Our birth story begins just a year ago. My husband and I were attending a wedding reception for a close friend, and two couples at our table were pregnant and both planning a homebirth. The initial thought in my head was- wow, that is crazy, I listened to their discussions and did not think much else about it. On the way home my husband mentioned the discussion and how we should consider that as an option with our next pregnancy. I told him I didn’t think that was a good idea, but that I would pray about it that night. Well, the next morning I woke up and couldn’t stop thinking about the homebirth option. I also couldn’t stop thinking about what an unpleasant experience and stress we had delivering our first daughter in a hospital, just 2 years before. I began to feel very calm and peaceful about pursuing a homebirth and that we should seriously consider it.
Well the search began, even though we were not yet pregnant, I wanted to be pro-active and begin the search for a midwife. I searched the Internet for hours and talked to several midwives via phone and email. I was not satisfied with the location or experience of most, and then I found Alice Brayer and Miranda Brayer Klinner of Houston Birth Services. Their office was only 10 minutes from my home. I emailed for information and pricing, which I received all right away. I then scheduled an interview with Alice and I immediately was impressed with her. She exuded pride and confidence in her work and was incredibly passionate about healthy living, something that was very important in my life as well. Her experience and great track record gave me the confidence I needed to choose our midwife!
It wasn’t long after making our decision to use Alice that we discovered our second child was on the way. Regular visits were not like what I had experienced in my first pregnancy with a doctor. Instead of waiting in a lobby for an hour, then sitting in a cold examining room in a gown for what seemed like another hour, while waiting for my 3 minute visit from the doctor, I was welcomed into a lovely “home-like” environment, where I was warmly greeted by Alice. I came to love the new “norm” and my midwife Alice. Of course occasionally bumping into the Houston Birth services sales team, aka her clients, was nice as well. I was never rushed through an appointment and never left with any lingering questions, just more information than when I had entered the building. Alice and Miranda always answered each of my questions with great detail and true compassion, helping me to remain confident along the way. Each visit they also stressed the importance of a healthy diet and the supplements to be taken on a daily basis. This was very beneficial and made a huge difference in my overall health and well-being for this pregnancy.
After my first ultrasound we discovered I had a low-lying placenta. This was a concern for all of us, but the placenta did indeed continue to rise to a safe location. Once again, Alice and Miranda took great care in making sure I was informed and had the appropriate ultrasounds to ensure everything was safe for our home delivery.
As the time drew near, my body was “working” just as I had been told it would if I adhered to the diet and supplement regiment. At 36 weeks I was already dilated 2 cm, then 4 cm by 38 weeks. A few times I thought I might be in labor and I called Alice- she gave me tips on how to know if I was really in labor. She always checked back with me within 30 minutes to make sure I was all right.
Well at last the day arrived! I labored mildly with contractions 10 minutes apart from 2-5am. Once the contractions began getting stronger I woke my husband for him to coach me through and help me to relax. However, the contractions began getting further apart ranging from 10 to 12, even 15 minutes apart. I assumed I was not in labor so I sadly got up and made my way to the restroom. Once I stood up the contractions almost immediately became 4 minutes apart. I washed my face and started timing the contractions yet again. They kept coming and were getting much stronger. By now it was 6am and we knew it was the real deal. We continued to time the contractions and made the call to Alice around 6:30. I remember leaning over the bed and swaying my hips back and forth, trying to relax and breath. My husband was amazing and talked me thru the contractions, which were now coming 2 minutes apart, very hard and heavy. I never imagined I would be having the baby in the next hour. Originally we planned on doing a water-birth, but again we had no idea I was so far along. There was no time to fill the tub. Alice arrived half an hour later and there was no question, I was definitely in labor and things were progressing very quickly. She brought in her supplies and immediately began caring for me. It was only a few minutes later when I felt my sweet Evangeline drop low into my pelvis and I knew the time had come. Alice helped me onto the bed and I got situated and began to push. Just before my water broke Alice drew everyone’s attention to my bulging bag of water – the comic relief we all needed- she said that it looked like a “snow-globe” as the vernix was floating around inside. My water broke at 7:56am and I continued pushing. Alice and my husband wanted me to stand up and change to a squat position, knowing that would make the baby deliver more quickly, but the pain was too great and I could not move. Alice constantly helped me during and between contractions with her kind and soft encouraging words. She never seemed to grow irritated or weary of telling me over and over to keep air out of my cheeks. My husband so sweetly kept telling me to push with all my might and it would be over soon. I held on to those words and pushed her out at 8:12am! She had her precious little fist next to her head, which made her much more difficult to push out, but at last she was here and I could hold her in my arms. I remember crying and holding her- what a wonderful, precious moment of relief, pride and great joy! I immediately got her to nurse and she latched on like a pro! I was so thrilled and relieved, and to think I was still in the comfort of my own home. After delivering the placenta, I continued to bleed more than usual. Funny thing is, I was still never afraid or worried, as I knew Alice would take care of me to her greatest ability. Soon the bleeding subsided and I was able to get up and enjoy a nice hot bath with my sweet, brand new Evangeline. I held her little head as she floated in the water, she seemed very comfortable and happy- never crying, just making her precious sounds. Alice helped me bathe her tiny little body and then I relaxed in the tub a few more minutes while some of my family members dressed the baby. It was the greatest feeling in the world knowing my baby was here, and we were both healthy and doing just fine! I was able to walk and use the restroom easily as I experienced no trauma to cause any additional discomfort, besides the fact that I had just delivered a baby with no drugs or pain medication whatsoever!
The next few hours, Alice spent time with Evie and I, making sure we were well and comfortable. She weighed and measured Evie, listened to her heart and lungs, and performed a few other tests to be sure everything was fine. She went over some items with me and made some notes for my aftercare. Alice did not leave us until she knew we felt comfortable and had no more questions or concerns.
The rest of the day was just wonderful and relaxing. After a few hours of an alert and very hungry baby, we all laid down and took a nap together as a family-never interrupted by nurses or doctors coming in to check blood pressure or temperature, no loud beeping alarms, but a peaceful afternoon, just my husband, 2 daughters and I. A few hours later we received a call from Miranda to check on us and answer any new questions that might have come up. Alice came by the house the next day to check on both of us again and has continued to care for both of us, as she will for the next few weeks.
What a blessing and miracle this entire experience has been. We are so thankful to God and to our wonderful midwives! Alice and Miranda have both been a constant source of encouragement and a major source of knowledge throughout this time. We feel we have found great friends for life!