Category Archives: Birth Stories

Welcome to the World, Sebastián!

 This lovely birth story is from Kendra and Daniel, who welcomed their baby boy last month at MBC and first shared their story on their blog. Congratulations!

Daniel: On Thursday, January 26th, we decided to take Friday off work to hopefully meet our child or, at the very least, spend a pleasant day together. It turned out to be the latter with brunch, naps (2 for Kendra!), walking the Mall of America (4 laps) and watching some TV at home. Kendra at one point turned to me in frustration and asked, “Am I going to be pregnant forever?” I then reminded her that if this child is going to be anything like the two of us, he might struggle with being an overachiever so he was probably mopping or growing an extra eyelash or something. We shared a laugh. At the end of the night, we did some “budgeting” and went to sleep (you can ask Uncle Dan Toews if that sentence is confusing).

Kendra: I woke up at 12:30am with the thought “Oh. That’s a contraction.” I hung in there on my own until about 2:00am, when I woke up Daniel as I realized this was not a false alarm and I wasn’t going back to sleep, so time for him to wake up too! We then labored at home together for a number of hours. We maintained contact with the midwife at the Minnesota Birth Center, who I seem to recall saying things like “things seem to be going very well” and “call us back in a couple hours.” I remember thinking that they seemed to be on an awfully relaxed timeline for the intensity of what I was experiencing. Around 7:45am, my mom came over and helped relieve Daniel a bit with coaching me (and applying pressure to my back). We got the go ahead to meet the midwife at the Birth Center around 8:45 and showed up there at 9:20. The Birth Center is a 5 minute drive from our place, but if you’ve been with someone in labor, you know that I wasn’t going anywhere too fast.

After we arrived, the midwife checked my progress and asked if I wanted to know what she’d found. I was nervous, so I asked her to tell Daniel, not me. Her response was along the lines of “I think you’re going to want to know…you’re ready to push.” At the end of a pregnancy that seemed to go on and on in waiting, it was nice to find out the end was near.

And indeed it was! At 11:16am, with Daniel supporting me and surrounded by my mom, our birth doula, and the Birth Center medical staff, our baby entered the world. We quickly identified he was a boy, and I had the joy of announcing his name, Sebastián. He was 7 lbs, 6 oz and 20.5″ long, and perfect!

Some tips from Kendra:

  • Good playlists are important. I’m not usually a music person, but hearing a new song come on would help me keep moving, even kind of dancing/shifting my hips through intense contractions.
  • Good support is super important. Daniel was incredible at calmly, but firmly reminding me to breathe, to stay open and ride through the wave of each contraction. He, my mom, and our birth doula were all fantastic physical supports. Their counter pressure on my lower back kept me from just collapsing and calling it quits (I know, you can’t really quit labor, but I would have tried). But it was also a team effort. At one point, I said/yelled to Daniel “Tell me I’m not alone” and he was able to then tell me the encouragement I needed. He wasn’t just magically reading my mind, but was definitely a fast learner to what I needed to navigate this.

Final thoughts from Daniel:

  • The Minnesota Birth Center, a nurse-midwife clinic, was the right choice for us. We had access to hospital care if complications were to have appeared but, otherwise, the birth center facilitated us laboring naturally and in a comfortable, almost cozy environment. Then, we went home the same day and were able to rest together with our newly expanded family.
  • Kendra is a bad-ass woman.
  • In the end, we know God is in control. We are so grateful for the smooth pregnancy, labor and delivery we experienced, knowing that it is not guaranteed. And whatever the future holds, we know He is faithful and will get us through it all.

~ Kendra and Daniel P.


We love birth stories! If you would like to share your story on the blog, please email karen@theminnesotabirthcenter.com.

The Birth of Elouise

The story of our daughter Elouise’s birth journey is a long one! But one we are proud of because it is uniquely ours.
Since my 20 week ultrasound they had speculated on our due date. The original due date was September 14th, but she had been measuring small and they weren’t sure if it was because they had the due date wrong, or if there was something else to consider. After additional testing, they decided to give us “wiggle room” with our due date and they would just continue to monitor and let us go until October 1. 

Then, on our due date of September 14th (our 40 week appointment), the midwife we saw decided that it was very important we “officially” change our due date. SO! We had our due date changed to September 22nd and then I was to have a non-stress test and a growth ultrasound to make sure baby was still doing fine. 

Everything checked out just fine and I was feeling great! I was still teaching, sleeping great, and having no discomfort. I was so grateful! 

On the morning of Thursday, September 22nd (our new due date) at 5:00 am I got up to use the bathroom and discovered that I had lost my mucus plug and had bloody show! I quick Googled what that meant again and was excited to learn that that meant that labor was probably imminent. I told my husband Nate what happened, and he was also excited. But, we knew it could really mean anything and we should just go about our day. At 5:30 am, contractions started and were very mild but were consistently five minutes apart. I decided I should stay home from school but Nate went to work. 

Contractions stayed at five minutes and grew in intensity but were still pretty mild. Our doula, Emma, came over and was there all night. They continued to be five minutes apart through the night. I tried to rest but was unable to sit and sleep through the contractions.

Friday morning, our doula had us walking around our neighborhood and contractions continued to intensify until they were finally at three minutes apart consistently. We were excited to go into the birth center to be checked to see how we were progressing. We found out I was only at 1 cm and was given Benadryl and a prescription for Vistiril for therapeutic sleep. We were discouraged and tired! But, we went home to continue to labor there. I was able to take a 2 hour nap that afternoon with the help of Benadryl. When I woke up, contractions had slowed and were no longer consistent. Again, we were so discouraged! We went walking to see if labor would pick back up and it did! It picked back up to three minutes and were much more intense this time. We went back to the birth center around 10:30 pm to be checked again. This time I was only 3 cm! Her head was sitting right on my cervix and everything was nice and ripe…so, things would move fast once we progressed. 

Nate dropped me off at home and then ran around town to try and find a 24 hour pharmacy so I could take the Vistiril (Pro tip-if your midwife gives you a prescription at 11:00 in the morning, fill it then!) I was able to sleep the whole night! But again, my contractions had slowed and were all over the place! We called our doula and she advised us to do whatever we could to take our minds off labor. We were SO discouraged but took her advice. We called our friends and they agreed to be our “take Jess’ mind off labor” friends. We met them for coffee, played games and went for more walks. Around 5:00pm, I finally felt that labor picked back up again. Our friends left and we kept walking to push labor along. We went back home and I continued to labor there. 

Around 8:30 am is when we thought I transitioned. I started to become a little “unhinged” and felt panicky. I was pacing around our house and made Nate call our doula to update her – we decided that if we continued on this path, we’d meet her at the birth center.

Around 10:00 am, I hit a breaking point. My contractions were right on top of each other and I was feeling anxious. At one point, I ran to the bathroom and yelled at Nate to tell him I thought he should call the midwife line because I thought it was time to go back to the birth center. Nate called the midwife, Kaitlin, and before he could even tell them everything, she was telling him to get me in the car and head to the birth center (because she could hear me in the background)! I kept telling Nate that I was scared they would send us back home again but he assured me that this time they wouldn’t do that without a baby (ha!).

We got to the birth center, they checked to see how far along I was. Kaitlin asked us if we wanted to know the numbers and we told her we only wanted to know if it was good news! Thankfully it was good news! I was dilated to 9 ½ cm and my bag of waters were bulging! Woo hoo! I was finally able to get in that big beautiful tub! It was all I had wanted the whole time! I very eagerly waddled into the tub and began pushing almost instantly! My water broke very quickly and I pushed and pushed. I’ll never forget Kaitlin telling me to reach down and feel my daughter’s head. As soon as I felt her head it all became incredibly real. I have never been more focused in all my life! I wanted to hold my baby girl! I continued to push for a little over an hour before she was finally born into my arms under the water! 

Elouise Jane was born at 12:10 in the morning after being at the birth center for about 2 hours!

All in all, we figured it to be about 35 hours of active labor with three trips to the birth center. It was so long and hard, but so very worth it!

I think that I had one of the best teams helping support me. My husband was a calm, steady partner. We kept joking that he won the “Penny Simkin (author of The Birth Partner book) Award” (we would highly recommend that all partners read this! Such a helpful resource!)! Our doula, Emma Odden, was encouraging and supportive.

I loved giving birth at the birth center. I truly don’t think I would have been successful at having a truly natural birth had we not been at the birth center. They were such a wonderful support to both Nate and I in helping give us the birth we desired. Because of our team cheering us on, we are able to look back on the birth of our daughter as a positive, and beautiful life experience.

 

~ Jess and Nate M.


We love birth stories! If you would like to share your story on the blog, please email karen@theminnesotabirthcenter.com.

The Well-Timed Birth of Felix

My pregnancy was long anticipated. We had struggled with infertility for six years before miraculously conceiving our son. I was eager and excited for his birth, but also had a feeling of disbelief that I was actually going to meet him and become a mom.

I woke up at 3:30 AM with back cramps that reminded me of severe diarrhea I had had in the past. I kept getting up and going to the bathroom thinking that at some point I’d be able to pass whatever it was that was disagreeing with me.

At some point, after a few failed attempts to get relief I thought, “Maybe I should time these pains that seem to come and go.” And sure enough there was some regularity to them. They’d come about every fifteen minutes. Shortly after that realization my husband rolled over in bed and looked at me. It was about five thirty at that point. I said, “I think I might be in labor.” I really didn’t believe I was actually in labor. I had felt Braxton Hicks contractions – the tightening and loosening of my belly – and these weren’t like that at all! These felt like diarrhea!

I thought, “I’ll text my doula and take a bath to see if these go away.” But as I walked to the tub I had to stop and bend over the bed and contort my legs during these pains. My husband jumped out of bed – there was no need to convince him at this point.

The bath wasn’t resolving my pains, and the doula thought she should come out just in case this was it. She made it to our house around 8:30 AM.  I was worried that I was wasting her time, because this couldn’t be labor. When she arrived at our house I was sitting on the toilet in my bathroom having what I now know was contractions – not diarrhea pains! She walked into the bathroom and it was kind of magical! I’m not one to be grossed out by body fluids but at that moment I wiped and there was my mucus plug, so I knew I was actually in labor! And I was excited! My doula confirmed that that was my mucus plug.

Our doula was a great support for our labor. She suggested we go outside and walk some, and I’m so glad we did. It was a beautiful fall morning and that walk was the last break I had. We went in circles around my house and as we walked my contractions would come and go, but they were definitely bearable.

The moment everything changed was after the walk. We went back to my bedroom where I decided I wanted to relax in my tub again, but I couldn’t get comfortable. Then all of a sudden I had the biggest contraction that I had felt up to that point. I was so thankful only the doula was in the bathroom with me at that point because she handled my breakdown magnificently. She wouldn’t let me give up and as I cried she didn’t lose her strength to support me.

Actually, it really was like the classes said. After that moment of feeling like “there is no way I can do this” I got a bunch of strength and handled the rest of my labor pains with courage and no fear.

My contractions kept coming on top of each other and I couldn’t even walk. I had to stay on the floor bent over something or someone and I was starting to feel nauseous. All I could think about was the contractions and trying to relax my body. We had taken HypnoBirthing and I knew that if I could relax there would be less pain, and my body could do its work more efficiently.

I was handed the phone while I was on the floor laboring with my head in my doula’s lap. It was the midwife and she wanted to talk to me. The problem was I couldn’t talk, or even catch a break to talk, as my contractions just kept coming! Eventually she just asked, “Do you think you should come in?” Well, I was a first-time mom. I had never done this before! It was supposed to take a long time, I was told, and since 3:30 AM it had only been maybe 7 hours and most of that wasn’t even that bad. And wasn’t I suppose to wait till it was 3-1-1? I thought “Surely, I will get a break again.” I looked up at my family that surrounded me in my bedroom: my mom, husband and doula. They all looked pretty bug-eyed and worried. “I guess I should come in,” I got out to the midwife.

The car ride to the birth center was extremely intense. Just getting to the car took an extreme amount of courage and strength. I was continuing to have contraction on top of contraction. I was so thankful that my doula stayed with me. She rode with me and helped me through that forty-five minute car ride. I knew it was going to be tough, as any movement or jarring would intensify my contractions, but I made it.

Again I had to muster strength and courage to walk into the birth center. I had tunnel vision and knew which room I was headed to. I went straight to the couch and bent over it onto the floor, continuing to have nonstop contractions. At that point I was moaning loudly. I never thought I would be so vocal during labor! I also believe I was starting to push, but again I had no idea, I had never been through this!

After about 30 seconds, the midwife walked in. I think everyone was a bit surprised at how intense and far along I was already. I was so thankful that my midwife encouraged me to move into the tub.  I had planned a water birth and would have been very disappointed if I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I think she knew that birth was close, but I didn’t. I still thought we had hours and hours ahead of us!

Once I was in the tub I finally figured out that I was pushing for real! My midwife was Natalie, and she kept making suggestions on positioning me to help my baby come out. It was during this that I had the realization I needed to take my contractions in different positions because I had really only done them bent over something. So I started to take my contractions in a more upright position, and sure enough I felt the baby drop into my birth canal. After that it wasn’t long and my little boy came into the world.

When the midwife told me his head was out, and then when he was born, I was in total shock. I had delivered a baby! I was a mom! It was real!  After all those years of longing, hoping, and dreaming of becoming a mom, I was a mom. It was so overwhelming and everyone was so kind and patient with me. I am so thankful that I was able to have the birth of my dreams.

Our son was born at 1:36 in the afternoon, and I had only been at the birth center fifty minutes before he was born! I am so glad for the team I had around me during my labor. They not only made sure I made it to the birth center before he was born, but also played a big part in making my labor go so smoothly. Their respect of me, awareness of my preferences and needs, and their expertise to care for all the details allowed me to focus on my labor and help my body let it do its work.

~ Ellen


We love birth stories! If you would like to share your story on the blog, please email karen@theminnesotabirthcenter.com.