(In honor of Sage Marie's third birthday, we happily repost one of our favorite reader's birth stories. Written by Elizabeth Sniegocki, about the birth of Sage Marie, 11.10.07.)
One knelt next to me beside the birthing tub, modeling ever so gently how to release my breath with each contraction. Her presence in the room was ethereal – she was there, but invisible, offering guidance and support like an angel whispering in my ear.
The other crouched at my feet, her easy smile and grounded presence giving me confidence and encouragement. Her mindful touches and soft-spoken words offering empowerment; “Let your body guide you,” she whispered calmly. It was in this powerful, supported space that I gave birth to my daughter, Sage Marie.
I was blessed with the gift of two midwives at the home birth of my second child. One was Harmony Miller, LM, CPM, my midwife and maternity care provider. Over the course of my pregnancy, and during labor and delivery, Harmony provided thoughtful, thorough and professional mother-centered care. The other midwife in attendance was my dear friend, and midwife to my first child, Heidi Dahlborg, LM, who this time served as my birth assistant. Together, these women guided me through the most magical experience of my life.
I labored in the warm embrace of the water that filled a small inflatable pool near my bed, strategically placed to face my birth altar. Like my first home birth experience, the labor was short, escalating rapidly and lasting only about three hours. When it was time to push, my husband and my mother each held one of my hands. My 3-year-old daughter Selby danced near my feet with a wide smile on her face, clapping her hands and cheering me on. “You’re so strong mommy,” she said. I smiled through the pain and knew I was, in fact, very strong.
When the head crowned, Harmony told me I could reach down and feel my baby’s head. It was soft and fuzzy. She was almost here! Within minutes, my baby girl was born in the water, into the hands of her daddy, and in the comfort of her own home.
After the placenta was delivered, the umbilical cord cut and the baby weighed, measured, nursed and snuggled, my midwives focused their attention on me. They had prepared an herbal steam bath for my sore perineum, and as I sat over it, they chanted softly: “Woman am I, spirit am I, I am the infinite within my soul, I have no beginning and I have no end, all this I am.” Next, I was given a healing compress made with fresh aloe from my yard. Finally, they settled me into my family bed, where I was anointed with sweet-smelling rose water and fed warm, nourishing food and drink.
Like modern day wise women, my two midwives attended to me with love and support and skill. It is in the gifted hands of midwives such as these that the energy and traditions of ancient womanhood shall live on.