Birth Experiences

Otto's birth story
The son of Sherab and Eric

The birth of our new baby started with a spring snowstorm preceded by strong winds on the night of March 18. We had been out celebrating Costanzo's 32nd birthday (he is Sherab's brother).

Sherab was gracious, beautiful, and strong during the birth. The labor lasted more than eight hours and was strong from the beginning. It made the one hour-drive to Mercy Medical Center in a snowstorm seem very long.

Sherab spent time on her knees on the floor, in the water birth tub, and in the bed. We had amazing support from Aloka, Tsultrim, Ingrid and Melissa. Everyone contributed to easing Sherab's labor and helping her with the hard work of giving birth.

We had Buddhist orations and prayer, aromatherapy, brute force manual massage, delicate touch, and most importantly, the encouraging words from all in attendance.

The staff at Mercy was great. They let us have our experience, yet supported us in all our needs and requests. Our midwife, Mary Louise, instructed Sherab on how to move her body to help the baby come out and gave her much-needed confirmation of progress. Finally, she added the magic touch of expert hands when we most needed it.

Eric had the honor of catching Otto Ziji as he was born. He brought him to Sherab and announced, as he had imagined so many times in the preceding months, “It's a boy!” As per Sherab’s request, we celebrated with a swig of whiskey.

Maddux's birth story
The son of Erika Gerlach

My name is Erika Gerlach and I went to Southwest Midwives to have my prenatal care. They were the nicest ladies I have ever met and very informative about everything. I really felt like I had a handle on things and knew everything was going to be OK because they would be there with me.

I first went to them not sure how far along I was. They scheduled an ultrasound right away, and not only did I find out how far along I was I found out I was having a boy!

Erika & Maddux

I went back and the front office scheduled me as quickly as possible and made sure that I felt like I was and had been doing the right thing, not hurting my baby by waiting so long to be seen.

I then had the best care anyone could ever ask for. Mary Louise, Heidi and Amy are three of the best ladies you could ever have on your side when you are going through an experience like this. The rest of the staff is just as supportive and amazing and they make you feel like a real person, not just another dollar for their office.

Then the time to give birth came around. Maddux just didn't want to come into this world. He still wanted to cook for a while, and the ladies gave me peace of mind by telling me this is normal and fine and not to worry because he was still fine.

The big day finally came 10 days later. After 36 hours and seeing Mary Louise and Heidi, they decided a c-section was the only way to go. Heidi was a great coach and really helped me when I was trying my best to have Maddux naturally. She was very calm and just kept encouraging me, which was nice. She kept the atmosphere very calm and quiet, and it made it easier to push through contractions.

I appreciated all they did for me and was sorry that they were not there for the actual birth of Maddux as we were carted away. But Heidi did come and check on me after surgery and then again the next day, which I thought was so sweet. She made me feel very comfortable with everything. I hope to go back to them one day!

Maddux is perfect and calm and relaxed, and I owe it all to the ladies of Southwest Midwives. Without them who knows how I would be.

True Gatlin Candelaria's birth story
The son of Jenny Moores

Hello, my name is Jenny. I had an amazingly easy and comfortable pregnancy. Heidi, Amy and Mary Louise, with the help of their great staff, offered warm care and encouragement to my partner and me while we awaited our baby's arrival.

Jenny Moores & True

True's estimated due date was Nov. 8, 2008. The 8th came and went without even a hint of offering our son True. I felt fine and apparently True did too. Nice and cozy, I can only imagine. But who could blame the guy? I don't like getting out of bed in the morning in November; I can't comprehend leaving a womb!

My partner and I walked to a Mexican dinner under a hypnotizing full moon on Nov. 12. Which was it that peaked True's curiosity about the world beyond the womb? Was it the guacamole that he loves so much today, or the magnetic glow of the moon whose viewing proved to be nothing more than a tease to his unborn eyes? I'm certain that it wasn't the walk because the cruiser ride I'd taken that afternoon didn't tempt him. Anyhow, I began having contractions around 7 that evening.

Around midnight the activity was enough that I decided to get out of bed and start timing my contractions. They seemed to be five to six minutes apart, so I made the call. I reached a soft and sleepy Amy. She instructed my partner and me to make our way to The Family Birthing Center in about an hour. I followed the phone call by a shower to distract me from the clock.

I awoke my partner about 1 o'clock with the classic "it's time" statement. His bag was packed and by the door; I hadn't been as organized. We made our way to the hospital with my hand clinging to the "oh sh*t" handle in the car, squeezing with a tight hold with each contraction as if it might reach the birthing center without me.

We arrived. The nurse checked me. I was a 1. One whole centimeter dilated.

Upon Amy's approval, the nurse allowed us to stay. I was relieved about being there and snuggly checked in. I could not imagine going home. My contractions felt substantial enough to me that had we gone home we would surely just turn right back around!

Heidi came in to check me at the start of her shift to find me at 2 centimeters dilated. Needless to say; things were off to a slow start. She returned during lunch to find me at 4 centimeters. So, this was the beginning? Only then was I in active labor? I thought I'd been hard at it for 12 hours!

I labored. Then labored. I labored some more.

Heidi and nurses alternated appearances throughout the day. A warm bath may have initiated a 7 at 8 p.m., but I had 3 centimeters to go. Heidi stayed at the hospital. She gave a phenomenal foot rub, and every time that I discounted my pain by calling myself "a weenie" she'd so confidently grin and say, "It's hard." I wondered how she could stay so calm and encouraging when I felt as though I had had my fair share of her time; whining at that!

I had a couple doses of medication to take the edge off of the contractions throughout the evening, but I found it time for the real deal. I asked Heidi if she could call the anesthesiologist. It was nearing 24 hours since I'd made the call to Amy. I wanted help, and once I gave into the idea of help I felt it couldn't come soon enough!

The anesthesiologist was incredible! He was fast and his confidence bordered arrogance because he was so good. Once the epidural was in place it provided pretty close to instant release. My body seemed to soften, and I was able to relax. Contrary to what I'd heard, I was still able to feel. The intensity went from fire to warm. Heidi then broke my water, which seemed to speed up my dilation process. The next three hours were a snap compared to the previous 24. Heidi gave me the go to push, and after an hour of that, True was born. Healthy & beautiful. A blessing that seemed too good to be true. But, it wasn't. It was all True.