Krista's Birth Story

"About 40 minutes after my water broke, my sweet rainbow baby, June, was born. Jessie placed her on my back, and I felt immense relief and bliss with that warm, wet, little body on me."

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Born Photography and Doula Services

Choosing The Midwife Center

My first birth took place in December 2020 during the heat of the pandemic. Unexpectedly, my blood pressure started rising at 36 weeks and I was medically induced at 37 +4 days due to gestational hypertension.  Though I had a fast, smooth induction, with my favorite midwife, I walked away from that experience knowing that I would do things differently next time.

Over the next two years, I became absolutely obsessed with all things birth and learned as much as I could about physiologic birth. I knew that I wanted to stay out of the hospital and commit to a natural labor and delivery at The Midwife Center. I wanted to build a great birth team for the greatest chance of success, so I hired an incredible doula/birth photographer team to support me in labor.


My pregnancy was challenging at times, but overall was “uneventful.” Towards the end of pregnancy, I started having more and more intense cramping that led to a few false alarms.  By 38 weeks I was "certain" this baby was coming, but I was wrong!  My baby was happy in there and I had to let go of my expectations of how labor would start. I surrendered to the process and the unknown and continued to wait patiently for spontaneous labor to start.

Starting Labor

At 39 weeks and 4 days, I woke up in the middle of the night with some cramping, as I had for weeks. I was able to get some sleep in between them, but by 4 am I was definitely not able to sleep in between them anymore. I drank a lot of water and hopped into the shower to see if the contractions would go away. I was told that if the contractions don’t stop or slow down, this was most likely the real deal. I messaged my doulas around 5 am to fill them in, then after not being able to rest, I decided it was time to call the midwife at 7 am. Jessie, the midwife on call, and I decided it would be smart to come in and be evaluated since my first labor was fast. 

I woke up my husband and we gathered our things and headed downtown to the birth center.  On the drive, my contractions became more regular, about every 4-5 minutes, but still were very manageable making for a smooth drive...thank goodness!  We arrived at TMC just after 8 am and met with Jessie and Shannon W, the nurse on call. I got checked in and learned that I was 4-5mm, almost fully effaced with a bulging bag of waters. I was glad to know that the contractions weren’t all for nothing and that my cervix was actually changing! Jessie and I discussed a plan and she advised me to call my doula to get her there because this baby was coming that day!

I texted my doula to join us and in the meantime, my husband and I set up the Mountain Room with twinkle lights and candles to set the mood. I’d pause during a contraction, but then be able to go back into normal conversation with a smile. Just after 9 am my doula Jess arrived.  We caught up and chatted as Jessie used the doppler to check the baby’s fetal heart tones.  At that moment, to my SHOCK, my water popped! I felt the gush of amniotic fluid rush down my legs, but no one else could see because I had black, loose pants on. I hid my face in disbelief that my water actually broke on its own; I was happy, but also a little anxious because I knew things would get a lot harder, SOON.

And boy was I right! Labor went from super doable to very, very intense, very fast.  I had to turn inward and work through each contraction. Shortly after, we decided it was time to fill the birth tub because the plan was to birth in the water. I swayed at the end of the bed and worked through one contraction at a time. Jessie asked if I was ready to get into the tub and I said no, thinking the warm water might slow down my contractions. In my mind, I thought I still had a long way to go. What she and Shannon knew was that I was in transition and that this baby was coming shortly!  After one or two more contractions I said, “Okay, yes it’s time to get in the water!”

Meeting June Harper

As soon as I got into the water the contractions became unbearable, I was not expecting them to be one on top of the other that quickly.  It was hard to wrap my brain around how fast things were progressing. Jessie and Shannon sat by the tub and observed my actions as I labored. Jessie could tell the baby was coming so she asked me to reposition so she could catch the baby. I moved into a kneeling position holding onto my husband's arms, strongly. At that moment, I experienced the fetal ejection reflex as my body began to bare down on its own. My team encouraged me! They gave me the confidence I needed to push the baby downward. As she was crowning I asked, “is she out!?” because she certainly felt like she was. The “ring of fire,” felt like way more than a ring, everything hurt! I was in intense pain but knew it was pain with a purpose. With a few pushes her head was out, there was a moment of pause then the rest of her body slid out! About 40 minutes after my water broke, my sweet rainbow baby, June, was born. Jessie placed her on my back, and I felt immense relief and bliss with that warm, wet, little body on me.

Shortly after June was born, she was passed under my legs to my husband, and then she was handed to me. I waited for that exact moment for so long. We walked over to the bed and I got to admire my sweet baby on my chest.

I cannot thank the team at The Midwife Center enough. Though my birth was intense, fast, and furious, it was everything I worked so hard for. I felt safe, confident, and empowered throughout the entire experience. I am so blessed to have the ultimate prize, but it also feels bittersweet to close this chapter. I am eternally grateful. THANK YOU!

June is placed on Krista's back in the birthing tub. Krista is leaning on the side of the tub and clutching her husband.A closer image of June on her mother's back, held their by Krista's birth team.June rests on Krista's chest as Krista rests in the bed. Krista's relieved face is partially visible, and her husband is sitting in the background.