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Birth Story: A Cozy New Beginning

Body, Maternity, Women's Health, Portland Midwifery, Portland Family Birth Place

Naomi Campean grew up in a big family. Her mom always talked about how the time she gave birth with the help of a midwife was her best birth experience. So when Naomi learned she was pregnant, there was no question what birth experience she wanted.

“I knew right away I wanted an unmedicated birth,” she remembers. “I wanted it to be an atmosphere that didn’t feel like a hospital.”

Her sister-in-law recommend a group of certified nurse-midwives at a birth center not far from Adventist Health Portland. Naomi met with them and was immediately impressed by their friendliness reassured by how they answered all her questions. “They knew what they were doing,” she says. “They were totally into the natural route but wouldn’t wait until the last minute if there was an issue.”

Naomi valued this group’s evidenced-based approach and their location just minutes from a hospital. She began her pregnancy care with them.

Then, just a few months before her due date, Naomi learned the midwifery center was closing. The midwives were moving to Adventist Health Portland’s Women’s Health Clinic, with their deliveries going to the Family Birth Place.

At first, Naomi was concerned about the change to a hospital setting. The midwives assured her Adventist Health Portland was remodeling four of birthing suites to create a midwifery unit inside the hospital. These suites would feature cozy amenities like a normal bed, low lights, reduced machinery, and birthing support gear like labor tubs and birthing stools.

And, most importantly, Naomi could trust the same midwives for her care.

On January 2, 2023, Naomi woke up with the first signs of labor. “I knew deep down ‘it’s starting,’” she says. She talked with her doula, who encouraged her to eat and rest as much as possible during the early phases of labor.

Naomi took a nap. Her husband, Jonathan, brought her takeout. She hung out with her nieces for a while, until her contractions started intensifying. She practiced the breathing and labor techniques her midwife team had taught her.

After a shower, Naomi and Jonathan headed to the Family Birth Place, where they were checked into one of the midwifery suites. Her husband hung up Christmas lights, and Naomi settled into labor. “It felt like a nice, warm room,” she recalls. The lights were warm and low. She remembers lots of cushions and balls to use to get as comfortable as possible.

Labor became something of a blur. Naomi’s husband and mother massaged her to ease her pain. Her doula also supported her the entire time. “She was like an angel,” Naomi says.

Soon the midwives, led by nurse-midwife Carissa St. Onge-Carneiro, filled up the laboring pool. Naomi slipped into the comfort of the warm water. “Amazing,” she says. “I loved it. I could feel myself progressing. I was changing sounds.” She recalls the midwives got right down on the floor next to the tub to be with her every minute.

When Naomi was close to delivering, the midwives helped her move back and forth between leaning into the bed and using the birthing stool. They encouraged her to embrace the building contractions and placed a mirror where she could see her baby crowning.

Motivated by that view, Naomi prayed her way through her contractions and soon delivered her son. She held him right away as the midwives tucked them both into bed.

Because Family Birth Place suites are designed for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum, Naomi and baby Malachi didn’t have to change rooms during their stay. Naomi was also able to meet with a lactation consultant before she and her little family headed home.

As Naomi settles into life with a newborn, she’s grateful for her experience with the Adventist Health Portland midwives. And when she and Jonathan decide to expand their family, she has no doubt she will return to midwifery care. “I would do it again,” she says.