Though my son was finally born just 3 days before his 40-week “due date,” I began contractions, dilation & effacing at 33 weeks. If I had continued under the care of an OB/GYN at that time (I fired them due to dishonoring & disrespectful attitudes), I would certainly have been under closely scrutinized and fearful monitoring, and would likely have been induced as soon as the docs thought it was “safe” to deliver. We might have been strong-armed into a C-section. Instead, I was under the calm & watchful care of Tammi McKinley and Liz Matthews. We stayed in touch through emails & phone calls between our prenatal visits for those seven weeks when Stephen just kept inching his way toward the birth canal. Tammi never demonstrated any sense of panic, though we took the early labor signs seriously, and got on some good herbs/tinctures to keep baby & me healthy while we waited for the natural process to happen just as God designed it. Tammi appeared well-educated on my kind of labor, and treated us with confidence.
Being in labor for 7 weeks forced me to let others serve me–my husband, our two bigger kids, my mother, friends/neighbors, and Tammi & Liz, while I stayed close to home . . . just in case! When Tammi had to leave town due to a family tragedy, I still felt I was in great hands as my care was temporarily given to another midwife (Lori). We were ready, no matter when Stephen decided he was entering the world.
Stephen came in the night on a Tuesday. On the Saturday before that I was sure it was “The Day.” Tammi & Liz came to the house, checked me out, and assured me we still had time to wait. I had no reason to feel sheepish about the “false call.” We all just appreciated & enjoyed that, for my body & my baby, THIS was part of our experience.
I love Tammi McKinley! She is such an intricate part of our story. In the end, my water broke while I was on the phone with her, and Stephen arrived before Tammi could–but we expected that, based on his behavior throughout the pregnancy. Moments after he was in my arms, Tammi & Liz were there, gently touching him while they weighed and measured, making room for the big kids to see everything, touch Stephen & be as intimately involved as they, their father & I wanted. As the hours went by of birthing the placenta, cutting the cord once it was fully drained, & celebrating with a glass of non-alcoholic bubbly, it felt like mere minutes. I was glowing for weeks with joy over the entire experience. My 4-year-old daughter cut Stephen’s cord; my 6-year-old son helped me to the bed & took photos of Stephen’s entry before Tammi arrived. Both children slept beside me and their new baby brother. I think it helped serve them all in exceptional bonding, that continues now, 5 months after the fact. They were fully a part of the experience, and know it!
Had we been in a hospital, during the H1N1 “scare,” my children would not even have been allowed to enter the room! Instead, my house was abuzz with joyous activity. The kids came & went from the room as they felt comfortable. They were as much a part of Stephen’s birth as his father & I.
Everything about our birth was beautiful. Thank you, Tammi! I’m sorry you didn’t get to catch him–but you honored our every need all along the process. I am so grateful I followed others’ recommendations to birth at home–and to birth with YOU!