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Jennifer Stewart, Midwife, Friend.
I met Jennifer in the kitchen of a birthing center, just as I had told the story of my previous pregnancy that did not go well. I was in tears as my hormones were fluctuating inside of me, dealing with memories and forgotten emotions. Since I had experienced such a terrible time at the hospital 14 years prior to my second pregnancy, I knew that I wanted to do a home birth, even if it was a VBAC. Through the tears and sobs, I saw Jennifer’s comforting blue eyes and I knew - this was the midwife for me.
From the first appointment I had with Jennifer it felt like I was sitting and talking with a long lost friend. We laughed, I cried, I felt comforted and not once did she make me feel lesser of a ‘mom’ for being the only single mom in the place. She was able to keep a professional sense about the nature of the appointments, and was also so easy to talk to. When I was trying to work things out with my son’s father, she said ‘ok’, and when I said I couldn’t stand the sight of him, she said ‘ok’ too. There was never any sense of judgement from her, and that made it very easy for me to trust her and feel as though I could rely on her for this completely unknown experience I was signing up for.
As the pregnancy went on, I was confident about it. I was seeing my long time acupuncturist, exercising and trusting the process. Jennifer worked with me to get my lab work and ultrasounds done, and when the results came back saying I had gestational diabetes, Jennifer said - ‘it’s ok’, and gave me information on how to take care of it all, and how to monitor my levels.
Looking back it seems as though it all happened in a matter of weeks, but it went on for the full 40 weeks. Further along into the pregnancy, the appointments came sooner and sooner, and the bond with Jennifer grew.
Then, the night came when I knew it was time to make the call.
At this point, once again, I was trying to be nice and work things out with the father, so he made the call; I was moaning and chanting in the living room - just doing what felt right.
In the process of preparing for the home birth, I didn’t get all of the bits and pieces of things the kit suggested (a regrettable mistake), but once again, Jennifer came in and said, ‘it’s ok’.
At this point it was about 3:30 in the morning and I was dialating pretty quickly. In my meditations with my son, I had asked for a 4 hour labor since I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into - and that’s what happened.
She coached me through it as my brother and mother filled the tub. I wanted it to take place in the backyard under my favorite tree… oh I’ll never forget, it was a crisp October morning, the Santa Anas had started the night before and I didn’t think the white fabric I had draped in the tree would stay - but it did.
At about ten to seven Jennifer said I was ready to go into the water. I didn’t think I could walk, but I took those steps out into the yard, stepped into the warm tub and said - ‘you jipped me!’. The warm water made everything feel so nice, and I was like a log in the water, rolling around to get the warmth all over me as the light of the sunrise started to come over from the east.
My mother was there at my side, the father, who at this point was on everyone’s nerves was there too. Jennifer guided me through the pushes, holding my hand, keeping her eyes locked on me the entire time, checking on me, making sure the baby was ok.
I felt a pop and asked, is that it?
No. That was the water breaking, that was just the beginning.
The moans and hums - the “oooo”, “aaahhh”, “eeee” all went out and it became an animalistic grunt. It just came naturally and Jennifer encouraged it.
All the while, my mom was shushing me to not wake the neighbors.
All I could think about was how graceful and easy the moms in all the documentaries I had watched made it look. I was grunting, I was not pretty, I was thinking it was too late to back out now. I couldn’t go any further.
Jennifer encouraged me to feel his head, he was on his way and he needed me to push.
I didn’t want to feel him, so I snuck my hand around back as if it made it less real.
Oh my goodness, all that hair.
I thought of the mantra - be a flower, go with the flow and I visualized myself “blooming”. That only worked so much. Then I remembered the African saying about birth, ‘ we can only walk you to the bridge, but you alone have to cross it’. I knew there was no turning back, I knew this was the time. I looked over to my mom in the most profound moment of our lives since my birth, and gave out the last grunt.
And with a little grunt of his own, Jonathan was with us. His dad kind of didn’t catch him so well, but luckily Jennifer was right there and took care of everything. I was in a state of bliss like no other I’d ever experienced.
I had a baby, it was all I could say over and over again until he was in my arms.
By this point, there was an assistant there with Jennifer and they both took care of me and reminded me of the afterbirth part of the process.
I had no idea how much care went into the after birth and bedside care, but it was by far the most amazing and pampering thing I could have done for myself. Jennifer took care of me in the comfort of my own home, she was literally taking care of me bedside, and monitoring my heart, Jonathan’s heart, took the tests needed and made sure he latched on. Since Jennifer is also a lactation consultant, I didn’t need anyone else there.
Jennifer played a big role in the birth of my son and enriched it with a beautiful friendship that some midwives can’t or don’t offer and most doctors definitely won’t do. I wish I could have more babies just to go through it all again with Jennifer.
The birth of every child is a moment that is forever engrained in the heart and memories of the mothers, and the people who are there to help through the labor and birth moments should be as caring, comforting and sincere as Jennifer.
The fact that so many of her clients are also friends after the birth speaks to how amazing of a person she is. It’s not ‘just business’ with her, it’s a beautiful moment that bonds everyone involved, and I am happy that I can think back to the pregnancy and remember laughing with her, being comforted by her, and in the moment of that final push, I felt as though I was with a friend.
The memory of her blue eyes at dawn will stay with me always and I don’t know how I could ever thank her for being such an amazing person and midwife.
Jonathans momSee MoreRead Less
I is a pleasure to recommend Tony. He is responsible, dependable, a quick learner and a sensitive, caring individual who is never too busy to support others. He has the great ability to follow directions and also do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Tony is honest, has character and integrity. He will be an asset to any organization.See MoreRead Less
I have had the pleasure of knowing the incomparable Jennifer Lane for 3 years now, I have interviewed her on an online broadcast regarding women's issues and women's sexuality. In the interview she not only demonstrated brilliance but was also open and responsive to my listener's diverse concerns. It was actually one of the best programs I did as the listenership even in the archives has grown tremendously. Jennifer has also supported my work and her word of advice on my own connection to my client base has helped me tremendously.
I have also worked with Jennifer in a program she put together in New York called the Global Goddess Gala. She had invited a number of speakers on various women's health and spiritual concerns. The program was well organized and featured a number of vending from Women run small businesses, very well organized. I assisted in some ways and Jennifer's leadership qualities moved everything along smoothly, in this event she exhibited great concern for everyone's well being.
Jennifer Lane is to be trusted to work in any capacity as a leader amongst wellness for women, if I were to host an event in this vain, she would be the first called to help in the organization structure and ideas for the event. If you are in need of a brilliant, innovator and organizer, a leader and someone who truly cares for the well being of women, Jennifer Lane is my choice for you.
Rev. Majadi Baruti
Udja Temple Ministries
Rose Heart Healing ServicesSee MoreRead Less
Truly a fantastic and compassionate nurse. Very highly recommended!