Hey Mamas! I’m so excited for today’s post to tell you about my wonderful birth experience at Dar a Luz Birth and Health Center!
Before I dive in though, I feel like we need to set something straight. All birth is beautiful no matter how it happens. Becoming a mom makes you a bad mamajamma (because I can’t say the word I want to say there). Unmedicated, epidural, Cesarean, hospital or birth center or however else it happened for you, your birth is amazing and so are you!
However, my hope is for all mamas to receive the care that I received at Dar a Luz. My birth was amazing and powerful, and I would love it if every woman got to experience that. So here we go with my story and experience at Dar a Luz!
I began my experience with Dar a Luz toward the end of my first trimester with my second baby. My first was born at a hospital under hospital and midwife care. I was induced at 42 weeks, and it was by all means not a terrible experience, but it was looong, hard, and lacking. I wanted more and better the second time around.
Care at Dar a Luz started with an orientation where the midwives told us all about the care I could expect to receive there and how it differs from a typical hospital environment. I got to see the facility, which is beautiful. It looks and feels like a home. It is such a cozy and peaceful place. I got to ask any questions my husband or I had as well as get a quote for our insurance coverage there.
Once we decided to begin care, I filled out a really in depth form about my history, lifestyle, previous birth, etc. that the midwife discussed with me during my first visit. Pregnancy, while normal, can take a big toll on your body, so having your provider know and care for all parts of your body is reassuring.
My visits at Dar a Luz were spread out a little further at first because I was a second time mom with no complications, but with each one they took the time to answer any questions we might have had. We were never ever rushed through an appointment. Dar a Luz also provided 24-hour access to a midwife via phone call. If anything ever came up, I knew I could always reach one of the midwives.
One of the great things Dar a Luz provides is information. In addition to their own pregnancy and birth book, Dar a Luz care includes several great classes. As a second time mom I took the condensed birth class which had great info, and a class on what happens if they have to intervene or transfer to a hospital. Both of these left me feeling prepared and comfortable knowing the Dar a Luz team was more than prepared for anything that could come up! Classes also include a regular birth series, hypnobirth series, breastfeeding, newborn head to toe, and a car seat clinic. These would have helped me SOO much with my first baby!!
On to the birth!
I had been having contractions for a couple of weeks that never turned into anything. I just kept waking up more and more pregnant. On a Friday night I was having a lot of these contractions, but when I woke up Saturday–even though I was still pregnant–the contractions were still coming. They were staying pretty consistent all morning at around 10-12 minutes apart, and getting a little stronger as the morning went. My husband and I were both going into work that evening. (We both work as air traffic controllers at the same facility.) Since the contractions were manageable, I went in.
The contractions got closer together throughout the afternoon. When they were about 7-9 minutes apart, I decided to check in with the midwife on call. She told me to keep monitoring until I was having to really breathe through them, and then to call her back or come in. She said it could be labor or just more early contractions that could stop again.
I went back into work, and within about an hour the contractions were predictable at 7 minutes apart and getting stronger. I was thinking it was probably time to at least head home, and right on cue, up goes the air traffic volume. So I was stuck for a little bit longer.
Yep. I worked busy air traffic in labor.
We made it home and made arrangements for our 2-year-old, while I continued to labor on the couch with the lights out, just breathing and relaxing. I had taken hypnobirthing the first time around, and was just putting these practices into place.
When my contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart, we headed on over to the birth center. We got set up in our birthing room. The midwife checked me (I was at 5 cm) and brought me a birthing ball to labor on. At this point my labor kind of stalled out. I was exhausted. And the ball just wasn’t working. She suggested I try to rest a little bit. So I did rest for 15-30 minutes, but still nothing was getting any stronger.
My midwife sat down and talked with us about options. She said I could rest a little more and see what happened, try to push labor along with walking, breast pumping, and bouncing on the ball, or go back home and just try to rest there.
She reiterated that I do what felt right to me, and that no decision was wrong.
I chose to go home.
Sure enough, a couple hours later we were back at the birth center. My contractions were right on top of each other, and I was shaking. We went back to our room. And after a few minutes and a check on baby, I got into the tub.
I hadn’t decided for or against a water birth, but it felt right in the moment, so that’s what I went with. It seemed like just as soon as I got in the tub, I felt my body pushing.
This is the moment I really felt like Dar a Luz was special.
I told the midwife who was across the room getting things ready that I was pushing, and she said, “Okay go for it” with complete and utter trust in my body’s ability and timing. She got the nurse and came over to check on me and baby and assist me.
After a few pushes I looked up and said, “I can’t do this.” To which she responded with a smile, “Yes, you can.” She showed me his head crowning with a mirror. That was the push I needed to get me through. As I pushed him out, I was able to reach down and pull my baby up to my chest. My little Isaiah was born 40 minutes after getting back to the birth center.
And I did it.
I labored, trusted my body, worked harder than I ever have. (Well, maybe not quite. He was baby number 2.) And I brought him out of my womb and up to my chest for one heck of a magical moment.
One of the really special things about birthing with Dar a Luz is the postpartum care.
After having my baby, I was discharged at 4 hours. Yes, 4 hours. I honestly thought this was crazy when they told me this would happen. But it was so perfect. I got to be in my own bed. And I did not have anyone waking me up to take vitals or poke my baby at random times.
A midwife came to us the next day for our check ups, which was also amazing. Then we were both seen at the birth center at 3 days, 2 weeks, 1 month for baby, and 6 weeks for me.
I don’t think I am alone when I say the postpartum stage was hard. The emotions, hormones, logistics of a new baby, and breastfeeding were all hard. I was so grateful to be able to check in with a midwife more frequently. I also had several visits with a lactation consultant, because breastfeeding did not come easy. Through all of these visits, the midwives and lactation consultants were patient, kind, and understanding. They really took the time to listen and help to come up with a solution to any problems we were facing.
This care also does not stop at 6 weeks postpartum.
Just last week, almost 5 months postpartum I got mastitis–a painful breast infection you can get breastfeeding. It’s like the flu without being contagious plus a really painful lump of clogged milk in your breast. The midwife took so much time discussing all sorts of ways to help me get better–and all after clinic hours. She stayed to be able to get me in and help me feel better.
My birth was the most peaceful, powerful, and beautiful experience. It is a story I love to look back on. I am so grateful for Dar a Luz helping me to make it so special. This place is magical.