8: Meet Sage-A Midwife For 34 Years Shares Her Midwifery Birth Stories

Heidi Campbell

 8 Meet Sage-A Midwife For 34 Years Shares Her Midwifery Birth Stories


Sage Brook is Charlotte, NC's most experienced and wisest midwife. She practiced midwifery for 34 years, delivering thousands of babies, before retiring in 2018. Sage walks us through her professional life story. After birthing her own 3 children naturally almost 50 years ago, she wanted to teach women. Sage says, "I wanted to help women have a natural childbirth." So in her 30's with three young toddlers, she went back to school. She takes us on trips to Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and the Navaho Indian Reservation with memories of birth stories. In Guatemala, one baby was even born in her bed. Sage reminisces about her journey to midwifery and then travels through time to remember the highs and lows and her most memorable birth stories. In retirement, Sage is focused on the helping moms in Charlotte, NC with the "Fourth Trimester" (4th Trimester). She has started the New Moms Support Group which is free to moms. If you are interested in this free postpartum support, you can e-mail Sage at or call 980-213-6647.





[00:00:00] What does a contraction feel like how do I know if I'm in labor? And what does a day of Labor look like? Wait, is this normal? Hey, I'm Heidi Campbell a certified birth Doula host of this podcast birth story and owner of my Doula Heidi. I've supported hundreds of women through their labor and deliveries and I.

[00:00:29] Give that every one of them and you deserves a microphone and a stage. So here we are with an each week to get answers to these tough questions and more first story where we talk about pregnancy labor deliveries where we tell our stories share our feelings and of course chat about our favorite baby products and motherhood and because I'm passionate about birth outcomes.

[00:00:55] You will hear from some of the top experts in labor and delivery whether you. [00:01:00] Pregnant trying desperately to get pregnant. I hope you will stick around and be part of this tribe episode 8 today. I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Sage Brooke Charlotte's most experienced wisest and oldest Midwife stage practice Midwifery for 34 years before retiring in this episode.

[00:01:22] She shares her professional life story with all of us. So welcome page. Thank you. Thank you for being here. I'm excited. Yeah, so. Each is my beautiful Midwife that help me deliver my first child Max. It was a long tumultuous labor. And the only reason that I ended in a vaginal birth is because of sage and so I'm forever grateful because of that first vaginal birth.

[00:01:50] I was able to have a second vaginal birth with Jagger. So I owe that all to you. So Sage is here because she's got a really beautiful [00:02:00] project that she's working on with the for. Trimester and we're going to get into that. But Sage is one of I would venture that you're the most experienced Midwife in Charlotte.

[00:02:12] I would say that's true. Yes. Okay. I think you've delivered more babies. That is true. Yes, so it's a privilege to be here with you today. And I want to walk through all the things that I don't know about you and so when you go in and you've hired a midwife, you know, you don't really get a chance they get to know you but you don't get to know them that much and so I want to hear how what led you to becoming a midwife.

[00:02:40] What does that? Journey look like oh that's easy to tell when I had my first child. All I did was read about natural childbirth. I did have a fairly unmedicated birth. This is back almost 50 years ago where most people were put to sleep. I [00:03:00] was not I wanted to be awake and aware and even though the birth went well I was overwhelmed with.

[00:03:09] The fourth trimester no doubt about that. I probably had postpartum depression, but I lived through it and found ways to cope so that will be I'll talk about that a little later the second birth. I went to the I was in the first Lamaze class in Tampa, Florida, and I had a wonderful birthing experience.

[00:03:31] Very easy labor, very easy birth of an over 9-pound baby and I couldn't imagine why women wouldn't choose to have a baby this way. I felt wonderful afterwards postpartum was much easier. Although handling two children wasn't night. Not a breeze and then when I had my third child unexpectedly had a third child.

[00:03:57] I also had a totally unmedicated birth [00:04:00] and pretty. The Experience, so I wanted to help women have what they what I considered a natural childbirth at the time most women were getting Twilight sleep or they were getting spinal anesthesia just for the pushing stage.  Which epidurals were not available at that time?

[00:04:23] Yeah. So with three small children, obviously, I wasn't going to be able to go back to school. I was not a nurse. I already had a degree. I had been a school teacher. I knew I was never going to teach in a classroom again. It was overwhelming. It really wasn't my cup of tea. But I love the teaching part.

[00:04:43] I didn't like the classroom management. I thought well, I could teach childbirth education. But at the time in order to be a Lamaze instructor, which was the only child birth. Keishon at that time in the 70s you had to be either a nurse or a physical [00:05:00] therapist.  And so I thought well I thought I would go back to school but it still took a little while and I decided that nursing I was more prone to nursing than to physical therapy.

[00:05:16] I started taking one class at a time toward a degree in nursing. With three children three children. Yes, I do not care right away. I was by that time. I was in my mid 30s, but fortunately I had a husband who was a school teacher. So the kids by the time the kids were in preschool. He could be responsible for picking kids up or taking them in the morning.

[00:05:44] Yeah. And I started and got a degree on and social science degree in nursing and then. I discovered that I was going to probably need more than that because I read about Nurse midwives and I thought [00:06:00] immediately that's really what I want to do. I want to be able to attend births as well as teach. So that was the process.

[00:06:11] I love if you actually give me a lot of Hope because I'm 40 years old and I've been a doula for 14 years. But I mean, you know, I have dreams of delivering a baby myself some day going back to school was the best thing I could have done, you know for my life. I love and for everyone listening right now.

[00:06:31] I mean just the perseverance of a young mom with three children. You had a million reasons to not do it and you did it anyway, and it's been an incredible life. So you what complete your degree? Where did you go to school? Well, I went to Hillsborough Community College in Tampa for nursing. Then I started Queens College working toward a bachelor's in nursing and then I discovered there were some universities that would take [00:07:00] me with a Bachelor of Arts and a nursing.

[00:07:03] Associates of nursing. Okay, so I applied to Yale University and got to the interview process and I was on the wait list when I discover that University of Florida was also available. I was in their second graduating class. Wow and much cheaper to go to University of Florida. Because I was already living in Florida.

[00:07:29] Mmm, and they had a program that was transitioning from an associate's degree in nursing to a masters in nursing without doing the bachelor part. Okay. So from start to finish like from the time you had this dream and you enrolled in that first class until finishing. How long did that take six years?

[00:07:52] Wow, that's because I did the nursing part time. I had to take some. That was its fortunately I had a Bachelor of Arts already. [00:08:00] Yeah, I had to take chemistry which I'd never taken in my whole life microbiology all those science classes. So I did one class at a time while I was working so that we could afford for me to go to school.

[00:08:11] Yeah. This is an incredible story. So when you've graduated how old were your children then hmm. I'm trying to think I graduated in 1984 so that my. Youngest child must have been true good question. They were all teenagers by that time or. Okay, were they your cheerleaders then? They were they were then old enough to know exactly what Mommy was doing.

[00:08:38] Oh, definitely. They got tired of hearing anything about birthing and about birth control. They were very well-informed young teen minor very informed the toddler that they have probably watched too many birth videos and they know so much but they're so curious and they at four and three [00:09:00] they love to watch.

[00:09:01] Their birth videos. I mean, they just loved it. So only midwives and doulas and Opie's where we talk about things that probably no one else talks about do our children, correct. Wow, so you graduate. I'm assuming in the middle of that program you had the opportunity to deliver your first baby while you were still in school.

[00:09:23] Oh, yes. Okay, so I want to hear about that. The first willpower. I was in Palatka Florida doing my internship and it was in a hospital, obviously and. I managed to labor. It was not a difficult labor. I think it was her second baby. I can't remember at this time. But I do remember she had to go to the delivery room to deliver.

[00:09:49] That was just their standard. Okay, and this is a very small hospital and of course their Physicians know they were familiar with nurse-midwives, [00:10:00] but there was not a huge trust level. It was very obvious. So the physician was in the delivery room and this woman was pushing and the baby wasn't coming easily which was surprising for a multiple.

[00:10:12] He puts his hand in and he goes and turns the baby from o p which is a posterior birth to OA and the next push she had the baby. Wow, so it was. Yes, the baby was born into my hands. But the physician did teach me something about you know, that it wasn't that difficult to change a baby's position.

[00:10:34] But I've discovered that it's not always that easy. Wow, I was going to say that sounded like it I bet that was not comfortable for the mom. No, I'm sure it wasn't. Yeah, I don't think she had any medicine on board. Yeah, but that was a very good lesson for you to learn your very first, you know birth.

[00:10:54] So that brings me to through how many years have [00:11:00] you been practicing now as a midwife we won't do the math on how old you are but 34 years. They've been practicing as a midwife for 34 years. Yes, which is incredible like the experience that you have brought to this community is. Overwhelming so I'm sure in that 34 years though.

[00:11:16] You have some births that stand out to you or some circumstances. And so let's just start with the first one that comes to mind. Well, I would like to tell you one. Very interesting experience. I was working at a big teaching Hospital in Tampa, Florida. And this was somebody I had did not know we did Public Health.

[00:11:40] Most of them women were I had never met and this was a very angry young woman who was not happy with any of the Physicians and. When one of the Physicians walked in the room she threw a bedpan Adam that was full. [00:12:00] No it wasn't full fortunately, but she did throw it at him, but that was the last time he walked in the room.

[00:12:05] So therefore I was the birth attendant. Okay, he was not going to interfere with that birth. That was kind of a dramatic the other one at the teaching hospital was very it was a homeless person a woman who claimed she'd never had a baby, but I was pretty sure that wasn't the truth because she was laboring much more like a multi-purpose woman.

[00:12:29] Yeah and. We tried to get records from where she had had some care and it was I think it was Kentucky. It turned out that this was our third baby and her children have been taken away from her. But the one thing that she wanted was her fur coat that she probably got out of the dumpster. This is Florida.

[00:12:49] Remember? Yeah, and she would not take it off. I thought. This is her Comfort. I mean so she wore a fur coat for the birth. Oh my goodness. And it's [00:13:00] you're hot. Yeah, you're hot and labor. I mean forget Florida and we're even if you're in Minnesota, I mean you're sweaty and the interesting thing is also that she was bound and determined to breastfeed her baby.

[00:13:14] Yeah. She had no place to go to. We're after she gave birth and her baby had to stay in the hospital for a while. She lived in the ER so that she could stay and come up and breastfeed her baby. They did find her a place to stay. I think it was a Salvation Army Center. I have no idea what ever happened but I thought you know, there's something in women that in spite of all the Situation's she wanted to do something good for her, baby.

[00:13:46] Yeah. And had that instinct to do it. It's beautiful. I served here at the urban Ministry Center their Bridges out of poverty program for a very long time and was connected with different women [00:14:00] also through Florence Crittenton. And then Louis is lodged. There are some like Crisis Pregnancy homes here and one of the women that I it was the only woman that I ever labored with as a doula that lost access.

[00:14:16] To the child that she birthed and I learned very quickly in our community. You're almost not allowed to be homeless and have a baby and and many levels that make sense. And then some other levels for me. It doesn't make sense that we wouldn't provide. You know housing but that's a podcast for another day, but it was very difficult for me to go through that whole process with this mom through her pregnancy through our labor through her delivery and then kind of holding her hand through taking her child away from her.

[00:14:50] So very difficult though. Did you see her again after the birth or did postpartum I Pastor in the [00:15:00] hallways? And she would know kind of recognize me but never spoke to me. Yeah. It was an interesting experience. Yeah, I mean I have some very nice birth experiences with women who are super strong and do incredible things.

[00:15:18] Yeah, one woman laughed through her labor. I heard ever had anybody laugh through Labor tell me about this and she said it was better than crying. Okay, so it was it voice. It was a choice her choice. Yes. Yes, and I think there is a program for childbirth education called laughing. Labor, okay, I'm gonna have to Google that one for the show notes.

[00:15:40] So I have not yet had anyone laughter their labor. But so when the contraction hit she would put intentionally laughs. Yes. Wish you pushy laughing. It was an interesting experience. Yes. It was I most people cry and most people, you know [00:16:00] have very colorful language which I appreciate what no matter what a woman does.

[00:16:04] It's the right thing. Yeah. So tell me this outside of a hospital bed where else have you caught babies? Oh, well, I started working in a hospital, but it was right out. It was birthing rooms right outside the labor and delivery Suite I worked with migrant women. Okay, and so that was more like a birth center, but yet we were right around the corner from.

[00:16:31] Labor and delivery then I worked at a birth center for a year. And that was an interesting experience really strong ladies. It was a good experience. But they couldn't make it financially so that birth center has closed then I worked for a big teaching hospital with a Residency program had its challenges but I worked there for eight years.

[00:16:59] Then [00:17:00] I went to Guatemala for a language immersion for Spanish and a baby was born in my bed. Wow in my home in Guatemala with my family who nobody spoke any English the woman didn't speak. English and my Spanish was limited but within about two hours she had a baby first baby. She probably labored in her home for quite a while.

[00:17:25] She didn't want to hang on to go to the hospital. I visited the hospital. I understood why should everybody laborers in the same room in the hospital and three ways. I could see that that could be interesting to have other people, you know. Most of us just want to be quiet and dark and alone when we labor so that could be challenging and if you labored at night, it was a medical student that attended your birth not a physician.

[00:17:58] Interesting, [00:18:00] so I haven't now I've probably had about 20 interviews and you are the fourth person to mention Guatemala. I feel like Guatemala might be calling me all day. Hasn't. Guatemalans generally use midwives and generally do home birth. Yeah, the midwives don't have a lot of training but they have a lot of passion for what they're doing.

[00:18:25] Yeah, this woman that I just interviewed Tori Jones. She's a CEO of a company called a shell triangle. She makes these beautiful these purses these beautiful purses from the Guatemalan coops, and she was saying that right now she's gone. To help nurse some of the babies in the nursery through the years, but right now they've got a really high cesarean section rate.

[00:18:52] So they had a tie section rate 20 years ago. Yeah, they did because what would happen is if they went to the [00:19:00] hospital at five o'clock at night if they hadn't delivered most of the time they had a C-section. So that the provider could go home. That's correct. Yeah, so in the evenings if you came in afterwards and you had a medical student, you probably had a precipitous delivery in the middle of the night.

[00:19:19] Wow. Hmm But I have had.  to other experiences. I need to tell you. Yes. Okay. Well I was going to ask for so how long were you in Guatemala for? A month one month after month and how many babies about did you help I live I didn't go there to do delivery. Oh, you didn't the only reason this woman came as she heard via the Grapevine that I was an American Midwife and.

[00:19:46] Knocked on the door at three o'clock in the morning a beautiful though and her family knew the woman in my family. Okay, so all right, but I did get to see some births when I was in Guatemala in the hospital. Okay. [00:20:00] Well, I do have a question about that. I have not had an opportunity yet to step out all my mission trips that I've gone on.

[00:20:08] I have not had an opportunity to see anyone else in another country labor and I was very curious. I would assume that natural birth looks the same no matter where you're at in the world, but I wanted to hear from you does a birthing woman sound and look similar no matter where you're at. I would say yes, that's true.

[00:20:33] Hmm and they weren't medicated as far as epidurals or spinals but they did get some IV medication. They used a lot of pitocin and Guatemala, huh interesting. So I get the babies to be born at the right time. Okay not make sense. But I also saw I was in Puerto Rico doing a Spanish. We only a week long and I did see a baby born there and the most interesting thing there was [00:21:00] that there were two birthing rooms right next to each other with just a sort of a cardboard divider between so to cuckoo people could be delivering the same time and Puerto Ricans tend to be quite noisy.

[00:21:15] I knew that from my experience in Tampa Cubans also. Yeah, but you know, they. They didn't have. Kind of anesthesia that we have available here. Yeah, but that was quite a while ago as well. Yeah, and then well here I should probably mention this right now because the particular hospital that you served didn't have this but I was recently at a delivery at a major hospital here in our community and.

[00:21:45] One of the things that really surprised me is they bring all laboring moms into this partitioned room now where it's a small bed with a curtain of partition and there's about seven of them in a row and to do their [00:22:00] triaging and when you hire a doula maybe you go to the hospital a little later and your delivery in your labor then if you don't have a doula so it.

[00:22:13] We came very late and you know, maybe eight to nine centimeters dilated and of course, I don't check services but just going on symptoms, you know, but that was very difficult for me that here. We are in the United States in a big city and a big and and women are paying big bucks. And the first thing that happens to them is they get and put in the room with a million other noisy women.

[00:22:41] Laboring in a my client immediately felt like she needed to be quiet that she needed to be on her best behavior and it broke my heart because there was all these other women laboring that is archaic and it's up and it is still right now just makes me so sad. Actually. I'm very [00:23:00] proud of where I was working because they have for private.

[00:23:04] Triage rims and I still struggled with knowing that some women came in and did not need to be triage. They needed to be put into their room. It was obvious that they were in labor and they didn't need that step. Yeah, I think duel is go a long way for that. Advocacy. I have I have bypassed triage many times by just saying they've been doing this for 14 years and the baby's coming like I've been with her for the last 20 hours the baby's coming and there's no triage.

[00:23:41] So but just having an advocate or a voice to kind of because all women do labor differently. So you are in Puerto Rico for. Just a week still with medical Spanish for obstetrics. Oh, so that was helpful. Okay, and then I got to visit the hospital and happened to see a baby being [00:24:00] born there. Did you attend like attended at all, or just observe just observed?

[00:24:05] Yeah. Oh wonderful. You are a woman of the world stage. I've also delivered my three grand three out of five grandchildren and was present for the other two birth. Do you have permission to share some of that? I would love to okay. I was like, I would love to hear that my youngest daughter had the baby.

[00:24:25] She was the first one to give birth and she gave birth into a large hospital and they wanted to put her in triage. And I knew that she was at least seven centimeters because I had checked her at home and that was a struggle but they. They did. Yeah, and it was not such an easy birth. She delivered posterior and she needed some repair and you really don't want your mom doing your repair.

[00:24:52] But evidently I was more experienced in the Midwife was on so I would not recommend that but my daughter was okay the [00:25:00] baby was wonderful. And so did you attempt to turn I'm assuming I did not he did not okay. I got her and different positions instead. Yeah. She had no medicine on board and she did push her baby out that way.

[00:25:13] Yeah. Oh good job, then when she had the second, baby. She labored at my house and it was in a different state and a different hospital where I actually had privileges that that time and so one of my Midwife friends said, you know, do you want to deliver the baby, you know here at the hospital fine.

[00:25:36] She got there already to deliver within probably 10 minutes. She almost had the baby in my house and it was a beautiful nice easy birth, and she needed some stitches but. My Midwife friend said this is you. This is your grandchild. I'll take care of that part and I was so thankful to have somebody else.

[00:25:57] You know, who was there to do that part? Yeah, [00:26:00] so when baby number three came from the same daughter, she wanted to have a home birth because she knew she was having a baby quickly. Yes, so so she had a baby in my bathtub. Well, she didn't deliver in the bathtub. She got to the point where she was almost ready to push in the bathtub.

[00:26:18] Yeah, and did get out of the bathtub. Yeah, and she got on the toilet her water broke, and she said mom the baby's coming. Wow, and so the baby was born on the toilet. Now. Did she catch her own baby or did you catch that? I caught the baby? Okay and put it right up on her chest. I wouldn't recommend delivering on the toilet for anybody else, but it worked for her.

[00:26:45] It's a great place to labor though. That is. Yes, please don't leave her and she didn't expect she didn't feel like she had to push when she got on the toilet, but her water broke and yes the baby was going to come right away. Yeah. Oh, it's beautiful. It's beautiful. So that was [00:27:00] one daughter and my other daughter had her two children in Atlanta with a midwife.

[00:27:05] Okay in the hospital and my her second baby was born in a tub of water in the hospital. So she had a water birth in the hospital. Is that something that they allowed or just happened? No, they have actually have a they set up the tub. But the nurse had been totally unfamiliar familiar with setting the table up it took forever to get the water running and my daughter was already seven or eight centimeters.

[00:27:28] So, okay. She kept saying how come I can't get in the water so and she too. I convinced them to bypass. I had not checked my daughter that daughter. I told them just bypass the triage. She is going to have the baby and she did about an hour and a half later. Oh my goodness, beautiful beautiful birth.

[00:27:51] So you have the two daughters and then is do you have a third time ever third daughter who has never had any children? Okay, she got married in her 40s, and [00:28:00] but she's been a foster mother. So long term or does she take children for a short periods of time before she got married. She had a son for a year.

[00:28:10] I've got a single mom and felt that he really needed to have a mom and a dad. Okay, and she wasn't married at the time and he is still in foster care and ten years later. It's not Ten Years Later. Seven years later he's doing quite well, so I think that she got him on the right path. But now she and her husband took the training also to be a foster parent.

[00:28:38] So they do respite foster care now. So one weekend a month to give other foster parents a break they take children into their home for a weekend. So three daughters three daughters five grandchildren. Wow. You're busy. You are quite busy. Yes retired, but doing some other things now. I just wanted to see [00:29:00] what other stories are on your heart that you would want to share that you think could be funny or informative to our listeners.

[00:29:08] What's the shortest labor? Okay, that's an interesting one because this is her second baby. And I had been at attended her first birth, which was not short, but she had done it. She had been Bradley trained. She did it without medication. She did a wonderful job and her husband was really supportive when she was pregnant with the second baby and I saw the whole pregnancy when she came into the hospital when she called me.

[00:29:42] She said I think the baby's coming very soon. So we bypass triage walk. Got the room. She had her little two-year-old with her in the stroller because she couldn't get a sitter at two o'clock or three o'clock in the morning. Her neighbor wouldn't wake up to answer the door [00:30:00] that neighbor. Well, the little boy was in the stroller mom got into the bed pushed a baby out immediately.

[00:30:08] Hmm, and the little boy was just as calm as can be because Mom was his calm as can be because she had to be. I guess so. Yeah, it was a beautiful. I didn't from the time she walked in she walked to the room her son was situated in his stroller and she pushed a baby out who just a few it was incredible.

[00:30:33] Wow. Now we're going to take a short break to just share a few things with you and we'll be right back with our guest. I'm so excited to tell you about my first book that I wrote that is launching. This summer is a 42 week guide to your pregnancy. It's a collection of birth stories. It has a ton of dual advice from all of the questions that my clients have asked me over the last 14 years.

[00:31:00] [00:31:00] It has hysterical partner tips that you will want to read to your partner and it has journaling prompts because nobody has time to write a 20 pages in there. And all about their pregnancy. So I've taken the Liberty to give you some prompts of things that I think you might want to remember back on after the baby's born.

[00:31:20] So again, you can go to burst or and pre-order a copy today and it would mean the world to me. Hey guys, if you're enjoying this podcast, then I need your help to spread the word if you know anyone who is pregnant is trying to become pregnant or just loves a good birth story. If you could send them to iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or SoundCloud wherever they listen to their podcast and ask them to subscribe to the birth story podcast now.

[00:31:54] I'm wondering if I might be on your leader. In for longest laborers [00:32:00] imaginable, but what's the longest labor you ever I think I do you might have had that. Yeah. I went into labor on Wednesday and delivered on Sunday. So that was a long I've had several people who've had some false starts, but generally speaking they had a rest in between.

[00:32:22] I've had some birth center transfers that had really long laborers, but I was not there at the beginning to know. Yeah. Yeah, so around 5 days 4 5 so long time to be in labor. Yeah, and then. Where is kind of in your mind and all of your experience? Where do you believe or what position do you think that there's a best place or best way for the actual delivery?

[00:32:49] I don't okay. I really don't when I worked at the birth center. Everybody wanted to squat. The reality is that it's really difficult to squat. It's difficult to get in [00:33:00] the right position for it. And if you're leaning over forward. Squatting doesn't work. Well, yeah, I've had some beautiful births and hands and knees.

[00:33:12] But that's not for everybody either. Yeah, and I've had birth of few people standing up. Yeah it just because the baby was coming. Yeah. I think you have to be open to what works best and I don't think even using stirrups actually worth works best for some people yet. I was actually in stir up for my birth with you on my back which I.

[00:33:37] At the beginning thought was counterintuitive and it was actually the most beautiful birthing position. I would agree with you. I think positioning of the baby has a lot to do with positioning of. The delivery. I'll tell you an interesting experience. I did I did birthing in a Navajo reservation also for a month [00:34:00] long time ago.

[00:34:01] I'll I know everything I know today be more interesting used raw ropes from the ceiling that you can hold on to that actually puts you in a very good position there on you can adjust that position. It's so much better than the bars they put on these birthing beds. Which don't work very well. Yeah, but it's having a drag group.

[00:34:24] That was an incredible to see these women. They just naturally reached up. Yeah and used it and I want to tell you just hearing you talk like shows me that you have used all of your experiences to bring to each and every birth because I'm just one of a million births, right and so you probably wouldn't even remember this, but you told the nurse.

[00:34:46] To give me a sheet to hold on to like one of these burning ropes and we played tug-of-war and you that was all your suggestion and and I played tug-of-war with this nurse [00:35:00] and it worked to get Max to descend and to get the pushing to be more to be I guess stronger pushes our I don't I don't even know it just it work doesn't work for everybody, but it does work for some.

[00:35:15] And I discovered that as I got older there's no way that I could be at the other end of that. I think the women would pull me into the bed, but some of the nurses were excellent at using that as a technique. Yeah, some husband's did it? Okay. Well that brings me to tell me about your favorite birthing partner.

[00:35:37] Do you have a partner that comes to mind? I've had a lot of great Partners there really weren't any terrible Partners unless they were too busy going out and smoking okay to pay attention to the woman. I'd say most Partners step up to the plate and really are fairly supportive. Some of them are scared and you have to recognize that some do not really [00:36:00] want to watch the birth.

[00:36:01] Do not really want to be right up front. I did have a dad. He was so excited about pushing with his life. That all of a sudden he fainted. The on the floor his head and had to go to the emergency room. Oh, no, did he miss the birth? He did not because they stabilized and brought him back in a wheelchair and she was just about ready at that time for the baby to emerge.

[00:36:27] So they had a great birth story. That was a wonderful. I mean you could have been really hurt. He fortunately wasn't but I think he hadn't eaten it was in the middle of the night and he was just so excited. Yeah, and he's holding his breath problem with our no, but he didn't miss the birth. Oh that makes me so happy that that does they made an exception because they don't usually release you from the emergency room without a whole bunch of testing.

[00:36:56] Yeah, so so they brought him but I didn't make [00:37:00] an exception. Oh, that's how the hell did a good job. I did they did. So well, I'm going to turn the knob a little bit and if you're uncomfortable, that's. We don't have to go there, but I was wondering I'm assuming in your 34 years that you've had some not-so-happy stories.

[00:37:20] Definitely have have you lost a baby at birth? I had a baby whose heart rate went down and she had an emergency C-section. The baby was only alive for another few days. The baby was resuscitated never could determine what was wrong. The mother was convinced. It was a genocide congenital anomaly.

[00:37:43] She had somebody in her family that had a congenital anomaly and that was probably the one instance where I thought I don't think I can do this anymore. That was I felt so badly for her. She wanted everything natural. It [00:38:00] was a second second baby. It should have been easy. It was the middle of the night the nurses were checking the baby's heartbeat.

[00:38:11] I was not at that time. I got up when I went to see her I said this doesn't sound right the heartbeat was in the 50s call the physician. Immediately had a C-section but the thing that I remember most about this woman is.  when the baby was transferred to a NICU to a higher level NICU was on life support.

[00:38:39] She said I have another child to take care of.  This baby is not going to make it. No with any kind of quality of life. I'm working to just turn the respirator off. I thought that was

[00:38:58] I thought that was [00:39:00] probably the most moving thing. I ever experienced was somebody who made that choice. I think it's beautiful and about two years later. She had another baby her rainbow baby and I can imagine how I can't imagine how scared she was. Yeah. I mean, she had a planned C-section. I think it was the right thing for her to choose and she has a beautiful little girl who's probably about.

[00:39:29] 15 now that was quite a while ago now were you able to be at the second birth? I was her Midwife during a her and a pardon care. I wasn't at her birth. Yeah. Yeah, but I saw her afterwards as well. So I felt a strong attachment to her. Obviously. Yeah what you know, I think of that as that birth as.

[00:39:54] From the midwife's perspective. I'm assuming probably the worst day or the worst thing it was could [00:40:00] happen to you. What are some other tough things though that you had to persevere through?  I'll tell you about another woman who had a fetal anomaly known fetal. Anomaly that was not considered consistent with life of any sort.

[00:40:17] This was really a special lady. She had gone through some counseling during the pregnancy sort of had come to terms with his baby wasn't going to make it but she was going to. Keep that little bit of hope that maybe they were wrong. And so when she came in labor her she had a very distinct birth plan.

[00:40:41] There was to be no resuscitation unless the baby obviously came out and was crying and doing appeared to be fine. If if that happened. She wanted to hear the baby's heartbeat until the baby didn't have a heartbeat because the likelihood was the baby was going to die. [00:41:00] During labor. Okay, and I had never labored somebody who knew ahead of time that our baby was probably going to die.

[00:41:08] And to hear that baby's heartbeat be pretty low the nurses wanted to do all these interventions and I said look at her birth plan in her birth plan. She doesn't want any interventions. And she didn't want any medication. She wanted to hold that baby for as long as she could and the baby died during labor.

[00:41:33] She gave birth shortly thereafter. This was an incredibly strong woman. She had an incredibly supportive husband and she held her baby I bet for about 24 hours.

[00:41:52] And she since has had another baby that did. Well, yeah those were really [00:42:00] difficult and it was difficult for the staff but it was so helpful for me to know that she had this plan and this is the way she wanted her birth to. To happen. Yeah, and I think to just being the Midwife and the nursing staff and really serving the mom.

[00:42:20] You know what she wanted not what anybody else wanted to happen, you know is really beautiful to honor it. I've tried like five times already. That's so I knew this was going to be hard when you're talking to a healthcare provider who's in the business of bringing. Life into this world, but it is just a reality over 34 years that sometimes you're on the other side and it's interesting when I talk to my friends that are ER doctors.

[00:42:52] It's the other way. They're usually experiencing death and then every now and then a mom comes in and labor to deliver a [00:43:00] baby and they get to see life on the other side. But as a midwife it's not supposed to be. I mean, I know you know that way so when these things happen to them two midwives and two nurses and labor and delivery and to doulas did the did your employer's help you to give you time off or counseling to help cope?

[00:43:29] No, that's true. I think they might have for the nursing staff. The one thing with midwives is usually at your Midwife colleagues that help you get through it. And that's who helped me. Okay, I mean immediately my two colleagues when I was in Gastonia when I had a traumatic birth, not so much the traumatic birth, but the baby that didn't make it they came to the house.

[00:43:58] And I think that was true [00:44:00] here in Charlotte that it was The Midwives who made the difference. Yeah, they're your tribe and your community and support so that's always been true for me. So I know that recently you. Somewhat retired after 34 years I did. Okay, so it's called it's called a full retire.

[00:44:22] I didn't call you retirement. Yes. Okay. I reduce my hours little by little in the last I think four years. Yeah. Yeah, I sort of remember because I would still be sending you referrals and people would say, oh she's guy can't get on her schedule at all. Well, I just have one more question before we move on to your.

[00:44:44] Passion project and that is what's the youngest mom and the oldest mom that you ever helped deliver babies for I think the youngest was 12 and the oldest was [00:45:00] 46. I believe that's quite a spread and the 46 year old was a going to be a grandmother at the same time that she was giving birth. I'm not surprised by that but what right so.

[00:45:14] Thank you for sharing with me your highlights of your Midwifery. And now I want to hear all about your passion project and your retirement and this really all started because you said at the beginning that you had a really tough time after baby number one with the fourth trimester. So let's first Define fourth trimester for anyone listening.

[00:45:40] Well, there's a fourth trimester what happens. After you have delivered the placenta and you go home from the hospital it doesn't end. There is still things to resolve with the birth. I mean you physically have to get healthier you are now a mom and you have to learn how to be a mom how to feed your baby how to [00:46:00] take care of yourself the change in the relationship.

[00:46:03] So to me a fourth trimester is probably a minimum of three months if not the first year because it's a trend. Mission most people. Well many people have healthy normal pregnancies. They most people have healthy normal births and healthy normal babies, but when you'd bring our baby home, that's a whole different ballgame.

[00:46:32] There's not a baby that just eats and sleeps. There's not a baby that. Has no difficulty nursing. Yes, some of them go to the breast easily. Some of them do not some mothers have to wait three to five days before milk comes in. Some of them don't produce as much as they think they should be bottle fed babies some moms have to deal with sterilizing [00:47:00] bottles being able to pay for the formula.

[00:47:04] Knowing that their baby may be switched to three different formulas because it's not working allergies. That's just a little part of it and then Mom is exhausted. And there's not a mom who's able to sleep for any period of time babies don't sleep all night and the first few weeks of life. In fact, generally speaking not in the first few months of Life.

[00:47:28] Yeah, so they're tired all the time and then they have to go back to work many times. That's correct and their bottoms have to heal even if you had no stitches whatsoever. You know, there's some loose tone there. Sometimes is leakage of urine. You know some exercise you can do exercises you can do but it's not instantaneously healed.

[00:47:52] Yeah and C-section mom's some of them have infections their wounds don't heal. Well in [00:48:00] 6 weeks everything is not back to normal. Yeah. So let me ask you in your expert opinion for anyone that might be listening that works for a big company or that's in human resources, or has the ability to create change over time.

[00:48:14] When should mom's return to work, I think that's an individual decision. Okay. I'm not sure that most moms are really ready at three months to go back to work. I certainly don't think most of them are ready to go back to work in six weeks, which is pretty standard where they are in the United States.

[00:48:37] Yes, but not in other countries. Yes. I've had teenagers go back to school in two weeks and is very appropriate if they feel well and they've got somebody to take care of the baby. Yeah. It's a lot of things to think about. You know, I was not ready yet. I didn't go back for seven months. I probably could have gone back a little bit sooner than that, but [00:49:00] I was not ready right away six weeks with Max and seven months with Jagger.

[00:49:04] And so and I like that you said that because every birth and every mom is probably different but I do lean towards that I think six weeks is a little too early as a general a general rule for our country when you think about a woman who is not sleeping all night most of the time it's six weeks. How productive can she be at work?

[00:49:27] And then she has to pay for childcare and if she's nursing the challenge is being able to pump save your milk. I don't know how women do it at six weeks do all that. Well, I think one of the ways they may do in the future is with someone that is focused on the fourth trimester and helping them to navigate all of these things.

[00:49:50] So talk to me about what you're doing and a little bit about what your vision or your dream is for this next stage for you. Well, the [00:50:00] first thing I thought of was women getting together and sharing their stories and being able to support each other.  I think I was unrealistic because new moms don't have a lot of time.

[00:50:13] To do something like that and I think they're afraid to let their guard down because on Facebook everything looks wonderful. You post pictures of your baby and all these cute outfits and you're saying how wonderful everything is and I'm finding out that it's not really wonderful. So what I wanted was people to be able to talk to somebody.

[00:50:39] And I thought I could be that person. It wouldn't be any cost. I would just put my brochure in the hospital and let the midwives know let some of the Physicians know I mean actually one of the large physician groups here in town was very open to letting me bring brochures and all that but I [00:51:00] realized that it takes more than.

[00:51:04] A brochure to get people to call or to let them know that I'd be available to talk with them. Yeah, so people kept telling me I have to have a Facebook page and I'm not very technologically savvy. So I did get a Facebook page for new moms support group. Yeah, and I've done my best to post a few things here and there and to share some things that worked for me.

[00:51:32] Now. Remember this is. 49 years ago where I was suffering from postpartum depression. I would not have been somebody who would have taken medicine and when I discovered is I've is started visiting a neighbor who was elderly and taking my baby. And she would tell me all kinds of stories about her life.

[00:51:55] I'd spend about an hour whether that's all she loved seeing the [00:52:00] baby, but it was something for me to get out of my house out of myself and do something for somebody else. So I would beg banana bread once a week and I take her something or bake cookies and take her something and take the baby and that was my way out of that.

[00:52:17] Kind of depressing situation, but I wished I had known how to ask my husband for help. You know, he was off to work and I didn't know how to ask for help that I needed some time alone without a baby. Yeah, I think that so many moms struggle with that exact question. Not just only had asked our partner for help but how to ask for help in general and.

[00:52:44] I had some really good friends who are moms that new to come over and don't not to hold my baby. But to just do my dishes and my laundry and vacuum my floor and then quietly leave or you know, help me rest and but a lot of friends [00:53:00] don't know that and they still just come over and chat and so learning how.

[00:53:05] To say out loud. I'm not perfect. I'm hurting. I'm tired. I'm struggling. I need you. Whoever that. You might be so for those people that are listening right now and you better watch out because your phone - so you're saying this is free. It is free and you're saying I would never charge somebody for that kind of a survey you're saying.

[00:53:29] So Sage right now. Hello. Everyone is saying that this is free and that you're welcome to call her and that she wants to help you navigate the fourth trimester as the most experienced Midwife and Charlotte. For the last 34 years. She's free to you. So tell everyone how to get a hold of you. I would prefer somebody using my email probably.

[00:53:54] Okay, and it is it's called Saj bomb, which is the French word [00:54:00] for Midwife. Sa GE femm e65 at BellSouth dotnet. That is so interesting to me because your name is Sage I changed my name. Oh, you know what? I wasn't born with this name. I legally changed it when I moved to North Carolina in 1993 as a midwife.

[00:54:23] Yes. Okay, we're gonna Push pause on all of this and you have got to tell me the story then because I thought oh, what a great coincidence, right but it's not so this is amazing. I'll tell you two things. Okay? Originally, my ba is in French and education. And of course the French word for Midwife is /femme.

[00:54:44] And I hated my birth name. My birth name is Ethel. It's no longer on my birth certificate because I had that changed and I was in a women's group in Florida, and they said if you don't like your name, why don't you change it? [00:55:00] And I knew a little girl named Sage in my daughter's Montessori class and I thought that would be a neat name.

[00:55:10] Yeah. So I did I'll I moved to North Carolina where nobody knew me by Southold start as NDSU name now. Will you are already I was wondering where you were already married you had. Oh, yeah children. I've had this was yes. Oh my goodness and just for the record. I actually love the di-methyl. So I never liked it Ethel and Hazel and Olive and you know, I tend to lean towards some I just never had girls to name.

[00:55:38] So Sage. Her profession is in your name and I love it. Thank you. I love I actually love my name now and because it's Unique other than a few babies have born. Been born and named after me people. Remember when your name is Sage? You don't have to say your [00:56:00] last name? Yeah, you don't and when I tell people oh I had saved her, you know everyone in the city knows exactly who you are right without that's had a big not everyone was like every woman that's had a baby.

[00:56:13] Even if they didn't deliver with you. They still have heard about you and the you know, beautiful gift that you give I just wanted to say thank you for being an amazing. Using Midwife for my tremendously long. So everyone knows I delivered a 10-pound 6-ounce humongous child and I was I went into labor at 42 weeks and then delivered basically at 43 weeks.

[00:56:40] He had no vernix if he was so big, but I had a vaginal birth because of sage and I don't know if you remember this, but it was not a sage was long done with her shift. It was it was like. In a clock at night you were done and Max didn't come until 10:30 and so Sage state. I [00:57:00] think I was already pushing and then you just kept I just kept pushing so you kept saying but then I just remember this moment after the birth where I looked up and there Sage rocking my baby in the rocking chair doing her notes of some kind while I my husband and I were taking a rest and sleeping and it was well into the night now and I just that just speaks a million.

[00:57:24] This is to you are you're the Midwife that. Is not a 12-hour shift and who stays and who rocks the moms babies and gives them that vaginal birth with ohm 10 and a half pound babies. And you did it. I know where the one who pushed the baby out. I don't know how you were the strong minded person who didn't really want to be induced, you know, well at the end I wanted all of it.

[00:57:53] Whatever would make him come, you know, yeah, but I had a I had a. [00:58:00] Delivery with you and I just I have this moment where I just remember you rocking my baby and it will be forever and my and my heart so thank you. So last thing for you to tell our audience is as a midwife. What's the number one thing that you would recommend for women during their pregnancy?

[00:58:22] To believe in themselves. I went them to empower themselves to think about, you know, what they would like at their birth, but also to be open to the possibility that it may turn not turn out that way but to believe in themselves that really being pregnant. Is a normal healthy function unless proven otherwise, well, thank you for being who you are and for being here and saying yes to this podcast, which is a hundred percent out of your comfort zone.

[00:58:53] It was yeah it is but I appreciate you calling and asking me and you did a great job [00:59:00] and I hope that so many women will email you that are pregnant right now or that just delivered their babies that are in and around Charlotte and that have a free resource. Person access to you by just emailing you and I will put that email in the show notes so that everyone has a quick and easy link to it and there is a Facebook page called new moms support group Thank You Sage it was wonderful.

[00:59:32] Thank you for listening to birth story. My goal is you will walk away from each episode with a clear picture of how labor. Delivery might go and that you will feel empowered by the end of your pregnancy to speak up plan and prepare for the birth. You want no matter what that looks like.