home birth: a sacred experience

From the moment we met Carol and Shar, we knew home birth was right for us.  We knew we were talking to professionals who were well-trained in labor & delivery and well-versed in trusting the female body to do its incredible work. 

My greatest desire was to honor my body; I believed that even though I had never gone through this experience before, my body would somehow know exactly what to do.  I needed medical providers who shared this same understanding and would encourage me in that when I needed it most.

When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, Shar asked me, “Is there anything you’re feeling nervous about?”  I told her I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it–that the pain would be too much, that my body wouldn’t be able to handle the intensity.  She assured me I would be able.  What was unknown territory for me was so familiar to my midwives; I knew I could trust them, even in this new experience.

My labor went much faster than anticipated.  I felt back aches at 10 pm, contractions that were 3 minutes apart at 11 pm, and ended up pushing for ten minutes at 8 am.  We welcomed our sweet boy at 8:19 am.  Shar arrived when I was in transition, and I remember hoping (okay, I begged her, too!) that she wouldn’t make me lay still on my back to check my dilation.  She calmly told me (with a friendly smile on her face) I could continue as I was–standing in my bathroom, leaning on the sink, hips swaying with each wave of contractions.  What a relief!  Soon after, I had this strange sensation.  Without thinking, I looked at Shar and said, “I feel like I need to push!”  I thought for sure she would give me some reason why it wasn’t time yet, my body wasn’t ready, etc etc etc (I had heard this scenario so often from friends who had given birth in hospitals).  But she looked at me with that same reassuring smile and said, “Okay, so push!”  I couldn’t believe it!  My body and my baby were telling me what they needed, and even when I was unsure, my midwife knew it was right.

When our baby made his grand entrance into this world, he didn’t cry.  He didn’t really move, either.  After a few seconds, Shar said, “He just needs a little help.”  She proceeded to gently reposition him in a way that she could give him a few breaths.  Soon after, we watched the pink fill his whole skin as he started wiggling and making sounds.  It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized how truly terrifying that experience could have been.  My baby was born not breathing.  He was grayish blue.  He needed mouth-to-mouth.  That experience could have been terrifying…but it wasn’t–because my midwife knew what to do and acted fast.  She set a tone of calmness that permeated the room and put all of us at ease in an otherwise scary situation.

Birth is a sacred experience, so much greater than each of us.  I am grateful for the hands that welcomed our child into this world with love, wisdom, and patience.  On that day, I felt empowered as a woman and validated as a mother.  What a beautiful invitation into motherhood, all thanks to our wonderful midwives.  I wish every woman everywhere would have a labor and delivery experience as affirming as mine.  It was everything I hoped it would be, and more.  I am endlessly grateful to Carol and Shar, and it warms my heart to think of working with them again in the future!

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