Ché's Birth Story
Growing up in Shadyside*, I'd always see the mini mansion where only the elite were privy to having their babies. Well, at least that’s what my 7-year-old self believed.
* The Midwife Center had a previous location on Baum Blvd.
I knew of the name, and that the women who went there that didn't want to birth their baby in a hospital setting, but I never fully knew much about it. The main thing I did know was, it was cool!
Fast-forward to 20+ years later and here I am having my baby in the exact "elite" cool place called The Midwife Center. Ok... maybe not the exact same walls, but the exact same concept and place that lets women birth their babies in a non-medical setting and in a way they'd like.
This was my second baby, and originally I was set to do it all over again the same way I had my son... in a hospital. Not my preference, but as far as I knew that was my only option, so I thought. That was until I was on a call with an amazing nurse from UPMC who was giving me some information on doulas. In addition to this information, she mentioned The Midwife Center. I said "I LOVE that place and I wish they'd accept my insurance.” She said, "They most definitely do!”
I could've cried for more reasons than one. One: I could've had my first child there, and two: OMG, I will get the chance to have my baby at the mini mansion.
Starting care at The Midwife Center
So the journey began... from the very moment I stepped foot into The Midwife Center it felt right and like home. I couldn't believe I was finally here and wondered where a place with staff as awesome as they are had been my whole adult life!?! They met all of my wants and needs, discussed my previous birth, which was great considering it was in a hospital and I was forced to get induced, and my current pregnancy.
My first appointment started off with meeting with the Behavioral Health & Wellness Specialist, Jul (who’s so awesome). How great is it to have everything you may need all in one place and how nice is it to have a place that does a mental evaluation/meeting with you. Simply because we know life before during and after baby can be trying, or just life overall at times can be so it’s nice to have someone to help/speak with you. This was actually very beneficial to me being that I was having a hard time dealing with guilt for having another baby and taking time from him, uncertain if I had cheated him of time being that he was still pretty young.
My other issue was losing my father, who had passed some months back and it was hard dealing with his death. My other issue was that I felt guilty for weaning my son from nursing, and that’s when Jul mentioned the Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle to me. What a great first impression and such a great concept, I thought that myself about TMC. I had the opportunity to meet with almost every midwife. Honestly every one that I had met was so warm welcoming and great, but my two loves are Aya and Jatolloa.
Coming to monthly appointments was such a breath of fresh air, especially compared to a doctor’s office. To be in control of your pregnancy, no more having to get weighed at the beginning of every appointment, having to give urine specimens, and at the end, weekly checkups where they poke you. Not here – it was so much different and so much better. It was all so organic, again I was in control of my pregnancy and pregnancy and childbirth was treated here as it should be... a natural non-medical thing.
On May 10, 2018 just a few minutes before 12:30am, I went into labor. This day was one of the most important, beautiful, triumphant and memorable days of my life not just for the obvious but because of the way TMC handled the birth of my daughter.
It all started around 7:45am when I arrived at TMC after a night of laboring. I was there and ready to go and literally right behind me, just as ready, was Aya the midwife. I got there at a good time based on the timing of my contractions. I was welcomed by Rebecca, the nurse, to the Mountain Room (my first choice) and shortly after Aya walked in. I couldn't have been happier to have her be the midwife that would help me bring my baby girl into the world.
My vitals were taken and the baby's heartbeat was listened to, and right after they made me a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and an English muffin. Both Aya and Rebecca checked the baby's heartbeat again because they noticed it was a bit high. I was given some apple juice and had to give a urine sample to make sure I wasn't dehydrated. I wasn't and the heartbeat was still high! I mentioned to Rebecca that it was always in the higher range the entire time.
They continued to check the heartbeat throughout my contractions and her heartbeat continued to dip then go back up. They couldn't tell if it was just her being feisty or if something more was going on. At this point it was close to 11:00am and Aya had to run to the hospital to check on another client, so I was now in the care of another midwife, Emily and Rebecca until Aya returned. Emily said, "Being that this keeps happening and you are getting close, just to be safe I think we need to have you go to UPMC Mercy to do a stress test on the baby to make sure she's ok in there.”
I was so disappointed and sad because I had come so close for it to end with me having my baby girl in the hospital, however at this point I just wanted my baby to be safe, healthy, and to do what was best for her.
Arriving at UPMC Mercy
We arrived at Mercy around 11:15am and the hospital staff and Aya were already expecting me. They took me in right away and hooked me up to the machine for a half hour. After the test, Aya said, "Ok, so these are your options. Being that you're already 7.5 centimeters dilated, to be safe we can just let you stay here and have the baby, or we can try having you go back to The Midwife Center to deliver there.”
I think I cut her off after hearing that we could go back. I said so loud: "LETS GO!!! Aya said, “If we're going to do this then we have to move, and all move fast!” She grabbed a wheelchair and gathered a bunch of liner pads, telling my significant other to line those in his car because my water might break on the way there. He jokingly yelled out, “OH NOOO not in my car!” Aya dropped me off at his car, he lined the seats, and we were off.
Back to The Midwife Center
We safely made it back to The Midwife Center with no baby being born in the car or waters broken. Rebecca was waiting in the parking lot to welcome us back inside. I was so happy to see her. She said, “I'm so happy you're back - let’s go!”
I went inside, was checked, and Aya gave me some more options because I was really close: "You can either do one of two things. Break your water and have this baby, or get in the tub for a little to relieve the pain some, but not too long because I don't want anything to go wrong with the babies heartbeat after all of that."
I said, "Well I want to say break my water to get it moving and over with, but it's starting to hurt more, so I guess water." She said, “Well water will help, but so too will breaking your waters and pushing.” I said, "Lets do it!” At 1:08pm we welcomed our beautiful baby girl Emersyn into the world!
I cannot tell you enough how amazing, appreciative, and pleased I am with The Midwife Center, Aya, Emily, and Rebecca. They were not only beyond wonderful to myself and my family but especially to my 2.5-year-old son who was allowed to be present in the room right after giving birth...not usually heard of.
It felt so good having Emersyn MY WAY, in a cozy homelike setting and what felt even better was us being able to go home four hours later and have a nurse come check on us the next day and two days after that.
I know my experience at TMC could’ve only happened at TMC, so for that I am forever grateful! Where else could one go and receive therapy, support groups, classes, and care all in the same place? I appreciate your staff, kindness, support and all that you do for women and our care. Thank you so much!