"When time came to start thinking about birth options, I knew very little about home birth and coming from a family of French doctors, I was still skeptical. Even though some women around me had positive experiences with home birth, I still feared a situation where something went wrong, where I could be endangering both my life and the baby's. So I started doing some research and the more I was reading about birthing in the U.S and especially in New York, the more I realized it was the way I wanted to bring our baby into this world. We started looking for a midwife when I was about two months pregnant and realized that spots were filling up fast - it's still NY after all.
We interviewed a few midwives before meeting Tania and felt pretty certain she was the right fit for us. Her approach was more that of a teammate rather than someone acting motherly. We trusted our intuition and Tania proved us right - she was an amazing support throughout my pregnancy. She was just the right amount of hands off yet always available if we had the slightest concern or question. She came for prenatal visits in the Rockaways and it never felt rushed. We really enjoyed our time together.
I was fortunate to go into labor 4 days early. I was progressing but it was a little slow and Tania was amazing at managing everyone's time so we could try to rest and recharge. Although we had full trust in whatever she might do, she never imposed anything and was always very respectful of our needs or desires. Considering the pace of my labor, she offered to help open my cervix which allowed to move things along. Thanks to Tania, her assistant Sarah and our doula Siobhan, I finally gave birth to a healthy beautiful boy after 23 hours of labor and it was the most intense and magical moment of my life.
We feel so grateful for these women and their strong energy. Their careful work allowed us to bring our son into our candlelit home. It was a true luxury to slip from the tub to our bed where we could fall in love for days before having to go anywhere."
Thanks again for everything.
-- Elsa & Sam
"I hadn't known from the start that I was going to have a home birth, but I did recognize that I wasn't comfortable with the idea of a hospital birth either. After figuring out my insurance I went for an information session and first appointment at a birthing center. After my first appointment I was told that the center was no longer taking my insurance so I began to explore my options and I found Tania. I quickly realized what a luxury it was to have my Midwife come to my home for visits. We developed a warm relationship, and my partner and I felt an ease of communication and freedom to discuss any information we were coming across as this was our first pregnancy. I had a sonogram at 20 weeks and then again less than a month before my due date. The treatment I received when I was past my due date was especially helpful, and all her advice was incredibly useful. After an evening primrose priming, the following day I spent walking around the city, up the highline, down the highline, across town to see friends and then in the middle of the night contractions began. Things began to intensify around noon and by the time my water broke at 2:30pm I knew it was time for her to come over. She was available and ready from the moment I called her in the early morning, but she also knew that the birth process was a delicate one and didn't want to stall things by coming too soon. By 4:30pm I had my new born babe in my arms. There's not much I would change about the process beginning to end. I did tear a little bit during birth, and in hindsight I would have wanted to attempt to slow things down a bit by breathing more deeply as it all seemed to go very quickly. Tania was right there beside me, encouraging me to try a different position for my comfort and the baby’s while he was entering the world, and then when his Dad cut the cord with her assistance a little while after. Being at home really made it a joy. The follow up care was also impeccable, she asked another midwife to come and be a second opinion with the stitches for my tear on the 3rd day after the birth, and I experienced no pain during the visit, and everything has since healed properly. I would most certainly call on Tania during another pregnancy, and really value her open minded, openhearted nature along with her expertise and experience".
Tania delivered my last two babies, and I have only the best things to say about her. First of all, why did I choose to give birth at home? Because I wanted to avoid unnecessary medical procedures and to be in the comfort of my own home. I’ll bring a couple of examples. My third labor started at 2 pm, and when contractions intensified and didn’t stop, I called up Tania. She came right over. At 7 pm I was only 4 cm dilated. By 11 pm contractions were strong, but still 10 minutes apart. Tania said there was no need to check me, and instead I should try to sleep between contractions. I was able to sleep for a few minutes, and after an hour the water broke, and my son was born very shortly after. I don’t want to know what the hospital staff would have done in this case. My fourth labor seemed like a month long affair. I had regular strong contractions for several hours in a row, but they would eventually stop. Tania was always available when I called, talked to me through the contractions, and told me to call if anything changes. It saved me many trips to hospital, I am sure. The real thing started at midnight, and my daughter was born at 1 pm. Tania didn’t check me once, but was frequently monitoring baby’s heart beat and my blood pressure. I felt very confident with her, because she told me what sounded normal, and what would be the danger signs. She brought another midwife-in-training with her, and it was great talking about giving birth and babies.
Another very important benefit for me was that Tania made house calls for prenatal checkups. At the end of each visit she would ask if I had any questions, and I almost always had something. She allowed a lot of time for each visit, I never felt rushed or ignored. She was always available via phone and email for anything else I needed to know.
I also have to say that Tania cares for her patients and makes sure that they get the best care. During my third pregnancy I had back pain, but the answer from the doctor was “there is nothing to be done,” and “no, physical therapy is not necessary.” I switched to Tania on 36th week, she delivered that baby and right away gave me referral to physical therapy for diastasis recti, and then additional referrals for back pain. Thanks to that, my back and belly muscles were in much better shape for the 4th pregnancy.
After our first delivery my blessing to her was, and still is, “May you, Tania, have many healthy pregnancies and deliveries, and many happy babies and moms.”
-- Sincerely, G.I.
"My first child was born at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, CA. At the time I became pregnant, I was living in California, and my boyfriend (now my husband) was living in Brooklyn. Our relationship was new. Though he had plans to join me before the baby came, once he arrived we would have to find an apartment, and he, a job. Having just graduated from my MFA program, I was also jobless. I had no insurance, no savings, no means by which to pay for a home birth. The easiest thing to do was to sign up for Medical and register at the nearest hospital. So that’s what I did.
The birthing center at Alta Bates is not so bad as far as hospitals go. The environment is welcoming. I had four support people of my choosing with me in the labor and delivery room. I birthed with a nurse midwife and didn’t have to worry about things like the unnecessary use of the fetal monitor or an unwanted episiotomy, as neither are regularly practiced at Alta Bates. At Alta Bates your baby rooms in with you, and the nurses support exclusive breastfeeding for those who intend to try. Some interventions were offered to me during labor, but I was able to refuse most without much trouble. As a result, my daughter was born naturally and unmedicated at the hospital, with her Papi, her grandmother, and two aunties there to welcome her.
Four years later, I was pregnant again. By that time, my family had relocated to Brooklyn. Now with an apartment, a stable job, and health insurance to my name, I began my search for a home birth midwife. On December 26, 2013, at 9:43 a.m., in our cozy little apartment and with holiday decorations all around, my son took his first breath of life.
Interestingly, the mechanics of birthing at the hospital and birthing at home ended up almost the same for me. The onset of both labors came unannounced. I had no Braxton Hicks contractions, no lost plug in the days leading up. Both labors lasted 36 hours from the first light contraction to the moment the baby slid out. Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning during both labors, I found myself “stuck” in transition, my cervix stubbornly refusing to dilate the last crucial half centimeter, making my journey to the pushing terribly drawn out and painful. Yet, the pushing for both my children was relatively quick. I pushed my daughter out in 20 minutes. With my son it was longer—1-2 hours, depending on who you ask—but nothing out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, both births were arduous and intense. I cried. I hollered. I bled. I bled and I bled and I bled. With my daughter’s birth, the hospital staff did not realize how much blood I’d lost during delivery until after I passed out. With my son’s birth, in order to avoid a repeat hemorrhage, Tania planned to administer Pitocin preventatively, right after the baby came out. Even so, the blood loss keep me on bed rest until the next day. Ironically, freely hemorrhaging in the hospital vs. consenting to a preventative shot of Pitocin at my home birth was one of the marked differences between the two births.
There was another type of difference, though. A different less tangible, less quantifiable, and a little more difficult to describe. It was the difference in the tone, the feeling of each birth. With my home birth my level of awareness, the degree of attunement I had with my body and all that was happening within was more fine tuned. In the midst of the drama of labor everything felt so clear. At home there was nothing standing between me, my body and my baby. There were less distractions, no external unknowns. I think it helped me connect more to everything that was happening. I knew full well when I had transitioned into pushing contractions, and was completely aware of the moment when my son was literally seconds away from being born. At that moment, I was completely inside myself, completely with my son. Birthing at home I felt simultaneously so much more vulnerable and so much more powerful than when I birthed at the hospital. Everything was more raw, and yet more in my hands. I got to do things the way I wanted to, the way I needed to. The instructions Tania gave me, though clear and directive, within the setting of my home felt less like orders and more like guidance. In the process, I ate papaya in my kitchen. I peed in my own bathroom. When I was exhausted and felt that couldn't give anymore, I laid down and rested on my own bed. As opposed to my hospital birth, my home birth was not mitigated by anyone else’s rules and regulations. This emotional, exhausting task I had committed to was done on my home turf, and in my favorite comfy t-shirt no less. Home birthing didn’t make my birth process any easier, but it did made the birth feel more my own".