• S and C started care with me in the first trimester of their second pregnancy.  S had her previous baby at home with me as well.  You can read that story here. S’s pregnancy progressed along normally.  S had her first baby after 41 weeks, so we were all surprised on the morning of her […]

  • “Shannon was recommended by my birth classes instructor and making the decision (very very late in my pregnancy) to change over to a midwife was one of the best and biggest decisions we made. Shannon was amazing, she is born for midwifery and she is such a remarkable person too! A precious gem!!”  Fiona, Houston, […]

  • N and A started care with me near the end of their second trimester of their second pregnancy.  N had her first baby in the hospital, and was wanting a different experience for this birth. N woke with contractions in the early hours of April 18th, 2017.  Contractions were coming every 8-10 minutes, lasting 30 […]

  • C and J started care with me in the first trimester of their fifth pregnancy.  This was C’s third baby born at him with me.  You can read about her previous birth experiences here and here. C contacted me soon after she had a positive test, and we were both sad to discover that C’s […]

  • “I LOVE LOVE LOVE Shannon!! She is so supportive and caring. I suffer from depression and was having the hardest time in my life during my latest pregnancy. Shannon constantly asked how I was feeling, gave suggestions, and was available really whenever I needed her. She also held me accountable for reading my birthing books, […]

S and S started care with me in the first trimester of their third pregnancy.  Their previous births had occurred at an area birth center where they had a wonderful experience both times.  They were looking forward to experiencing a home birth this time around.

The morning of December 1, S sent me a text saying she was feeling cervical contractions and having bloody show.  Her last birth was a whirlwind one hour labor, which was making S feel very anxious.  She did not want to go through another one hour labor.  I did an exam around 915am, and found her to be 4cm dilated, 60% effaced and baby at a -1 station.  S wanted to get a pedicure, and then felt she wanted me to sweep her membranes and give her some herbs to help control labor to try and avoid a precipitous labor.

I arrived right before 4pm that afternoon.  All vitals were good.  S was 4-5cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby was at a 0 station.  I swept her membranes, and recommended S walk around her house while she sipped on her labor tea.

It took a couple hours, but soon S was having regular, mild contractions.  They seemed to be coming every 3.5 minutes, lasting 45 seconds.  S labored on her birth ball for a few contractions to give her legs a break.

A little after 6pm, my apprentice R suggested trying lift and tuck to strengthen the contractions and to help baby get further into the pelvis.  She showed S how to do them with S.  S was quite a comedian though, and took his job of keeping everyone laughing seriously.

Contractions picked up after a series of lift and tucks.  They were now coming every 2 minutes, lasting 45 seconds, and appeared to be strengthening in intensity.

S said her chiropractor would come by for an adjustment if needed.  I encouraged her to call him, and see if he would come by to adjust her.  He arrived a little before 8pm to adjust her, and see if it would help continue to nudge the labor process along.

After the chiro left, it was time to do another cervical exam.  S was 5-6cm dilated, 90% effaced, and baby was at a 0 station.  I did another membrane sweep to help strengthen contractions.

Through out all her positions, S felt like her contractions seemed most productive when she labored on the toilet.  I encouraged her to go where she felt like it was working the best.

Contractions strengthened on the toilet, but one can only stand sitting on the toilet for so long.  As 9pm neared, S got up and started walking around the house again.

There was a number of people in the house, and the contractions were flowing back and forth in strength, but seemed to be strongest when S was in a quiet area, away from others.  I talked about this with S around 930pm, and she decided to labor again in her bathroom.

Since contractions seemed so much stronger on the toilet, we decided to try sitting on the birth stool and the birth ball and see if those positions provided more comfort but the same intensity.  Unfortunately, only the toilet brought strong, regular contractions.

I had S do another set of ten lift and tucks on S as 10pm neared.  Contractions intensified.  S moved back to the toilet, where contractions began coming on top of each other.  At 1034pm, S asked for an exam on the toilet as she felt things were happening.  I felt she was a good 6cm on the toilet, but hard to tell for sure.

At 1050pm, S decided she felt ready to get into the birth pool.  We walked to the pool.  S had an initial contraction, and then things went quiet.  Thirty minutes later, S decided it was time to get out of the pool and concentrate on the positions that were working.

S moved back to the toilet.  At one point she commented, “It’s not my favorite place to be, but I’m totally grateful that my mother in law cleaned the toilet today.”

Contractions were coming every 3 minutes, lasting 90 seconds.  S was gently moaning with her contractions now.  When she couldn’t handle sitting on the toilet any longer, then we would move and labor on the bed.

She alternated between the bed and toilet a couple times, before settling on the bed.  As 1am was nearing, S was beginning to feel pressure.

A few minutes after 1am, S was grunting at the peaks of the contractions.  She asks for a mirror so that she can watch for the changes.

S told me that she felt like her water was bulging.  We decided I should do a check at 119am, and found S to have just an anterior lip, 100% effaced, and baby at a +2 station.  S decided she would like me to hold back the lip, so we began to push.

The lip quickly reduced.  At 127am, the head appeared on the perineum, quickly followed by crowning, and the birth of the baby.  Sweet girl had a nuchal cord that I easily unlooped over her head, and placed her on her mama’s waiting chest.  She was here!

Welcome to the world Scarlett, born earthside on December 2, 2016 at 127am, weighing in at 6lbs 12ozs, 20.75″ long.  She was welcomed by two excited big brothers who were immediately so in love with their precious baby sister.

It was such a joy to get to be part of this little one’s birthing time.  S was so strong and poised through her peaceful home birth journey.

#sacredjourneymidwifery

S and D started care with me in the first trimester of their third pregnancy.  They had their previous two babies at home with me.  You can read S’s previous home birth stories here:  Brantley and Kinsley

When S started care with me, she knew I was scheduled to leave on vacation one week before her due date.  I wasn’t concerned since she had never delivered anywhere close to her due date in the past.  As it got closer, S was feeling nervous.  In her words, postpartum is rough the first couple of weeks, and she really felt like she needed my physical presence in the area for a couple weeks after she has the baby.  She asked me if I would try to encourage her labor at 38 weeks.

8am March 5th, I had S come over for a membrane sweep and some herbs before I went to church. S was 3cm dilated, 70% effaced, and baby at a -1 station.  I swept her membranes, and gave her some herbs.  We anticipated this little guy would most likely be her biggest baby, as I felt he was around 8.8#.  I encouraged S to eat breakfast, take a walk, and keep me posted on how she was feeling.

Contractions began fairly soon after the sweep.  S went for a walk around her apartment complex, the intensity of the contractions varying.  I decided I would stop by once I left church, arriving around 130pm.

I found S sitting on the edge of her bed, having what appeared to be mild contractions.  S felt that my presence alone was making her contractions stronger.  I did an exam at 2pm and found her to be 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby at a -1 station.  I swept her membranes.  She had not eaten in awhile, so I encouraged eating, and when having contractions, I wanted to do the abdominal lift and tuck with the rebozo for ten contractions.

Contractions began to really pick up, coming every 2-3 minutes, 60 seconds long.  S started to wiggle around with the contractions, while I did the lift and tuck.

She sat on her ball for a few minutes, taking some bites of her pulled beef sandwich and fruit.  She was becoming vocal with contractions, telling me she remembers this horrible pain, and that it was “hurting too bad.”

S alternated her position through the 3pm hour, as the birth team slowly started to arrive.  Since things were intensifying, S wanted to try a shower for relief.  After a couple contractions, she got out and labored on her left side in the bed.  S asked to be checked at 330pm, and she was now 6cm, 80%, -1.

S is a unique laborer.  She says and does the funniest things.  We know we are getting closer and closer to delivery the crazier (and more naked!) things get.

S walked around the house a little bit.  She was starting to feel weepy, and exclaimed to us, “I am going to die.” This was in regards to the contractions.

S sat on the couch, nausea building.  We gave her rescue remedy to help with the anxiety she felt about the pain, then tried another herbal remedy to further help.

The f-bombs started flying, another indicator that we were getting closer to having a baby.  S moved to the bathroom and labored on the toilet, then squatting at her bathroom counter.  Moving around tends to be her “thing” that helps her stay comfortable.

S moved to left side lying on her bed.  At 445pm, she asked me to do another exam.  She was 7cm dilated, 90% effaced, and baby was at a 0 station.  Her bag of water was very bulgy.

My birth assistant worked on getting the temperature in the birth pool at a good temperature so that S could try the pool.

While waiting for the pool, contractions intensified.  S was timing contractions on her phone as a distraction.  We were taking turns providing counter pressure and words of encouragement.

Nausea overpowered S, as it often seems to do in her labors.  She paced back and forth through the bathroom, upset about the intensity of the contractions and the unfairness of vomiting in labor. I began applying cold rags to S’s face and neck for comfort.

The pool was finally the perfect temperature, and at 533pm S got into the birth pool.  She sat in the warm water, and asked to have the hose going with some cold water to help cool her down.  We continued applying cold compresses.  She was working so hard!

In hind sight, we now know we were in the last hour.  However, S tends to get very panicky, perhaps a little irrational (love her!) in the last hour.  She started demanding that D needed to call 911.  D cracked us all up when in all seriousness he told S, “I forgot the phone number.”  My birth assistant and I continued to refocus and encourage her through her labor waves.

S was moving her position very frequently in the pool.  She demanded I needed to do an exam at 545pm, and I found her to be 8cm, 90%, and baby at a 0 station.

As 6pm neared, S was struggling.  She intensely told me, “I need a f***ing epidural!”  She asked me what time it was around this time.  I told her it was 558pm.  She looked at me, and said, “5:58?  Perfect time for that ambulance ride!”  Transition was upon us.

S thought her water broke and was feeling a lot more pressure, and demanded I needed to check her again at 605pm.  There was no change.

S is quite a mover, and minutes later, she was very much done with the pool and needed to move.  She got out of the pool.  Prior to labor, there were a few things that S and I reviewed as things she desired in labor no matter what she said.  The first we are about to encounter is she really didn’t want everyone to see her full on naked if at all necessary.  I kept a couple towels on S as we moved all over the house.  S looked at me and said, “I really need to break stuff” followed by, “F*** my f***ing life!”

My apprentice gave S a couple things to help with coping.  S was very insistent that she wanted to go outside for some fresh air.  In her first birth, she had done some crazy things outside, so I was hesitant to let her outside.  She begged us to let her go on the porch, so I helped her put on a shirt and some panties, and her birth photographer and myself walked on to the porch with her.

After the birth, S told me that she was planning a way to jump the fence on the patio.  I laughed and told her I knew that already.  That is why I followed her outside!

Full on struggling to cope was upon us at 624pm.  S demanded that she wanted to “run outside naked” as she paced the house.  She looked at me and yelled, “I can’t do this.  Holy f***, Shannon!!!”

D began blocking the door, to keep her from running outside.  We reminded her that she would have to face her neighbors.  I lovingly got in her face, and reminded her that she was safe, she was strong, and she was going to do this.

A couple minutes later, S fell onto her back on the living room floor, and demanded that I “do a cervical check right now and break her f***ing water.”

She was 8-9cm, 100% effaced, baby at a +1 station.  It took some work, but I was able to rupture her bag with my fingers.  Baby sounded great with his cushion taken away from him.

S rushed up off the floor and walked back to the birth pool, laboring on her knees.  Things got intense and crazy in these last moments before a baby came.  When S mentioned she wanted to try the birth pool again, I smiled and said I would be bringing my swimming shorts.  S began to dunk herself under the water.  I got stern with her and told her I know it hurts, but we aren’t going to do that.  She took her cup of ice and dumped it on her head, and violently began splashing the water around, soaking her bedroom wall and her photographer (thankfully not the camera!).

It was now 639pm, 12 minutes after I broke her water.  S asked me to please check her.  I told her I did not want to check.  I wanted to wait until she felt pressure or we saw a baby.

Four minutes later, S stands up and quickly tries to rush out of the birth pool.  We remind her she is wet and needs to move slowly and allow us to dry her off.  She storms into the kitchen.  There is a glass of water on the counter, and I quickly try to pass it to someone else so it does not get shattered.  S grabs it, takes a drink, then pours the water on her head.  We were all surprised.  Then, S screams, “He is coming!”  I move down the chux, and there is a head crowning!

Such a beautiful delivery it was.  With no effort, just allowing her body to do the work, the head was easily and swiftly born.  The birth team was scrambling to get a shower curtain and chux underneath her to collect the mess.  S was feeling panicky.  I encouraged her to let her baby be birthed.  She shifted her legs open, and out he came, spontaneously on his own accord.  He was here!

It takes S a little bit to unwind postpartum.  S always wants to sit immediately after delivery.  Since we were in the kitchen/living room area, this was slightly complicated.  Another thing I was told not to let her do was to let her get her new couch bloody.  In the moment, she begged me to let her sit on the couch, but later she thanked me.  Within 90 seconds, we had her semi reclined in her bed.

I continued to encourage S, helping her to calm and slow her breathing.  She wanted the placenta out of her, so we got it delivered quickly.  She was hot, so I cooled her down with cold compresses.  Her little guy was soon ready to nurse, and we were all so happy to see him latch on like a little champ!

Welcome to the world Blaine, born earthside on March 5th, 2017 at 645pm, weighing in at 8lbs 6ozs, 20.75″ long.  I love this sweet mama so much.  I love that I have been part of all three of her littles journeys into this world, and have gotten to watch her pull from the strength that she doubts she has and proves that even though its intense, she is strong and she can do it.  So blessed to have been her midwife for three births.

#sacredjourneymidwifery

Photos taken by the very talented Stephanie Shirley.

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L and G hired me in the first trimester of their third pregnancy.  L had two previous out of the hospital births in a different state, and was looking forward to the third experience.

The morning of December 29th, I had another client who was in labor.  L sent me a text that she was having regular contractions that were slowly intensifying.  I let L know I was with another client, and to keep me posted so that I could make plans accordingly.

The mind is truly so powerful.  When L realized I was supporting another client through her journey, her body slowed its journey.  Contractions stayed very mild and irregular the rest of the day and the night.

L sent me a text checking in the next morning around 8am.  I let her know my other client was about to transport, and that I would be with her until L needed me.  That is all L needed.  Her body let go, and let active labor happen.

G sent me a text at 1030am saying he thought I should come.  Contractions were coming every 2-5 minutes, lasting 2 minutes long, and were building in intensity.  I finished up with getting my other client settled in the hospital, and headed their way.

I arrived at 1120am and found L laying on her left side in her bed, listening to a hypnobirthing tract.  All vitals were good.  L agreed to a cervical check, but asked me not to say.  We were all surprised and ecstatic to find that L was already 8cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby at a +1 station.  L was so calm and poised, and it was hard to believe she was already moving into transition.  She was doing such a beautiful job.

My apprentice R and I quickly began filling the birth pool for L, and set up birth supplies.  G was at L’s side, offering words of encouragement and applying cold cloths to L’s forehead,

L walked around her room as the birth pool finished filling.  She was grunting at the peaks of the contractions.  The pressure was building.

L got into the birth pool at 1230pm, laboring on her knees.  L swayed with her contractions, moving exactly as her body told to move.  G was her rock, right at her side to provide encouragement and support.

The intensity was building.  L was talking to her baby, telling him it was safe to come out, that her and G were ready.

As 1pm neared, L gently began to moan at the peaks of the contractions.  She looked at me and said, “It hurts.  He is right there.”  I encouraged L to let her body do its thing, and bring her baby down.

L did such a beautiful job at letting her body do the work.  Her water broke, and baby was crowning spontaneously at 122pm.  With one swift push, L brought her baby into the water.  He had himself quite wrapped up in his cord and made me have to work at unraveling him.  Seconds later he was in his mama’s waiting arms!

Welcome to the world Thaddyeus, born earthside on December 30, 2016 at 123pm, weighing in at 7lbs 0ozs, 18.5 inches long.  It was a joy to serve this family as they welcomed their third little one into the world!

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R and J transferred care to me in the third trimester of their first pregnancy.  R was really wanting an unmedicated delivery, and after an unpleasant appointment with her OBGYN, decided it was time to transfer to a midwife.  When I received her records, her previous provider said one of her risk factors was that she had “unrealistic expectations” about her birth.

A little after midnight one day before her estimated due date, R called me to let me know contractions woke her at 930pm.  Her contractions had been 3 minutes apart, lasting 60 seconds for an hour now.  R had not called her doula yet.  I suggested she call her doula, and then try a bath or shower and let me know how she felt after that so I could gauge if I should come or not.

R’s doula sent me a text about 45 minutes later saying she had been there for seven minutes, and R had three hard contractions.  I told them I was on my way.

I walked in at 130am, and found R laboring on her hands and knees on the living room floor.  A couple minutes passed, and her water broke spontaneously with the next contraction.  Baby sounded great.  R decided she would like me to check her on the bed, so she moved that direction.

I checked R’s cervix at 145am, and found her to be 9cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby at a +1 station.  R had done so much work in such a short time!

R went to labor on the toilet for a few contractions.  Contractions were coming every 2-2.5 minutes, lasting 60 seconds.  J and their doula were alternating providing counter pressure on her back, and applying cold rags to her face.

R came back to laboring on her hands and knees in the living room at 2am.  R had been struggling with nausea and vomiting, and I suggested a homeopathic to help.  R agreed to try it, and after a couple doses, she was feeling better.

R moved to sitting on her birth ball, stating to the birth team that she was feeling a lot of pressure.  After a couple contractions, R asked me how would she know it was time to push.  I told her to wait until the urge was unbearable.

R moved back into hands and knees at 242am, her body now beginning to spontaneously bear down at the peaks of the contractions.  Three minutes later, I found R to have a thin anterior lip and baby at a +2 station.  After two contractions, I was able to reduce the lip.  R said there was much more pressure now that the lip was gone.

The baby had a decel from being squeezed, so C, my birth assistant, gave her a homeopathic to help increase oxygenation.  It worked like a charm, and little guy handled the pushing journey like a champ!

As 3am neared, R was feeling done.  We moved her birth ball under her to lean onto so she could take the pressure off her wrists.  The head was right on the perineum.  I began to use warm compresses on her perineum, which R said was providing some relief.

We moved positions at 315am.  R was sore from being in hands and knees.  I suggested she try semi reclining, leaning back into J for support. This position did the trick.  The very next contraction the head was visible on the perineum.  We continued to use olive oil and warm compresses for comfort and to help with stretching.

The head was crowning at 323am, followed by the baby a minute later.  He decided to come out with a hand by his face, which we helped him move out with the head.  He was here!

Welcome to the world Robert, born earthside on February 2, 2017 at 324am, weighing in at 8lbs 4ozs, 20.5 inches long.  I am so thankful I got to be part of this beautiful journey with R and J.  She was serene and calm through her very intense, quick (for a first time mom) 6 hour labor!

#sacredjourneymidwifery

S and J started care with me in the first trimester of their sixth pregnancy.  S had her previous babies at home with midwives in different states.

S came in for her weekly appointment at 40.6 weeks and stated the baby had been moving less, and she would feel better if we did a membrane sweep to see if we could nudge baby out.  I did a cervical check and found her cervix to be 3cm dilated, 80% effaced, and baby at a -2 station.  I swept her membranes, and was hopeful I would hear from her soon in labor.

At 2am on February 1, 2017, S sent me a text saying her contractions had woke her up around 1230am and were coming every 3-5 minutes, lasting 45-60 seconds long.  She had started feeling stronger contractions at 10pm, but was able to get some sleep.  She was going to try a shower, and let me know shortly how she was feeling, and when I should come.

S sent a follow up text at 255am saying the contractions were definitely painful and she did not want to time anymore.  I told her I was on my way!

I walked in at 330am, and found S laboring on her knees in the birth pool.  Contractions were intense, and S was grunting at the peaks.  I knew we weren’t far away from having a baby.  Contractions were coming every 2-2.5 minutes, lasting 45 seconds.

I quickly began setting up for delivery, knowing I didn’t have much time to be ready.

S began to spontaneously push at 354am.  I felt an anterior lip that S was quickly able to push through.

A minute later, S’s water broke spontaneously.  Things moved quickly from there.  The head was birthed at 358am, followed by the rest of the sweet boy a minute later.  The sweetest sight was to see all five of the older children so completely excited, standing over the birth pool in awe at their sweet baby brother.

Welcome to the world John Martin, born earthside on February 1, 2017 at 359am, weighing in at a whopping 9lbs 14ozs, 21″ long.  It was such a blessing to serve this family through their journey welcoming their sixth blessing into the world.

#sacredjourneymidwifery