Our Evey was born at 1:48 AM on Saturday, March 21st. It was a planned home birth, guided by two expert midwives, Helen Stockton and Nyasia Bey—both knowledgeable, experienced, super-supportive, available, and caring. It was the birth experience my partner, Maryellen, has wanted ever since things didn’t go exactly as she wanted them to go in 2009 with our son, Griffin. Before his birth, we spent a lot of time thinking about and writing the birth plan but, when push came to shove at the birthing center, there was never a feeling that the birth plan was any kind of real guiding document for our midwives and doctors there. We felt pressured into making compromises with our birth plan, and this ultimately led to a c-section, which may or may not have been necessary. I have to be honest: as the husband and father, it is not easy for me to fully understand Maryellen’s regrets about the last birth. After all, we had a healthy baby boy and a healthy wife at the end of the process. I know, though, that it has something to do with…well, with what a man may not be capable of fully understanding. After this most recent birth of our daughter, though, I can say I understand why she wanted a home birth from the beginning.
It was a beautiful experience, to put it simply. In fact, if we ever decide to have number three, I won’t hesitate this time to go with a home birth. No shuffling into the car with overnight bags, not knowing if we would be sent home for not being dilated enough. No harsh lights. No cold hallways. No stream of strangers into and out of our room. Instead, we had our home, our bed, our people.
I also admit to being an early doubter of home births when Maryellen told me she wanted one. I had the typical fears: what if something happens? Time and time again, I was reminded of the entirety of human history pre-hospital. That did help a bit, but the aspect of the process that helped erase my fears completely was getting to know and spending time with Helen and Nyasia. This was much different than the parade of midwives we met at our birthing center in 2009, when we could never be sure which of the midwives was actually going to be present at the birth. First, both women are clearly experts in their field. They had answers to every one of our questions. And, they were 100% committed to making this the best possible experience for Maryellen and I. They clearly cared about us throughout the process, from begin flexible when scheduling home visits (sure beats operating on hospital time) to answering our random phone calls post-birth about ingredients for her herbal bath. On the night of the birth, they were with us from late evening to the crack of dawn—long after Evey was born—to make sure that we were comfortable and that our home was put back in order. They handled every stage of Maryellen’s labor professionally and expertly—and not in a cold, methodical way we are familiar with after our birth center experience—but with warmth and knowledge of us as people.
When Evey was born, Maryellen leaned back into Nyasia’s arms and cried, while Helen helped position Evey in her arms. It was right then that I clearly saw and recognized that these two women were not merely medical professionals—they were a part of this story, they were part of our family in this moment. Maryellen, because of these two women, was encouraged and able to have an intervention-free VBAC right in our very own home, erasing five years of wondering what might have happened with our son if we had had the right kind of professionals around us. We don’t have to wonder anymore. Thank you, Helen and Nyasia, for being in our corner, and for bringing our beautiful Evey into the world in most natural way possible!
Jamie (husband and father)