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“I write the blog ‘Hug the Monkey’. I’m so glad that the film is receiving the interest it deserves. I know it will take time to change things, but I don’t know how a woman could fail to respond to that lovely challenge to open herself to this experience. I never wanted to have a baby until I saw your film and Birth as We Know It. I just didn’t get it."
Author of The Chemistry of Connection
Odin Jacob Jackson Born at home around 1:15 pm, in the water Weight: 9 lbs, 10 oz 21 inches long I am so happy right now. This homebirth went exactly as I wanted it to, as we wanted it to. It couldn’t have gone more perfectly and I feel like the Lord was blessing us with this. We needed this and he gave it to us. I made some notes in my journal when labor started and looking back on it I am filled with happiness, good nostalgia and tears of joy for experiencing such an amazing blessing from the Lord. Friday was a long day. It was seven days past the estimated “due date”. I could feel myself starting to lose it several times, and had to gain composure and patience. When is this baby going to come out? It was starting to feel like never. But there was something different in my heart that day, (different from other crazy, neurotic, hormone-filled days), and it was peace. I did feel a sense of peace that our baby would come, and when he did, I would be ready. So we all got into bed that night and slept peacefully. I awoke at 2:30am with contractions. I laid in bed for 20 minutes or so just trying to convince myself they were actually real contractions, and not false labor or gas. I finally convinced myself they were real and became very excited. I got out of bed and walked around a bit, letting the reality set in. I was finally in labor! Yeah! The baby had been moving around a ton all day Friday. I could feel him kicking and squirming in there. Now, being in labor, I could feel him moving, yet I imagined him squirming down the birth canal, making his way out into the world. It was a good feeling. I was in really good spirits, and ready to welcome our baby. I started by cleaning the house room by room. I tidied and straightened. At 4:20am Micah and I were cleaning the kitchen together. I was washing the dishes and Micah was drying. I stopped to have diarrhea several times. I ate a banana and a yogurt. At 5:00am our 2-year-old, Zadok, woke up to join us. When Micah went into the room to get him he told him that I was starting labor. Micah said that Zadok heard me making “the noise” and said, “Mama is making noise!” in a very excitable voice. It was the sounding that we had told him about for so long, and now finally it was happening. Zadok knew our baby was finally going to come and that made him happy. At 5:30am Micah pumped up the birth pool. At 6:00am the pool was full and ready to go. Micah had the temperature just right, the water heater cranked up, and the hoses in position. At 6:00am my contractions began getting a lot more intense. At 7:00am they were five minutes apart. I stopped writing down times at that point so the rest of the story is from my memory. Micah alerted Amy our midwife, and Katherine our friend. Katherine showed up first around 7:00am. I was tired so I tried lying on the bed, but after a bit I decided walking around was better. I was really happy when Kat came over. It was so nice having her there. Her happy, smiling face was so encouraging. When she first arrived I felt like she and Micah were staring at me, like I was the entertainment center, so I asked to put on a movie. We watched Popeye and that was fun. Zadok fell asleep for a while during the movie, so Micah, Kat, and I talked and hung out. I would stop when I had a contraction, and then go right back to our conversation. I felt very in control of all my contractions. I walked around the house, and when I felt a contraction coming on I braced myself to stop, found a comfy place to lean over, and then “sounded” loudly until the contraction stopped. Sometimes my sounding increased in pitch and duration, according to the intensity of the pain. If it was a long, painful contraction then I gave out a long, loud sounding. It felt so good to do what felt right for me to manage my pain. I didn’t feel inhibited until Micah noted how loud I was being. Then I got a bit insecure and thought I was doing something wrong. Micah reassured me that it was okay; he was just remarking how loud I was. So I continued on in this way all morning and into the rest of my labor. From about 7:00am to 11:00am I continued walking around the house. Zadok was fully occupied playing with Kat. We didn’t have to worry about him one bit. She had him in the spare room, playing games, reading books, and giving him her full attention. It was Zadok’s dream come true to have such a dedicated playmate! He really didn’t notice me at all, moaning and sounding all over the house, and I could relax knowing he was happy. Micah was able to devote his full attention to our labor, which was comforting. He was right there for me when I needed to hang on him, which I did for several contractions. For other contractions I found that holding onto the squishy sides of the birth pool felt nice. Micah was feeding me water and Gatorade when I needed it, and making sure I had what I needed. I really didn’t need much. I felt in control, and was able to talk and laugh and hold a conversation between contractions. Amy got there about 8:30am. She was wonderful, so relaxed and undisturbing to the flow of the labor. She did a heartbeat check and baby sounded great. I can’t remember when she checked me vaginally, but it was in the bedroom. I was lying on the bed, Micah was sitting next to me, and Amy was hanging over the end of the bed looking at me. The sun was shining thru the window on us. It was a peaceful moment, feeling so safe and secure with my husband, our wonderful midwife, and a baby who was making his way here. Amy checked my dilation and said we were closer than she thought. She didn’t give an exact number, but she said I was doing so well and baby would be here really soon. It felt like that too. I knew I was progressing quickly and baby would be here before we knew it! I got into the birth pool about 11:00am. I had tried getting in earlier in the morning, before Amy got here, and it had completely stopped my contractions. This time I was far enough along that I could get in and not worry about that. These contractions were here to stay. The pool felt so good. It was so warm and buoyant. After I got in the second time I stopped looking at the clock, and stopped thinking about when baby would come. I gave myself to the water and the warmth and the buoyancy. I felt each contraction come with such force, and each loud sounding I made released that force and elevated me higher. I felt like I was floating higher and higher, trying to defy gravity, trying to conquer pain. I felt that if I was louder than my contraction was painful, then I had conquered it. That was what I had decided in the midst of my labor and it worked for me. I was in peaceful control. I remember my bag of waters broke with a pop! I remember squeezing those squishy sides of the pool. I remember an intense contraction, and feeling my baby come down the birth canal. I remember leaning over the side of the pool. Micah was holding my hands and offering words of love and encouragement. There was one big contraction and I remember feeling like baby MUST have come out with that last push! I screamed, “HELP ME, HELP ME!!!” wondering why no one was getting our baby from the water. After all, I had just pushed him out! Why was my midwife just standing there? I then remember calm words telling me I had to push one more time, that baby wasn’t out yet. I flipped over onto my back so I could see. I once again let the warmth and the buoyancy engulf me. Amy sat down on the side of the pool and reached her hand down. I remember her saying, “I feel chubby cheeks.” Zadok and Katherine came into the room. I wanted Zadok to be right there when his sibling came out. Then I heard Zadok say, “I have a poopy. I need to be changed.” Katherine, being loyal to her duties, started to take Zadok into the other room to change his diaper. I remember saying, “The baby is coming out! Can’t the poopy wait a second?” Another intense contraction, and one more push, and out he came. Our baby boy! He was beautiful. I took him and held him and I’ll never forget his little, purple, face, his lips, his eyes, and his tiny legs. Our Odin was here and it was the sweetest feeling in the world. He latched right on. Amy had to give him some oxygen so he would pink up faster, but I wasn’t worried a bit. Everything about the experience felt so good, so perfect. It was the best experience in the world, and one I could relive over and over in my head as I rested in bed with our beautiful, new baby. Sally Jackson Cedar City, Utah, U.S.A.
Debra Pascali Bonaro is the director of Orgasmic Birth and co-author of the book Orgasmic Birth, Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience. Debra helps birth pros and new families all over the world learn about the details of gentle birth. Visit www.debrapascalibonaro.com to join in a webinar, attend a destination workshop and learn more about natural childbirth.