Julia. Third birth.
Isaac's Birth Story
Julia Olson, mother and occasional photographer, recently welcomed her son Isaac at Baby+Company in Cary. Mom to five-year-old Petunia and toddler Moses, she had given birth to her first two children at hospitals on the army base where her husband worked, so she was looking forward to the personal care she’d receive at a birth center. We chatted with her about Isaac’s delivery.
Thanks for sharing your story, Julia! Did you go to Baby+Company for your prenatal visits?
Yes, I did. It was actually a really amazing experience. I received my prenatal care for my first two children at the army base, and I wanted to skip every appointment. At Baby+Company, I was always excited to go. Everyone in the building was so welcoming, from the midwives to the receptionists. We were like one big family. It was awesome. I loved it.
And what was Isaac’s birth like for you?
It was definitely better than I expected – much better. The birth was faster than I could ever have imagined. Everything happened so quickly, but in the room everything moved slowly and was relaxed. The midwife just told me to do what I felt like doing. She was super calm. The whole atmosphere was so serene and beautiful. It blew my mind how easy it was. It was unreal.
That’s great! So how did you know you were in labor?
I woke up with contractions at about one in the morning. I wasn’t sure if it was real labor or not, so I decided to wait a while. An hour later, they were more intense but still between two and five minutes apart. After another hour, they became so intense that I had to lean on the wall and try not to move during them. I knew it was time to head out, so I told my husband I’d call him when I got there – my aunt was driving me to the center while he watched the kids until they woke up.
When I arrived, the midwife checked me. I thought I’d be about four or five centimeters dilated, but I was shocked when she said I was nine centimeters! I called my husband and birth photographer, who were both about forty minutes away, and told them it was time to get there as quickly as possible. I was praying the baby wouldn’t arrive before then.
Did they make it?
No! I got in the bath tub and was ready to push about ten minutes later. I kept my eye on the door while I was pushing because I really wanted the kids to be a part of the birth, but it only took 22 minutes for Isaac to arrive. No one made it in time!
That must have been disappointing.
I had mixed emotions. He came out really quickly and it was the best experience I’ve ever had giving birth. It was almost supernatural. I wasn’t screaming or out of control. I was totally calm. The women and the whole atmosphere were just amazing. It was so beautiful, but I did wish my husband and children had been there to witness it.
Did you use any special pain management strategies?
I felt much more mentally prepared since this was my third birth. I knew my rhythm, technique, and how to focus. I had read Active Birth and Ina May Gaskin’s book and learned to use rhythm to focus. When contractions got out of control I’d breathe with them, tapping my hand on the side of the tub. It sounds really simple but it was so powerful.
What stands out about your birth center experience?
It’s really the women who work there that make this place stand out from anywhere I’ve ever been to or heard about. It’s very friendly and family-like. I know people say that all the time, but this place truly is it. The atmosphere, the people, the attitude – it’s amazing. Everyone is smiling when you come in. They love what they do and they’re passionate about what they do, and that’s what makes Baby+Company so different.
Now that you’ve been through it, what advice would you give to expectant parents?
I highly recommend that every woman go to a birthing class…it really opened my eyes. I also recommend Active Birth and Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth because I think they helped me so much during labor. Women need to believe in themselves. We are all made to birth babies, and we don’t need a drug to do it. We aren’t damsels in distress when it comes to labor; our bodies were made for this. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are. It’s all about preparing yourself mentally, and knowing this is something you can do.