Silas' Birth Story
The birth was amazing. It really was the most intense experience of my life. "Belly Squeezes" as Jake calls them, started Monday afternoon and got strong very fast. Nursing a toddler during labor brings on some wicked contractions! We just hung out at home as usual, until about 11:00 pm, when we called Jessica and asked her to come over because I could feel my cervix opening up with each rush and I felt like the baby would come out any minute. (turns out I was wrong about that...) Jake was fast asleep in the bed and stayed out right until the very end. I got through the rushes by hugging Steve tightly and moaning. Steve was great and we really had a beautiful time together. It really brought us so close. Steve finally took a nap at 4am and I got into some outrageously heavy labor. I went into a sort of moaning trance and paced the house for relief. Suddenly, I decided to curl up in bed with Jake and Steve and as soon as I laid down, my body started pushing the baby out. It was so extremely intense... I was growling loud enough to wake up the whole neighborhood. I stared at Steve and held on to his arms. He says I looked like a wild animal. Jake woke up and between rushes we talked to him about what was going on. He was so adorable, saying, "the baby is coming out?!" I felt like I needed to squat, so I slithered off the bed into a squat on the floor and with three involuntary pushes the baby slipped out onto a towel. I really experienced the "ring of fire"... it was incredible! It felt like my body was exploding with energy. I picked him up (noticing that it was a him for the first time) and just fell in love immediately. Jess propped me up to birth the placenta, which came out very easily, though with a lot of blood. Jess gave me some herbal tinctures to stem the flow and we all got in bed. Silas nursed right away... he is absolutely awesome.
I had a small tear in my perineum that is healing on its own without stitches - just an herbal rinse every now and then. The whole pregnancy and birth has been totally non-medical and low-tech - not one vaginal exam in the entire nine months, including the birth. No ultrasounds, no monitors, no drugs, no stitches... no problems! I am so glad we had the homebirth. It was absolutely perfect. I have tears right now just thinking about it! It was just such an empowering experience.
Silas is beautiful and healthy. We chose not to cut the cord, so I am carrying around a placenta with the baby. This has proven to be a challenge, but the cord will break off on its own soon.
Devla's Birth Story
For my first daughter, Alchemy, I was very young and had a cold and anonymous conventional hospital labor and birth; complete with drugs, an episiotomy, and a wicked case of the post-partum baby blues. I remember feeling very alone and the experience took a lot of time to heal from emotionally.
I met with Jessica when I was nine weeks pregnant with my second child. Right away, I was drawn to her sincere warmth and gentle energy. The prenatal visits were wonderful... so much different than the assembly line routine of my first pregnancy. Along with the checking of the physical stuff, we talked. Having a woman-centered and emotionally connected pregnancy made me feel so powerful.
When the contractions started, I was at ease. I was at home surrounded by family. For two days, labor started and stopped - very frustrating!! Junior, my husband, and Alchemy held my hands as we walked and talked in our yard. When labor finally began to progress, my aunt and cousins hung out with Alchemy in the other room. Junior and I were in the bedroom with Jess and her assistant, Leslie. We held each other and kind-of danced through the contractions. It was long and painful. I was exhausted from the days before. I stood, I squatted, I was free to choose whatever position worked for me. I remember feeling her head coming down into the canal. It was exhilarating.
My baby wasn't born breathing. As frightening as that was, I knew she was in good hands. A little encouragement and oxygen and she was just fine. (We laugh now and call her Diva, saying that she just needed to make a dramatic entrance into this world!!) All of her measurements were done right there on the bed next to me. She never left my sight. Within minutes she was in the arms of her family while I was attended to.
My post-partum period was truly blissful. As a woman, I felt so confident in myself. The bond between my husband and I was strengthened and Alchemy was right there when her sister was born. Devla's birth was so positive - something we celebrate, not something we have to heal from.