I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I started researching birth and motherhood out of my own interest long before my husband and I decided to get pregnant. “Getting pregnant” did not come easy for us. We have been together for 21 years; married for the last 11. Five years ago we decided it was time to grow our little family. It took more than four years and fertility treatments to finally be blessed with our little miracle baby.

After dealing with unexplained infertility, it took a lot for me to trust my body. I was in disbelief that I was actually pregnant, even as my belly grew. I was terrified that I would never actually get to hold the being growing inside of me. Because of our IVF treatment, we were followed by our fertility doctor for the first eight or so weeks of pregnancy. Once cleared, We met with an OB. It didn’t feel right. I always envisioned giving birth in a quiet, calm, dimly lit space. I new I didn’t want any interventions, despite my insecurities regarding my body’s capabilities. Our living situation isn’t great for a home birth. I was so excited to discover Full Moon existed! Last I had checked (many years ago), the closest free standing birth center was in San Francisco. I made an appointment with Sunshine right away.

My husband and I went to our first appointment at Full Moon Family Wellness & Birth Center on the same day we were leaving on a 3 week long road trip. Upon walking into the beautiful Victorian that holds the birth center, I knew I wanted my baby born there. Meeting Sunshine in person cemented that feeling. Sunshine took us on a tour and turned the twinkle lights on in the birth room. Perfection! After our appointment, my husband voiced all I was feeling inside. With great excitement, we let Sunshine know that we would love to have our baby at Full Moon.

Over the next five months I had twice weekly chiropractic appointments with Caitlin Clark. I loved getting to visit “my birth room” frequently. Caitlin also acted as my doula. Between appointments with Caitlin and Sunshine, I began to trust my body, my baby, and the birth process. My husband was involved with everything and felt just as excited and comforted as I.

To everyone’s surprise, labor did not begin for me until I was 41 weeks along. Active labor began on Wednesday, December 20. At around 2 pm we decided to head to Full Moon. If we had been planning a hospital birth I would have labored at home for much longer. Upon arrival, we brought our things to the birth room and settled in. I felt at home from the start. We had more people than is probably typical for a birth join us. My niece and nephew, sister, mom, best friend, her daughter, and mother in law all settled in, quietly and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the baby who was longed for by so many. Sunshine, Caitlin, and Paige were also there, making our team complete. Paige’s documentation of our birth is something I will treasure forever.

I labored in the bathroom, on the stairs, in the chiropractic room, downstairs, and outside. My family took naps all over the place- also feeling right at home. My sister let me know if our baby came after midnight, their birth would be on the winter solstice. We all laughed. No way would I still be in labor by that time! I never knew what time it was and refused all internal checks. I never knew how dilated I was or how long I had labored for. At one point I was exhausted. I had been awake for almost two days. At Sunshine’s recommendation I got into the birthing tub. Everyone else went to sleep. My husband dozed on the bed while holding my hand. I drifted off, waking for contractions and falling asleep again. At some point I awoke with the urge to push. I pushed on my own for a bit, until Sunshine heard me. She checked our baby’s heart rate -“Perfect!” I pushed for a bit and eventually I was surrounded by loved ones. My husband got into the tub with me. Soon after, our baby’s head emerged. Baby’s shoulders became a bit stuck; with Sunshine’s help, our baby was brought up into my and my husband’s arms moments later. We all quietly looked at this beautiful person. Eventually, my husband announced “It’s a boy!” We climbed into bed. Our family said their goodbyes and we settled in as a family of three.

Our journey to parenthood was long, difficult, and sad. Thanks to Sunshine, Caitlin, Paige, and Full Moon Birthing Center my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience has been perfect. Our dreams have come true.

My son shine – Luke Phoenix Luna was born at 4:16 am on the Winter Solstice. He weighed 8 lbs 11 oz; 20.5” long.

-Licia Luna

January 12, 2018

My wife and I are fortunate enough to be medically insured currently through her employer. I’m extremely grateful we have insurance. Our son’s birth would have cost us five or so dollars at our insurers “in network” hospital. Just shy of thirty years ago, I was nine years old and had the privilege of witnessing my brother enter this world in the comfort of my parents bedroom. This was under the guidance of a midwife and doula from Mountain View, whom’s names I unfortunately forget.

The labor was smooth and short, just under two hours. I remember having a hard time absorbing the fact that an event as big as the birth of a human being, for the time being, could be so untouched by the medical or legal world. My brother was born, wiped, checked and weighed. Soon after, the midwife and doula made their way out the front door and in the intimacy of my parents small, warm, sunlit bedroom slept a tiny new addition to our family.

Actually, he wasn’t all that tiny. He was a big boy, a little over nine pounds. So here were, my wife and I, years later, struggling with infertility. We had a hell of a time getting pregnant. We tried everything except in-vitro-fertilization, even acupuncture and Chinese herbs. We eventually pooled our finances and had success with IVF.

It was fairly hard to absorb the fact that it had actually happened. We, fingers crossed, after so much time, effort and money, were going to have a baby. My wife being thirty-six years old at the time, our pregnancy was bestowed by the medical community with the label of, geriatric pregnancy. I’m a fairly visual person, those two words together bring some outlandish but not impossible imagery to my mind. Anyway, all invasive imagery aside, our pregnancy was also labeled high risk.

These labels were about the only small reservations I held when my wife asked how I felt about possibly having our baby without the involvement of a hospital or doctor. I’m pretty certain she was caught off guard by how game I was, even when the difference in cost was revealed. Just about everyone, excluding our immediate family but including all medical professionals affiliated with our pregnancy, thought the midwife and no doctor route was a bad idea. We heard plenty of our friend’s, coworker’s and acquaintance’s reservations, unwanted advice plus often unwarranted concerns and scary stories. If I hadn’t experienced my brother’s home birth, I possibly would have been in the same boat as them.

Our son’s birth story at Full Moon isn’t a scary one. I definitely had my moments of anxiety, of course, but it was by no means scary. The old victorian house that is the birth center has character, warmth and intimacy with nothing but authenticity. There was plenty of space for all our loved ones involved and all the time in the world for our baby to get here. Unlike my brother’s birth my son had a long labor, which was entirely exhausting but perfect and complication free. Sunshine, our midwife had a perfectly balanced hands on and hands off, very natural and knowledgable, trusting approach to every element of the experience. Hours after the birth and a small exam, the three of us were left alone in the warm, sunlit bedroom to rest and get aquatinted. We were free to go home when we pleased.

The entire experience was worth every penny, or, over all, priceless. Our son was born naturally, untouched by the medical or legal world on the morning of the winter solstice. He was big boy weighing in at over eight pounds. Luke Phoenix was the first child born at the Full Moon Birth and Wellness center, all too perfect for a boy with the last name Luna.

Now here I am trying to absorb another fact; I am now a father.

-Larry Luna Jr Boulder Creek, Ca