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Birth Stories From Our San Diego Midwife Families

See Baby Bella's video montage

- Lorenzo and Nicole Giacomini


     "My daughter’s birth was such a mix of emotions, of uncertainty and strength. I will forever be grateful to La Shel and Jamin who stayed patient and positive with me, and who poured their hearts into it in order to ensure I would have a safe natural home birth. I believe to this day, that had I been at a hospital, I would have probably had a cesarean.  I don’t think many doctors would have made the physical efforts La Shel and Jamin did, and I will eternally be thankful. Today I think back on that day and feel so proud to be a woman and to have had the privilege to experience natural childbirth. With these wonderful women who teach and encourage you to trust your body through this miraculous process – it truly is an empowering gift. I have developed a special place in my heart for the ladies at San Diego Midwife and would encourage anyone to meet with them, should you make the decision to experience a home birth."
- Bianca


     "I started off writing a glowing review of how amazing, loving and comfortable my entire experience was with Jamin and LaShel. However, I think those are all things one would expect when choosing midwifery care...I know there are a ton of great midwives in San Diego why San Diego Midwife? For me, the answer is clear, what really made the journey unique was how they won over my husband.
I always knew I was going to have a home birth, long before I knew I even wanted to be a mom; I never considered any other options. My mom had home births and it always felt like the right thing to do. My husband's attitude, mixed with skepticism, was always whatever makes you the most comfortable...
It was at the home visit that everything changed for my husband. This was the first time he and I had seen Jamin and LaShel together in action. It was unbelievable to experience the yin and yang energy...the balance of warmth and professionalism the two personalities create. After the visit, my husband said, for the first time, he was 100% confident in our decision to have a home birth. It was very comforting knowing that my husband was no longer "doing whatever made me comfortable", that he knew we had been making the best decision all along.
I loved my birth and love sharing the story, pictures and memories. Moreover, I love hearing my husband say to people, over and over again, that every baby we have will be born at home and he can't imagine going to the doctor prenatal care or the hospital for delivery. I have overheard him telling his friends who are planning to have babies that they should consider midwifery as an option. My husband is my best friend and always supports me but a big thanks to Jamin and LaShel for getting him 100% on my team. I know that it made my birth that much more special."
- Blythe Campanaro


     "I had my first 2 births in a hospital. I managed to have a natural birth both times, but I knew if I had another child I wanted a homebirth. When I became pregnant again I began interviewing midwives. When I met with Jamin and La Shel I knew it was right.  They were both so friendly and upbeat, and clearly supported the kind of birth I wanted to have. I loved that both of them had so much experience with birth, they had seen it all, and I was confident that they could handle any situation that arose.  I also loved that with two of them, even if there was a birth at the same time I would for sure have one of them, for me that was such a huge relief to know I would not end up with a back-up midwife.  The reasons I chose them were important, but what was really important was the relationships I built with them throughout my pregnancy. They really knew me, my husband and our other kids.  They were happy to answer questions for as long as I wanted at my appointments, which after care from an Ob/Gyn was so nice. They were always there for me, they never sounded put out by a random late night call when I was worried about something, or very early morning calls when labor started and I just wanted to check in.  At my birth they were so amazing, there to hold my hand through a particularly hard contraction, but then they seemed to fade into the background at the right moments as well.  When I look back on that birth there is no other word to describe it other then "perfect" I can not imagine a better experience then the one I had with Jamin and La Shel. I was so blessed to have them at my birth. Since then, I have been lucky enough to work with them again as a Doula. The way they work together is so lovely; they are such a fantastic team!!!  I am very quick to recommend them to Doula clients of mine who are looking to have a homebirth. They are not only amazing midwives, but also amazing women and mothers, and I am so thankful to know them."
- Maria Delaney

     "I have used La Shel and Jamin to deliver all 3 of my babies and every experience was amazing. My husband and I interviewed a few midwives when we learned we were pregnant with our first, and we were immediately drawn to LaShel and Jamin. When I was pregnant with my second it was a no-brainer to use them again and I am so grateful we did. Halfway through my pregnancy my appendix flared up and I ended up in the ER. Jamin came and stayed with me and answered our questions and gave us much-needed comfort and support at a stressful time. My husband took a job in L.A. and we moved while I was pregnant with our 3rd. I made the decision to drive back to San Diego for all my appointments and for the delivery and I am so glad I did. This last birth was amazing. They were so calm and wonderful. We were all shocked when I delivered an 11 lb. baby! I feel certain that had I been with a doctor I would have ended up with  a C-section!!! But  at home they helped me try different positions, calm my fears, and I birthed her just as easily if she had weighed 6 lbs. I am so grateful for their intelligence, professional demeanor and the love they have for what they do and for their clients. I cannot imagine birthing without them. They compliment each other so well and I love that they work as a team because I felt like at different times during pregnancy and in labor I needed each of them for different reasons. Love Love Love these women!" 

- Erin G.

     "These two ladies are amazing and wonderful! Jamin and La Shel make the best team when it comes to assisting women to birth at home and so much more!!!
I found San Diego Midwife when I was pregnant with my son at four months. At only 21 years old I had researched so many ways to birth my baby and really was drawn towards the idea of home birth. I checked online and researched many midwives in the San Diego area and then came upon San Diego Midwife's website. The first glance at these two women I felt like I already knew them and that these were the midwives for me. My husband, an EMT, was very happy as well when we had our first meeting with them. They go over all the basics as well as options and completely inform you on anything and everything there is you need to know. Furthermore, so very kind, loving and flexible these two are. Plus the combined intelligence, and experience both in and out of the hospital these two women have is amazing!!  We didn’t have insurance coverage for a home birth and their payment system worked out amazingly that by the time the full amount was due, we had it!

 These awesome women helped me find the strength all of us women have to home birth naturally, as well as my husband having the chance to truly be involved in the birth. For every child we plan to have, I will always come back to San Diego Midwives Jamin Sylvada LM, CPM and La Shel Montgomery RN, CNM. 

Thank you ladies for your wonderful gift and the full joy you bring to mothers to be!"

- Ily S.

     "La Shel and Jamin were my midwives for my home VBAC attempt. They were loving, gentle, supportive and most importantly, when even the slightest risk surfaced, they explained to me and my husband what was happening and suggested we transfer to the nearest hospital. My daughter's health was the most important thing to them - not their reputation, not my birth experience, not the money, not the fame. They put safety first and for that, I will be eternally grateful."

- Brina B

     “Having Jamin with me gave me confidence when my water broke prematurely. Her medical background served me well to negotiate and minimize unnecessary interventions in the hospital. She got along well with the hospital staff while advocating for me, and I was still able to have a beautiful and comfortable birth. Jamin is the kind of midwife who understands and utilizes the best of both modern medicine and natural care”.

- Julann Lodge


      “I had always wanted to experience natural childbirth. With my first pregnancy I read a lot of books about the development of the baby, took a hospital childbirth class, and thought I was well prepared. Well, I wasn’t. My water broke and the doctors talked me into an induction with pitocin, later an epidural, and ending with a cesarean section. My son was perfect but the experience never felt like a birth, instead it felt like he was taken from me. Fortunately, he took to breast-feeding well and we bonded quickly.

With my second pregnancy I decided to educate myself as much as possible about natural childbirth. I read stories about other couples’ natural birth experiences, learned about midwifery and took a Bradley class. My husband and I finally decided late in my pregnancy to have a homebirth. We felt it was important to avoid any drugs or medical intervention and also wanted and needed complete support of natural childbirth by the team around us. Despite all the warnings and doubts expressed by many medical professionals we chose to have a midwife assisted homebirth with Jamin. Well, my baby was strong and healthy, my labor was efficient and my pelvis wasn’t too small after all. The experience was awesome! I was very comfortable, felt no pressure, had no rules, and was therefore able to experience a completely intimate and totally natural birth process. I felt empowered throughout and later shocked by the difference in birthing experience. I really never thought it could happen because of all the negative statements from doctors but I knew I had to try and homebirth was the only way for me. When my second baby was born, he never left my side and instead lay gently against me, nursed when he was ready, and we were both able to completely embrace the experience”.

- N.C


      “I am so grateful to Jamin for all that she was during the birth of our daughter Lily in November of 2003. I was so honored to have her guiding and loving hands there with me during the first precious moments of Lily’s life. Lily’s birth was a trying experience for the five of us in the room that night. It wasn’t easy for my husband to watch me in pain. Jamin, who happened to be 7 months pregnant herself at the time, was our calm in a storm. She spoke words of comfort and wisdom to both my husband and myself. She was firm, yet encouraging, displaying her years of apparently profound knowledge and experience. She was precise and professional, never losing her stamina or cool. She was my bright beacon of hope and faith! That night, when I labored the hardest and started to have doubts, Jamin coached me into believing that I could have this baby at home. Because she was confident in my capabilities I too believed. Jamin was the one person in the world who really helped me to understand and believe that I was capable. No small thing for a first time mom. I thank God for Jamin. Throughout the entire duration of my pregnancy and the birth process I felt encouraged, reassured and loved. Jamin’s warm brown eyes and knowing words were instrumental in giving me the courage to have my baby at home. Thank you Jamin for giving all you had during the most amazing experience of our lives. My family will always have a special place for you in our hearts. With deep respect and tenderness."

- Meredith

      “It’s been eleven weeks since our newest bundle of joy arrived and I’m still overjoyed by our choice to have a homebirth. This was the fifth child I was going to birth and I was certain that I wanted this time to be different, not in a hospital. I knew there must be a better way. Besides being a veteran to childbirth, I’m also a hospital labor and delivery RN which furthered our careful decision to choose the right midwife to assist in our birth.
I knew that choosing the right professional to assist us would be critical in helping us create an experience that we could cherish for the rest of our lives. Fortunately, we made the right decision! I was referred to La Shel by several people, but since we lived in East County I didn’t think we’d be a good match. How wrong I was! After interviewing other midwives I eventually decided to follow everyone’s advice and call La Shel. I felt an incredible connection to her right away and somehow immediately knew I was going to have the birth I always dreamed of.

The birth: The day finally arrived after thirty eight weeks. I had suspected my water had broken and called La Shel for her opinion, (isn’t it sad that a labor and delivery nurse isn’t always sure?) as usual, she replied so pleasantly, even though I was calling in the wee hours of the morning. She reassured me that this was going to be the day and to call when things got started.

Of course, being a busy mom, I had other plans than to birth that day. So, after taking care of some tasks around the house, I began to notice the mild contractions beginning to occur every four to six minutes, so I called La Shel again. I knew they weren’t strong, but they were definitely “real”. When she and Jamin arrived I was out on my balcony swaying back and forth through the contractions. By this point, my mom and husband were just letting me do my own thing, knowing the only people I was interested in seeing were the midwives. I really wanted an opinion on heading into the Jacuzzi for some relief. La Shel checked my cervix and gave me the go ahead to enter the tub since I was at 7cm.

When my mom heard we’d be seeing our new baby so soon, she started to get anxious. La Shel and Jamin were awesome. They gave everyone the guidance they needed to help rather than hinder me. My mom and husband helped me through a few contractions in the Jacuzzi and then La Shel approached and calmly mentioned that it seemed like I might be feeling the urge to push soon. I, of course, being the experienced childbirther that I was, told her there was no way I could be completely dilated. She kindly suggested that just in case I might be wrong, we move to the bed (where I intended to deliver), for a quick check. Again, how wrong I was! I was completely dilated and had I not had such an intuitive midwife, I may not have ended up delivering right where I always wanted, in our bed!

Once we knew birth was imminent we called our daughters in to watch their new baby brother be born. It seemed as if the urge to bear down came at exactly the same moment my nine year old entered the room. I think my little boy was waiting until his big sisters could be there to watch him make his grand entrance!

After about fifteen minutes of pushing I reached down to feel my sweet baby’s head. It was complete euphoria. While my husband held me through the pushing, it felt like we were bringing the baby out together. Our baby was in my arms just a few moments later and I’ve been holding him ever since. With the help of La Shel and Jamin, we had a perfect baby, in our very own bed with my family close by and no stitches required!
After delivering the placenta, our boys also joined us and watched their little brother be weighed and checked. It was amazing to have our family all together while watching our newest member get checked over with all of us lying on the bed together. He has turned out to be an incredibly sweet, happy and mellow baby, which I truly believe has everything to do with his gentle entrance into our lives, all thanks to La Shel and Jamin”.

- Kris King, RN

     "My husband and I chose to try a homebirth for our third child. We had had two very positive birth center experiences with our older daughters (ages 6 and 3), but because we now live 26 miles away from the nearest birth center, we investigated homebirth as an option.

We chose La Shel as our midwife because we liked the fact that she had both an RN and a midwifery degree and that her work experience included hospitals, birth centers and home assisted births. We also liked her a lot in our interview. La Shel was down to earth, easy to talk to and seemed very knowledgeable. We particularly liked that La Shel and Jamin worked as a team during delivery.

We truly had the birth of our dreams. I labored at home all day, taking periodic walks in my neighborhood. When my contractions intensified, I felt safe and comfortable in my home, choosing to be in my bedroom with my husband. LaShel and Jamin respected our privacy and seemed to sense so well what my needs were without me having to say anything. They were there when I felt vulnerable or had a concern but did not interfere at all with my birthing process.

La Shel knew how much I wanted my girls to witness the birth and managed to call them in at the perfect time during the second stage. They watched in amazement as their little sister came into the world - our third daughter was born in the water with her two older sisters watching! We all bonded in bed together and shared the birthday cake that the girls made for their new sister and soaked in the magic of this incredible new life.

I have wondered why the homebirth felt so much more profound compared to the birth center experiences for us since they were all natural, mid wife assisted births. It's still difficult to articulate why the homebirth felt so much more magical – but it did. It seemed I felt a very deep connection with women everywhere and throughout time that have brought their babies into the world at home, surrounded by loved ones, feeling strong and capable.

I also felt very blessed that my daughters were able to witness how beautiful and empowering the birth process is, how wise our bodies are and how pain is just a natural part of a much larger and hugely transformative experience of childbirth.

La Shel and Jamin allowed for complete peace of mind, knowing they were both highly competent and able to cope with any emergency that might pop up… but ultimately, I felt like “I” birthed my baby while my loving, supportive midwives simply witnessed the miracle.

I recommend La Shel and Jamin highly, and feel so grateful to them for their guidance, encouragement and support throughout my pregnancy and for helping to hold the sacred space where such a beautiful birth could occur.

Lastly, I was not even aware until after the birth that LaShel had taken pictures. We are so grateful she captured these priceless images of my labor, delivery and first moments with our baby".

- MM, Ph.D.

     "Evan and I wanted only the best care for our first baby, and La Shel has exceeded our expectations every step of the way, from prenatal to postpartum. We looked forward to every visit with her not only because we received personalized and unhurried attention, but because she seems to enjoy what she does.

In La Shel we found a midwife whose knowledge and experience we could trust, but who always allowed us the freedom to make our own choices. We appreciated the fact that she told us about all of our options and encouraged us to educate ourselves. She didn't hesitate to recommend herbal remedies or alternative treatments that we probably wouldn't have considered or heard of if we'd gone to a more mainstream ob-gyn.

What I remember most clearly about labor is feeling that I was in good hands. Jamin and La Shel seemed to instinctively know when I needed to eat or drink, when I needed to be coached and when I needed to be left alone for awhile. They encouraged me to try all kinds of different laboring positions and they knew when I could use a change of pace. They also facilitated Evan's constant physical and emotional support and involvement throughout the process.

We had a long labor and I know that in a hospital I probably would've been subjected to all kinds of interventions, almost certainly ending in an episiotomy at best or a C-section at worst. We were blessed to have these talented women lead us through such a gentle delivery that both baby Maya and I emerged with little more than a stretch mark!

Maya seemed very alert and I felt that she bonded with Evan and me right away. La Shel made sure nursing got off to a good start. At four weeks postpartum I felt fully recovered. Now at seven weeks, Maya has been gaining weight steadily and is happy and healthy.

If Evan and I are still in San Diego for our next baby, we're definitely going to ask La Shel and Jamin to be our midwives. And if we're not in San Diego, we may just have to fly them out to wherever we are. These ladies are the best!"

- Jessica Fuller


     "This is such a difficult “Thank You” to write. It seems impossible to put into words how much I appreciate La Shel’s support throughout my pregnancy and birth. I believe in birth and I believe in its ability to unfold the way nature and God intended, without medical intervention. As a labor and delivery nurse, I have seen what medicine has done to birth and over the years I became afraid. When it came time to have my own child, I looked to find a provider that believed in birth the way I did. I found La Shel!

It takes more skill to let labor be what it is than to interfere with the process. Labor and birth are largely in the heart and in the head. The wise woman knows this and works with it to help her labor unfold as it should. Despite being 8-9 cm for longer than usual, she never gave up on my labor. She told me that although my cervix was changing slowly, that it was changing. When I was tired of walking to keep my contractions coming, La Shel said what I needed to hear to have the strength to keep going. La Shel waited and watched and allowed my husband and I to experience this labor together. She knew when to give us space and when we needed her. When I was so exhausted that I was afraid I wouldn’t have the energy to push, she was tough. La Shel said that she believed in me and that I really could and was doing it. That made all the difference and within minutes, and with new found energy, I was able to begin pushing. She said that I was going to have my baby at home, where I wanted.

The tone in her voice gave me the courage I needed to finish what we had started. What she does is unique. There aren’t many that have the ability to truly be called MIDWIFE. La Shel does! My son Cole is a gift. What La Shel gave me is also a gift. A rare gift that perhaps has lost appreciation in our modern world. A chance for women to prove that they are strong enough. La Shel, thank you for my homebirth…..a joy only few women know."

- Christa Sakowski RN

     "On September 5th, 2006 I gave birth to our fourth child, a little girl. A true blessing for our family. Being a labor and delivery nurse myself, I decided that I wanted to have a very different birthing experience than I had had with my first three children. I didn't want to rush to the hospital, or be totally numb with an epidural, or have my family or the baby separated from me, or have people coming into my room to take my blood pressure at all hours of the night. I wanted this birth to be one filled with the warmth of my husband by my side, my children welcomed and present for the birth of their baby sister, and all of us safe in the comfort of our own home. I chose La Shel to be my primary midwife because I related to her experience as a labor and delivery nurse, and after speaking with her for the first time, I felt completely comfortable with her skill level and her confident approach. My prenatal visits and our subsequent homebirth only proved to reinforce this. La Shel was at all times professional, yet very nuturing, and by the time we said goodbye at our last post-birth visit, I felt that we had established a very deep bond, a connection that one could only understand after having shared such an experience. My birthing experience was everything I wanted it to be. Under La Shel's guidance, we were completely prepared for the event. She made sure we had all the necessary supplies, helped me in choosing the right birthing pool from the many available, and above all made sure that my husband and I felt very confident in our choice to birth at home.

Jamin, whom I had met at various office and home visits, turned out to be my angel at delivery. While La Shel tended to the all-important physical aspect of my birth, Jamin was able to focus strictly on guiding me through the very intense, emotional moments just before the baby was born. I felt priviledged to have both these ladies at my side as they were truly pre-destined to do this woman's work.

Beside the actual birth, I think the most amazing moments came when La Shel and Jamin had completed all their assessments and made sure we were all healthy and comfortable, and then were able to leave us all to be a new family in our own home, our own bed, with the morning sun shining through our own bedroom windows. What a blessing it was to share those first quiet moments with our baby girl, in amazement of the experience and in awe of her peaceful beauty. To have our other children come and go throughout the day, and visit with their new sister, and to have my husband at my side from start to finish, without him having to rush back and forth to a hospital somewhere, was just what I imagined it to be - calm, serene. And, having La Shel come back to our home for our first two post-birth visits, was also a comfort. Again, she made sure we were all doing well before she left us to our precious first days at home.

Though choosing to have a homebirth is a very personal choice, and one that requires much consideration, I believe that it is far and above a more satisfying experience than in-hospital birthing. I have seen the myriad of things that are done "to you" while giving birth in-hospital. Things that can make you feel that you were somehow unable to cope, or unable to give birth to your baby on your own without the help of the doctor or medications. These things are not present when you are at home. You don't have to try to get anyone to follow your birth plan, because your birth plan has been completely established with your midwife long before you go into labor. The midwives are there to support your wishes in every way safely possible. You are made to feel confident in your body's innate ability to birth your baby. You are completely part of the process and of all the decisions made in and around your prenatal care and your delivery. It is a deeply satisfying experience on so many levels. My words cannot do it justice.

My six week post-birth visit was just the other day, and having completed my entire prenatal / post-natal care, I told La Shel and Jamin goodbye, but I think that it won't be for long (smile)."

- Toni B.


     "When we met Jamin, it was like a breath of fresh air.  We had just moved to the San Diego area, were well into our second pregnancy, and were without prenatal care.  We were looking for a midwife to assist in our homebirth and one who would also be willing to come with us to the hospital if necessary.  We found many midwives in the area strictly attended homebirths and did not transfer.  More than that, we wanted a caregiver who was qualified, experienced, intuitive, dependable, and respected our choice of natural childbirth.  We explained to Jamin our desires and intentions and she was extremely eager to work with us.  She even explained that the name of the caregiver that we were searching for is a “monitrice”.

When our big Birth Day arrived, my contractions were steadily progressing, but very short in duration.  I called Jamin and she suggested that she stop by just to check. I agreed, but was convinced that I wasn’t really in labor. Wrong! I was astonished when Jamin confirmed that I was going to have my baby that very day! In the flash of those last few hours, Jamin was a strong and reassuring presence.  She thoughtfully made suggestions and at the same time knew when to let me be. Less than 3 hours later, I felt the ring of fire and shortly after our son was born!  He was born at home into our loving arms just as we had hoped!  It was a joy to have Jamin and La Shel on our team.  They have a deep respect for natural childbirth and at the same time will make use of modern medicine.  They are extremely caring, skilled, and most importantly thorough and very competent professionals.  We highly recommend Jamin and La Shel and are grateful for their assistance in our homebirth!"

- Debi and Jeff

     "By week 7 of my third pregnancy I knew that homebirth was the only option for me. Once again I was feeling diminished and disrespected by my practitioner. I began tentatively interviewing midwives in the area, but once I met Jamin and La Shel everything clicked for me.

From the initial interview throughout all of my pre and postnatal appointments, Jamin and La Shel showed compassion, understanding, and commitment to what I wanted to achieve with this birth. They were empathetic and caring and respectful of my issues regarding previous treatment and could confidently discuss concerns that my husband and I both raised.

Throughout the prenatals, Jamin and La Shel got to know me and my family. My two daughters accompanied me to many appointments, and they soon began to look forward to going. The midwives included my young daughters in the process by allowing them to hold the blood pressure cuff or the Doppler to hear the baby’s heartbeat. It didn’t take long for the girls to start playing midwife at home! This worked to our advantage in the long run because when it was time for the birth, the girls were completely unfazed by Jamin and La Shel’s presence in our home.

Jamin and La Shel were available for my calls, and did not make me feel foolish for even the questions I knew were silly. Most importantly, they educated us during the process. They explained the reasoning behind the tests, questions, and procedures. They offered alternatives to the standard hospital methods, and supported us regardless of which we chose.

The birth itself was intense and amazing. Things went incredibly quickly which in a hospital setting could have been chaotic. Instead, Jamin, my husband, and La Shel worked calmly and confidently together to make certain that I was comfortable and ready because that baby was coming! I couldn’t have imagined a better experience for my family in welcoming our third child. How do I convey what having a homebirth meant to me? Homebirth and midwifery care is so much more than the main event of birth. Jamin and La Shel made it everything I wanted and needed."

- Suzanne Weiss


     "I started feeling a few contractions at 4 in the morning, but nothing to keep me from sleeping. When I woke up in the morning and went downstairs, I noticed I was still tightening, something that usually went away in the morning. They became consistent although at first did not stop me from doing anything. But soon they started “getting my attention” and we started to time them. We checked in with the midwives about 9am, just to say that I was having some “regularly irregular” tightening. At 10:15 they were still coming regularly, and I had to actually stop and breathe for the contractions. At this time I went to get adjusted by my chiropractor/alpha biotic practitioner. He lives down the street so that was convenient.

When we came home 15 min later, Greg decided to get the room ready for delivery “just in case”; this meant putting plastic down on the sheets and putting new sheets on top, taping plastic on the floor of the bedroom leading to the bathroom, and getting out the birth kit. Meanwhile I am downstairs (we had also just dropped off Aidan at Alison’s house down the street and told both grandmas to go to Alison’s house to wait), and I am feeling more intensely each contraction, with seemingly little time in between. They would come in 3 or 4 clusters, and then with no more than a 4 minute break the contractions would begin again. I was getting annoyed that Greg was upstairs and I was alone, but he didn’t know they were progressing so quickly. My mom came by and helped me through a few contractions and at this point, I was not able to talk. They completely took my attention and were quickly getting intense and very close together. A few minutes later my mom also went to Alison’s house and Greg was done with the room. (Greg maybe took 30 min to get the room ready). During the time I was alone downstairs I called my midwives to come, even though I told them, it may be premature. Jamin told me to follow my intuition and they were on their way. I am so glad I called them when I did!

Once Greg came downstairs we decided I needed to be upstairs in our birth room. Every two steps I was having contractions that I had to breathe and moan deeply for. Getting up the stairs was a big accomplishment. I had gone from not being sure this was real labor to being in full blown labor! By the time midwives arrived, I was deep in back to back to contractions; this was only after 30 min at most of being upstairs! They came and hurriedly got set up. I felt so safe once they walked in to the room. Although it was a little hurried while they set up, I could tell they noticed that I was definitely deep in active labor. To give perspective, they arrived an hour before I delivered!

Jamin checked me and I was 5 or 6 cm. I was so happy to be 6 cm, since my first birth was long and I did not dilate; this was such an energetic boost to know that I was opening! I was encouraged to move, squat, kneel, and sit on the ball. I also lay on my side for a few contractions to rest (although it hurt more). I tried to enjoy the moments in between contractions where I could communicate with Greg or the midwives. The toilet was pretty intense; little did I know I was going through transition. Then during one contraction where I was squatting, I was in a lot of pain, but my water broke and I felt some relief. Almost immediately afterwards I felt such a huge urge to push. I yelled this out, and Jamin and La Shel told me to do short breaths to stop the urge to push. What a sensation! They had me get on to the bed to check me, and they saw the head! This was about only 15-20 minutes from when I was 6 cm!

The midwives put a lot of oil on me and were very supportive of my perineum so I wouldn’t tear. I did deliver on my back due to my history of a 4th degree tear with my first baby. The midwives had me open my eyes and focus on La Shel. She was amazing and my eyes locked in with hers and I was in a calm, empowered place. Jamin was coaching me a little bit, but mostly she just told me to push with a contraction and rest in between. She confirmed that my baby was indeed coming out, and that I was doing great. I was so calm; I have to really emphasize that. I had complete trust in my midwives and through their encouragement I had trust in myself. This was something I did not have with my first birth. And I didn’t have any fear. There was no room for fear in the house. Both midwives were telling me I was doing amazingly well and the whole pushing experience was I have to say, wonderful.

Anyway, I hardly really pushed at all, just little pushes and some waiting as the head was eased out slowly, so I wouldn’t tear. La Shel told me that I was actually smiling during the pushing. The pushing took all of about 4-8 minutes at most. I held her right away, and she cried right away and did not need suctioning or anything. She also pooped right away too.

The placenta was still attached, so Jamin wanted me to squat to get it out and I also did some pushing. I didn’t want to, but of course I wanted it out. Jamin gave me a look and helped me find the energy to squat and get the placenta out. My bottom area burned afterwards, but I took some Tylenol and it went away and never came back. I did not tear at all, which is such a blessing!

How did I do it naturally? I would almost lose control in the beginning of each contraction, not wanting to feel it. But once you know you cannot escape the pain, you find ways of releasing your body and letting it do its job. Low, deep, moaning in the beginning of each contraction really helped me, and then I would go silent and just really focused on deep downward breathing. I just focused on surrendering to the sensation, with the knowledge that it was getting my baby out, and just letting myself open and breathing down. I remained really relaxed in the jaw and everywhere else, even though there was a lot of sensation down in ‘there”. Greg didn't say much but just held me up or did whatever I needed him to do.

Having a home birth was one of the most amazingly empowering experiences of my life. After going through such trauma with my first birth in a hospital, I cannot even imagine having to give birth there again. Having complete trust in your midwives capabilities and knowledge is a must. Jamin and La Shel had me and my husband’s trust from the beginning. Having trust in your self is a side effect of being around home birthing midwives. You realize through talking with your midwives at your prenatal visits that your body can birth your baby naturally. And even if there were a problem, you realize that your midwives have knowledge on how to handle anything that comes their way. And being at home was such a gift. Fiona Campbell was born at home at 1:59pm. By 4pm I was having dinner and saying, “I can’t believe I just had a baby! Thanks San Diego Midwife!"

     "I decided to home birth my daughter after birthing my two boys in the hospital with epidurals and unnecessary interventions. I knew I wanted a drug-free, natural childbirth and would only be able to accomplish that by laboring and delivering at home. A friend of mine delivered her second child at home with Jamin and La Shel, and she was adamant that she would never have another baby unless they could be her midwives!

Her testimony and advice led me to San Diego Midwife, and I immediately fell in love with Jamin and LaShel's knowledge, experience, professionalism, energy, and gentle spirits. I was treated with dignity, respect and love - quite different from my previous experiences with an obstetrician. I was never canceled on or made to wait - I was heard, my questions were answered, and my thoughts and feelings were validated. In every appointment I felt unique, special, and important to Jamin and La Shel; I wasn't a number to them or a medical case - I was a strong woman embarking on life's greatest adventure!

My homebirth was very short and insanely sweet - I delivered my beautiful 9 lb. 12 oz. daughter Emma into the welcoming hands of her father. I was surrounded by incredible midwives who loved me through God's intended rite of passage, and guided my precious child's voyage from womb to world. I cannot stop talking about how amazing it was to birth Emma in the safety, security, and comfort of home, and I will always highly recommend Jamin and La Shel to anyone interested in choosing to homebirth! To read details of my three very different birthing experiences, please visit our family blog:, blog entry "A Homebirth: from Conception, to Decision, to Delivery" from January 2011. Always in my heart."

- Tara Warthen Madsen