A little background: our first child was almost 11 lbs at birth, so with my second pregnancy, I was getting a lot of questions and pressure for extra tests in Illinois where we had been living before moving to LA. Our first went 2 weeks past his due date, and while his was a long labor, he was born vaginally with no complications; thus, we had high hopes for this second labor and delivery. However, throughout the first part of my pregnancy in IL, I did not feel supported, so our move and change in providers really ended up being meant to be in our minds.
We feel that our birth story really began with our move to California. We moved to LA when I was 8 months pregnant and had our first appointment with the midwives when I was 36 weeks along. We instantly knew we had chosen the right providers in our new city to deliver our second child. We were so relieved after meeting with Shadman in our first appointment! We were treated with respect and she was very thorough in studying my medical records from my first birth and discussing any and every thing we should know about or be concerned with going forward with this second labor and delivery. We had had a great team and doula for our first birth, and felt very strongly that we wanted another experience like that. We asked Shadman for doula recommendations and out of her suggestions, we found a perfect match with Atoosa Benji.
We continued to meet with the midwives on a weekly basis up until my due date on March 1st, and true to my history, my due date came and went and no baby! Our doula, Atoosa suggested some different measures for non-medical inductions, and we went in for our scheduled midwife check up on the morning of March 4th. Our midwife that day discussed the plan going forward if I did not go into labor naturally and she checked my dilation and we were quite disappointed when she said I was only 1.5 cm dilated. I left the appointment feeling defeated, very pregnant and longing to meet our baby. I had scheduled an acupuncture appointment for that afternoon at the suggestion of our doula, and after that meeting I felt calmer and ready to face whatever this baby had in store for us.
At 7pm I started having contractions. After a couple hours I called our doula, and we decided to see where the contractions went as I didn’t want to end up at the hospital for a false alarm and be sent back home. So around 11pm it was clear that these contractions were only getting stronger and closer together. My husband and I called my parents over to stay with our son and we headed to UCLA. We arrived and were checked in very quickly. We were thrilled to see Atoosa when we got off the elevator and even more so when we got to labor and delivery and the midwife on call was Shadman! Mike and I both laughed, we were truly happy to have Shadman with us, as she was the midwife we’d seen the most in the month before our due date—it just made sense that she would be the one to deliver our baby. When Shadman was finally able to check my progress, I was 6 cm dilated and having very regular contractions. It was great news and we were moved to the labor/delivery room to continue the process. We were well supported by Shadman and our doula—I continued to labor in the room and then in the shower. It was as enjoyable a labor as I think one can have. We were talking in between contractions and I felt that Shadman addressed me directly at each and every turn, making me feel truly supported and in control. Shortly after 4 am, my water broke spontaneously and I moved from the shower to the bed where Shadman had me get ready to push on my hands and knees. Both Shadman and our doula, Atoosa, were with me at this point—helping me breathe, focus and prepare for the pushing ahead of me. Once I was 10 cm dilated, I was told to push when I felt the urge—and at 4:52 am on March 5th, our baby girl was born! She was 8lbs 11oz of perfection and her birth was beautiful and amazing. It was very important to us to have this baby without any medication and as few interventions as possible, and with the support of Shadman and Atoosa, that’s exactly what happened!
As I type this out, my little girl is sitting on my lap, and I can’t help but think everything went exactly as it was supposed to. Her birth was an incredible experience and there is no doubt in my mind of where we will go for any future pregnancies. Shadman and UCLA have set the bar high, and we are so happy and grateful to have had this birth experience.
Much love and thanks,
Jennie and Mike