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"They were so much more than my midwives. They were my friends and therapists and my shoulders to cry on during those rough postpartum days. It has now been almost 16 months since my daughter's birth and I still wouldn't hesitate to call or text them if I needed something. I love them and they will always hold a very special place in my heart."

-Halley, First Time Mom?

 

Stories of Strength of Love

BABY A's BIRTH: The Making of a Mother

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"Calvin Klein is my fashion B.F.F., Beethoven and Mumford my musical other halves. Kelli Bankes is my midwifery soul mate. Beyond the fact that she genuinely adores the babies she helps bring into the world and the women who carry them, Kelli is a fabulous mix of enthusiasm, understanding, and matter-of-factness

Pregnancy has never been easy for me. In fact it’s my least favorite state of existence, but this last one was by far the hardest. It was Kelli that made those 10 long months survivable. When were rushed to the hospital with a pre-term labor scare, Kelli came with and sat with us for hours while we waited for news. She was a calming, reassuring presence in one of the scariest moments of our lives. When my blood sugar numbers were high (as they always are in the 3rd tri), Kelli gave me the encouragement I needed to make responsible dietary decisions (A.K.A no carbs, fruit or any kind of sugar. So Hard!). When we were waiting on a short-sale and living in a hotel a week from my due date and Christmas, Kelli prayed with me, assuring me that whatever happened God was with us (even if he didn’t seem to be). She cried a little with me too. And a few days later, when I was pushing a 6-and-a-half pound human out of my “Lady”, Kelli held my hand (when she wasn’t holding my hair and the puke bowl) and reminded me to be patient with my body and myself. Through every trial Kelli helped me remember that a miracle was happening. Even on the hardest days, she inspired excited anticipation and delight in my heart for our “Surprise!” Somehow, Kelli was always who I needed when I needed. 

Always a quick text away, ready to allay a fear or, if need be, validate a worry, she would even send me spontaneous messages letting me know that she was praying for me. There is no doubt that she has been an immense blessing to me and my family. I thank God for Kelli often (much, much more than I do for Calvin Klein, Beethoven, or Mumford). 

Like many midwives, Kelli trusts that women’s bodies know what they are doing. She knows that this is a God ordained process that includes learning curves and hurdles for us burgeoning ladies. And she is ready and excited to be part of her clients’ journeys. I would recommend her to my dearest friends… if they would only hurry up and get pregnant. And I wholeheartedly, positively, without a doubt commend her to you."

-Gina Gallutia

 
 

BABY B's BIRTH: From High Risk to Healthy Baby

"Christy Martin first came into our lives during a very unfortunate time; I was told by my chiropractor and mutual friend to go see Christy for some tests in very early pregnancy as I was facing impending miscarriage. We had never met before, but we immediately bonded as she supported us emotionally and spiritually during one of the hardest times of our lives

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When I became pregnant again, there was no question that we would choose Christy as our midwife, no other interviews were necessary. Her compassionate spirit coupled with evident skill made us confident that she was the perfect match for us. We were very anxious about the fate of our fragile pregnancy (because of previous loss), but our fears were eased as Christy guided us through tests and supplementation to ensure a healthy growing baby. It was so comforting to know that Christy was just a phone call away if I ever had a question or just needed to talk through my feelings/fears. 

 
 

We met a few bumps in the road throughout my pregnancy (some that I’m sure would have categorized me as “high risk” had I been under less experienced and individualized care) but were able to remedy them with nutritional and lifestyle changes. Christy was always proactive if ever a problem arose, and I felt confident that her extensive experience aided her in helping us make the necessary changes for me to stay healthy. We always walked away from our prenatal appointments encouraged, supported, and filled with a growing excitement to meet our baby! I cannot express enough how invaluable it was for me to have Christy to talk to about any and all aspects of my pregnancy. Her warm and caring spirit made us so comfortable and we truly knew we were getting the best prenatal care possible. 

 

The birth of our son was the single most amazing, life-changing moment of our lives. We chose to have a waterbirth at home, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Christy’s quiet presence, skilled hands, and gentle coaching helped us bring our son into the world in such a beautiful celebration of God’s goodness. There are no other hands that I would have wanted my son to be born into. 

Christy continued to be a strong support for us throughout my postpartum period. As new parents, we had many questions about newborns and what was “normal” so it was such a comfort to have her to turn to. Our son had a severe case of colic and Christy provided a constant source of compassion and support to this worn-down new mommy. I’m not sure what I would have done without her shoulder to cry on! 

It was clear throughout my prenatal, birth, and postpartum period that we were in the most loving and capable hands. Every parent wants to do what’s best for their child, even from conception and birth, and we thank God that He brought us Christy because she was that and more!"

-Kate Cole

 
 

BABY C's BIRTH: Peace When I Needed it Most

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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...

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.

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.

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.

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

 
 

BABY D's BIRTH: Hope In Midst of Long Labor

There are no words that could begin to explain what Christy and Kelli mean to me. My husband and I both knew the second we left our interview with Christy that we wanted her to be our midwife. We also had an instant connection with Kelli, who was Christy's apprentice at the time. We decided to have Kelli act as our primary midwife under Christy's supervision. They made such an awesome team!! Every minute we spent with them was a joy. There was always lots of laughter at our meetings and we never felt rushed. Nothing was off-topic and we talked about it all. I was never pressured into anything and I was encouraged to research choices for myself before making a decision on anything. All of my choices were taken seriously and honored throughout my pregnancy, labor, birth, and post-partum. 

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Kelli is an amazing person and midwife. She has a way about her that makes you feel at ease. She has gone through pregnancy and birth twice and I loved asking her questions and knowing that she had been through what I was going through. She is vibrant, funny, and so nurturing and supportive. She is one of those people that you just want to be around. She is such a positive, encouraging presence and she really does light up a room. She is so confident and good at what she does that my husband and I both remarked that we would have never known she was an apprentice. She is truly a special person and an incredible midwife. She was a little shining light for me through some rough times during my pregnancy and after. 

Christy is wise, warm, and comforting. I have never seen her be anything but calm and peaceful. She truly has a gift from God and is absolutely brilliant at what she does. You would think she has been doing this for 100 years. I don't think there is anything she doesn't know or anything she can't handle. My daughter didn't breathe for over 5 minutes after she was born. Christy handled it beautifully and confidently and I felt so safe knowing that she was taking care of my baby. I know if I would have been in a hospital, the cord would have been cut and my baby swiftly taken away. Instead, I got to hold her and talk to her while Christy gave her mouth to mouth, oxygen, and suctioned her until she took a breath, all while she was still getting blood and oxygen through her cord. 

Christy and Kelli were both so encouraging during my long and difficult labor. I remember saying, "I don't think I can do this", and they replied,"you ARE doing it!" It was so empowering to hear those words. 

It feels so wonderful knowing that my baby was born in such a natural, calm, and loving environment. Kelli and Christy gave that to me. I was honored and so lucky to have them as a part of my baby's birth.

They were so much more than my midwives. They were my friends and therapists and my shoulders to cry on during those rough postpartum days. It has now been almost 16 months since my daughter's birth and I still wouldn't hesitate to call or text them if I needed something. I love them and they will always hold a very special place in my heart.

-Halley