I chose Motherland Midwifery because I wanted midwives who would provide guidance and support, but ultimately give me the space to labor and birth in my own way.
From Nicole... When friends/family learned I was having a home birth, they assumed my decision was motivated by the desire to give birth naturally. While that was partly my motivation, the greater reason was the kind of care offered by Motherland Midwifery, from prenatal to postpartum. While I spent more time in the waiting room of my OB/GYN than with her during my appointments, Christy devoted hours upon hours to getting to know me, my baby, my pregnancy and the type of birth experience I hoped to have. She later guided me through a long, challenging birth with unwavering support and tenderness. My husband and I are forever grateful for the breadth of her knowledge, which was certainly tapped deep during the birth of our son. Afterwards, I felt anchored. As a new mom, it can be very overwhelming, but Christy’s care (home visits, frequent communication, etc) made me feel that I was never alone. I can’t imagine navigating my postpartum recovery without her. Christy, in short, is a gifted midwife and a beautiful person: a shepherd of babies into the world and also of mothers.
My wife and I were already committed to the idea of a home birth but having Christy as our midwife was a truly transformative experience. There is no question that if we had birthed in hospital, my wife would have been given a c-section.
We hurdled some challenging moments during labor but every step of the way Christy was able to guide us and give us the confidence of getting over the finishing line. One example: her experience in understanding exactly where the baby was positioned meant that she could direct my wife with specific pelvic exercises to get the baby in position.
Professional, focused, and full of love are the first words that come to mind when I think of the experience. It’s not just a powerful combination, it’s a vital one.
I could not be more thankful for finding Christy, and am so grateful she was able to be my midwife for my second pregnancy. With my first pregnancy I began doing research and realized I wanted to have a natural childbirth. Fortunately, I was able to have a natural birth at a hospital, however it was not quite the experience I had desired. I realized that the second time around I wanted an even more personal and less medical birth. I choose to have a homebirth with a CPM because I felt this was the best possible choice for me and my family. We researched CPM’s and homebirth and found that for a low risk mother such as myself, it is a valid and safe choice and one that fits with our wishes, much more than a hospital birth. We wanted a personal relationship with our provider as well as an approach to birth which treats birth as the normal and natural event that it is. As a physician myself I have a great appreciation for hospitals and medical intervention when it is necessary, and if I had needed such intervention I would have been grateful to receive it. However, I do feel that, at present, hospitals often provide more intervention than is necessary and that is something I wished to avoid. I was grateful to have a completely natural childbirth in my home with Christy, I would recommend her to everyone. I only wish I had found her for my first birth!
Our journey to home birth was a challenging, but fulfilling one. We had previously gone through three hospital births, all with a doula, bringing us three beautiful little girls. While the outcome was amazing each time, I felt somewhat troubled by the labor and birth process. Having done a lot of reading prior to my firstborn, I was well aware of all the pitfalls of hospital births. Each time, I came in defensively and ready to advocate for myself and the birth process I desired. However, having to be on the defensive, and constantly on the alert, took away from my ability to be totally present and immersed in the beauty of each labor, delivery and postpartum care. So, when it came to having our fourth, we decided to give the birth center a try. Fortuitously, as it turns out, they were filled up for June! My husband was much more comfortable resorting to the hospital route. However, having felt enticed for a number of years by alternatives to a conventional hospital setting, I took the opportunity to investigate the home birth option. As I read all about it, I became absolutely certain that this was the route for me. While it took some nurturing on my part, I was able to convince my husband to meet with Christy and Meredith to learn more about it. Christy and Meredith were incredibly adept at addressing my husband’s concerns in a validating, fact-based way; as well as reinforcing for me the empowerment and comfort I would experience through a home birth. They made clear that a home birth isn’t a one-size-fits-all model; but rather they could individualize the experience to make it technically, emotionally and physically comfortable for each couple. Each subsequent meeting with the midwives leading up to the birth further aligned me and my husband. By the time labor began, we were both excited to be in the comfort of our own home and to experience the process on our terms.
The actual birth itself was completely pleasant and comfortable. The labor progressed faster than the typical indicators led Meredith to believe--who had planned to arrive earlier than Christy during labor; but Meredith was completely calm (and calming) throughout and made sure Christy made it to the scene by the time of the birth itself. Once the baby emerged, they were equally adept at caring for him as they were for me and we had total faith that we were in good hands. My husband and I had a million questions during the weeks that followed about new and natural ways to care for any small ailments that arose – both for mom and baby – and they had their own unique answers for everything; and their "less is more" approach definitely had a greater impact on our recovery and well being than the suggestions we were given by the traditional medical establishment. All in all, from pre-care to post-care, this was the right decision for us and an approach that we wish we had given consideration to earlier in our child-bearing lives.
I remember my first meeting with Meredith when looking for midwives and I knew she was perfect for us. It seemed like she was very evidence-based, had over 500 births of experience, had a low hospital transport rate, and most importantly we immediately connected with one another. I am a professor in physical therapy and know first hand how many unnecessary procedures are performed in our health care system that pose risk to the individual, and, as a birthing woman, I wanted to be empowered with knowledge and given the freedom to make my own decisions for myself and the baby. Every experience I had thereafter validated our decision to work with Meredith and Christy. They created a safe home environment that allowed my husband and I to deliver our baby with minimal intervention. It was evident that being at my birth was not a job for them but rather a spiritual experience bringing a soul into the world. I want to be with these midwives again if I have a future birth and plan on referring my friends and colleagues in the area who may now be considering a home birth!
PS. This is from Benoy, my husband and a man of few words: Meredith and Christy were amazing. It takes much more courage to let go and guide the birthing process. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
From the very beginning you had confidence in my ability to have the baby. As the pregnancy continued, you always listened to me, without judgment, and never once did I feel that I had to prove to you how I was taking care of myself or my baby. You just trusted me. I knew I needed to talk to you about my fears, and through our conversation, it was as if you opened the door for me to take charge of my body and baby. I felt so empowered. An amazing gift. When I called to tell you I was in labor you were excited, and when you came to the house you gave me a kiss and told me I was doing fantastic. It may seem so small to you, just the way you are and do things, but it meant so much to me. When I started pushing, you hadn't checked me and I remember thinking, "she hasn't checked me, I'm pushing and she doesn't seem too concerned...is she just trusting me?" After all the work and conversations we had, old fear crept up still and you kept your word, still trusting me to do it on my own. You always put the power back in my hands, walking with me not leading me. Thank you. The work leading up to, and the birth of Maggie has made me a mother. Yes, I was a mother before, but now I feel stronger and more confident in a way I never have before. The trust you instilled in me from the very beginning allowed me to find the trust within myself to become a mother again, fully and without doubt. That is the best gift anyone could ask for.
I loved being pregnant and I loved giving birth. Part of that was how well I felt throughout and the joy and anticipation of bringing our daughter into this world, and part of that was how well supported my husband and I felt by our midwives. We looked forward to our monthly and then weekly visits with Christy, to our conversations, and to the things she would teach us about my ever changing body and the upcoming birth. Throughout the birth Christy was a calming presence. She was always there when I needed her, but seemed to know just when to disappear so that I felt that it was just my husband and I in the room birthing together. She was gentle, encouraging, empowering and helped me to bring into being the birth experience I wanted for myself and my family.
If you had told me a few years ago that I was going to give birth to my child at home, I would have thought you were insane. In fact when I first spoke to an woman who was studying to become a midwife, she asked me what was the first thing I thought of, when I heard the word "homebirth". "Messy" I said and "unsafe" I added. But after some explanation on her part, and some research on my part, I quickly learned that a home birth was precisely the way I wanted to bring my baby into the world. Because although all birth is "messy", a homebirth with a caring, attentive and well-trained midwife like Christy was the best environment I could be in.
Christy gave me all the care, knowledge, understanding, and support that I needed during my pregnancy. Having her advice just a phone call or an email away was invaluable. She helped to ensure I was prepared both physically and emotionally for the things I was experiencing and all of those that were to come. Christy's knowledge of homeopathy and yoga played a key role in my care, and I am forever grateful for her.
We chose to have a homebirth for our third child for so many reasons I would need a book to explain them all. Having had this beautiful experience and reflecting upon it on my son’s first birthday has given me new clarity on our choice. For me, creating life is awe-inspiring and profoundly humbling all in the same breath. As a vessel for this miracle I believe it is my responsibility and honor to bring life into the world in the most serene, secure and nurturing environment as possible. For my older children, both girls, I also wanted to give to them the opportunity to be present to welcome their brother into the world. Beyond being present, I wanted to offer to them a vision of birth uncomplicated and interrupted by the outside world. I wanted them to understand that the exhausting, arduous and exhilarating journey of birth is not scary, unknown or something to fear. My oldest daughter, Curran, who was five at the time of Sayer’s birth, said to me the morning after, “Mommy, you were like a tiger hunting for food.” It was incredible to realize that she saw in her mommy such strength. Sayer entered the world with grace and a sense of tranquility that is still present with him on a daily basis. I believe that has to do with who he is and how he came into the world. When a woman who believes in herself and then surrounds herself with people, like Christy, who believe in birth and believe in her— the beauty that comes from it is magical.
I truly consider having my babies at home with Christy as one of the greatest blessings of my life. The care she gave to me, my babies and my husband during pregnancy, labor and in the weeks afterwards was everything I could ask for; knowledgeable, comprehensive, accessible and open-hearted. How can I explain how moved to tears I feel to remember my children being born into such a peaceful, healthy environment or the feeling of safety and comfort of being in my own home with women who I felt truly cared for our well-being and who worked so hard to ensure it? I am forever grateful for the way that my children entered the world and for my own entry into motherhood.
Having Christy as our midwife was a true blessing in our life. We immediately felt listened to and cared for by Christy during our initial consultation, and this type of care continued throughout our pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods. After choosing Christy as our midwife, I started sharing the news of having a homebirth, and working with Christy. Almost everyone I told who knew Christy was so happy for us, telling us how they felt she was such an amazing person who was full of integrity, and who also walked her talk. This is exactly what we felt, and experienced from Christy. We were full of "issues" during our pregnancy and postpartum period, and Christy guided us through them gracefully with her patience, knowledge, and innate wisdom. I have to say that all of her recommendations were right on. During our birth she was very present, and open to making our experience be just the way we wanted it. She had no agenda but to be open to doing what we needed and requested during the birth, and was again great at being in tune with what we needed from moment to moment in order to get our baby out. I feel we could write a chapter on Christy and what she means to us, and how she helped us throughout our pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. She is integrity, love, joy, openess, and just plain amazing at what she does. We would hands down use Christy again, and highly recommend her to anyone interested in having homebirth. You, your family, and your baby will be in good hands.
~Sarah & Scott, Parents to Sienna, 7, and Sylvia 8 months
Christy Santoro helped bring our second child into the world. This birth was what I have called a “redemption” because it followed the very difficult birth of my son in a hospital birthing suite situation that was not as natural as it should have been. The fear that I felt during labor with my first child (due to environment) was absolutely absent with the calm support of Christy in my own living room, surrounded by my own family and doula. This home birth experience left me wanting to have more babies, where I had previously decided against it!
I am happy to recommend Christy Santoro to all of my friends and clients who are interested in a calm and truly natural childbirth experience.
Jennifer Phillips, ND
Christy has a lovely aura of calmness and peace about her that is just so comforting to expectant mamas. I remember that that was the first thing I noticed about her when we met - actually, even before that-when we first talked on the phone! I said to my husband, Mike, at one point during my pregnancy, "if anyone is meant to be a midwife, it's Christy!" I often think back to all of those happy prenatal visits and the complete faith you had in me. It truly is a comfort to me. It really is true that compassionate, loving care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum creates a ripple effect that touches everyone around that mama and baby, and lasts for a lifetime!
Fiona, mom of Owen, born March 2008.
As a midwife myself, my challenge in pregnancy and birth was to let go of everything I knew and be in the moment. Christy was incredible in her support of my processes, even when I rejected her suggestions in labor and proved to be a difficult mama with a difficult birth! My prenatal visits lasted forever as I explored the changes happening to me, physically, mentally and emotionally.
And Christy was always available outside of those visits if I had a concern, question or just wanted to share a thought via email or telephone. I will always treasure her extraordinary holistic care.
Christy's trust in women and in birth are shining examples for me in my professional life. She works tirelessly to empower women, protect birth as a natural though riveting life event and give our babies gentle, loving beginnings that they deserve. Jim, Arden and I are grateful that she was our midwife on that most powerful day of our lives!
Melissa Youssi, CNM Arden Phoenix Brewster 12/31/06 at 17:29, 9 lbs 8 oz, 21.5 inches