From Kelsey: A New Chapter 

How to keep this short? I don’t know if I can so please bear with me.

After MANY conversations, sleepless nights, prayers, flip flopping back and forth, tears, and more discussion I have decided to leave my role as office manager at Allen Birthing Center.

If I was really going for short I would just leave it there but I can’t.

I can’t just walk away from a piece of my heart without saying a proper good bye.

For over four and a half years this has been my home away from home. This has been my life! Sometimes we don’t know why we are called away from something we love and this is definitely one of those times. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing next and that is terrifying.

I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has been on this journey with me. Saying goodbye to all of the clients is by far the hardest part. It has been an honor to serve you all during such an important chapter of your lives.

This building, this business, these people, are magical. I know it sounds cheesy but I also know the clients agree and totally understand I’m not talking crazy 😉

Getting to walk into work every day in the place where my daughter was born is indescribable. She just turned 5 and still when I give a tour of the birthing suite it takes my breath away. It is something I know many people in the world do not get to experience in their work place. It is a feeling I will miss immensely.

I have made friends, I have learned valuable lessons, I have served, I have been humbled, I have witnessed the miracle of life, I have been tested, I have witnessed heart break, I have grown, and I have become a better person.

All thanks to Allen Birthing Center. 

I truly believe this is not the last time you’ll see me around ABC. I don’t know when or in what role but I think I’ll be back. And if my thinking is wrong then at least this will be true: these 4+years have been and will forever be some of the most important and influential years of my life.

Sincerely and with all my heart,

Kelsey Schwartz

gooodbye

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Jaylynn Rose

Jaylynn Rose’s birth  11659340_10152901408333038_3655556164767301501_n

I am going to attempt to tell this birth story to the best of my memory, however it is a bit foggy as the labor and birth was more of an out of body experience if that can even be said being that it is such a TOTAL body experience!

I don’t think that anything could’ve prepared me for the labor and birth. I was not mentally prepared. No matter how many articles I read, classes we took, it did not help when the day finally came. I wanted to trust my body and know that it would do what it needed to do but I had no idea the long and strenuous days that were in store. I had thought… I have a high pain tolerance, my mom and sister had pretty quick labors and births, I was made to do this naturally, I can do this! Yes it’s going to be rough and tough but I can do it. I just could have never predicted how difficult it really would be…

Your due date had come and gone. I was not surprised as I had always thought I would go past my due date. I remember your Dad and I tried to do several things to get the show on the road. Up until your arrival I was having false contractions. One night, I was in the bath and having some contractions. Daddy was timing them while I drifted in and out of sleep. They were pretty inconsistent. So I got out of the bath and ate dinner which consisted of spicy Chinese, again, in an effort to move things along. Daddy urged me to take walks and go up and down the stairs. I was pretty annoyed at him for asking me to do such “crazy” things when I had a HUGE belly and was so uncomfortable, not to mention that it was summer, June, and in Texas! As much as I wanted to curse him, I knew it was for the best. So I did it, slowing my pace with each contraction. Dad would tell me to keep the same pace during contractions but I just couldn’t! I wanted to yell at him “you can’t tell an overdue pregnant lady to walk through contractions, you have no idea how it feels!!” but I didn’t and instead tried to walk through them at the same pace.  I was pretty miserable the entire week before your arrival. It seemed like you never wanted to get here no matter what techniques I tried. What made it go even slower were the constant text from friends and family asking if it was time and what was I feeling, etc. God love them but it was making it impossible to relax and not focus on your arrival.

I started working from home as I got closer to your due date because I was just so uncomfortable. I went to visit the birthing center on my due date. They asked me some routine question and checked me. I was dilated to a 1. I remember being so excited about being a 1, not knowing the long road it was going to take to get to a 10. Amy advised that I go home, relax, and maybe have a glass of wine to take my mind off things because I was consumed in the arrival date. So we did just that. But days went by. And by, and by. Until early Monday morning which was 6 days past your due date, I started getting different contractions then I had ever felt. I couldn’t sleep so I got in the bath to help with the pain. I dealt with them for a while and then got out to tell Dad. Dad called the birthing center and I don’t remember who he talked to or what was said as I could only concentrate on working through my contractions on the bed. I was bent over the bed rocking back and forth while on the lap top trying to tie up a few loose ends at work. That didn’t work out too well as I could barely type. I remember thinking that I have got to be dilated to at least a 5 with all this pain. The birthing center told us to come in and get checked. So we packed our things and drove to the center and that drive was awful. No matter how good your dad drove, every little bump and crack in the road felt like the worst pain. We made it to the birthing center and I was so excited to see Amy there. We had only met with her twice but there was such a connection that we both had made with her from the start that it felt like we had known her forever. She brings such a peace and calmness over you. Leading up to the birth, we were both a little worried about who would be our midwife for labor. Teri was the main one that we had met with for every appointment and we both wanted her so badly to be there. We loved her and felt very at ease and trusting of her expertise. We talked to her about it once during an appointment and it was discussed that she would be leaving for vacation in July so if we had any chance of getting her we had to have you by June 30th! Talk about pressure! But God had an amazing plan for us on who we would get it. Amy said that I was at a 2. A 2?!?!? All this pain for a 2?! She asked that we walk around for a bit to see if things progress. So I walked outside with your dad holding my hand and again asking me to do that crazy task of walking through the contractions. So the first few times I did not walk through contractions because it was just too painful but with your dad coaching encouraging me and knowing that it would help you get here faster, I started to walk through them. I t was difficult. But your dad made me feel like a rock star for walking through them. So after about 30 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, we went back in to get checked. I had not progressed. Amy said that I should go back home and get some rest. She gave me some sleeping medication to help me and said that some women will go to sleep and wake up at a7. I thought, “That would be amazing! But who could really sleep during this!?! I’ll be probably be on the other side of the scale of the women that can’t sleep through it! “So I took them and we drove home.

I tried to lay in bed to rest but the pain was just too bad so I decided to get in the tub as that was always my go to place when I wasn’t feeling good. Now I will say that I was drowsy but the contractions were keeping me up. I would get so frustrated because I was extremely tired and as soon as I would drift off, BAM! A contraction would bring me out of it. This went on for at least 1-2 hours. Dad napped in the living room. He later said that it was some of the best sleep he had. (*insert eye rolling emoji*) My contractions started to get more intense and closer so I got out of the tub and was bent over the bed again. For some reason, that position seemed to take some of the pressure off during a contraction. Dad said that he wanted to go to the birthing center no matter where I was at. So he called them and told them what was going on and that we were heading that way. I don’t remember getting dressed, walking down the stairs or the drive there. It is all a blur. When we arrived I was so excited that Amy was going to be our midwife since she was one of 2 that we had hoped for. We walked up the stairs to our room and sat down. The nurse asked me if I had ate anything and I said yes, then me and Dad laughed because we both knew that wasn’t true as he had been trying to get me to eat something all day in which I complied by eating a bite of a breakfast cracker. Who could eat through all this? The nurse said that I needed to wait and drink so as much as I didn’t want to, I ate some breakfast crackers and drank some water. I changed into my birthing gown and awaited the labor. All I remember from here is that I was asked if I wanted to get in the birthing tub. I wanted to so bad, so they filled it and I got in. It felt like heaven. It quickly calmed me and I dozed in and out of sleep. I have no idea how long I was in there but I remember waking up and seeing Dad and Amy sitting at the tub. I’m sure they had been there the whole time but I was too out of it to know. At one point, I had a painful contraction and I heard Dad beep his stop watch. Apparently he had been timing my contractions the whole time. Must be the coaching mentality engrained in him! I later asked him how he knew if I was not telling him and half asleep and he said that he could just tell when they were about to start because I would start squirming. Amy calmly talked me through my contractions and said I was doing great. Dad offered me water and food the entire time I was in the tub. I did not want anything but to appease him I would take a sip of water and a bite of cracker when asked. During a contraction, I saw Dad on his phone. I remember thinking, oh that’s just terrific that you can be on your phone, playing level 523 of Angry Birds while I’m over here in pain!…No big deal! Even though I knew he was probably updating someone on the status. But it was actually some great news! He had just received a job offer that we had been waiting on news for a while and were beginning to lose hope that he would get the job. Dad said, “Baby I got the job!” I quickly forgot that I was in the middle of a painful contraction and said, “You did?!? Yay!” we hugged and cried happy tears together. Amy did too. Did I mention that I love Amy??? She was genuinely excited for us and happy that she got to share in the news with us. I was so excited that my husband was now an English teacher and football coach at a great school! I then went back to labor land and started handling contractions again. I’m not sure how long I labored in the tub as I had no perception of time, but apparently it was a long time because Dad asked that I get out of the tub because it was relaxing me too much and slowing my contractions down. I was so upset that I had to get out because I knew that what awaited me out of the tub was extreme pain. But I also knew that if I wanted to get you out, I needed to get out. I know that I went to the bed after that but I do not remember anything until it was time for Amy to leave. It was late at night and Amy had held out as long as she could to deliver this baby but she had to catch a flight. Dad and I were so sad that she was leaving. Amy apologized and said she was so sorry that she can’t stay. She gave each of us a hug and told us that she loved us. I had so much anxiety with her leaving. I remember waking up out of my fog and saying, “You’re leaving? Nooooo!” But she had to go.

Leslie was the next midwife on call so Leslie came in at night and labored with us. Dad and I laid in the bed as I tried to handle the pain and Leslie rested in the rocking chair waiting on things to progress. I remember crying and moaning that I was so tired and repeating that over and over. I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept in two days now. How was I supposed to labor when I was so exhausted?! Leslie checked me and suggested that we break my water to get things moving. I agreed and it was a feeling of relief when she broke it but then the pain started coming fast and hard. While in awful pain I cried out, “I feel like I need to push!” Dad asked Leslie what we should do and she said if I feel like I need to push that I should push. Dad was pretty upset at her response because we didn’t know what to do. We needed direction, someone telling us to lay like this, push like that, etc. I was able to work through the pain for some time but again, I was just so tired and didn’t feel like I had anything else in me. I cried out, “I’m just so tired, she’s never gonna come out, I want something for the pain” Leslie said let’s talk about what you just said. I thought to myself no! I don’t want to talk, I want something for the pain. She asked me to explain so through tears and frustration I explained that I’m in so much pain and she’s never going to come out. Basically just repeating what I had just cried out. She suggested that I take some sleeping meds so that I can get some rest to have energy for the big show. I was upset at that response. One, because I knew that the sleeping meds didn’t work before so they wouldn’t work now and two,  I wanted her to say that she IS going to come out, in X amount of minutes, and THIS is how we are going to do it. I needed some direction, a plan, and to be told that it will indeed happen and will happen soon. To give me some light at the end of the tunnel because I couldn’t see any light. But I decided to go with her suggestion and laid in bed waiting for the sleeping meds. Apparently there was a bad storm going on (which I had no idea because I was deep into labor land) because the power went out. There were no lights, no air and I was HOT! Texas, June, summer and no ac are not a good combination for anyone but for a pregnant lady…oh it was awful! The nurse tried to cool me off by fanning me very gently but Dad came in like a wrecking ball and started wetting my body with a rag, grabbed the fan from the nurse and started fanning me like a maniac! It worked and I was cooling off. The nurse started to light some candles and Leslie came in to do my IV. Every doctor that has ever tried to find my veins has so many problems but Leslie not only found my vein on the first try but did the IV in the dark! Dad and I laid in the bed trying to get some rest. I remember finally going to sleep for about 5 minutes to be awakened by the most awful contraction so far. I grabbed what was close to me which happened to be dads back and shirt. I just remember crying, not because of the pain but because I was SO tired! I desperately needed sleep but the contractions wouldn’t allow it. I felt defeated, run down and like this was never going to end. The nurse suggested that I take a bath and Dad said no because he knew it would slow things down again. So she suggested for me to sit in the shower and for Dad to spray water on me to help with the pain. It worked. But it worked a little too well. My contractions slowed. I was in there for maybe an hour (to me it only felt like 5-10 minutes) and Dad was frustrated because he knew a shower would only keep me miserable longer. He told me that I needed to get out because I haven’t had a contraction in 5 minutes. I lied and snapped at him saying that I did have one, I just didn’t make any noise. I just really did not want to get out of that shower! Did not want to face the pain. But I had to and got out.

The nurse suggested a few different positions to lay in to ease the pain but there was so much pressure in my stomach that I couldn’t even get to those positions. My stomach felt like there were weights inside pushing and pulling my stomach to my feet. She asked me to stand while holding onto the bedpost and to squat while I have a contraction. It didn’t do much. Dad suggested that I walk up and down the stairs taking two at a time. We went downstairs and walked around the kitchen island, stopping while I grabbed the island to work through a contraction. Dad said he would be right back and as much as I didn’t want him to leave me, I was too exhausted to talk. So I laid on the island, dozing off until he came back. He went to look for Leslie. Once he found her we walked up the stairs two at a time, again with Dad making me feel like a rock star for doing that. I did all these suggestions through extreme exhaustion. I’m talking the exhaustion where your eye lids feel like magnets, no matter how much you try to open them they are forced together, and head feels like it weighs a million pounds and you cannot hold it up. Oh and Dad offered me water and food several times between all of this. Seeing a pattern with the offering of food and water???

Now I’m not sure when I dilated to a 10 or how I knew it was time to push but the next thing I remember I was in the bathroom on the toilet trying to push. While I was feeling extremely defeated and tired, Dad said, “Baby look who is here?” I raised my head that weighed a million pounds and opened my eyes for what seemed like the first time and saw Teri! She was not on shift and had no reason to be there but she just wanted to be there for us and with us! How awesome and touching is that?! I think it was about 4am when she came. I remember smiling as much as my tired body could muster a smile and hugging her with tears in my eyes. I felt at ease with her there. Teri got to work. She sat in front of me with a flashlight and with every contraction, I pushed as she encouraged me and shined the flashlight to see if I was making progress. I am not sure how long this method went on but I was not making much progress. At one point, Dad asked if he could speak to Teri and Leslie outside. I could hear voices but could not make out what they were saying. Later Dad told me that he informed them that we were done trying to birth here and would be going to the hospital. That it had been too long and that I am just too tired to do anything more. It wasn’t that Dad didn’t have faith in the birthing center or midwives or even me for that matter, it’s because after all the losses we suffered and after all it took to stay pregnant with you, Dad was scared. Scared of something going wrong and losing you. He knew that I was too out of it to make any decisions so our safety was solely in his hands. Teri asked that we give her 45 minutes to try and get the baby out. Dad clicked his stop watch and said ok, 45 minutes. Teri came in with a scarf. She told me to hold one end and Dad to hold another and when I had a contraction for Dad to pull it towards him and for me to pull it towards me as hard as I could. We did this about two times before Dad said, “Can I have a minute alone with my wife?” They left the room and Dad got on his knees in my face and with tears tolling down his eyes, said “Baby you’re just so tired, you’re not even pulling the scarf.” I told him that I was but he knew my strength and competitive nature and knew that I wasn’t even pulling at all. He told me that we had 45 minutes to get the baby out or that we will be transferred to a hospital for a C section. I thought to myself that a C section sounds wonderful. It meant finality. That this labor would finally be over, you would be here and my pain would stop and I could rest. But we both knew I didn’t want that. So he told me that he needed me to push and push hard to get you out. With my heavy head, I shook my head yes and was ready to go. We moved to the bed in a traditional position. Leslie was at my knees and Teri to the right and Dad sitting on bed next to me to the left. With every contraction, Dad held one leg and Teri held the other while Leslie tried to work your head out, all encouraging me and Dad saying, “C’mon baby push, push, push!” It wasn’t working well. I didn’t know and understand how to push. Out of every 6 contractions I maybe only pushed right 1 time. But when I did push right, I knew the feeling was different than from the other pushes I was doing and knew the feeling I needed to have to know I was pushing right. But I just couldn’t get the hang of it for some reason. After every set of pushes, they would tell me I’m doing a great job and I would glance at Dads face because I could tell in his eyes if it was a good push or not. And after almost every push I could read his face that it was not good and that you were not making your way out.  I felt like a failure, I didn’t believe in myself anymore and I didn’t believe that I could get you out on my own. I felt like we were delaying the inevitable and that I would need to go to the hospital to get you here. While waiting for contractions, Teri would continually check for your heartbeat. It was strong each time. Dad put on some Missy Elliot. Missy is my favorite artist to give me energy so he put it on in hopes that it would give me energy. It did and it gave everyone else energy too. I pushed a couple more times. When I pushed correctly, I could feel it and I could read Dads face and hear in his voice that I had moved you with that push. It encouraged me. Whenever I pushed right, they all erupted in cheer telling me, “That’s it! Push just like that…c’mon!!” But again, for every four pushes per contraction, I only pushed correctly 1-2 times. The top of your head with all the hair was showing for a while. They told me that you had a lot of hair and Dad was smiling. Oh and he also offered me water again and I looked at him with the nicest tone in my voice that I could conjure up and told him that I don’t want any water and to stop asking me. I pushed a couple more times, Teri checked your head for a heartbeat but she couldn’t find it. Through my disoriented, exhausted mind I knew that meant something was wrong. I looked at Dads face and saw him glance at Teri and Leslie. I could tell he was concerned. Teri looked at Leslie and Dad said “What’s going on?” Teri said it’s ok and that she was going to check again. It scared me. I think it scared all of us. But then she found your heartbeat and I’m sure both Dad and I thanked God heavily in that moment. Teri asked Leslie if she could take over. Teri came in front of me and Leslie was now on the side. They encouraged me and told me that when her head makes it out to stop pushing so they can check the umbilical cord. Dad was saying that I’m doing great and that you’re almost here. To reassure myself, I asked him if she really was almost here and he said yes babe, in probably about three more rounds of pushing. At this point it was just you and me, me and you working together. I pushed and pushed and I felt the ring of fire, they told me to hold on but it was so hard. They asked if Dad was ready to make the catch. I thought, that MUST mean it’s almost over! Dad said yes but then got scared and said no. Teri asked me to pull you out. I reached down and with a few more pushes I pulled you out. Relief had finally come. I pulled you onto my chest and kept saying “Oh my God, Oh my God” and Dad just collapsed his body onto us in joy and relief. He cried and kept telling me how much he loved me, how amazing I was and we all laid like that for a while. You, me and dad, embracing the family of three that we now were. You were born to us from God at 10:02am on June 30, 2015, weighing 8.9lbs and 22 ¾ inches long with a full head of hair. Our little miracle baby, my answered prayer that we had prayed so hard for and sometimes didn’t know if our prayers would come true. But they did. You made it. All of the months of worry, panic, doctor appointments, progesterone, research, ER runs, checking for you heartbeat on my Doppler were all worth it. It seemed surreal that I had my very own baby laying on my chest. It’s still hard to believe that you are mine. But you are. I don’t know what I did right in life to deserve such an incredible blessing as you but I am so happy and thankful that God chose me to be your mother.  You taught me how to have faith. When I thought the possible was impossible, you proved me wrong. I am forever indebted to our Father in Heaven.

I loved the birthing center, I loved the midwives. They become like family. God knew exactly who I needed to be there for your birth. He knew Amy would help me feel at ease, he knew Leslie would be able to find my veins in the dark and knew that Teri would make my birth come full circle. I’m still in awe that Teri showed up for no reason. It truly showed us just how much we meant to her. When we left the birthing center, the midwives and staff were all on the front porch with us hugging and crying. I remember Teri said, “We all have just become so emotionally invested in you guys.” And it was true. They will forever hold a spot in my heart. They got you here. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. They held your Dad together when he may have otherwise folded. Going into this pregnancy, I knew that I did not want to deal with Doctors or hospitals because I had lost all faith in them during our losses. I knew that I wanted to have a peaceful place to come for my checkups and to feel like a person rather than a number. I never would have imagined the bonds that were created.