Valerie's Birth Story - Noelle is here!

Kelli was my midwife, apprenticing under Christy, for the birth of my fourth child, Noelle. From my first prenatal appointment, I was delighted with her kind personality, professionalism and knowledge on pregnancy-related natural remedies. Although Kelli was still technically gaining practice, she was extremely proficient in all areas and I felt completely at ease under her care. If matters arose with which she needed assistance, she would consult with Christy and get back with me right away. They were a fabulous team and I cherish our relationships. Now if they would just move back to Denton County...

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My labor began on a Sunday evening at 39 weeks. I texted Kelli and let her know to expect my call most likely in the early morning hours. I told my husband Troy to sleep all night unless I need him. Contractions kept up slow and steady through the night as I slept, and started requiring my focus around 3 a.m. I called Kelli, and she of course was reliably alert, supportive and enthusiastic with my news at this hour. We decided that unless she heard from me again, she would start heading my way in a couple hours and plan to arrive at our home around 5:30 a.m.

I texted our posterior baby-turning chiropractor and asked him to drop by in a few hours to rotate the baby. He had successfully turned our first two babies a few days before the births, and turned our third one during labor, after which she was promptly born in the parking lot of his office! Hence this planned homebirth.

So Kelli arrived at 5:30 a.m., quiet as a mouse, carrying all her equipment to our bedroom. She would cease preparations with each contraction and offer quiet support or pressure as needed. We had discussed my preferences at the home visit the week before, and she remembered everything, and gently suggested ideas to help with Noelle's partial posterior position. I felt very supported physically, verbally and emotionally. 

The chiropractor arrived at 6:00 a.m. and turned Noelle. After he left, Kelli checked my cervix at my request. I think I was around 4 cm. Troy woke up and made some coffee and some calls and texts. I labored on the birth ball as Kelli filled the birth pool. Christy arrived soon and they worked together quietly. Kelli suggested holding my belly up from behind during a contraction to help with progress and optimal positioning. We did that a few times and then the pool was full...aaahhh, the moment I had been waiting for. I sank in the warm water and things slowed down a bit, so I got out again after about 30 minutes.

Around 9:00 a.m., I could hear extended family and my children gathering in the living room. Contractions were painful and I needed eye contact with Kelli to focus. I tend to just want female support up until transition and pushing, at which point my husband needs to appear pronto! Kelli checked me again and I was around 6 cm. Disappointed and weary, I opened my throat with each contraction and knew those eyes would meet mine each time I needed them. It was peaceful; filtered sunlight was bathing the room and we listened to a classical harp CD over and over and over again.

I think around 9:30, I got back in the birth pool for some major pain relief, and it helped. Now the contractions were gripping me and I asked for Troy. Kelli called him in and he held my hands as I sat back or squatted in the water. Kelli sweetly offered all the expected support measures, and all I wanted was her to sit quietly and watch, and talk me quietly through each wave. She did that and it really got me through. Sometimes I would look over at Christy and her sweet broad smile would give me confidence to keep going also.

At about 10:00 a.m., I remember telling Kelli, "She's moving down." Within seconds, Kelli was ready at the edge of the pool and Christy on the other side to support.

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The next contraction broke my water and I started pushing uncontrollably. She was crowning and I was seriously hurting! I may or may not have yelled repeatedly for Kelli to "Get her out!" I'm sure Kelli said something appropriately supportive but I would have none of it. I turned to Christy and pleaded for HER to "Get her out!", at which Christy smiled and replied, "She's your baby; you have to push her out!" Best birth line ever!

Whew! After her head emerged, I had a one minute or so rest between contractions. The next one was intense and out she came into Kelli's hands and onto my tummy. The cord was wrapped fairly tightly around her neck three times. Kelli immediately and carefully unwrapped it. Of course the rest is a blur; I stared at my new little baby as the flurry around me continued. I felt so well taken care of.

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Family was briefly let in to see Noelle, and my wonderful midwives then directed them out at my request. After cutting the cord and delivering the placenta, Kelli helped me take a shower and herbal bath and latch the hungry baby on. She was ever aware of my super-low blood pressure, and never left my side. She continually offered fluids and helped me back to the bed, as Christy and Troy card for baby Noelle.

The newborn exam was a delight to watch; Kelli and Christy checking my baby are some of my favorite photos. Kelli was so supportive with everything postpartum as well; nursing, baby care, mommy care. She was there for me through weeks of tough nursing issues.

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I highly recommend Kelli Bankes as a midwife. Her personality, knowledge, and passion for helping families with pregnancy and birth make her the perfect one to trust with your body and birth. There is something else though; and that is that Kelli truly has a servant's heart. This is a quality that will serve her well as a midwife and something that she obviously nurtures in the presence of Christ. I want that in a midwife. So if we are given more children one day, we will have a decision on our hands...Drive to Hurst, or somehow talk Kelli into coming back up to Denton County...

Thanks Kelli! What memories we have thanks to you.

Signed, Your happy client, 

Valerie Bishop

Christy Martin