The following letters are but a few of the inspiring comments I have received over the years. These mothers’ observations, feelings, and experiences are full of sensitivity, sincerity and encouragement.
Husband’s Remarks on the Consultation
Hi there Anne!
Sorry it’s taken a couple days to get this out to you…I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated every part of the consultation with you and I’m so excited to be having a home birth.
Both Jason and I really enjoyed the time you spent with us and he even remarked to me on the way home, “That’s the most I’ve ever been talked to at a prenatal appointment…and that wasn’t even a ‘real’ appointment yet!”
He was very impressed by your knowledge and consideration towards us. Before our meeting with you, the home birth was just something I wanted and Jason was going along with it for my sake. After our meeting with you, it’s something WE want to experience together.
I’m so thankful for your approach to both of us. Jason often says, “The girls do the hard part, the guys get to stand there and watch.” It’s awesome that he’s so encouraged now; that he will have our baby with me and not just watch me.
Feelings of Confidence and Security
Thank you again for the wonderful care you gave us. You gave me confidence and security and I never had a single worry about anything throughout pregnancy or delivery. You reassured me for my GBS and gave me the best tips on health. You will definitely be delivering our 4th baby.
Carrie, Nima, Tatiana, Mischa and Baby Kayvon
After 7 Hours of Pushing
Thank you so much for all of your support and care. We especially wanted to tell you how much we appreciated you being there during Peter David’s delivery. You were there all the way making sure that both mommy and baby were safe and that we had the best possible outcome.
With our love,
Alice & Peter.
Matching Our Beliefs and Philosophy Through Our Special Journey
How are you doing? I hope that this letter finds you in good spirits. We all are doing good. First of all I would like to apologize for the delay of this letter. I have been wanting to write this letter after Zivena was born, but couldn’t think of the right words to say or the right time since I now have 3 little angels.
I’m very thrilled about the turn out of the delivery. Having a home birth was something I dreamed about. I was more than happy when Marc and I decided to have another baby. I read and read about home births and about how magical it was to have a baby right in the comfort of your own home.
When Marc decided to support my decision for a home birth, our only obstacle and concern was to find someone who could match our beliefs and philosophy. You, Anne are someone who was meant to help us with this special journey through pregnancy. We believe that we attract what we want in life. Thank you so much for helping us. Thank you for working with us in our toughest financial time. I pray and I send good towards your path because you truly cared and not only made a commitment to care for me and my baby, but you acted up on that promise.
In today’s world it is hard to find pure hearts and I’m very proud you were able to help me in the prenatal care and delivery of my child. Although you may not hear from us again or in some distant future not know about us, one thing is for certain you are and will in our minds for the rest of Marc’s and my existence.
Zivena is a very healthy baby. After her jaundice cleared up she has been happy and very intelligent. I’m proud to share with you that she is being EC’d and is doing absolutely wonderful at it; something that I did not do with my other daughters’. Not only are we doing cloth diapers but are practicing baby wearing. Kuki and Kali are very proud of her sister and their bonding and love for each other grows every day. My family is strong and powerful because we work hard at it every day. Once again thank you for being part of something so magical and so important in my and my husband’s life.
With warm appreciation,
Sylvia and Marc
It’ll be hard to write this while I’m all hormonal. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful guidance, support and kind professionalism over the course of this pregnancy. Your advice made all the difference during the heart beat scare and without a doubt your calm head and skill kept me out of an operating room on Trent’s birthday.
Every time I think about how lucky I was, I get all overcome with gratitude. We put our trust in you and you helped us achieve a beautiful, peaceful birth at home. We can’t thank you enough.
Hope all of your upcoming births so smoothly and that more and more people realize how normal and natural birth really is.
Diane, Jason and Trent.
During one of Diane’s prenatal appointments I detected a fetal arrhythmia with my Doppler. An ultrasound during that appointment confirmed that the baby’s heart was not beating normally. After taking CoQ 10 and consulting with a cardiac perinatologist, the problem resolved.
Our Home Birth Was Amazing
I’m sorry it has taken sooo long to send these (pictures) to you. We were supposed to copy the video for you, but it wasn’t recorded correctly at Isaac’s birth. I’m sending you pictures instead. We’ve moved to northern California and are pregnant (4 months) with our second (and final J) child.
Isaac is 18 months old now. Perfect, happy, healthy. Never been sick. The two of them will be two years apart. I wish we could just call you over to help us with this next one too. (a bit far, bummer). Fortunately, we’ve found another amazing midwife up here. She’s working out just fine.
Thank you again for taking us in so last minute at a scary time for us. Thank you for always being so patient and understanding. You were amazing! Our home birth was amazing.
Love Rebekah, Gabriel & Isaac.
Oh, how I wish I would have met you sooner than the day before I went into labor! I'm so grateful that you were willing to take me on as a client. Because I had such a positive birth experience with you, and only knew you less than 24 hours, I wanted to share my story. The more I've thought about it, the more I realize that my decision to have a homebirth could be described as instinctual. For all nine months of my pregnancy, I was preparing to have a hospital birth.
“The hospital is like a busy restaurant, you have to get your name on the list.”
This being my first child, I feared the unknown. But one doctor visit after another, I had this stirring uneasiness. I finally broke down, not clearly knowing why I was so upset, when my doctor told me to choose the date that I would like to be induced. Since this was my first child, she assured me that I would go beyond my due date and would need to be induced. I clearly remember her saying, "The hospital is like a busy restaurant. You have to get your name on the list." That night I cried for hours. And it finally occurred to me that my tears were telling me that I really believed my body was built to have a baby.
This was what God intended and no drugs or artificial stimulation should be involved. I wanted to have a natural childbirth, but I feared the hospitals basically wouldn't allow it! Only three days before I contacted you, Anne, I started researching other alternatives for giving birth. I was so naïve, I actually first thought that maybe I just needed a different doctor! But as I researched, this layering effect of information started to build and I started to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
I was so naïve, I actually thought that maybe I just needed a different doctor!
After watching the documentary, The Business of Being Born, I realized that I was 'talking to the wrong people'! The doctors were not interested in my desire to have a natural childbirth. Here is the data from my research that compelled me to find you and call you: . 95% of women giving birth in the hospital get an epidural. Nearly 65% of births end up in a C-section. The hospital I was headed for had a 50% C-section rate. Doctors prefer C-sections because they're quick and they guarantee an easy delivery for a healthy baby and mom. They're also more expensive.
Epidurals are so common because who is easier for the nurses to deal with? a) A woman moaning and laboring loudly for 12 hours or longer; or b) A woman quiet and smiling, strapped to the hospital bed numb from the waist down. Hospitals require you to wear a fetal monitor which limits your ability to move around. Common sense and a little research will show that a woman in labor needs to move around, to perhaps squat during delivery and use gravity rather than lie flat on her back in a bed. . Hospitals want to fill those beds, in and out as quickly as they can. If you "fail to progress" as they call it, then off you go for an unnecessary C-section.
Knowing this, how could I expect to go into the hospital and expect a different outcome? Just writing this brings up those tense feelings I have about what my experience might have been like if I hadn't decided to have a homebirth. With my 8 pound 6 ounce baby, I could have easily been one of those women who is told, "Your baby is too big for you, you need a C-section." I just felt compelled to find an alternative, and a homebirth was the most logical choice. My husband supported my decision to find a midwife saying he first wanted all of the "what ifs" answered.
I think the sense of peace you gave me sent the same message to my body and I went into labor the next morning
After meeting with you, we both felt like a huge weight had been lifted off our backs. You put our minds at ease. You were so easy to talk to, and you were so articulate in describing your services and what we could expect. After leaving your office, I felt a peace that we had made the right decision. In fact, I believe I relaxed after meeting you, knowing I wasn't headed for the hospital. Only four days before our visit my doctor had informed me that my uterus was hard and the baby was high and tight, nowhere near coming down. After our visit with you, I think the sense of peace you gave me sent the same message to my body and I went into labor the next morning, which happened to be on my due date!
And what can I say, my birth experience was absolutely amazing. It was not easy by any means, but I clearly remember at the pushing stage of labor, I thought to myself, "I'm so thankful that I'm not going to hear a doctor say 'Let's get the forceps and help your baby out.' Or 'Let's get the vacuum to help get this baby out.'" I deep down believed labor and birth were a natural process and that it was something my body was meant to do. And that's exactly how it went when I delivered my little girl. My birth experience was also such a bonding event with my husband. He experienced every contraction with me as we tried various positions and he coached me through the wave of contractions. Being at home allowed him to be so involved. In fact, it involved my whole family in the most beautiful way.
The patience and caring support that you showed will never be forgotten.
Rather than being limited on the number of visitors, my mom, dad, and sister were all able to witness and take part in the most beautiful arrival of my daughter. The patience and caring support throughout my experience that you and Coley showed will never be forgotten. You both were there to guide me through it, but you also let me experience it. You were the answer to my prayers. Although I believe there's a time and place when hospitals are needed, I now clearly understand that instinctual feeling I had to give birth on my own, in a comfortable and familiar environment, and surrounded by the support of not only my loved ones, but also of an experienced, reassuring and extremely caring midwife.
Thank you for what you do. It's obvious that it's a passion for both you and Coley. I wish more women felt compelled as I did to give their babies the best start in life with a safe and natural homebirth.
Sincerely, Jeff, Khara and Elyse
Skeptical About Chiropractic
After 4 hospital births and 1 wonderful midwife assisted homebirth, I was afraid I could never find another midwife as wonderful as the one I had had before.
I felt sure I wanted to use Anne from consultation appointment and never regretted it. She was always sweet, encouraging and definitely knowledgeable. I believe that her experience and expertise prevented a possible posterior birth and/or c-section.
I felt the baby turn to the correct side
When the baby was in a position that had a high likelihood of causing a posterior birth, she sent me to the chiropractor. Skeptically, I went, figuring that it couldn't hurt and might avoid some difficulties. Sure enough, on my way home from the visit, I felt the baby turn to the correct side. It took about a week for the baby to turn back and each time I went back to the chiropractor the same results followed as well as no more round ligament pains. That was a relief.
She felt a lump on my back, waited until the next contraction to gently encourage the baby down with her hand on my back, and next contraction our baby was born.
Then, during labor she sensed that the baby might be having trouble entering the birth canal, and felt my back. She felt a lump on my back, waited until the next contraction to gently encourage the baby down with her hand on my back, and next contraction our baby was born. Anne's assistant, Coley, is knowledgeable and experienced beyond her years, which is a testimony not only about Coley but also Anne's training.
Coley was able to answer many questions to my satisfaction and is also a gifted at midwifery. Even after moving to another state, Anne has been kind and helpful with a recent situation that I asked her opinion about. She is the one person who had the answers that made the most sense. I just can't say enough to express my appreciation and respect for Anne and Coley.
From The Woman Who Knew Horses - Two Weeks Overdue.
Excerpts from a Diary….
I want to thank you again for giving me this chance. Ian's birth has been a defining moment in my life, and I couldn't have done it without your guidance and support. The care I received through my pregnancy and birth has been absolutely superior, and I can't imagine wanting to do it any other way.
I have included here two journal entries. The first I made before Ian was born, and the second was composed after. They are for you to share with anyone who could benefit from an understanding of my perspective.
Tuesday, July 8th
The waiting is the hardest part. On the one hand, I know that my mom's first pregnancy ran two weeks and two days overdue. But I'll reach that mark today, and I've started to question the accuracy of my date. It wouldn't be so bad if the people around me weren't getting so antsy about it. If I get another call from another eager relative, I may just start screening my calls. I can understand my midwife's unease, as indicated by the perinatologist referral, but the results of the ultrasound and non-stress test were encouraging. We've got all the fluid and all the responsiveness we could want. It's just not time yet. By their measurements, I don't even appear overdue. But I can feel the time approaching.
Mom says that she never had any real warning that "tonight's the night", despite being so far overdue every time.
The B-hicks continue to do their work, and the baby continues to drop lower, even without much cervical effacement. There's plenty of progress to be shown. Mom says that she never had any real warning that "tonight's the night", despite being so far overdue every time. In retrospect she can point to a single true contraction before she went to bed the night before her first was born, but at the time she had dismissed it as a fluke. I know that I haven't had even a fluke "real" contraction yet, although I had a B-hick last night that caused a nerve to fire a warning shot down my right leg. First time that's happened, anyhow.
And the baby keeps kicking, reminding me that he's not too happy about the situation himself. I can't help fretting that there's something going on in my head that keeps me from going into labor. The whole grandma-in-the-nest concept, while logical, still doesn't sit right with me. A woman can't go dangerously overdue just because her mom came to stay, right? I could see a delay of a few days perhaps. But having her here to talk to, and to be able to ask questions about her experience as they come up has been too valuable to my peace of mind. There are some things you can't communicate over the phone. Nature bides her time, but when the time is chosen she waits for nobody.
The stress of a non stress test
My husband was very kind and supportive this weekend. I hadn't expected him to take two days off of work just to tend to my needs. Monday's outing was relaxing and restoring; it was good for both of us. I hope that I go into labor by Friday, and spare us more anxiety and the expense of another non-stress test. I find the name for that test somewhat ironic, since I find the whole situation decidedly stressful. How can a doctor's appointment be any less disruptive than anything else?
And it's been stressful this past week, with the water heater going out, the dog running away, and now discovering that the air conditioning was installed improperly. Enough to drive anyone to distraction. At least I can point to little accomplishments and feel like progress has been made. The shades are hung in the front rooms, the garden is producing fresh vegetables, and we're keeping up with the dishes. I have a list of errands to keep us moving around today and take my mind off of worrying.
When I was going to school, I made a point of never actually counting how many more units I needed to graduate. It made my father crazy when he would ask and receive such imprecise answers as "probably not this year", or "all the third-year classes are complete", or "just a few more on the art degree, but the math degree is done". But I knew that pining for the end would distract me from the business of finishing. The watched pot never boils. Graduation day came just the same. With pregnancy it seems that there is so much focus on the due date that one can't enjoy these last few days in quiet contemplation.
I feel a yearning to hold my new baby in my arms…how long will it be
Even so, today I feel a yearning to hold my new baby in my arms. I could cry not to know how long it will be, and to fret that something will go wrong and take it from me. It would be better to keep focused on maintaining the pregnancy, and leave all else out of my mind. I've learned not to allow myself to get too excited about anything, especially something as life-changing as this.
And I believe in what I'm trying to do here. Ending my first pregnancy with a c-section was a mistake. I know that now. Even though everything worked out well enough, I left myself with fewer options for the future when I took my doctor's advice so blindly. It would be easy to beat myself up over it now, as that one decision continues to haunt me at every office visit. Why didn't I talk to my mother back then, when she could have assured me that 40 weeks was no time to bail?
But it's water under the bridge. I can only decide what I want this time around, and do my best to make it happen. Back then I had no opinion on the matter, but now I've taken the time to examine every option and form a plan that fits my values. I believe in the importance of birthing at home both for myself and for my society. My reasons run deeper than personal economics or romanticism.
Traditional midwifery would be a healthy change for the nation
I feel that a return to traditional midwifery would be a healthy change for the nation, not just for the socioeconomic benefits, but also to restore our faith in the natural order and lead people to a more intuitive understanding of life. Some may choose to dress it in religious doctrine, and that's fine by me. I view it plainly as a need to take more responsibility for our own bodies, and not push it upon the medical establishment to make a generic system for something that could be better handled on an individual level. Your body is always giving you feedback—why does it seem nobody will listen unless it comes from the mouth of a Ph.D.? How could a doctor know what your body only tells to you?
I've often said that it would be insanity to watch your dog, cat, horse, or whatever other domesticated animal for the first signs of labor and then rush them to the veterinary hospital. Sounds like a good way to disrupt labor, interfere with bonding and nursing, or have them die of stress. The experienced caretaker knows that when an animal goes into labor, the first and most important rule is not to interfere in any way unless it is absolutely necessary. Are humans so different? Why have we been trained to, at the moment labor begins, run to a place that most people are otherwise deeply terrified to approach? We try to trump up our superior intelligence and ability to reason as protections against the shock of the systematic relocation ritual, but our brain capacity does not save us from natural responses like confusion and fear, or dull our emotions at this most extreme time of vulnerability.
The nurse rotations and brief doctor flybys that one endures in the hospital do not ensure quality of care.
This time, I want to labor and deliver at home, under the watch of an understanding, respectful, and knowledgeable attendant. The nurse rotations and brief doctor flybys that one endures in the hospital do not ensure quality of care, and are inadequate to relieve the anxiety that is artificially created as one is unceremoniously processed through the medical bureaucracy. And for what? No gain in general outcomes and a lot of extra expense, hassle, and risk.
Now I only wonder if my body will cooperate. After so much abdominal surgery, is the natural apparatus still functional? With my mind so cluttered by uncertainty, will I be able to focus? Am I to be the advocate without experience? I would be a hypocrite if I didn't stick through to the end and give it my best effort. Even if it all ends in another surgery, having a midwife has been such a blessing through this pregnancy. Things that, the first time around, my doctors told me were just part of pregnancy (like morning sickness, fatigue, heartburn, constipation), and must be endured or drugged away, turned out this time around to be entirely manageable by simple adjustments of diet and lifestyle. ,
…my midwife is there to give counsel to my uncertainty and entertain my curiosity
And if I need to talk something through, my midwife is there to give counsel to my uncertainty and entertain my curiosity. I will have a healthier baby thanks to my midwife's care, even if she never has the chance to birth him. But I hope sincerely that I can give her that chance. I think it would be a triumph for us both.
I must not fear failure, nor blind myself to the realities of my own situation. If it is meant to be, it will be. If it is not, I must accept it without shame. In the end, what matters most is that my baby be born as healthy as he can be, into a family with solid values and a loving home. It would please me beyond words if he may be born at home as well, in the presence of his loving family.
Sunday, July 13th
It seems I needed to give my hopes over to faith before they could be realized. Once things got started, they proceeded quickly and without hesitation. I knew by the time I left from my morning appointment with the perinatologist that I was going into labor. I called my husband to be sure he left work early and avoided the Friday traffic, and I alerted my midwife as well, and then stopped by the gas station on the way home.
Timing contractions is more art than science, but the exercise itself turned out to be valuable for more than just the information it provided. By the time the contractions were getting serious, I knew how to feel them coming several seconds before the pain manifested, and this allowed me to prepare a little better for each one. At first I could almost control how hard a contraction would come on by choosing to focus on it. If I ignored it as it came on, the intensity was greatly reduced and I could talk through it easily enough. If I decided to internalize, I was rewarded with a dramatically more powerful sensation.
My midwife told me she thought I had a "shy uterus", since my contractions were politely discrete when I phoned her, despite their intensity just before I called and immediately after I hung up. I think my labor would have stalled if she had come too soon, and I can't imagine trying to maintain my concentration at the hospital. I am ever so glad to have been laboring at home in my familiar environment where I could focus on my job and dedicate all my energy to delivering my baby.
I had my best and most solid support in my husband. After timing so many contractions together, he could read it in my eyes when another was coming. It was his solid, steady eye contact that helped me through the contractions leading up to transition. That man could stare down a charging rhino, and his gaze was the rock I needed when my own strength was not enough. Of course, sometimes his stoicism can be a bit misleading... our poor midwife was very surprised to arrive and find us nearly ready to deliver. I have to admit that I became a little frightened as the contractions lengthened and we entered transition. As we abandoned the timing ritual and focused on just making it through each one, I remember thinking that I should have given my husband a more thorough tour of our birth kit. But I knew that the midwife was on her way and would arrive soon, and it would have done no good to call her and panic her as she made her way through the commuter traffic. Besides, I needed my husband there by my side.
Our VBAC home birth produced a hollering, pink, 10 pound and 5.5 ounce, 23.5 inch long, healthy baby boy
Our VBAC home birth produced a hollering, pink, 10 pound and 5.5 ounce, 23.5 inch long, healthy baby boy, just a little before 9 PM on Friday evening. I find it ironic that my first son, who the perinatologist feared would be over 10 pounds by term, was delivered at only 8 pounds and 9 ounces, while this second had been estimated at only eight and a half pounds by ultrasound taken three days prior to delivery. I have to say, I'm glad I didn't know how big he really was until it was over. Sometimes having extra information is more distracting than helpful. While the pain and effort was substantial, it only adds to the sense of accomplishment that I feel for having done it right this time.
If my husband and I hadn't already planned to stop with two children, I think next time I would have opted for the underwater birth. Although I've never been one for tub bathing, in these days following the delivery I've come to appreciate the uniquely soothing affect of a simple tub of warm water. Nothing else does as much to relax all of these overexcited muscles. But our family is complete now, and with this last, natural delivery, my sense of womanly self is complete as well. While I'm sure I would be just as happy with my new son if things hadn't worked out exactly as I had planned, I now have an added sense of pride for having the strength this time to stand up for what I believe.
With love and sincerest gratitude,
The Kind of Attention a Midwife Gives
Thank you so much for being my midwife. You were so patient and kind before, during and after the birth. You made my birth experience everything I dreamed it would be and more. (Well, the actual labor was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but I'll know better next time.) I know that for our next baby I will have you as my midwife again. I could never go back to a doctor again knowing the kind of attention I can get from you.
Thanks again for everything Anne.
Love Don, Cori and (baby) Jack
Hope you are in good health and spirits. It has been some time that we've spoke, yet I am so glad Melissa and Emiliano are going with you! My family is great, the baby girl you delivered is now 2 1/2 years and a lil' critter! We just had another baby in November of 2006. However we delivered in a hospital, and again the only reason we delivered there is because Medi-Cal would not cover a homebirth.
There wasn't one nurse who was in-tune or genuine, My husband was pushed aside, unlike the home birth where he experienced giving life with me.
Let me tell you however, your personal and professional care was above and beyond my experience at the Desert Regional Medical Center, in Palm Springs, CA. There wasn't one nurse who was in-tune or genuine, this made it very sterile and difficult to get comfortable. My husband was kind of pushed aside, unlike the home birth where he experienced giving life with me. Our family will never forget the compassion and empowering experience of your care, and will always be connected in a sacred way. Warm wishes and prosperity to you and Coley for the New Year!
Dear Anne and Coley,
(our Turtle and our Bear) *What can we say? Thanks are not enough to say to ones who perform the sacred arts of midwifery. You both have become a part of our family's history, it's that beautiful. *Both of my babies have come into this world so softly, so peacefully, (like my ancestors did it), with your loving support. *May the Creator bless and keep you both safe in your life's voyages,
Emiliano Melissa, Iyari and Atlani