From a wild and free unconventional woman, to a woman who would choose a natural home birth… this Mama is full of surprises!
In my 20s, I made quite a few “I will never” statements. My favorite was “I will never have children.” I am not a conventionally maternal woman. I love fiercely and am loyal to a fault, but motherhood never appealed to me. It seemed so draining. I was convinced I was too selfish and did not have enough to give.
Then I met my husband and fell into “I wanna have your babies” love. Our love story, much like my maternal instinct, is unconventional. We hadn’t been dating long before I found out I was pregnant. While we were very much in love and knew we wanted a future together, I don’t think he was prepared for the (yet again) unconventional path I would choose and ask him to support.
Well, my newly pregnant 29-year-old recreational drug-using, smoking, heavy-drinking, fitness-freak self decided pretty quickly that pregnancy and childbirth were outside my scope. When I explained to Daniel my desire to use a doula but could not clearly explain to him what that was, I believe his response was, “Don’t we just go to the hospital, and you have the baby?” While this is certainly an over-simplification, he was not wrong. A generic birth plan developed by trusted professionals with regular OBGYN check-ups and hospital tours is a SOLID plan I completely respect. But this was not the plan for me.
I needed to enlist the help of an alternative medical professional. Enter Julie Guttmann, a Certified Professional Midwife at Circle of Life Midwifery. Julie’s 6-week course gave us the tools we needed for empowerment throughout my pregnancy and childbirth, such as community with other couples and the wisdom of experience. Julie’s expertise grounded me through the weird, nine-month out of body experience that was my first pregnancy. It also brought Daniel and me that much closer.
On March 3, 2012, at 1:06 am, after 23ish hours of labor and a good deal of cussing, Edna had an unmedicated, natural birth. “We did it. We did such a good job” are the words I said to her over and over again, the same sentiment I shared with Daniel and Julie. We were such a good team!
Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2015, when my “irrational emotional outbreaks” were explained by another positive pregnancy test. Our love knows no bounds, IUD be damned! After my doctor confirmed the viable embryo floating around inside me, we realized it was time to call Julie and get the team back together.
Julie’s first words to me were, “Awesome, so home birth this time?” We had discussed a home birth with Edna, but I was too apprehensive. As soon as Julie said it, the wheels started turning. Could I REALLY do it?
Our schedule with Julie was very similar to appointments with an OBGYN, but the content was much different. She never performed a pelvic exam, weighed me, or performed an ultrasound. Since I wasn’t experiencing any signs of distress that would have required adding an OB to the team, it became quite comforting to be left alone. No poking, prodding, constant discussions of weight gain or loss. She measured me and kept a close eye on the baby’s positioning. We spent a good deal of our appointments discussing my mental and physical condition. Edna played while I vented about the upcoming election or stresses at work and home.
I remember asking her why she never weighed me. She kindly looked into my eyes and said, “I can see you. If it looked like you were putting on or had lost too much weight, we would discuss it. You look fine to me.” This was such a game-changer. I, like MANY women, have an unhealthy relationship with the scale. Removing this literal weight released the heavier emotional weight, allowing me to be fully dialed in. I was free to be connected with the baby growing inside of me, and my family around me.
August 31, 2016, at 10:30 am, my water broke while I was dismantling and cleaning our vacuum cleaner … a nesting cliche at its finest. Daniel brought home food. I got to eat! This was a welcomed deviation from a hospital birth, preparing my body for what it was about to do. He then set up a birthing tub I barely used. What a guy! My labor progressed much quicker this time around. I transitioned while walking outside, crying and sounding like a whale moaning in front of our neighbor. Pretty sure I scared the crap out of him. By 5 pm, I was lying on my side on the dining room floor, two midwives, a doula, and Daniel surrounding me.
No one ever told me to push. I said, “I want to push.” They said, “ok.” I said, “I need to take a break.” They said, “ok.” At 5:45 pm, Daniel Wayne Brown III, now known as Goose, was placed on my chest. The picture you see here was taken literally seconds after he was born. The team had done it again, and it was so beautiful.
For the next few days, I camped out on the living room fold out couch, naked, snuggling my perfect baby boy. We both slept so soundly. Things were calm. Again, no poking, no prodding. Just us. Our finally complete family of 4.
Before choosing the unmedicated and home birth path for myself, I had many preconceived notions about people who do it. I do not fit any of those notions. I want to share my story because it is a story about CHOICE. If you want this for yourself or your family, please do not let anyone fear or shame you away from it. It is not possible for everyone, but it IS possible for many women. And as for this non-maternal control freak, I have zero regrets.