7 lbs 13 oz, he was 20 and 1/4 inches long, and his head was 13 cm. His Apgar scores were 9 and 10 and he had a true knot in his cord.
My husband and doula went into the kitchen and worked together to cook bacon and French toast and slice up strawberries, blueberries and raspberries for an amazing post birth meal. While they were cooking, Holly sat with me in bed and helped Phoenix and I establish breast feeding. I thought after nursing another child for 5 years that nursing this babe would be a piece of cake but it sure was nice to have some reminders and support for how to hold such a tiny baby.
A fresh 6 inches of snow had fallen during our birthing time. Some winter storms are ugly - strong winds and bitter cold - but not this one. It was quiet and still as giant snowflakes softly fell. It reminded me of a dream. The typical discharge is around 6 hours after birth, but due to the fast snowfall, the midwife wanted everyone to get home safely so approximately 4 hours after our little bundled arrived, we were discharged to home.
This birth was everything I wanted it to be and more. I have a herniated disc at L4/L5 in my low back. I am in pain every day. In fact, at my office baby shower, my friends literally put me in an office chair with wheels and pushed me to the conference room because it hurt too much to stand or walk. For months I questioned why I wanted or visualized this birth story. I thought about an elective cesarean that would at least come with pain meds to recover which would help my back or an epidural would numb my back and provide relief during my birthing time from the back pain and pressure I feel all day every day. These were options I seriously considered but I could not shake that I wanted to Birth this baby my way, in the water, on my own. I doubted myself and did not think I was strong enough. How does someone considering an elective c-section or at the very least an epidural, end up birthing out of hospital where neither are even remotely an option? The single biggest reason I wanted an out of hospital birth was because my pre-pregnancy BMI would have prevented me from having a hospital water birth by a mere 3 pounds. I am so grateful that Roots looked past a number and let me birth the way I wanted. I cannot imagine birthing without the water and somehow I have instinctively known that for months. I knew the water would be crucial for me. Every time I’ve had period cramps, every time my back is acting up at it’s worst, I seek out the tub.
I assembled the best birth team. Before my birthing time, I pictured myself wanting lots of touch and physical support from those around me but for the most part, Phoenix and I did this alone, on our own. During my birthing time, inside the four walls of that tub, Phoenix and I were safe, protected, even from those tasked to care for us. They sat outside and watched as we, inside the tub, instinctively knew how to birth with one another. That tub was my bubble, my safe haven. I did it. I did this. I didn’t need a hospital. I didn’t need an induction. I didn’t need an epidural for “pain,” or pitocin to make “labor” progress. We didn’t need an IV for medication or fluids because I was able to eat and drink as I wanted. We were able to move freely, chose our own positions, and birth the way we chose. We didn’t need someone to tell me when to push or for how long. Inside that tub, I closed my eyes and listened to my body. With grace and vulnerability, with strength and confidence, I brought my baby into this world. I did it while my husband and a room full of woman held space for me to do it. The empowerment I feel that my broken body did this amazing feat on my own is a high I will ride for a long time. It is almost like a new strong body rose from the ashes of where my broken body once stood. Welcome to the world my son, my darling Phoenix Wagner.
If you are in the Twin Cities and looking to build a birth team, I cannot recommend the following enough:
Holly Fix, home birth and Roots midwife
Roots Community Birth Center
Julie Colby, acupuncture / doula
Adrienne Caldwell, body worker
Raven Dibble, photography
Britt Duncan, student midwife / doula
Cheyenne Johnson, doula
Anne Ferguson, Hypnobabies instructor / hypno-doula