Natalie Loper’s Birth Story

My first birth went exactly as planned, but not the second. No. There I was at work and my water broke. I expected my contractions to start, but they didn’t. I wish I could say I remained calm and confident, however, that was not the case.

Arriving at Breath of Life, my midwife said with the most comforting tone, “Go home and get some rest. You’re going to need it. Come back in the morning or if things progress, we’ll see you sooner.” Everyone was peaceful and reassuringjust what I needed.

When I arrived in the morning, they were ready and expecting me.  I stopped in the bathroom and closed the door behind me. Without warning, all of my emotions came rushing to the surface. I started crying.  When I came out, my midwife was right by my side.

“Hey, it’s going to be ok,” she reassured me. “Let it out now. Release it, and then we can focus on your baby.” I confided in her how afraid I was that I would need to be induced. I shared all of my fears with her and one-by-one she walked me through my options and addressed all of my concerns. As quickly as my wave of emotions washed over me, they were gone and in their place was excitement, determination, and peace. We moved forward with her suggestions and, soon after, I found myself in active labor.

Natalie Loper feels nothing but gratitude for the midwives who walked her through the pregnancy, labor, and birth of her two children.  When she moved from Texas to the Tampa Bay area of Florida, she asked a mom’s group for recommendations on local birth centers. Several moms recommended Breath of Life, and we were honored to serve Natalie and her husband, Adam, through the birth of her second son, Callahan.  We asked her to share about her experience working with midwives in hopes to empower other women to make choices that are best for their bodies and their babies.


Natalie, when did you know you wanted to give birth with a midwife?

Well, actually, I come from a family that works in the medical field. So, when I initially thought about motherhood, I definitely had a medicalized approach to birth and prenatal care. I was doing my undergraduate in pursuit of a medical degree when I became intrigued with public health and the idea of protecting the health and improving the quality of life for people and communities. I  shifted my focus in that direction and that’s when I first opened the door to researching midwifery. But then when I actually got pregnant with my first baby, I decided I should make an appointment with an OBGYN.


So, you didn’t use a midwife with your first baby?

Yes, I actually did. Our experience at the OBGYN wasn’t good. I know people who have had positive experiences, but not for Adam and me. At our first appointment, we sat in the waiting room for a long time, and then finally we were moved to an exam room where we waited again. She was over an hour behind schedule, and we were taking time off work to be there. This was a repeated theme to our appointments. It was very stressful.

It was also very impersonal. At week #20 the OBGYN didn’t even recognize us or know anything about us. That’s when we made a bold move.


You left your OBGYN for a birth center?

Exactly!  At 26 weeks, I walked out on that OBGYN and met my midwife. I chose my own destiny for my birth. Every woman’s body is different and I wanted the freedom to birth the way my body was meant to give birth. I didn’t want to conform to someone else’s standard approach to bringing a baby into the world.


How was the birth center experience different?

The birth center was different in so many ways. Our appointment was never missed or delayed. Everyone worked together and they knew us–who we were, what we did, what our schedule was like. They invested a lot in usboth Adam and me. It was very personalized. Best yet, Connor’s birth went so well. It was a great experience.


How did you find out about Breath of Life?

By the time I was pregnant with our second son, Callahan, we had relocated to the Tampa area. I had such a great experience with the birth center in Texas, so I had high standards and wanted a similar experience. I asked an online mommy group for recommendations and probably six or seven women highly recommended Breath of Life. When you get multiple referrals with positive reviews, that’s a good sign.


Thank you! Did we live up to your expectations?

Yes! And beyond. My first appointment was around month three. Every appointment was positive and encouraging. I loved the nurses and all of the midwives. I worked mostly with Cindy, but Amy was a student midwife at the time and she was at many of my appointments. She also ended up being there for Callahan’s birth, which was so sweet. We absolutely loved everyone, and we felt loved by them too.


What would you want a new mom to know about midwives?

They provide the knowledge, comfort, and guidance needed, which is particularly critical when your birth isn’t going as you had planned or expected. When things get tough–and they will–a midwife will give you the strength and encouragement you need. When I felt like I couldn’t do it, my Breath of Life midwife gently encouraged me and believed in me-—“You can do this!”  And she was right. If you want a personal, intimate, and natural experience, then I highly recommend a birth center with professional, nurse-midwives.