Hey Tribe! On The Village Blog I love connecting with people in the community to share their knowledge regarding all things health and family related. This week we have Zara Middleton, mom of 4, wife and Christian who has an incredible birth journey of cesarean, homebirth and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (vbac)! Born in Jamaica, raised in Delaware she moved to NC for undergrad at Campbell followed by her Doctorate from the UNC School of Dentistry.
We hope her story ignites and inspires you to reach for the birth you desire. Zara will also be joining us at our Cesarean Support Group this month, Wednesday November 30 at 6pm to share her story. Enjoy!
My birth journey began when I became pregnant with my oldest at the end of my residency at UNC Hospitals. I had a yearning to find something different but at the time I started searching for a different provider I was too far along in my pregnancy to qualify for the local midwife birth center so I stuck with my ob/GYN that I always had through my matriculation at UNC SOD. It was a group practice of several doctors and NP. Some of who I liked and disliked. I did all that I could to prepare for this journey by exercising daily, attending classes at the hospital and local baby store on breastfeeding, baby care, carseat safety, baby growth and development, you name it...almost a class a week, some times twice.
As the time drew close I was completely ecstatic and in full anticipation my bundle of joy making an entrance into the world. This birth was a culmination of everything I'd hoped and dreamed of. Except my story had a slight twist, I was 2 weeks late and due to the fact that I didn't progress within the doctors time frame after what seemed like an eternity...many tears and somewhat forced decision... my beautiful baby boy was delivered by cesarean. Although I was over the moon with love and anticipation for mi hijo, it was hard overcoming the disappointment that followed because I worked so hard, did everything that I knew about to have a vaginal, unmedicated birth. I knew I needed to heal so I went on a mission to do just that.
In the year that followed I talked to other moms, including my own. I was surprised to find out that she had a midwife. I knew I was a big baby and that my sister was even bigger which gave me the courage I needed to know that having big babies was possible. That was just the beginning, then I found out that I was expecting again. This time I went after what I wanted, so I got a midwife. I initially went to the midwife group that delivered at the hospital because again I didn't qualify the local birth center because now I was classified as a new patient with a history of a c-section. As time went on, I grew to know the midwives. Then one day I learned that my favorite midwife was leaving to start her owned home birth practice. I was intrigued! In fact, I'd never thought of it before until that very moment. After deciding to pursue this interest, doing research and attending informational sessions, I was introduced to a wonderful community of women from every walk of life that had taken the journey of homebirthing. So subsequently, I decided to follow her and became a patient in her start up homebirth practice.
It was a beautiful experience. My son was allowed to participate in every aspect of my prenatal visits. It was completely different from any other experience I'd had thus far. I was at peace with my decision. But I knew that I had more work to do in order to overcome my fear that history would repeat itself. So I sought after the help of a doula , who introduced me to Reiki healing, and Hypnobabies. Additionally, I utilized Chiropractic care, and acupuncture. This was just what I needed to get over my fears. I went on to have my beautiful daughter 2 weeks late at home with medication or c-section after 4 days of intense Braxton hicks and hours of laboring. She also came with a twist ...not in the birth pool but on the bed. Thereafter, my confidence was restored! So I vowed to only have home births from then on.
As luck would have it, homebirth in the state on North Carolina came under fire due to some adverse outcomes. So when I found out that I was expecting my third baby, my amazing team was no longer together and even then though I had a successful VBAC I was still ineligible for birth at the local birth center. I tried going back to the hospital midwives but they weren't what I was looking for. It was hard for them to live up to what I'd come to expect from my experience with midwives. They, in effect, told me within a certainty that I'd most likely have a cesarean again. I knew that they were not the place for me. I had to find another alternative. My doula suggested driving 2 hours to nearest birth center in Statesville (Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center). She had been to classes there and heard great things from moms who delivered there. Even more surprising, they took new patient moms who had c-section in the past. I took a chance and decided to drive and it was a great choice. They lived up to the expectations that I had for midwives, allowed my doula, son and daughter to be a part of the process and they honored my choice for a natural unmedicated birth.
My second son came 3 weeks late, unbelievable, and was 10 pounds. It was an amazing waterbirth! It was an amazing journey especially after laboring in the car for 2 hours prior to arriving. 3 years later I was expecting my 4th baby, a girl. This time I knew the gender because of a gender reveal celebration. I knew that I wanted to have her at the birth center. This time the twist was that I was of advanced maternal age. so there were precautions to take and more testing. I moved closer to the birth center during that time so I knew it would be less car laboring. I expected her to come at least 2 weeks late and she did. However, what I didn't anticipate was that she'd be over 10 pounds and that I'd have her on the bed not in the birth pool . I'm grateful to have had these indescribably beautiful array of birth experiences. I wouldn't trade them for anything.