I honestly look forward to giving birth! It is one of the most exhilarating, intense, and joyful experiences of my life. I love the people assisting me like angels by my side, the focused and solitary world that a laboring woman enters, and then of course, the beautiful baby—the pure miracle of creation—at the end of it all. I love it! I love it with my whole soul! I want to shout out to the world that I LOVE GIVING BIRTH and I want to do it again and again and again!
For me, the sacred space of my home is the most fitting and sacred place to have this experience called labor and delivery. Please don’t assume that I judge those who choose to have birth in a hospital or a birthing center birth (or for that matter, an unassisted homebirth). I respect and honor each woman’s choice—each woman is entitled to receive the inspiration that will be best for her and her baby. The inspiration I received, well before I was married, and before I even knew much about birth, was that homebirth would be best for me. And then, years later, when I was married and pregnant, the feeling to have a homebirth was so clear that there was no other option for me. And now, looking back, I can see why.
What a beautiful experience it was—birthing my first little bundle of love in our first, small home. Can I share my story with you which will also share why I LOVE homebirth so much? If so, read on. I labored alone for the first two hours, allowing my husband to sleep and my midwife to sleep also for that matter. When the pains were well, painful, very painful, I called my midwife, woke up my husband and also called a friend, Julie, who had offered to do pressure points to relieve pain. Each person there was a blessing for me. My midwife had the experience and skill of having delivered over 1,200 babies—I felt very safe with her. She told me before that she had never lost a baby in delivery and had delivered breech babies, posterior babies, and babies with a cord around his/her neck. She is also a skilled herbalist which I felt comforted knowing there are herbs to get a sluggish or delayed labor going, herbs for pain, herbs for energy and warmth, herbs for stamina, herbs for bleeding, herbs for breathing, herbs for infections, herbs for healing, etc. I knew that she knew all these herbs and would use them skillfully as needed just as she had throughout my pregnancy.
Julie had the skill of using pressure points which relieved the pain 90% during most of labor and 50% during transition (which, unfortunately, was 4 hours for me)--what a blessing! Can I say that again?! What a blessing these pressure points are! Every mother who chooses to labor naturally ought to know about the various pressure points that make labor so much more manageable and, dare I say, enjoyable. Dianne’s wonderful assistant Nikkii rubbed my back, put oils on me, brought me “shock tea” for stamina and offered emotional support. And then my husband, well, he is my husband and wonderful at being that. All night long as I labored, I was overcome with feelings of gratitude for each of the people helping me to bring this baby into the world. I remember saying, “Thank you” again and again, feeling more humility and gratitude than almost at any other time of my life because I NEEDED them and they were serving me in a profound way.
The whole time I had beautiful music playing (mostly “O Holy Night” on repeat). The music along with having the option to move around as I please, to go in and out of the tub, to walk outside on a cool October night, and having no one there but those I had requested created a safe and sacred place for me which allowed my body to relax and labor the way nature intends.
My midwife told me afterwards that if I birthed in a hospital, there was a 90% chance I would’ve had a C-section. Her skill and inspiration saved me from that! And then her assistant, Nikkii, saved my daughter who came out looking like a stillborn baby! Let’s back up a bit…. At 7 a.m. I was fully dilated and my midwife had me start pushing because the baby was stuck in the birth canal and wasn’t descending on its own due to the narrow shape of my pelvis. According to the midwife Sandra Ellis, it usually only takes about 30 minutes or less to push during a homebirth because there is no medication involved and the woman is in a more favorable position (a squat-like position rather than the traditional lying on your back in the hospital)—both of which make the pushing fast and effective. I ended up pushing hard for two hours due to the narrow shape of my pelvis. I used all my strength on every push—in fact, my abs were sore for 3 or 4 months after I gave birth and I’m pretty sure it was from the hard pushing.
I am very grateful to have had a skilled midwife who was able to help me birth my baby vaginally. She had the wisdom to help me know things to do to help in this difficult pushing stage: walking to help the baby descend, putting my legs in various squat-like positions to help the baby descend, coaching me on where to focus the pushing, allowing me to eat and giving me “shock tea” to help keep up my energy and eventually, in my extremely rare case, tearing some inner muscles to allow more room for the baby to pass through. Most of all, she was patient and trusted the process, allowing my body the time it needed to push the baby down and following her intuition that everything was going to be okay. Julie saw my midwife praying during this difficult time.
When the baby came out pale like a stillborn, the assistant, Nikkii, said she heard a man’s voice behind her say, “Rub the baby NOW.” (The only man present was my husband and he didn’t say that to her.) So she rubbed the baby before doing anything else and the baby quickly turned pink and rosy and she handed my little bundle of love to me which I felt too weak to carry. With my husband carrying the baby and me too practically, we walked over to our bed where Dianne stitched me up while we sang hymns. My husband got to cut the cord and weigh the baby. That night and morning will always be sacred in my heart.
I think that the best birthing place for a woman is an environment in which she will feel safe and comfortable. But for me, homebirth has become the choice of my heart. Homebirth to me represents an unparalleled emotional high, intensity, trusting the body, herbs, freedom, skilled midwives, comfort, heavenly and earthly angels, pressure points, warm water tubs, essential oils, shock tea, privacy of my home, my husband actively assisting me, a precious angel baby at the end, and the amazing accompanying gift of motherly love—and that love comes wherever a woman gives birth!
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