Sara's Birth Story
"So there I was, in the tub, in this full circle of love. My life’s circle of love, loss, life..."
Contant notice: Discussion of pregnancy loss.
The Story of Daisy Constance
It has taken me 3 years to finish writing the birth story of my sweet baby Daisy. Because of the sheer enormity of what her life means - the love and the loss intertwined and the extremely heavy emotions that come with telling her story - I have not sat down to put my thoughts and feelings into words until now.
Daisy’s story begins with a sweet little soul named Sage. I became pregnant with Sage in May 2016 and experienced a healthy, joyful and anticipation-filled pregnancy. On January 24, 2017, I learned that his heart was no longer beating. I gave birth to Sage William on the night of January 25th and my husband and I were completely overwhelmed with the heaviest sadness and devastation imaginable. When the placenta and umbilical cord emerged with a true, tight knot, we had an answer as to what happened to our baby boy. A visible, tangible answer that our brains were supposed to understand but not our hearts. Our baby was not ours to care for and though he is forever in our hearts and minds, we had to say “goodbye” to him physically. Truly an overwhelming pain that no parent could ever conceive a possible feeling to endure. Those 2 days in January...the worst of our lives, followed by the days, weeks and months of grief, emptiness, heartbreak. Having 2 boys to care for and be mentally present for - then, ages 7 and 4 - has been very challenging and the guilt and sadness for them to not have been able to care for and love on their little brother is so hard. Sage’s absence from our family is so palpable.... so real. I became pregnant with Daisy 13 weeks after Sage’s birth. Filled with simultaneous joy and gripping anxiety, I knew that this pregnancy was a leap of faith and just 100% pure love. While of course a new baby could never be a replacement for Sage, he will always be part of Daisy’s story. Now, at age 3, Daisy proudly and lovingly calls him “my brother Sage”.
Choosing The Midwife Center
We decided to hire a homebirth midwife for my pregnancy with Daisy, but after she abruptly ended our midwife/client relationship and inappropriately kept the money we paid her up front, I was left heartbroken again and unsure of what to do. A clear picture came to my mind of who I wanted to help me through this hugely difficult time - a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear mixed with hope, faith and love. Kara, a midwife at The Midwife Center, had been a very special person to me when I went there for the care of my first baby in 2010. With the most reassuring eyes and friendly, caring smile, I hoped that I could find comfort in knowing that I could be under the care of Kara and the TMC team. I was totally devastated to let go of my dream of a second homebirth but I knew that The Midwife Center was the perfect place for Daisy and I. Sure enough, when I went for my first visit and was reunited with Kara, I felt a sense of comfort for the first time in a while and had hopes that everything would be ok.
Though my pregnancy with Daisy was so soon after just having grown and nourished a healthy baby for 37 weeks, I had faith that my body wouldn’t have conceived another baby if it wasn’t ready. I took good care of myself mentally by meeting regularly with Jul, the amazing therapist at TMC, nutritionally and physically by attending daily morning classes at a workout studio (I did - and still do! - a mix of barre, yoga and cycle classes). I feel that there was such a part of me - a huge piece of my heart - missing and I still had to be the best mom to my boys and this new little soul growing in my body. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy 9 months. My fitness classes helped me immensely and waking up before the kids and starting my day off by taking care of myself became a vital routine that I still highly value today!
When January 24th 2018 came, the rough edges of our pain were softened by the birth of the most beautiful little lady named Daisy Constance. Her entrance into the world was an experience of overwhelming joy, gratitude, love and magic. Along with not being able to imagine that my baby would actually be born alive, I had a lot of fear about how the birth would unfold. Would I make it to The Midwife Center in time? Would my baby be born in the car in the Liberty Tunnel? The unknowns were just so unsettling. Kara suggested the idea of choosing a day in my last couple weeks to go in for a membrane sweep then hang out at TMC or go to Phipp’s or the museum, staying in the city and being near TMC. This option would possibly “jump start” labor if my body was ready...and if not, that would be ok too. I wasn’t sure if I liked that idea - as a doula and very natural-minded mama, I don’t like the idea of interfering with the process of birth, in a normal, uncomplicated situation. I gave it a lot of thought.
On the morning of Monday January 22, I went to my morning barre class as usual. Feeling so healthy and strong at 39 weeks, I loved being the pregnant mama in my workout classes and knew that movement was so good and beneficial for baby and me. On Tuesday morning, I woke up to a little bit of “bloody show”, which was a first for me in any of my 4 pregnancies. I decided not to go to the yoga sculpt class I signed up for and just took it easy at home. That evening, I remember being at my son’s tumbling class and feeling definite surges starting. I knew my body and baby were prepping for birth. The next morning, there was a little more bloody show and just a bit of an overall “labor-y” feeling. I cancelled for cycle class - there was no way I felt like sitting on that little spin bike seat. As I was making breakfast for the boys, I called my husband at work to discuss my options. Should I just stay around home and be really anxious about when this baby would decide to come out? Or consider the option of going to TMC for a membrane sweep and maybe a visit to the museum. The thought of having a little more control over the situation brought some comfort so we decided to call Kara and head to the city. I made sure the whole house was in perfect order, my bag and the “big brother bags” I made for the boys were packed, pillow, blanket, snacks, etc....I felt as ready as I could for the event of welcoming our new baby.
Upon arriving at TMC around 1:30 p.m., I felt totally welcome and at ease. Especially when I saw Kara’s smiling face. I chose The Mountain Room and I loved that the tub was in the middle of the room. My boys made themselves at home and we also had the front room (formerly “The Ocean Room” to use as a hangout area. It really did feel good to be there - I had so hoped to be giving birth in the comfort of our home...but the comfort of The Midwife Center was the next best thing. My best friend, Cami, showed up to keep the kids company and to be there for whatever Jake and I needed. Her presence was totally vital to me and I am SO grateful that she was there for all of us!
Kara conducted the membrane sweep and asked me if I’d like for her to break my water, which would hopefully move things along. I trusted in her expertise to know that she wouldn’t suggest this if my body wasn’t ready. I like that she said “do you want to have a baby today?” I said yes. I was ready. After the AROM and the gush of liquid I felt, I put on a little “mama diaper” and my pretty floral robe and prepared for the marathon of labor. I brushed my teeth and just hung out with everyone, going back and forth between the Ocean Room and Mountain Room. The boys were having a good time eating snacks, playing with LEGOs, and just being around for the excitement that comes with a new baby about to make its grand entrance. Of course I still couldn’t imagine that this baby would actually arrive in my arms alive and looking up at me - the flashbacks of Sage’s birth still took over my mind a lot. But I had to focus on positivity, hope and love and just take it one moment at a time.
My surges gradually strengthened and increased over the next couple hours. I used the birth ball, laying over it while on my knees...sitting on it and rocking, while my younger son nursed a bit...walking around. Jake rubbed my back, provided hip pressure when I asked, and was the perfect support when I needed him. When I began to feel “birthy” and knew things were ramping up in intensity, the nurse (I can’t remember her name but she was great) began filling the tub. The coolest part - jets and color-changing lights, which the boys loved! It felt so great when I sat in the tub, my pregnant body grateful to feel so light and comforted by the warm, soothing water. It felt good to rest my arms on the side of the tub, on my knees, as the surges washed over me and I let myself naturally make deep, moaning sounds that felt so right and primitive. My sweet little boy Wyatt, who was 5 at the time, stripped down to his undies and came into the water with me! He soon got out after some “birthy stuff” was floating around in the water...but I love that he came in with me! I was surrounded by complete support, encouragement and SO much love! Kara was there...Jake...my kids...Cami (I am SO beyond grateful for all of the amazing pictures she took, capturing the moments I will treasure forever!)...even Jul was there!
Meeting Daisy Constance
When my baby began to crown, I laid back and held onto the sides of the tub. Before I knew it - after a short time of working her out through some pushes - this new, little creature was in my arms (it was around 5:24 p.m.). They told me she was a girl- our sweet Daisy was actually here. I couldn’t believe she was alive, let alone a little girl! I immediately held her to my chest and just cried - tears of relief, disbelief, grief, joy, love....so, so many emotions all at once! The moment Daisy emerged was a hugely emotional moment for my husband too - I remember hearing him cry out. He was completely gutted watching the birth of Sage...and watching his daughter come out was just unbelievable. It’s so hard to write about this experience because it was all just- wow! So there I was, in the tub, in this full circle of love. My life’s circle of love, loss, life... also, the literal full circle of 364 days - it was January 24th and the year before on that date was when I learned that Sage wasn’t alive. So the next day - January 25th - I would spend Sage’s first birthday with baby Daisy in my arms. Surreal.
Jack, who was almost 8 at the time, performed the honor of cutting Daisy’s umbilical cord - another precious moment that Cami caught in a photograph. I put Daisy to my breast for her first time to nurse and just couldn’t even believe I could be so lucky to be blessed and honored to be a mom again. After a little bit of time, Kara helped me to the bed (and my placenta kind of fell out on the way) and my crew climbed in with me as Cami took pictures of us. We were already a family of 5 but you couldn’t tell that by looking. We were now a family of 6, with our sweet baby Sage forever present in the form of love. We all snuggled in the bed for a while then I put baby Daisy on Jake’s bare chest while I took a shower. The boys’ learned the value of skin-to-skin bonding and every time they held Daisy at home during her early weeks and months, they always removed their shirts. We were home by 11 pm that night. After everyone showered and settled in, Jake and the boys went to bed and I was left to soak in the magic of my newborn love.
There’s a deep, heavy, devastating, never-ending hole in my heart that could only be filled by sweet Sage William. But Daisy fits into that hole and she has magically made the jagged, dagger-like edges of the unimaginable pain a little softer. Our family has been through the deepest tragedy and the highest love. As I look at the whirlwind of the last 4 years, the prominent feeling that comes to me is gratitude. I hate what happened to Sage and how his absence has hurt us all so much... and I love that we were lucky enough to have Daisy enter our lives and give us the laughter and joy that we so needed. She continues to delight us all every single day. The magic that she is truly shines through her personality in the biggest way. What a special little lady!
In those early weeks and months after Daisy was born, it was deja-vu in a parallel universe, doing all the things I did in the previous winter/spring/summer with no baby. I had given birth to Sage but spent those days of 2017 with no baby on me, where he should be. I spent 2018 with my little girl in her sling and experiencing the joy of watching her dad and brothers fall in love with our sweet Daisy. I have so much love and gratitude for Kara, Jul, Ann, and The Midwife Center for the amazing experience of Daisy’s birth. <3