Eliza's Birth Story

"I felt incredibly empowered, present, and supported throughout my entire labor."

I found out that I was pregnant with my second baby the morning after returning to Colorado from a visit home to Pittsburgh to visit my family. As I was already feeling like we wanted to move back home to be closer to family, finding out about that pregnancy sealed the deal. I was fortunate enough to have an incredible birth experience with my son, River (born October 2020) at Austin Area Birth Center so I knew that I wanted another birth center for this baby. Having heard amazing things about The Midwife Center, I felt that was where I’d give birth for my second baby before we even toured. My husband and I even watched the TMC tour on YouTube and were left feeling emotional and excited to see it in person!

All of our care, questions, visits, and requests throughout my pregnancy were met with great attentiveness, lots of detail, thoughtful answers and calming words. I felt confident and ready to give birth at TMC.

At my 38 week appointment, my mom came with me and I met Aya the Midwife. She has such a soothing presence about her that when I left I told my mom that that’s who I felt needed to deliver this baby! A week later, the night before I was 39 weeks, I began to feel labor signs at home. It was about 10:45 pm and I was uncharactierstically watching TV before bed. Normally I would be reading or already sleeping, but I was feeling particularly antsy and my husband was out in his home office in our converted shed doing a late night international training. I wasn’t sure if I was just feeling intense Braxton Hicks, so I waited until a few happened consistently before texting my mom that I was going to start timing them and telling my husband that he better come inside.

By around 11:30 pm, I had brought our bags downstairs, grabbed my birthing ball, yoga mat, and moved into our bedroom so I could “get in the zone.” Meanwhile, my husband called my doula who told us to update her in a few hours as I wasn’t sure I was in labor. Though my contractions were getting closer to a 4-1-1 pattern, they didn’t feel extremely intense and I was able to fully relax and converse between each one. At around 2:45 am, my husband called my doula because he realized my contractions were getting very close and we were told to call TMC to arrange going in. When I called, I couldn’t believe it - Aya was the midwife on call! I told my husband that I manifested having her as my midwife!

After my parents came over to be here with our son (they luckily live 4 minutes away), we headed into TMC to meet Aya at 3:30 am. As we were crossing the 31st bridge, I took a minute to take in the beautiful city skyline in the middle of the night and had the peaceful thought that I would have my baby, here in Pittsburgh, where I am from and now live but had been away for almost 8 years!

Once we got to TMC, I had requested the “Meadow” room, and it was cleaned and ready to go for us. I was feeling so good that I thought there was no way I could be in active labor. We were lucky enough to not only have Aya, but also a midwife in training (who had just completed her 40 required births to become a midwife - and this was her 41st), as well as my doula with us. The birthing team actually asked how far away we lived because they weren’t convinced I was in active labor, but my husband was 99% sure I was. He kept joking that I was a “labor champion,” but I was nervous I would barely be dilated once I got checked. I had a cervical check at about 3:45am, and was 5cm! Woohoo! I was in active labor.

Feeling like I needed to move around was key for me, and I was very grateful for all of the options and labor tools available in the birthing suite. I labored using the birth ball, walked around, and then ultimately wanted to try the birthing tub. I was a bit skeptical because in my first labor, I thought I would love the tub, and I hated it. Fortunately, this time was different, and the tub felt AMAZING! My husband had created an amazing labor playlist, lit some electronic candles, and we were able to really get in the zone in the tub.

I was able to be fully present during my labor, able to truly get relief between contractions, have entire conversations, joke, and hang out. Aya commented that it felt like we were at a fun slumber party - and that was the vibe I had envisioned for this labor! After laboring in the tub for about 2ish hours or so, I was ready to be checked again, and I was worried I was actually getting too comfortable. My body told me to move and get back onto dry land! I was checked at about 6:20 am, and was 8.5cm, but my water still hadn’t broken!

My birthing team then asked me what my thoughts were about them breaking my water. Even though I wanted no or very minimal interventions, I knew (and was reassured by my birthing team), that once my water was broken, my labor would progress VERY QUICKLY. That sounded good to me, so I did have my water manually broken, after asking for my doula to take my picture since it would be my last pregnant picture! Once my water was broken, things really intensified! I was ready to push!

I was able to move around, and wanted to try to push standing up. I used various tools to try to push upright, but couldn’t get the leverage I needed. Someone on my birth team then grabbed an inflatable support for me to allow me to push on all fours. After pushing for about 25-30 minutes, the baby was crowning and I briefly felt the ring of fire. Once the baby’s head came out, the shoulders did get briefly stuck. My birthing team flipped me onto my back, while I stayed a bit upright on my knees, and I felt the baby slide out! I tried to catch the baby, but then the baby was handed to me because the cord was a bit short.

In one of the most magical moments of my life, I was able to see my baby take their first breath, and see their skin turn from grayish to a beautiful pinky olive color. I was in awe of their beautiful head of hair and adorable face. After holding the baby for a minute, I picked them up and was able to see - WE HAD A BABY GIRL! What a blessing. My husband had been wanting a girl the whole time and she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. She was born at 6:51am on the morning of Friday, March 10th, 2023.

My placenta did not want to come out, so I was given Pitocin to assist in delivering the placenta. After about 20 minuntes, I was assisted in using the restroom to try to pee and push the placenta out and it worked. While that was going on, the entire bed was cleaned up, and breakfast was brought in! I was able to nurse the baby right away, maintain skin to skin and really soak in the entire Golden Hour. My husband and I spent the next few hours just enjoying the new baby, eating, chatting, and being in total awe and bliss. Cheryl, the nurse at TMC also came in to check on the baby, perform the fundal massage, and make sure we were doing well.

At about 2pm, we were ready to go home! We were given our discharge instructions, and we were walked out to begin our lives as a family of four. I felt incredibly empowered, present, and supported throughout my entire labor. I have nothing but extreme gratitude to the wonderful staff at TMC, and will be continuing my ongoing well-woman care there from here on out! We are truly blessed to have TMC here in the Pittsburgh area!