Babies & Birth Stories

Read stories submitted by Snohomish Midwives’ clients

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"This birth healed and strengthened me as a mother and woman. I am so thankful, and look forward to birthing naturally at home again if we are blessed with a third baby."

I felt myself entering early labor at around 5pm when my contractions became stronger and closer together. I was just about to enter my 41 st week of pregnancy, and very excited to birth at home versus the hospital this time around, as I tried to lock myself in the hospital room bathroom during most of my first labor, which did not please my labor nurse. With my home birth I knew I could be alone, and turn inward without rotating nurses, bright lights, the sound of monitors and distant intercom pages, and best of all, without being constrained in anyway.

At around 6pm Midwife Melissa came to our home to examine me, and afterwards she stayed and talked with me a while. Her words strengthened and readied me, as we both prepared for what the night would hold. I straddled my birthing ball and gently swayed my hips in circles. I whispered to my baby encouraging her to move deeper. I envisioned her twisting down gently and peacefully.

Midwife Melissa left but promised to return later to aid my other midwife, Sarah and their birth assistant Pam. I felt so lucky to have both midwives attending my birth. It was a special experience, and even more unique because they both had birthed two other babies in our home with the previous owner. We all agreed there was good baby “juju” all around that night.

When the contractions left me speechless I began to use a calm Ujjayi breath, to invite my entire body to aid in birthing. I felt strong and ready to begin. We sent our toddler off with his grandparents so that I could have the quiet I needed to turn inward. I thought I would have a lot of time to stay here in early labor, to listen to my music, to cook nourishing foods and bathe and feel my husband’s strong hands massaging me. I even imagined a moonlit walk.

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"I truly love these women and feel like I gained a wonderful friendship with them."

When I became pregnant with my first child I knew I wanted to go natural but didn't know all of my options aside from that. 99% of the women I knew had done a traditional hospital birth and I figured that was just what I was suppose to do. My prenatal care was very standard. I had no relationship with my doctor and every appointment was in and out no more than 10 minutes long. I don't even think my doctor knew I wanted to go natural! And as I got farther along in my pregnancy I didn't really care whether we were on the same page or not because I knew it was a pretty good chance he wouldn't even be there. Well, I was right. My labor in the hospital went very smooth thanks to the wonderful nurses and the support of my husband. But when it came time to push there weren't any doctors available and I had to "hold" my baby in for an hour. One of the nurses actually pushed my baby back in 3 times. Thankfully my daughter was finally born beautiful and healthy but it was after this that I knew I didn't want to go the traditional route with my next pregnancy.

When I became pregnant with my second I began searching for midwives right away. I scheduled an initial visit with Melissa and knew right away she was a perfect fit. We covered more in that first meet and greet appointment than I had in all of my appointments with the doctor in my prior pregnancy. Soon after, I had an appointment with Sara and just felt even more blessed to have 2 amazing women to help me along the way. With every prenatal visit I felt so cared for and knew that they were taking every precaution to make sure baby and I were healthy. I learned so much about my body this pregnancy.

My husband and I had planned on having the baby at a birthing center but at 37 weeks realized that it would be so much better in the comfort of our own home! (I don't know why but we had been very scared of the whole idea prior to that.) Once the day finally came it was so wonderful to begin laboring at home and then stay at home! Labor and delivery went very smooth and I was relieved to actually have my midwife right there ready to catch my baby when the time came! Even my after care was meticulous and never rushed. Sara and her assistant made sure baby and I were comfortable and settled in before leaving. I will never forget how amazing that plate of food tasted that the birth assistant prepared for me after labor!! She went through my fridge and grabbed everything I could have wanted! All of my post care visits were just as thorough. And again, I didn't have to leave my house!! I truly love these women and feel like I gained a wonderful friendship with them. I look forward to my next pregnancy and labor experience because of that.

This is the birth story of Ian Artegus Willis
Born at home, June 29th 2014 at 1:11 AM

“When do you think it’ll be??” was starting to become the only thought that occupied my mind as my due date of July 1st drew closer and closer. It wasn’t a question my unborn baby was going to make me wait too long before answering.

My water broke June 28th at 5 pm as I stood in the kitchen over a plate of Rainer cherries and trail mix. It was just a trickle of fluid, nothing as dramatic as what you see in the movies. My heart skipped a beat, as I knew there was no mistaking this for anything else. This was it! I rushed to the bathroom to check things out, just to be sure, before I called out to Tegus.
“Oh my God. Oh my God!”
“I think my water just broke.”
“Are you serious?! Are you sure??”
I stood up from the toilet with a towel between my legs, lowered it, to show him the fast drip of fluid leaking out. “Oh my God babe, this is it!!”

I could hardly contain my excitement. I felt like I was in the Matrix or something, my heart pounding, voice shaky, hands trembling. After all the months, anticipating the moment of labor, I felt like... this can’t be it, so soon! I’m not ready! I raced around the house, not knowing what I was doing or looking for exactly, but knowing there were important things I was supposed to be doing! Finally, I found the paper that had Melissa’s pager number and instructions for when labor begins. I didn’t call right away. I procrastinated for 20 minutes, called my mom, changed my pad and underwear a few times, as the trickle kept coming. Calling the midwife meant that this was real, and actually happening. I had to calm myself and accept my situation before I could dial her pager number. Speaking with Melissa calmed me. I had a game plan now. She told me to eat if I was hungry, rest, or continue my evening as I normally would. I was to call her again if and when contractions began, when I noticed a pattern of them being ten minutes apart. She would call me in the morning if she hadn’t heard from me.

As there was no way I could sleep, and I had just eaten a ton of fruit, Tegus and I decided to drive up to a friends house 5 minutes away to wash his truck and visit while we killed time. We stopped at QFC on the way to pick up snacks. I stayed in the car and texted friends and family while Tegus ran in. By the time he returned I had had my first 2 contractions. They were very light and short, almost unnoticeable in strength. By the time we got to our friends house, it was after 6. Tegus washed his truck in the driveway as I watched from the front stoop and ate an apple. I kept having to run to the bathroom and pee. Well, I thought it was pee. Contractions kept coming. I tried to time them, by looking at my watch, but found that I couldn’t keep track of when they came and went, and came again. They seemed to come often, too often for how early into labor I was. Seven, eight minutes between contractions. I thought to myself I must be timing wrong, this can’t be right. I walked across the yard to get closer to where Tegus was, had another contraction and found myself leaning against the tree for support. That’s when it dawned on me that it was time to go. I felt the sudden need to be at home, where I could properly time my contractions with an App I had downloaded. Melissa said ten minutes apart or less... These definitely were closer than that.

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"You'll be most thankful you chose to work with such amazing, loving, ladies as The Snohomish Midwives."

I'm writing this because if I wasn't completely convinced that having a midwife and birthing our first child outside of a hospital would be the best option, I am now! From start to finish I had the most positive experience with the Snohomish Midwives. Family and Friends were quite skeptical about using this very natural approach to child birth. All I can say is despite their concerns I knew in my heart I didn't want a hospital birth so this seemed like the best option, however I wasn't completely convinced. I even questioned am I being selfish and putting our soon and coming little one in harms way? These were tough questions to answer until I just took the leap of faith and met with Melissa Denmark. Her concern for my whole well being as well as our Baby put me and my Husband right at ease.

When it was time to have our Baby I knew I had the most supportive team behind me. The Birth of our Daughter Penelope was so beautiful. Having spent time learning and practicing breathing with my husband I never once thought to myself "ok I'm ready for some drugs this is too much I can't handle it."(as a side note: I tried using a few different items as focus points for breathing, none of them were as captivating and strengthening as staring into my Husbands eyes.) During Labor our on call Midwife Sarah was caring, knowledgable and supportive. I felt in control of my environment and so pleased by the atmosphere our Baby was being Born into. I say to you women with nervousness about Natural Child Birth. You were born, made perfectly designed to Birth Children you won't regret a decision to do the hardest most rewarding work there is on this earth. And you'll be most thankful you chose to work with such amazing, loving, ladies as The Snohomish Midwives.

- Tanner and Meg
Marysville Wa

"We were in the best of hands and I can’t wait to have our next baby at home with the Snohomish Midwives."

I had always dreamed of a calm and quiet homebirth, so it was natural to look for a Midwife when my husband, Ryan, and I decided we were ready for a baby. I actually contacted Melissa before I was pregnant to see what I could be doing to prep my body for pregnancy and then actually get pregnant. She was so attentive even before I was her patient. At the time Sarah hadn’t come on yet and I was nervous if we would connect as well as Melissa and I had. Well, we did. She was just as warm, relatable, kind and knowledgeable as Melissa. I received amazing prenatal care. My initial exam was 3 hours and every appointment after was an hour. They have a holistic view of care, taking the time to ask about all parts of my life and health. I really felt that they had a genuine desire to get to know me and my husband and offer individualized care. I appreciated how they weren’t quick to fix, but listened and made sure I felt I had the right tools and support.

The birth of our daughter, Anique, mostly began with cramping throughout the night that I could no longer sleep through after 5 in the morning. Throughout the whole day I was reluctant to think things were really happening, so naturally I sent my husband off to work with a kiss and a smile. I got up, showered and started my day anticipating it to be long as this was my first baby. I paged my midwives around 9am, Melissa called me back and mostly listened, which was awesome. I’d be talking and then a contraction would come and I’d get quiet and just breathe. She knew not to disrupt me or ask questions, but to wait for me to start talking again. She encouraged me to keep it up and that I was doing great. Soon after I had a gush of fluid and called Melissa back. She said I should start calling my support people and arrange for the labor tub to be delivered. About an hour later my husband came home and that’s when the party started. The labor tub came, was being set up and my sister, Rachel, came with her daughter whose first birthday was that day! I had even had the privilege of being at her birth the year before. We quickly drained our hot water tank filling the birth tub, so Ryan was going back and forth from the neighbors with buckets of hot water. My little niece was walking around with food, patting my back, talking to me when I moaned and smiling when I looked up at her. The distractions were just what I wanted then. When the tub was full, Ryan finally sat down in front of me while I sat on the birth ball. I remember grabbing his arms and rocking my head from side to side. This was when I asked, “Are you guys having fun?” I was having so much fun and hoped they were enjoying it too, and they were. Before I knew it my contractions were 3-4 min apart and lasting 1 min. We called Sarah as she was headed home from a birth that morning. I told her to take her time since I was feeling good with Ryan and Rachel and also thinking I didn’t want her coming too soon.

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"Not once was I afraid. I love that. I am so grateful that I had such a positive birth experience."

On average, first-time mothers give birth around 41 weeks. Due to this statistic, and the fact that my husband and I were in the middle of completely remodeling our home, I had convinced myself that I was going to be the average first-time mom and have my baby at 41 weeks. So when, at 37 weeks and 5 days along, I noticed a small drop of liquid running down my leg, I was in denial that I could actually be going into labor. Not only was I not 41 weeks along, but I hadn’t felt any contractions. This wasn’t normal for a first-time mom either. My husband, Nick, and I decided to call our midwives, just in case. I was told that I should take it easy, but I could continue on with my day, and unless something changed, we would meet for our already scheduled 4pm appointment.

I called my aunt (our doula) to let her know that I might be having the baby that night. She picked up my birth tub and insisted on coming over so she could take me shopping, as I was still missing a few items for my birth kit… I was going to have this baby at 41 weeks, remember? Melissa called around noon to see how I was doing. I still wasn’t having any contractions, so the plan was to meet at 4pm unless something changed.While I waited for Nick to come home from work, I watched the documentary, More Business of Being Born because I was trying to put my mind in a positive place. I was apprehensive about giving birth because 1) I had never done it before, 2) I wanted to have a completely natural home birth, and 3) I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain of labor. I felt this way partly because I had horrible back spasms one month before that sent me to urgent care. After my back started to feel better, (Melissa had me see a chiropractor, massage therapist, and an acupuncturist), I was still nervous about giving birth, but I made a deal with myself that I would stay positive and only listen to uplifting birth stories. I also started Hypnobirthing, which was helpful. When Nick, got home, he installed the car seat (yes, last minute), and we went to our appointment. When Melissa checked me, she said that she could feel the baby’s head! I couldn’t believe it. I was already at 3½ cm and I didn’t feel a thing. She asked me if she could help me get to 4cm. I wanted to say no, but I knew that if I didn’t feel contractions soon, I could end up in the hospital, so I said yes. It was less painful than I anticipated. When she told me that I did great, she made me believe that I could really do this. Around 6:30pm, we met with my massage therapist to help get my labor started. When we were done, we went out for dinner. It was around 8:30pm when we were driving down our windy road that I began feeling consistent pressure in my lower back. I wasn’t too concerned because I wasn’t having uterine contractions. Melissa called me around 9pm and told me to get some rest. I believe that her last words were that she didn’t want to come when I was already pushing. Little did we know that I would progress so quickly…

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OK, here goes…the story of my 2 hour labor and Trevor’s beautiful homebirth!

On Thursday, March 27th, Rick woke me late after letting me sleep in, and we enjoyed a couple of hours with Dylan at home before heading in for our 40 week midwife appointment with the Snohomish Midwives.  I wasn’t having many contractions that morning, but was surprised that I was dilated to about 5cm when our midwife, Sarah, checked me and did a membrane sweep.  She told us that she thought I would be having the baby within a day or two because my body definitely seemed ready, but I never would have imagined I would be paging her just a few hours later!  After the appointment we felt a little restless and decided to go down the block to have some Thai food…and I ate a huge bowl of spicy lemongrass soup, hoping to get something going…

When we got home I started having a few contractions, so I went to lay down for a bit and listen to some Hypnobabies relaxation tracks.  [Note: During this pregnancy/birth I used the Hypnobabies home study course]  Rick left for an appointment in Seattle at 1:30 after we decided that I probably wasn’t in labor, and 15 minutes later at 1:45 I sent him a text and told him that I was fine and he should definitely continue to his appointment.  About 3 minutes after I sent that text I felt a movement/pop during a contraction that made me jump out of bed…and less than 2 minutes later another contraction started that left me a little breathless.  I called Rick right away and told him to turn around and come home!  I thought at that point that I should wait awhile to page the midwives, because my labor with Dylan had been 28 hours long, but as I was trying to time the contractions on my phone I realized they were consistently less than 2 minutes apart and getting pretty strong.  After breathing through a couple, I rushed to my phone and paged Sarah, our midwife, at exactly 2pm.  She called me right back, listened as I moaned through a contraction, and told me she would be over in a few.  Over the next 25 minutes I tried to entertain Dylan, who wanted to give my tummy kisses during every contraction to make it feel better, and I called Rick SIX times to see where he was.

Rick and the midwives arrived to the house at the same time, around 2:30 I think, and our babysitter stopped by to pick up Dylan.  I laid down again to try to relax for a few minutes, and realized that the contractions where about a minute and a half apart at that point and were getting stronger and stronger.  There was a flurry of activity in the house around me as Rick and the midwives rushed around getting everything setup as fast as they could, and every time a contraction would start I would say “Someone get my back!” and one of them would stop what they were doing and run over to rub my back through it before racing away again.  About 30 minutes later my water broke, and I think that at that point it hit me and everyone else that things were happening REALLY fast.  With every contraction I tried to just relax my body and visualize the baby moving down – and can honestly say that I didn’t feel any pain at all, just big pressure sensations – for those who think I’m completely crazy for having a pain-free birth (I would too!)…I attribute it to my Hypnobabies classes.  As I breathed and moaned through them, I could hear the midwives and their team (we had 2 midwives, a trainee, and a birth assistant present) gently cheering me on and telling me how great I was doing…and I remember thinking many times about how nice it felt to be surrounded by, supported by, cheered on, and loved by these amazing women as my body did its thing.

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"I was as comfortable as can be and empowered to listen to my body throughout the entire process, with no distractions."

As I lay dozing in bed, I feel a gush. My water has just broken. As the excitement wells up in me that my baby will be here soon, I wake up my husband but not the kids. I call my midwife Melissa so she knows it won't be long. My husband starts filling the birth tub. I make my way to the couch and wrap myself in a cozy blanket, waiting for labor to start. As I lie there in total comfort and peace, the flashbacks of my previous two birth stories come rushing back.

Nine years ago my water broke in bed, and we had rushed off to the hospital. I writhed in pain on my back in a hospital bed until I couldn't take it and begged for an epidural. I was told I made it to 5 1/2 cm. The epidural numbed me from the waist down and I felt no more contractions nor the urge to push when the time came. I was directed in pushing and eventually my son Aven was born. I was annoyed much of my birth plan had been ignored but grateful my healthy boy had arrived. We weathered the next day in the hospital with all it's poking and prodding, and were so happy to get home. Next time, I thought, would be different.

My 2nd pregnancy was going well until I had some bleeding issues and was dubbed "high risk," shutting down my hopes for a peaceful home birth. I would still make it peaceful, I would still have my empowering birth experience I felt I deserved, even though it had to be at the hospital again. When I went into labor, we left for the hospital with our 3-year-old son in tow.

The nurse in triage said I was at 4 cm, but after monitoring me for awhile, said I wasn't progressing and should go home. I told her I thought lying on the hospital bed was slowing my labor, and that I would stay in the lobby. I walked and breathed my way through hours of labor and felt great. Finally I was listening to my body and managing labor; it felt so natural. When I felt like I should go back to triage, they said I had to re check-in first, which involved attempting to sit on a hard chair and giving all of my information again. At that point I was starting to have trouble coping and almost panic that my baby was coming very soon...did I need to take my pants off?? I managed to get back into triage and was told I could be admitted (no kidding) and as I was wheeled down the hall, up the elevator, and down another hall so they could find my room, I tried not to push. Some unknown doctor ran in my room just in time to catch my daughter Aniya. More poking and prodding and home again. Grateful for a healthy baby girl, but determined as ever to avoid a hospital birth at all costs, if ever given the chance again.

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Ode to Snohomish Midwives

Our first two babies were “delivered” by a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) at our local hospital. Even though with both our experiences we were “granted” the natural childbirth that we desired, we were more than eager to discover other options for the birth of our third little miracle. Natural childbirth was never a “choice” for us, it was a given. And we were completely confident that we could do it. But without researching it to the depth that we should have, we assumed the hospital was the safest place for us to be. Not knowing it could be any different, we believed we were given the best care possible. It wasn’t until the newborn care of our second child that we began to have serious doubts about the hospital’s overall concern for the wellbeing of the mother and baby during their stay.

From the moment you arrive in labor to triage to the moment you are discharged from the hospital the overall attitude is that “they” know best and you are at their mercy. We learned that the minute you call for your first prenatal appointment you are shoved onto a conveyor-belt that moves along at the pace the hospital decides- CNM or OB you are still subject to the care the hospital provides during and after the birth of your baby- their agenda, their goals, etc. We did extensive research on home-birth and felt confident during our first appointment with the Snohomish Midwives. They were the first home-birth midwives we interviewed but we both knew minutes into the meeting that we didn’t need to look any more. That was an exciting day!

The difference between the care of the CNM and the home-birth-midwives was drastic. Right off the bat I was shocked at the intensity of personal “research” that they did. A typical hospital appointment would last a maximum of 20 minutes, and with Snohomish Midwives it was a full hour every visit. There wasn’t always a full hour of pregnancy “stuff” to discuss so we used that time to get to know each other. These ladies genuinely care and want to know their clients. Each and every visit was so thorough and so thought-out I couldn’t help but to go on and on about how wonderful they were to anyone who asked the “Who’s your Dr.” question during my pregnancy. We were so blown-away by the amazing prenatal care and having experienced natural childbirth twice before this pregnancy, our confidence and excitement going into the home-birth of our third child was very high. We were counting the days and minutes until labor began because we knew how amazing it would be to be HOME and under the care of these absolutely amazing midwives.

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"I never had any doubt that my baby would be healthy but was still comforted to see this little bundle of squirming life."

At 9 days overdue I had tried acupuncture (2 times), been to my chiropractor, drank tons of red raspberry leaf tea, taken evening primrose oil, walked daily, and eaten lots of spicy foods to help get this little boy out but he was being stubborn. He was posterior, like his older brother, and not descending into the pelvis. So on my midwife's recommendation I took some lemon verbena essential oil mixed with apricot juice, almond butter, and a little bit of castor oil. And it worked because within 3 hours of taking it I started having regular contractions (around 2 pm)! I had been getting contractions off and on for a few days but nothing that became regular or increased in intensity.

As luck would have it, Luke was already staying with my mom. I called Alan to come home but I wasn't convinced it was actual labor since I had taken the lemon verbena and thought it could wear off. I labored for a few hours bouncing on a exercise ball and on my hands and knees in front of the fireplace hoping to turn him into a better position. My contractions were coming every 3ish minutes and lasting about a minute but were still pretty mild. Alan kept busy by handling incoming calls, timing my contractions and getting things ready.

I wasn't sure what to expect with Al this time. We had both been pretty freaked out and uncertain when Luke was born. I had a lot of fear that this birth would turn out like Luke's, with me giving up and transferring to the hospital. But Alan was my rock. He's the strong silent type which was just what I needed. He gave me quiet support by holding my hands and helping me move (not an easy task). It was surprising how intimate this birth felt. In fact my entire pregnancy was like that. I feel like I was more open and willing to be vulnerable which brought us closer.

Somewhere around 8 pm my midwife stopped by to check on me. My contractions had got more intense around the same time and she called her assistant and the student midwife to come over. I was happy that I hadn't vomited yet as I was expecting, with Luke the vomiting started very early in the labor which wore me out. She checked me and I was 3 cm. I hadn't changed from my last appointment except for being more effaced. That was discouraging but my contractions got even more intense and I started vomiting (yay!). I have no idea how many times over the coarse of the night but it seems my "bucket" was always in the wrong room. After that point I lost track of time.

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"I wholly recommend the Snohomish Midwives for their excellent prenatal, birthing, and postnatal care."

I always knew I wanted to birth using a midwife as long as my health and the baby looked good, but I always assumed it would be at a birth center adjacent to a hospital. We talked about the lack of additional risks in a home birth when I interviewed Melissa and I got excited about the experience of birthing at home, in the cozy rooms that are so familiar to me. Little did I know it would be 94 degrees the day Eli decided to come, and we hunkered in the downstairs to escape the heat as well as to be close to the tub and the bedroom. I would not change a thing about my birth; I loved the freedom to take a walk outside at night during the heavier contractions, to try the tub, and to have my family, Melissa and her assistants around me. We ended up delivering on our bed with no complications so that my husband and I got to discover the gender of our baby together and then drift into sleep as Melissa talked us through the hours until her next visit.

I wholly recommend the Snohomish Midwives for their excellent prenatal, birthing, and postnatal care. Melissa does an excellent job of listening, evaluating individual risks and preferences, and bringing her diverse knowledge to the birth. We plan to be calling her again in a couple of years!

- Jenni


Snohomish Midwives   877.869.6105