Coming Home Again

December 27, 2017 at 1:19 pm

I’ve given birth in a large teaching hospital, a small community hospital, at home, and at a birth center. There were pros and cons to each setting. You can read more about those HERE. When I found out I was pregnant with my sixth baby in September, I started pondering my options for the birth right away.

Last time, in order to keep my anxiety levels in check, I felt it was best to know I would be very close to a hospital. Blossom Birth Center, the location we chose, is across the street from Phoenix Children’s Hospital and five minutes down the street from St. Joseph’s Hospital. Another reason I chose Blossom is because I was already acquainted with Mary Langlois, co-owner of the birth center. I met her during my third pregnancy and attended a doula training she taught in 2009. I had a strong feeling that Mary was the midwife I needed to attend my 5th birth, and she proved to be just exactly the right person. I will be forever grateful for the nurturing and care she gave to me.

When I started thinking about the birth of my sixth baby, I realized that many of the fears and concerns I had during my fifth pregnancy were gone. My anxiety levels have been very low for the past couple of years, and I just didn’t have the same need to be across the street from a hospital. While I absolutely adore Mary Langlois and would have her attend all of my births if I could, we recently moved a lot further west from where we were.

The distance and the driving was definitely an issue weighing on my mind–in labor and afterward. Driving to the birth center while in labor caused a significant slowing in my labor progress, and getting into the car and traveling home after giving birth was awful. I felt like I was going to die until I got home to my bed. The idea of going through those challenges again was very unappealing to me. The more I pondered this 6th birth, the more I felt that giving birth at home was the best choice for us this time. Choosing home again felt peaceful and right.

So my next task was to find a midwife. Several had been recommended by friends, and I perused reviews of Phoenix midwives on Yelp. Marinah Farrell was one midwife whose reviews really grabbed me. People said things like:

  • “I had the pleasure of being able to work with Marinah at a birth center for about a year and a half. I feel like I learned more from working with her than I had in the 14 years I had been a labor nurse before meeting her.”
  • “Marinah Farrell is hands down the most compassionate, loving, caring, experienced woman I have ever met in my life.”
  • “She is truly the best birth partner I could have asked for and I recommend her to all my friends.”
  • “Dearest Marinah. She is smart, gentle, nurturing, warm, and has the hands of a healer. She is amazing!”

While reading about Marinah, I had the most wonderful feeling of peace and comfort wash over me. Serendipitously, her home office happens to be literally two minutes from our new home in the west valley. Everything seemed so right, but I wanted to meet with one other midwife I had heard great things about. This other midwife was a very sweet and gentle soul, but during and after our consultation, I felt fearful, unsettled, and like a liability because of my mental health history. She was impeccably kind, but I could definitely tell that she didn’t feel good about the prospect of having me as a client and wasn’t even sure if she could legally accept me without risking losing her license. I left her office feeling a little bit like a scary monster and very disheartened.

I had already scheduled a consultation with Marinah, and we had been in contact via text and email. I didn’t want to bother wasting her time with a consultation if my medication risked me out of a home birth, so I asked her about it via text. Her response instantly put my heart at ease.

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Our consultation with Marinah was perfect. She exuded so much love, compassion, and a beautiful healing energy. During our visit, I asked her about whether she had had any spiritual experiences in her time as a midwife. In response, she shared an exquisite story that spoke to my heart and filled me with joy and peace. Elijah, this child in my womb, has visited and communicated with me spiritually more than any other child I have born. With such a powerful soul coming to me, I felt it was important that my midwife be spiritually in-tune. Everything about Marinah and my experience in finding her led me to know that she was definitely the person my baby and I needed.

Some other cool facts about Marinah:

  • Marinah has attended more births than she could count. From her website: “I stopped counting about 10 years ago when I was attending births with international NGOs and doing a lot of births in all settings – I could do 5 births in one shift! I have been attending births for the last 21 years and licensed in Arizona since 2003.”
  • Marinah has been learning from healers all of her life. From her website: “I . . . have worked with and learned from traditional midwives, primarily Mexican-Indigenous midwives and healers, for most of my life since I consider my mother the first healer who taught me.”
  • Marinah was the first midwife of color to become president of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA). See her bio on the MANA website HERE.
  • Marinah helped to create Phoenix Allies for Community Health (PACH), a community-funded free clinic in downtown Phoenix. She is featured in this 2013 video about the clinic.
  • Marinah has two wonderful assistants/students. Eyndia and Leslie are both very similar to Marinah–kind, gentle, and compassionate. Leslie just recently joined Marinah after working for a long time as a NICU nurse and wanting to experience a different (more healthy, less sad and medically-intensive) side of birth.

I don’t really have an agenda for my 6th birth. Maybe I’ll have a water birth. But I feel confident that my birth team will be nurturing and supportive of whatever feels right to me. I know I’ll be safe in their hands.

It feels good to come home again.

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If you’re curious about why I would consider a natural birth, home birth, or midwives at all, here are some posts that might help: