Edenway was truly a gift from the Lord to our whole family through the pregnancy and birth of our third child. I was already pleasantly surprised as we pulled up to Edenway’s quaint building. We were immediately greeted with smiles, eye contact and hugs from all the midwives. I felt as if I was an invited guest in the presence of family.
We were taken on a tour of the facility. I was shown the upstairs rooms and bathroom, beautifully decorated, warm and friendly. It was not much different from a home. I was shown an area containing books, toys, plenty of space and even snacks– for what? For my other children? I had to hold back the tears as I recalled the uncomfortable (even hostile to children) environment of an OB’s waiting room and office where I had spent many visits failing to keep my daughter entertained, quiet, and out of the sterile cabinets and drawers (did I have any questions?…how could I remember my questions when I had just wrestled with my 1 yr old for over an hour!). Then we were invited to sit down with the midwives for an interview. No, we weren’t barraged with questions concerning our family health history by a person we would never meet again; we were invited to interview them, the ones who would deliver our baby. Our conclusion? Of course we wanted to entrust our pregnancy and birth to people who believed that God is our maker, that children are a blessing from Him, that He has assigned my husband the role of headship over our family (even through the pregnancy and birth process), and that there is One in ultimate authority over this whole process…and it wasn’t them.
So what was each prenatal visit like? I never had to stress about childcare for my 2 and 4 year old. I was never anxious about how I would manage them during the visit. There was even a midwife available most of the time who actually played with them. We saw the same midwives each time, so we came to know them personally, and they knew each member of our family personally as well. The visit lasted as long as I needed it to. They were there for me. They wanted to make sure we understood the prenatal care plan. They wanted us to trust them and not just accept what they said and did because they were educated and we weren’t.
And I did trust them. Why would I trust them? They didn’t have years of medical school and practice, and they couldn’t perform an emergency c-section. Instead of years of medical school seeking to understand a little about a lot in the medical field, they had years of studying and practicing a lot about one thing: birthing naturally. Instead of trusting in their ability to perform emergency c-sections and reacting to what may come, they were pro-active and preventative. It was very comforting to know that the midwives ran even more lab tests than an OB…they even ran tests with blood work to determine hormone levels (tests my previous OB refused to conduct). Is the mother’s diet providing a thriving prenatal environment? I was thankful at the end of the process for all the accountability provided! Is the baby breech? We will start at week 25 seeking to understand all the dynamics involved in turning the baby and making sure the baby is in the right position (believe me, they will make sure you understand as well as they). Did you know that Dr. Kristen (the chiropractor) can do amazing things to make sure everything is in place for the baby to be in the right position…and it is not intrusive or uncomfortable…it’s, shall we say, natural?
The midwives were committed to allowing the birth process to happen naturally, yet they knew what had to be in place in order for the birth to be safe and healthy for me and baby. Because they were pro-active, doing what they could to make sure the baby was in position, I didn’t have to consider a c-section. So, what about all the procedures that are standard of care in an ob’s office and in a hospital delivery room? The midwives educated us on what they were, then gave us the freedom to refuse or choose what we wanted. We weren’t forced to consent to procedures. Above all, the greatest reason for me to trust them is that they are ultimately trusting in a sovereign God in control of the whole process, humbly leaning on Him through prayer.
So how did the birth go? In a word, wonderful! I loved the fact that I could go through the whole process of giving birth without having to leave the comfort of my own home. . . or I could choose at the last minute to give birth at the birthing center. The midwives catered to our desires and birth-plan. They took a supportive role when they were confident in our decisions and allowed my husband to lead. Out of my three births, this one was the least painful and invasive, and the most enjoyable. I was comfortable and relaxed through the whole experience. There were no rotating nurses coming in and interrupting labor or sleep for routine exams. No anxiety about whether the doctor would make it in time to catch the baby. No persons in the delivery room whom I did not know on a personal level. No machines and cumbersome cords…yet the same level of fetal monitoring. The same compassionate, familiar midwives were present through the whole labor and delivery process giving professional, personal care.
The postpartum visits were exactly like the ones I received from my OB. The difference: instead of making sure we knew how we were going to keep this from happening again, or too soon, the midwives let us know through their caring attitudes that they truly believed, like us, that children are a blessing from the Lord rather than an accident to be prevented.
We had everything prepared for a home birth. My wonderful in-laws were there to help. My friend and her two teenage daughters were ready at a moment’s notice to come and take care of the kids. After several nights of false labor, once again I was experiencing some mildly hard contractions. It was 5:25pm and we were contemplating whether or not we should attend our Bible study. The contractions became regular and more intense. By 6:15, we decided to stay home and alert Melody. Around 8pm my water broke and I decided to get into the bathtub where I found immediate relief. It was a sweet time between contractions, my children each came in and gave me a kiss, we prayed with the midwives and my husband reminded me of how well I was doing. The lights were turned off, candles lit, and my husband and I were alone in the bathroom through transition. After he did an excellent job coaching me through transition I knew it was almost time. My children were called into the bathroom and stood quietly in the corner to watch their sister be born. I was on my knees in the bathtub when I began pushing, her head came out within the first few pushes. Melody had me re-position, then the rest of her came out in the next push. Bryan caught Kira Faith at 11:25pm and put her in my arms. I rested in the bathtub with her in my arms for a while, then was helped to the bed where Bryan cut the cord. The midwives retreated into the kitchen for a snack and gave us some family time. My children and their grandparents came in and we all marveled at the miracle of new life that God had brought forth. I was so thankful to be at home.