Our original reason for choosing Seattle Home Maternity was merely because it was the only south-end home birth choice we had with our insurance. However, after our experience, I feel the need to proclaim just how amazing and impressive it is. In the months leading up to birth, the care and screening was great, but for right now I would like to focus on Heather Chorley’s care during labor.
Lei’s water broke a full day before labor began, and while the hospital requested we come in for induction, Heather monitored both mother and baby for safety and gave us the information we needed to make the decision to be patient. This paid off, as labor finally began naturally.
Throughout the night, Heather’s demeanor was ideal for helping Lei be as soothed and relaxed as possible, making labor easier and safer. She never surprised Lei with demanding instructions, but instead asked Lei to do the recommended techniques “when she was ready.” Even after the birth, when Lei had some tearing and some bleeding, Heather saw that it was quickly stitched up and solved in our home.
In large part due to the excellent care and advice from Seattle Home Maternity Service, Lei had her ideal home birth, and our daughter is happy and healthy. If you are a person who values natural birth in a traditional environment such as your home, I urge you to seek the care of these spectacular women.
I can still hear Heather say to me, “This is how it is done.” She was, of course referring to the age-old practice of pushing a tiny infant into this world. The primal sounds I made in these moments were a reminder that, indeed, this was how all of creation signs. I can also hear Kate say to me, “This is your birth dance.” A dance and language all its own, the midwives at Seattle Home Maternity accompanied us on our journey welcoming our first-born son Miguel Nikos into this world.
At 33 weeks we made the decision to transfer our care. Like many women, we were blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy, suspicious of the hospital, and seeking the environment of “home”…We decided to make this tremendous shift. When we met Heather we instantly connected. She very poignantly had asked what our reservations were for a hospital birth. After sharing these with her, and visiting the birth center room, we were confident in our decision to have a midwifery experience.
The day our child decided to come was one of magic. It was sunny and daylight. When my partner called Heather that morning, she walked us through a series of scenarios—the baby could come sometime today, or with all the signs of labor, he could come later, as we were only at week 38. Calm, in-tune and insightful, she was available to answer our questions and to assure us of all the possibilities.
We labored at home for most of the early morning, until deciding to go to the center. Once at the center, Kate discovered that I had effaced, and shortly after that, Heather asked me if I felt the desire to push. Push I did with all my love and passion, for it felt so right and perfect. I could be in that primal space and have the supportive hands of the midwives, our doula and spouse guide and encourage me. After 45 minutes of soulful pushing, Miguel arrived, covered in his thick coat of vernex.
Heather and Kate moved so quickly during the labor and delivery, they operated so smoothly, communicating with each other, with me and with my spouse. They were present to the very experience and magic we felt. I could only wish other women such a journey into motherhood.
I love coming to my appointments in Columbia City—and it’s not just that I get to go to Roy’s BBQ :). I feel like I’m stepping into a good friend’s home, not a clinic. It’s been so fun to see Tess go from fearful and crying when I would get examined, to wanting to help every step of the way. I really appreciate the unhurried visits where we can ask as many questions as we need, and we can talk about our lives and be supported. And boy did I appreciate your extra support during this challenging year. And Pam, I love that you love it when I bring Tess. I feel like we get welcomed with open arms as soon as we step inside.
Because of your wonderfully supportive group, I had two births that I feel great about and will always be proud of. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have done for us.
Hello to Marge, Heather, (& Suzy) –
We thought of you all on June 30th as we celebrated Elias Pablo’s 6th birthday. His birth in the snug little basement of SHM was transformative. We send our love to you all on this day every year.
We are currently living in Kinshasa, DRCongo, have added Marja Lucy, age 2, to the family, and are all doing quite well. Some of my work involves a prenatal clinic system in the city and I am constantly reminded that with the minimum of equipment, a good understanding of the basics, and community support, safe, transformative birth can and should be extended to even the most vulnerable. Your work was among the first to inspire this understanding in me – so thank you!
We hope all is well with each of you and SHM.
Words cannot express the gratitude we have for the countless hours of compassion you devoted to us on the journey to making our family. We are so grateful to have had such friendly, competent, patient and kind assistance with the birth of our daughter. Thank you so much for having helped to make this the most memorable experience of our lives.
Thank you so much for all of your care and effort during my pregnancy, birth and afterwards. I feel supported and understood. And thank you in a larger sense for all you do for our community.