I am so grateful to report that I was able to give birth to my son, Eligh Dale, at home at 2:29 in the morning on March 5, 2013. He was born in the water in a birthing tub that was set up in our living room. With the help and loving guidance of our Midwife, Sherry Asp, my husband hand’s were the first to touch our son and guide him into this world. I was in early labor for two days, yet those contractions were easy to cope with, I could still sleep and eat during that time. The heavy, active labor only lasted about 6 hours.
I can honestly say that the experience was by far the most challenging I have ever been through. It took every ounce of focus and will that I possessed. That being said, when I think of the words I would use to describe the sensations of heavy labor and giving birth, I would not describe the experience as painful. I’ve had tattoos that were painful, birth was not.
I would describe the sensations I felt as extremely intense pressure as he moved down through the bones of my pelvis. I definitely would not say that I had some pleasurable, ultra-relaxed orgasmic birth, but it was still a beautiful experience, and in no way scary. The moment I first saw my son’s face was indescribable and the amount of elation and gratitude I felt cannot be quantified.
It was my choice to give birth at home because it felt like the safest setting for me, and the most appropriate for welcoming this new member of our family. There are many different ways to experience a beautiful birth, and I don’t think those experiences are exclusive to the home. It is my most fervent prayer that all women are able to give birth in a setting where they feel safe, respected and empowered. I’m so grateful that when my son asks me about the day he was born, I will be able to tell him such a joyful story.
Let me share my experience and to also take the opportunity to thank some of the amazing people who cared for me and shared their wisdom. Hopefully my information will prove helpful to other women who are seeking a beautiful birth experience of their own, whatever that may look like for them.
1.) My midwife, Sherry Asp, and her assistant Tiffany Hoffman were such compassionate care givers. I always felt safe to discuss any physical or emotional issues I experienced throughout my pregnancy. During the birth they gave me a lot of space to work with my body and let it do what it needed to do. They had such confidence in my ability to birth safely, that I was able to focus on birthing my son without feeling distracted or fearful.
When my son was born, they treated him with such love and respect, as they examined him and helped him get settled into his new world. In all honesty I could write pages on why the care I received from them was so wonderful. I think the main lesson I learned was the importance of being cared for by women that I trusted and with whom I felt safe.
2.) Regular body work sessions with Mandana McEntire, who practices Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) were a huge blessing. They helped keep my pelvis aligned and my muscles balanced. Thanks to her I was able to sleep comfortably throughout my whole pregnancy, to walk without too much of a waddle, and I had no lower back pain at all!
3.) Prenatal Yoga and Pelvic Alignment classes, offered by Mandy Colbert were both very helpful for connecting to my body and baby. Mandy’s classes are very informative and empowering. Many of the positions I learned in her Pelvic Alignment class were very helpful during labor.
4.) Acupuncture with Brooke Hollinger at the end of my pregnancy helped balance my body and prepare it for labor.
5.) I learned a lot about proper positioning of the baby from Mandy’s class, and one of the websites she referred us to was www.spinningbabies.com. This website has some excellent information to help you determine your baby’s location and help it get to the most optimal position to be born. The exercises on this website definitely helped my labor be more productive.
6.) Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongon, and the accompanying relaxation CD really helped me prepare myself mentally for labor and birth. They gave me a regular practice that centered on dissolving fear and approaching birth with confidence. Being able to stay calm made it much easier to cope with the intense sensations of labor. I also found positive affirmations to be really helpful for mentally preparing myself.
7.) The books, “Spiritual Midwifery” and “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,” both by Ina May Gaskin changed my life. I discovered them several years ago and they completely shifted the way I thought about my body and the kind of birth I wanted to have. Before I read these books I doubted my ability to have an un-medicated birth at home.
8.) Last but, certainly not least, the love and support of my amazing husband. He’s a pretty private person, so I won’t gush over him too much here. He was supportive of my decision to attempt a home birth from day one. During my labor he poured water over my back for HOURS which really helped me stay relaxed. He’s taken such good care of our son and me throughout this whole process. We are so grateful for him.