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Positive Birth Story (birth center, water labor, doula supported): Rose Wilder Chermak 11/13/22

Thank you to first-time mom Bella and her engaging birth story of her daughter Rose's exceptional entrance to the world. Bella and Tim prepared well, hiring an amazing team of unique providers including midwife, childbirth educator, doula and birth photographer (and more!). Special thanks to Emily Kulsveen Photography for each image you see in Bella's story below! And special thanks to Mindful Birth Doula Emily for her sincere support of this very special family.

Doula baby Naples birth center
Special first moments between Bella and her baby, Rose.

"On Friday night, November 11th, I was eating a large platter of delicious nachos from Seed to Table with my husband, Tim, and he posted a photo of it on Facebook.

Someone commented, “You’ll either have a real baby or a food baby in t-minus 12 hours!” She was only a little off. Our baby, Rose Wilder, was born Sunday morning, November 13th, at 10:33am :)

As far back as I can remember I have been afraid of having children. Specifically, I’ve been afraid of childbirth. My mother had traumatic pregnancies and births and

she told me the stories in bits and pieces here and there throughout my life. Telling me about them was her way of protecting me from the same (if I did not have kids, I would not have to go through the trauma she did). It was the reason I did not have children earlier, even when I was otherwise ready to build a family. I convinced myself I did't want kids, that I was just not motherly, and that I could adopt if I changed my mind one day. The truth was I did not want to go through what my mom went through.

Family Birth Center of Naples doula
Bella and her mother share tender moments during Bella's labor.

My mom had severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (HG - undiagnosed). She was treated badly by doctors and family members who thought she was exaggerating her symptoms, accused her of not wanting to be pregnant, and chastised her that she needed to tough it out and just eat more food for the baby. To add insult to injury, when she went into labor her babies were substantially premature each time due to dehydration. When in the hospital she encountered

problem after problem. For her first birth she was restrained into one position and slapped by a nurse every time she started to pass out from the pain. She was eventually deeply cut by the Doctor without her permission when her child was“ stuck” at the shoulders (she was told it was her fault for not pushing hard enough, and that her hips were too small). The way she describes it was the Doctor cut her “like an orange"; -- both vertically and horizontally. She still has pain from it 40 years later. Hearing these experiences had me decide, "birth is not for me."

Doula care in SWFL Mindful Birth Doulas
Doula Emily is steady and supportive while grandma supports as well.

It maddens me that my mother was convinced she was malformed and unable to give birth naturally to her babies. I took that belief onto myself too. I thought that if my mom's hips are too small to have babies, mine are probably too small as well.

When I became pregnant at 34 years old, knowing her birth experiences, I was terrified. I remember thinking I would just need to schedule the c-section ahead of time and find a doctor who was okay with that. I did a lot of research on c-sections and then decided that major abdominal surgery was not for me!

So I had to somehow get over my fears of vaginal birth.

I went to a body worker to "check my hips," (she was confused by my request). But I was honestly convinced my hips would not allow me to give birth. She examined me and told me my hips were perfect. I did more research and read that having a doula could shorten labor time, provide an advocate for you, give encouragement when you were in the thick of labor, and help avoid complications and birth trauma. I spoke with a private doula who advised me to read positive birth stories as much as possible, and know that even though my mother was victimized and lied to, I did not have to go through the same. She told me to read Ina May Gaskin’s book, Guide to Childbirth. I read it over and over,

wishing the positive birth stories were something my mother could have experienced. It helped me believe I could experience a positive birth and get to tell the story to my baby. My goal was to break the cycle of victimization in childbirth so

my daughter would see birth differently than I did for most of my life.

I found Mindful Birth Doulas online and spoke with Christine. Emily was my doula, and she was exactly who I needed.

Mom Dad Baby doula support natural birth SWFL
The beautiful new family of three.

I labored at home, starting Saturday morning, November 12th when my mucus plug started coming out. Cramping started about an hour later. Because of the classes I took and all the books and positive birth stories I read, I got to enjoy laboring at home. I loved the time with my mom & sister, I played with my dogs and pet them during contractions, I took a hot epsom salt bath with music playing, I watched movies, I went outside for walks in my yard, I enjoyed my pool, and I did the Miles Circuit late Saturday evening with my husband.

By night time my contractions were close together and quite intense, though not as painful as I had always worried they would be. My husband was there for each contraction giving me shoulder and back massages, timing them for me and letting me

know when I was over each peak. All things we learned in class, and all things that helped me cope and get through one contraction at a time. The childbirth class with Christine is what allowed us to fearlessly labor mostly at home. It also helped both my

husband and I know when I was deep in active labor. At 3:30 am we met our doula, Emily, at the Family Birth Center of Naples. The midwife, Dawn, monitored 10 minutes of my contractions and my baby’s heartbeat, confirmed I was in active labor, and

admitted me to our birth suite.

Doula Fort Myers
3 generations of love: Grandma, Mom and Baby

I ended up laboring in a lot of different places and ways in the birth suite. I labored in bed in a few positions for awhile with IV (because I was dehydrated), on a pregnancy ball, then on the toilet to encourage a bit more dilation (dilation moved FAST when we did that), then in a birthing tub with hot water for the last bit of dilation (this felt amazing/gave me such relief between contractions), and then back to the bed for pushing. Emily was there with me for all of it. She helped me with position ideas to keep labor going, she gave me counterpressure and words of encouragement during every contraction, and she messaged my hands and feet to relax me as well. She was so

strong and focused on helping me in any way she could. She is really a badass!

Transition is fuzzy and sort of like a remembered dream, but I know I was asking those near me if I should go to the hospital. I was asking if the baby was “stuck” (I had not even started pushing yet!) and if it was too late to get an epidural. I remember being in

the tub, and seeing the sun coming in through the window, and thinking, “How long have I been here? What day is it? I can’t continue to do this forever.” I voiced concerns that I was not strong enough to continue. Every muscle was screaming at me from

exhaustion. Emily told me I had already done the hardest parts. I was fully dilated and effaced, and all that was left was the pushing stage which was almost here. She heard me praying and she prayed with me. She got me through that hard transition period

where I was starting to feel inadequate, like the contractions would never cease, and like my body could not go on.

Once pushing started, everyone gathered around and kept up the encouraging words. No one let me sit in doubt of myself. People kept saying some variation of, “she is almost out!” or “we can see her head!” and I was starting to question if they were lying

to me! Everyone kept offering to let me see with a mirror, but I was afraid if I looked I would jinx it and she would not come out!

doula baby Family Birth Center Mindful Birth
Welcome to the world, baby Rose!

But she did come out. After about an hour (not exactly sure) of pushing, she was on me for skin to skin and breastfeeding, and within 4 hours she was home with us.

Rose Wilder was 7 lbs 2 ounces, and 20.5 inches.

Someone told me that there is a very unique bond between mother, daughter, and her grandbabies. Because when I was inside my mother’s womb, all the eggs I’d ever have were also formed in her womb. So the egg that became my baby, Rosie, was also inside my mother. This makes me so happy knowing that the way we were all reunited was in a positive birth my mother could finally experience.

And the negative cycle was broken. <3"

Thank you so much Bella and Tim! Congratulations on your beautiful family and endless thanks for sharing your birth story for countless families after you.

Emily + the Mindful Birth Doulas

Visit us to schedule your Intake Call to experience doula care at your own birth!


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