I got pregnant with my second baby almost 18 months after Walker was born. I'd kept in touch with Janae during that time, so, when I found out I was pregnant, I called her right up. I was less than 6 weeks along, so we set up an appointment to get preliminary vitals and for her to remind me of the exciting (!) First Trimester goings on.
As with my first pregnancy, Janae was right there with my family. Walker, my toddler, was welcome at all of the prenatal visits and got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time with me.
Since my blood pressure was high, during the last few weeks of my first pregnancy, Janae monitored it closely during my second. We were both happy that it stayed in a beautiful range and I didn't have to lie down as much.
Just so everyone knows, one of the best things about Janae's prenatal care is that she is available at all times. I can't tell you how many times she answered a frantic phone call or worried text, many of which were hormonally-charged and unrelated to my baby's development. Beyond the listening ear and alleviation of fears, Janae is a pro. Seriously. This midwife has seen it all and I've found that I can't shock or surprise her. That is a great quality that comes because of her personality, but also with years of experience in her field.
So, the birth of my second child was similar to my first child's. I have to admit that it was easier on me, in numerous ways, because I knew more of what to expect.
My second son was born on a very special day to me, as well as the entire Christian world- Easter. My own Mother died when Walker was a few weeks old, and I acutely missed being able to call her to complain, marvel or just ask questions about pregnancy. Easter took on a whole new meaning to me and, because of the circumstances surrounding his entry into mortality, I was clear in my mind and body and could sense immense love and peace ushering my little baby to us.
My water, once again, broke early in the morning and trickled throughout the day. I had mild contractions, which felt more like cramps than contractions, off and on. The contractions would stop when I got really active. Janae and Michael, my husband, advised me to rest. Resting during labor, however inactive it may be, is hard for me. I get so wound up and excited and anxious to "git 'er done" that I can't be still, let alone sleep. That being said, I did try to rest.
Janae came by that evening, to check on my baby and to check on me. I got a little discouraged because the thought of waiting for my contractions to start up in earnest seemed exhausting. It turns out I did not need to fear. We put Walker to bed, as usual, and waited. Around 11 PM, I felt my cervix picking up the pace. Contractions began again, this time with greater force and at smaller intervals. Janae came again, to check my progress. Her advice was, once again, to rest. She told me and Michael to get any amount of sleep that we could. She went home, reminding me to call her at any time. I want to say we slept. I really do. But, I can't. Michael slept. It might seem silly, but I didn't want to disturb his rest, so I snuck out into the living room and labored on the couch for awhile. I had my phone's stopwatch app going and was monitoring my progress. I labored on my side, lying down. (I remembered Janae saying during my first labor, that it was a good position for me in labor, because progress came more quickly.) It did this time, as well.
I began to get tired and dazed between contractions, and then the contractions seemed to rise and fall, but to never stop completely. I called Janae. She came right over. I may or may not have verbally damned Michael to Hell, for being able to even consider sleep as an option. Poor thing. He got up and started on the counter-pressure. I had some back labor again, but could feel my contractions in the front, this time, as well. I labored on my hands and knees and, although I was nauseated for a moment, I did not vomit once. I swear my body felt like pushing, so I asked Janae if I should. She said I absolutely should listen to my body and she encouraged me to give little pushes, from my hands and knees. Then she advised me that it was time to get into position for our baby to be born. She set everything up, as before, at just the right moment. (Even as I write this, I am in awe of the skill and experience she has.)
I was on the floor again, propped up a little on pillows when Trisha came in.
Janae had asked me earlier, before labor, if she could bring an assistant along. I felt a teeny bit of apprehension about it, because I thought it might stop my labor to be with a stranger. I marveled at how comfortable I was during my entire delivery. Trisha helped Janae and they both helped me to remain calm and somewhat relaxed as I delivered our son.
Where, in my first delivery, I had not really noticed the desire to push, this time I felt the strong urge. My son's head appeared and his cord was wrapped a bit so Janae unwrapped it. (It really was just like that.) For a moment, my baby's shoulders, which were wider than his head, got stuck and he had some cyanosis around his mouth and nose. Janae and Michael urged me to push. I pushed with all my might and he was born. Michael got to hold him first, like Walker, and Janae had my son put onto my chest immediately. She and Trisha suctioned his nose and bundled him up. (I was euphoric, so I can't remember who exactly did what here.) I do remember Trisha was the keeper of the most magnificent and sustaining substance on the face of the earth: my cup of orange juice with the bendy straw in it. I'll always be grateful for that!
My son was born at 3:45 AM, Easter morning. He was a big boy, 9 days early, at 8 lbs 10 oz. and 21 inches tall. Janae and Trisha helped me get comfortable and left me in the capable care of Michael while they bathed our baby. Trisha left and Janae sat with my husband and I as we held our warm little bundle with us. She filled out her papers, (reason #gazillion why it was amazing to have her attend the birth) while we talked and laughed and got our instructions, which included applying vitamin E to our baby's face to increase blood flow and for his color to return more quickly. (That worked like a charm, by the way.)
After promising to come back later that day, Janae went home to her family. We all slept. Well, I can't lie. I can't sleep with a brand new baby. Michael sort of slept and our son slept while I listened to them breathe and felt their warmth and thanked God for the love and glimpse of eternity that He gives to us mothers, starting from the moment we meet our baby and ending never.
Did it hurt? Well, yeah. But, let me tell just say something. I've passed a kidney stone. This was easier by far. And worth it. So, so worth it.
Walker slept through the entire event and met his little brother the next morning. Best Easter Surprise for a little boy, wasn't it? Janae came back and checked us out. She waited patiently for 4(?) days for us to name him Oliver Moore Harris. He is a dream come true.
Janae's care for our family didn't end there, or even at my 6 week post-op. She came over on a particularly discouraging and exhausting afternoon to hold Ollie and to empathize with my lack of sleep and lack of desire to do much of anything except fill that void with more sleep!
In my church, when babies are born, they receive a blessing during the Sacrament meeting on a Sunday when they are old enough to venture out. Janae came to that. I still get to see her and keep her up to date on "her boys" with photos and even snuggles.
I have only had babies at home with a Midwife. I can't compare to anything, except my idea of how it might go in a hospital, with a good doctor and well-trained and caring staff. I've only had the privilege of being under the care of one of the best birth attendants on earth, and while I can't honestly compare, I can say two things: Home births with Janae attending were perfect for me, my husband and our sons and I hope to never be able to compare them to another type of birth.
So, be happy and be excited and be comforted and assured that you can decide what is best for you and your family. It is so empowering and so sacred.
I don't always share the secrets to my charmed life, but one of them is Janae. One of them is definitely Janae.