Leaping Into Labor

Every birth is unique, but the day Kaylee Morgan gave birth to her daughter Charlotte was particularly special. 

It was February 29th, for one, making Charlotte a Leap Day baby. Charlotte’s birth also meant that Kaylee’s young son Emmanuel was finally a big brother, the kind that adores his baby sister and holds her every day. 

Charlotte’s birth was also Kaylee’s first time delivering in a birth center–the only one of its kind in West Virginia. Compared to hospitals, birth centers offer a cozier, more home-like delivery experience for those seeking a natural birth. 

After having a traumatic experience delivering Emmanuel in a hospital, Kaylee knew she wanted something different for Charlotte’s birth. So, she went online and searched for a place where she could have an unmedicated delivery in a birth center, with support from a midwife who would respect her wishes. That’s how she found out about FamilyCare’s OB/GYN & Birth Center, and she knew almost immediately that she’d found the advocate she needed. 

“During one of our visits, I was going through everything that I experienced during my first birth, and my midwife, Erin Listermann, told me we were going to use this birth as a healing process from my first, which changed everything for me,” Kaylee said.

On the day Kaylee gave birth to Charlotte, she began by laboring at home. She regularly called Listermann, who listened to her breathing and descriptions of her pain until advising her it was time to come to the birth center. Throughout this process, Kaylee says Listermann never rushed her and repeatedly encouraged her that everything was going to be fine. 

When Kaylee arrived at FamilyCare’s OB/GYN & Birth Center, she decided to try laboring in the tub and was surprised to find how much she enjoyed it, since she typically doesn’t like baths. 

“Erin and her nurse assistant were incredible,” Kaylee said. “I got to just labor in the tub, and one of them was fanning me, while the other had a pitcher of warm water they were pouring over my tummy while I was having contractions. And they were also sharing lots of encouraging words with me.” 

Kaylee found that the warm water made her contractions less intense, and her skin didn’t tear at all, unlike during her first birth. She was encouraged to move around as long as it was safe and comfortable to do so. And there was room for her husband Josh to sit with her as they listened to music and prayed together during more painful contractions. 

When Kaylee finally welcomed Charlotte into the world, she delivered her Leap Day baby right in the tub. She felt so little pain that she started walking around the room trying to pick up clothing and clean the space. This was surprising because, despite having an epidural during Emmanuel’s birth, that labor and recovery period had been so much more painful.

“Growing up and becoming an adult, birth was just advertised as being scary,” Kaylee said. “When you think of birth, especially in today’s world, you think ‘I’m not doing this without an epidural.’ You don’t want to feel the pain because everybody builds it up that it is this horrible, horrible thing. But being able to do it here truly made the pain not as painful.” 

Regardless of whether they decide to deliver in a birth center or not, Kaylee recommends that all parents-to-be find a healthcare professional who will work with them and truly respect their birth plan. But for anyone who is interested in delivering at FamilyCare’s OB/GYN & Birth Center, she can’t recommend it highly enough. 

 “There was a huge difference in how I approached this birth versus my first because of the care here and the team here,” Kaylee said. “They were 100% for me, and I didn’t really feel like I had to advocate for myself because they were 100% like, ‘If you want something, that is what we’re going to strive to do.’”

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