A Miracle Birth
Physicians: Alissa Conklin, MD
Willow Singita entered the world on June 15, 2018. Her middle name was inspired by an African (Xitsonga) word meaning “miracles” which is exactly how her mother, Lucia Higgins, describes her birth experience.
At 42 years of age, the pregnancy came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucia. But soon after learning she was going to give birth again, she began to envision what she wanted that experience to look like. Having had two prior C-sections, Lucia knew she wanted this birth to be natural.
“With the birth of my son I wasn’t able to hold him right away after the C-section and I feel like that’s one of the reasons I struggled so much with breastfeeding and had a harder post-partum experience,” said Lucia. “I knew there were risks involved with having a natural birth after a C-section but I was determined to find a care team who I trusted and could provide the experience I was looking for.”
After interviewing a number of providers, from Grand Rapids to St. Joseph, Lucia selected both a nurse midwife and a doula to manage her care. Living in Fennville, Michigan, it was also important her care team be located close to a trusted health system in case complications arose.
As a swim instructor, Lucia remained active throughout the entire pregnancy. She also walked her dog regularly and practiced yoga and meditation to ensure her body was prepared both physically and mentally to give birth.
When the time arose, Lucia was still painting the baby’s room through five days of mounting contractions. Early on the fourth morning, her water broke and contractions intensified. She labored for an additional 20 hours, determined to have a home birth. However, when she began experiencing pain and a burning sensation at the site of her C-section scar, her midwife suggested she go to the hospital.
Upon arriving to the BirthPlace at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph, Lucia was already dilated to 10 centimeters and close to giving birth. That’s when she met obstetrician and gynecologist, Alissa Conklin, MD.
“I was prepped to go to surgery when Dr. Conklin arrived and the first thing I remember was her telling me to push,” said Lucia. “She was so amazing and encouraging throughout the entire process. I could tell Dr. Conklin was a great advocate for the process of natural birth and was committed to giving me the birth experience I desired.”
Willow was safely delivered at 3:45 a.m. and immediately placed on her mother’s chest for skin-to-skin contact.
“Overall, Willow’s birth was just how I hoped it would be and I couldn’t believe it happened in a hospital setting,” said Lucia. “Dr. Conklin made it all very personal while still ensuring both the baby and I were safe. It really was a miracle birth and I am so grateful to Lakeland.”