(by Louise McKenzie, about the birth of Jim Xander Berkeley, born 02.03.10)
I woke up feeling rejuvenated and very positive. My mind was clear and I felt ready to blast out some work! And so I did, Jimmy (my hubby) and I working side by side! Before I knew it four hours had gone by, and we knew it was time for everyone to eat. However, so energized was I that I re-took the photos for the children’s project and told Jim to re-do my exercise photos.
I had had some pinchy contractions but I didn't really think about them too much! When we had finished, I went to change out of my exercise clothes feeling rather tired, odd and hungry I lay down on our bed and fell asleep.
Not thirty minutes had gone by when I was rudely awoken from my sleep with one very intense contraction! A second later I felt very wet! I yelped out to Jim who came running. There I was in a puddle! It was around 4:20p.m. I got cleaned up and then got back on the bed. In between contractions of about 3-4 minutes I hurriedly ate!
By 4:43 p.m. we called Harmony, our midwife. The contractions were strong and regular but I was completely lucid and in control, so I told Harmony that I would call when I needed her.
Throughout the nine months of this pregnancy I had worked towards trying to get to a point via a very intensive exercise program that would mean a more pain-controlled, speedy labor. Now, in the throws of labor, I was wondering whether in fact I was much closer to the birth than I realized due to the success of this strategy. The contractions were progressing towards the more painful level, but I chose not use that word verbally or in my mindset.
I focused on a circular movement of my head and upper body that was almost trance-like. I talked quietly to the baby and focused on how fantastic it was that I was going to finally meet him. I refused to let fear of any possible pain get the better of me. I went back to concentrating on the breath control technique I had used during those crazy exercise sessions! I imagined fresh blood being pumped into my womb, and that no lactic acid would build up.
So successful was this that by 6:00 p.m I went to step off the bed to use the bathroom when a huge wave of a contraction washed over me I had the urge to push, and so there was a scramble for the phone to call Harmony!
I was clambering in my head whether I was going to keep it together, or if the fear of pain was going to get the better over me. I held onto the night stand and I begun to sing! Yes, sing! The feeling was so insanely intense, so I just kept focusing on singing the baby out.
Before I knew Jim was telling me that his little head was out. They had this moment where they were just looking at each other! I remembered not to force anything, and waited for the next contraction. With those two pushes he was out! Jim had to catch him!I asked if the baby was okay and leapt up from the floor onto the bed. Jim was telling the children to fetch him towels! The baby was perfect and very calm. We were overjoyed. It just seemed too easy! All the children gathered around us; it was magical.Minutes later there was a knock on the door and Harmony arrived. It was like a mini-party! We all were so happy. The music was still playing and the younger children were dancing. Harmony sat with the children to show them the placenta, which they all had great fun prodding and poking! Everything was serene and calm. Just as a birth should be.
This was our baby number six, and our fifth homebirth. (We had tried a homebirth with our first but after three days and three nights we had ended up in hospital.) Our children have all been present at the births and it has not only made them more enlightened, but has given them a special bond. There has never been any jealousy as a new little member has arrived, they have only thanked us as parents for the precious gift of another sibling.All of our children, including our thirteen year old and five year old boys, find no shame in expressing their own desire to have children in the future. They understand what a privilege the gift of life is.
Perhaps if more children were included in the process our society would also benefit?
The fact that we have midwives is such a blessing, and the fact that we have choice should never be taken for granted. They have enabled us as a family such wonderful experiences and memories.
I hope that anyone who reads my story will find some inspiration to try it for themselves… We just look forward to doing it all over again!