Joyfully Planned: My Daughter's Birth Story by Armelle Honkou

Before I dive into the events of the day my daughter graced this earth, I must go back at least three years before her arrival when I decided to become a mother. I was twenty-seven, and planning was my way to combat anxious feelings as somebody who suffered from anxiety. Planning gives me the sense that I am in control. It allows me to function. So I planned and executed the tactical events that would lead me to become a mother.

I started exercising regularly, eating well, and getting my wellness checkups and blood work done. I organized my finances and prepared our home. I started reading about parenting, pregnancy, and birth stories. I became pregnant with my daughter in the Spring of 2018. It was the most joyous day when the nurse confirmed the test positive. My husband, who was my fiancé at the time, and I read and watched videos about birthing methods. I knew I wanted a midwife.

We found out that Touro Hospital offered a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) staff. We toured the hospital birthing unit with the Chief Labor and Delivery Nurse. We felt at peace right away that it was the next best option. My first preference was home birth, however, because it was my first child, I didn't want to risk either one of our lives in case of complications. I thought it was best to deliver in the birthing center at the hospital.

From the first prenatal visit with the midwife staff, the team understood what I was looking for in our care - unmedicated birth, support, and reinforcement of my choices. After every visit, the team reassured me that all was going well and I was on the right track.

On the day I gave birth, I started to feel sharp pains in my abdomen around midnight. It was hard for me to sleep that night. I woke up early to get ready for work; the pain was more constant. My fiancé suggested that we visit the midwives. We called, and they were not available in the usual office, so we had to go to another office. After examination, the Midwife confirmed that I was 4 centimeters dilated and added that I was having the baby that day. It was at this time that I found out I was having contractions. She asked me if my water had broken. I remembered the day prior, I woke up in a pool of wetness, thinking that I had peed on the bed. The Midwife gave us options to go directly to the hospit