When I became pregnant with my second baby at age 36, I knew I wanted a different experience than what I had with my firstborn. I couldn't quite put it into words but the first time around, I had been with a large OB/GYN practice in the area and almost had to deliver via c-section because of so many interventions in my labor. For my second pregnancy, I knew I wanted to work with a doula and was curious about midwifery care. I had heard that the care was more personal and that the labor could be shorter with less interventions.
While researching midwifery, I stumbled upon Adrienne in an internet search and decided to reach out to her by phone. I was surprised to find out that I could have a hospital birth and still have the more personalized approach of midwifery care. I'd always assumed a midwife was someone who only delivered in a birthing center or at home. It seemed like the best of both worlds. I knew right away that I wanted to work with Adrienne in this second pregnancy and my husband was confident, too. It felt like Adrienne's mission was to support the family overall and not just the pregnancy - I loved this concept!
I felt so at ease with Adrienne at each office visit. She listened to what we wanted for our birth. She was totally focused on my health and pregnancy, and on making my experience something more special and personal. I am so thankful for the balance of her medical wisdom and her passion for caring for pregnant women. Adrienne offered sound clinical advice as well as more natural methods throughout my pregnancy and birth to bring me comfort and peace. From recommending magnesium oil to help with my restless leg syndrome to strongly encouraging me to get regular chiropractic adjustments to help get the baby in the proper position for birth, Adrienne had so many tools and resources that I had never known about in my first pregnancy! She encouraged me to utilize spinning babies exercises to relax and get my body ready for birth and prior to labor Adrienne helped me prepare with resources about breathing through contractions rather than tensing up. It was so encouraging and I have never felt more empowered in my life. With Adrienne and my doula by my side, the emotional and physical support was like nothing I have ever experienced. I can truly say that the difference between my first birth and second birth was like night and day. I felt the safety and security of the hospital setting but I also had the care and personal attention of my midwife - who has the experience of walking with women hand in hand through the pregnancy journey. It's not just a quick office visit or a few minutes in Labor & Delivery while you push out a baby. It's a RELATIONSHIP. You're not just a number - you're partners in bringing a new life into the world. I simply cannot imagine doing it any other way.
Overall, in preparation for the birth of my second son Jack, I feel like Adrienne had the full picture of who I was, my birthing desires, and where I was coming from physically, emotionally and spiritually.
This time around, I labored for only eight hours from start of my contractions to the time my son Jack was born at a healthy 8 pounds-1ounce. This was about half the time I spent in labor with my first child. I labored on my own until I was 7 centimeters dilated. From walking to laboring on the birthing ball to walking the halls with my husband and doula, I was able to be active and moving - so different than just laying in bed with the epidural from the beginning. I did end up requesting an epidural at 7 centimeters but I never felt shamed or embarrassed - Adrienne supported my labor experience 100%.
I felt without a doubt that Adrienne's presence, compassion, and wisdom in the delivery made it faster and less painful. I got the best of both worlds which was one of my goals. With my first child, I was given my epidural at 3 centimeters, labored much longer and had to have pitocin. They say the first birth paves the way for the second, but I also believe Adrienne's expertise kept me calm, gave me a sense of protection and helped me feel powerful enough to labor differently this time around. With my first baby, I didn't have skin to skin right away and with baby Jack I was able to not only catch him with my own two hands (amazing!) but I held him on my chest right away and nursed him within moments of his birth. So special.
I will always remember the gift Adrienne and my birth team gave me with Jack's birth - a beautiful hospital birth feeling supported, loved, and empowered to make my birth what I wanted it to be. I am forever grateful.
- Michelle Meals