Shelby's story is a beautiful story. A story not without heartbreak (like most good stories). Shelby suffered abuse as a teenager, but thankfully found healing when she met her sweet husband. Her doctor told her she wasn't going to be able to get pregnant due to a severe case of PCOS. They were wrong, and she did get pregnant, and her and her husband eagerly planned for life with a new baby. But when a routine test showed protein in her urine, she underwent an emergency c-section that left her feeling disempowered, manipulated, and violated.
I was rushed past the doors, leaving my husband behind. I was alone. No familiar faces. Surrounded by hurrying and panic. I was lifted from my bed onto the operating table and they began to throw what looked like brown dye over my stomach. The nurse told me to look up as she placed a mask over my mouth and nose, she held it down so hard that I told her I couldn’t breathe and began to shake my head from side to side. She looked annoyed and told me to stop as she loosened her hold.
Then there was black.
But Shelby decided that instead of bitterness, she was going to choose compassion. She decided she wanted to pursue the path of midwifery so she could help other women have a better birth experience, a mother-centered birth experience. During this journey, Shelby found out she was pregnant again.
She knew she'd have a different birth this time around.
Under the care of the midwife she's training under, Shelby gave birth on a beautiful rainy May morning with the support of her husband and an amazing team of birth professionals. I could try to tell you about the emotions that swirled around the room that day, but I'll let Shelby (and these images) speak for themselves:
This was it. I had done it. I couldn’t believe it. I never thought I could do it, and I did. I scaled the wall. I was ontop of the world. I looked at my husband and said “I did it.” In those laboring moments, I wasn’t defiled, I didn’t have anything taken from me, or lacked self-confidence. Everyone ay my birth believed in me. They consoled me. They held me. They respected me. Just as my husband had done when I was recovering from abuse. This was my moment and in that moment, I was triumphant.