Dear Carol
I am filled with gratitude for having your support around the births of Noah and Teddy.
The birthing and breastfeeding of my children has been an epic personal journey. From the time I was a little girl I was afraid of the pain of childbirth. I believed that because my own birth was a "failure"due to a "failure to progress; requiring C-section",  that I too would "fail" to birth my own children. If I as a baby didn't know how to "come out" , how was I supposed to give birth?  I felt doomed to fail and was very afraid. Likewise, although I have always been committed to breastfeeding because of the health benefits I was uncomfortable by the thought of my actually doing it and felt embarrassed as if breastfeeding would make me more animal than human.

In order to manage these fears I bought heavily into the familiar medical model of birthing and breastfeeding. Hence my intense fear response when at the conscious birthing course I was introduced to the concept that birthing in the current medical model can be traumatizing and disempowering. You were so kind and professional in the way you tended to my emotional response. You compassionately met me where I was at to further enlighten me about what birth should be. The way you gently reached out to me was truly remarkable. You catapulted me on my path to seek a "better birth" education and in overcoming my learned and epigenetic fears of birth.

In retrospect, with my first birth I hadn't had enough time to develop and integrate my new views on birthing and so I believe my fear somehow might have contributed to Noah being breach and my decision to have a C -section. After thoroughly being traumatized by this birth experience I  came to believe that their must be a better way. In all my postpartum and breast feeding difficulties you were such an amazing support and I quickly realized that you were the only one in my care team(of all the obs/gynes and family docs) that knew how to diagnose and treat my issues(including the elusive raynaud's of the nipple). Seriously though, without your expertise all my ailments and breast feeding difficulties would have gone undiagnosed or inadequately treated. You hold a wealth of knowledge that is lost or forgotten in the medical system. How could that be? I am stunned at how in my experience the medical system is so woman unfriendly. And I am forever grateful to have found this knowledge in you. With your help, breastfeeding became an easeful, beautiful way to mother Noah. Breastfeeding helped me become more fully human.

So, before even planning on becoming pregnant a second time I knew I had to have your support in labour and again in breastfeeding. To have the best chance at having a successful vbac I knew I had to have you in my corner during a midwife attended unmedicated birth. My prior, fear-based wishes for a obstetrically attended birth and epidural were now long gone as Babies Naturally had planted the seed in my mind that my body already knew how to birth. How I came into the world and my general poor body image didn't impact my ability to birth. I am a woman therefore my body was capable of doing this. I had no fear of natural birth(only fear of requiring medical intervention such as C section, especially if unnecessary).

In my pregnancy with it's ups and downs(bouts of premature contractions and gbs positivity) your knowledge and healing presence was invaluable. It was reassuring to run what I was being told by the midwifes and the rare doctor to hear your highly valued informed opinion. You were the guardian of my baby and I. I am particularly thankful that I had the opportunity to discuss my options of what to do if I had premature rupture of membranes while gbs positive so when this ultimately did happen I had already decided how I wanted to manage this unfortunate scenario.

And then I was off to the races with an induced labor. I had so many complicating factors that threatened the success if my vbac, but I was determined. Having your knowledge and healing energy throughout my labor was so reassuring. I trusted that what my body might not immediately know you would fill in. Your suggestions on positioning to change an OP presentation were invaluable and you did it in a way that didn't introduce doubt in my ability to continue with the vbac. You also instilled me with confidence throughout the labor by pointing out the things my body was doing naturally to facilitate the birth. Furthermore by explaining what certain sensations meant you gave me the strength to continue an unmedicated birth where otherwise if I didn't know that the feelings were a normal part of the baby actually coming, I may have wanted an epidural due to fear of this totally unfamiliar and overwhelming experience. Birthing without fear actually wasn't painful. It was a beautiful, all consuming event where I had the opportunity to use all my physical, spiritual and emotional capabilities. I had the opportunity to be fully human. While birthing my baby, his mother too was born.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me that I COULD do this and for supporting me all the way through.

You are a gift to women. You are a gift to the world.

Love
Maria