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July 30, 2020

Intense, Powerful, and Serene: Natalie’s Lifecycle WomanCare Birth Story

I have always known that I wanted to give birth outside of a hospital. When I became pregnant with my first child, I started looking for birth centers. When I found LWC, I immediately knew that is where I wanted to give birth.

As is the experience for many, my due date came and went with no sign of labor. At 10 days overdue, I started experiencing pre-labor contractions. I had a contraction every 8-10 minutes, but they would not progress. This was very frustrating because I could not get any rest. At 11 days overdue, my waters started leaking, so after an appointment at the birth center, we all decided my last effort to get labor started would be to drink castor oil. I drank castor oil at around 10 p.m. and by midnight (12 days overdue) I was FINALLY in full-blown labor!

I labored at home for about 4 hours until my contractions were starting to get closer and we were advised to come to the birth center. We arrived around 4:30 a.m. and I was 5 cm dilated. I was asked if I wanted to go into the large jetted bathtub, which sounded perfect. My experience laboring in the bathtub was completely peaceful and serene. The midwife made sure the bath was the perfect temperature the entire time, but gave my husband, Mychal, and I space to just be together. Mychal put on soft music and the only light was from the salt lamp in the bathroom. He was so comforting and spent the next few hours sitting next to the bath and continually changing out the cold washcloth on my forehead.

Since I was so exhausted and sleep deprived at this point, this part of my labor really felt like a dream. The contractions were intense and powerful, but manageable with breathing. I stayed calm by focusing on the word om with each contraction.

After about two hours in the tub, I started to feel the urge to push, so it was time to get out. I was checked again and was 7 cm dilated. I labored for another 30 minutes or so and then started being unable to control my urge to push. I was 10 cm dilated, so it was time!

I pushed for 45 minutes and the entire time I felt so supported by my care team. Sarah, my midwife, made me feel confident and gently guided my pushing the entire time. At 7:26 a.m., our daughter Quinn arrived and it was the most beautiful moment.

When I think about my birth experience, now a little over a year later, I have the most wonderful memories. I am so thankful for the birth education classes, as these really set the stage for my husband and me to have a peaceful birth experience.

Going into labor, I felt confident that I could have a positive birth experience without fear. Even though it was intense, it’s hard for me to characterize labor as painful because my experience was so positive. The feeling of pure strength and accomplishment that I had following birth was life changing. I truly am excited to experience labor again one day in the future and that is largely because of the care and support I received at LWC.