As a community of support, we love to share real life birth stories with you, our Third Coast family.  We hope that these stories will encourage and inspire you! Today we hear from Janelle, Mama of two. Thank you, Janelle for your honesty and willingness to share.
What would you like to tell first time expectant parents about birth?
Be prepared to be surprised, and be ok with changing your plans. Always ask questions, and remember it is your baby, your body, your birth. And it’s only the beginning!
How was your doula most helpful to you and your partner?
I still cry happy tears just thinking about how wonderful my support team was. They were phenomenal! This birth was a VBAC and I had a lot of negative memories to overcome from my first birth experience. My doula gave me peace of mind that we weren’t alone. She gave my husband the opportunity to rest and disengage when needed, because labor is exhausting for everyone involved! Any time doubt would creep in and I would say I didn’t think I could could do this, Shawna would tell me that I already was doing it. My contractions were intense and close together for a long time and she seemed to sense every time one was coming, and knew what to do to help me work with my body to bring me closer to meeting my sweet baby. Having a good support system was so central to the wonderful birth experience I had.
What was the most unexpected part about your birth? 
I’m going to level with you, those contractions hurt real bad! I think the most unexpected thing for me was just how exhausted I would be. I felt mentally prepared for the pain but being up for 24+ hours in labor was intense! I was also surprised at how focused I was. There were so many little details I worried about before the birth (what will I wear? Can I have food? Etc.) that just did not matter at all when it came time.
What was the most empowering part about your birth?
Finally getting to push her out. (After getting the green light from the midwife to run across the hall to the big birthing suite I wanted while at 10cm and +2 station, haha!) It was absolutely amazing to feel her as she was born and placed on my chest. Seeing my husband catch her, and finally holding her together. I felt like I could do anything after that!