Personal Light Stories - Homebirth
My name is Elise, and i am a singing woman who is Mother to two, water birthed children. I am a human inspired greatly by the peace work of music-making, homebirth and midwifery, and serving women in pregnancy and labor. I am a distributor for the Ringing Cedars Series because my own light-path is intuitively drawn to the power and intention of these texts. Peace work comes in many forms, and for all literate peoples of the Earth to read these books, is yet another way to make Love manifest for humanity. I feel Anastasia's Ray, and have answered the call to use my gifts of singing, Mothering, and the power of my own visioning to help spread these messages. My family and i still quest to find our own little space of love land on which to build and share in ecovillage-living. I choose to surround myself with homebirthing families, lovers of music, and i hope that my web site will send you more light-inspiration and dedication to living BLISS. THE EARTH AND HUMANITY NEEDS YOU TO LIVE HAPPILY. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, or words of loving support.
In the Light, Elise
Patience to Birth in Power: River's Birth Story
The story of my homebirthing of my first-born son, River, is one of deep soul-work, self-discovery, and awesome woman power. Read this one page account of my emergence into homebirth and midwifery, and I'll share with you the journey which began my dedication to helping women and babies on peaceful birthing paths.
I pushed River out, from the water of my womb, into the water of my own bathtub on the eve of November 16, 2001. Weighing 8 lbs and measuring 19 inches, River was lifted by his Papa's and our midwife's hands straight to my breast. The candlelight made soft silhouettes of our bodies, and my little boy's first sensations outside the womb were ones of gentleness and peace. The energy of Universe permeated our home, and all was Love. It was my conscious intention, personal reflection and dedication, and the support of my community which enabled me to fulfill my dream of giving birth at home.
The story of my 43-hour-long labor really began even before my actual pregnancy. Having read Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina Mae Gaskin, as a teen, I was turned on to the magnitude of peace power when women give birth at home. As a girl growing up in a technomedically-driven household (my Dad was a physician), I observed a medical model of giving birth where women are denied their personal power in hospitals. Laboring women are given "labor time schedules" and an air of inevitability that they will want drugs, with unfamiliar interns and nurses coming in and out of their birth rooms. From this early age, I knew this wasn't right, and i queried my Father on his own birth, which was at home just like his 6 other siblings. There was something in me that flowered, when I decided that I would birth at home with a midwife, somewhere off in my future.
Years later, my supportive husband would be a crucial part of my homebirth journey, as we discussed how babies have the right to come onto this planet in a gentle way. We knew that parenthood was a divine undertaking, and to seek the most perfect beginning for us and our little one, was our chosen path. In February of 2001, I was pregnant and began to search for a midwife to assist me come November, our baby's arrival month.
The state we lived in, Missouri, is one of eight in America where the practice of midwifery is criminalized, permitting only certified nurse midwives (in conjunction with an MD) to work legally. The city I lived in had only one practicing nurse-midwife who did homebirths, and I contacted her immediately. Initially excited and hopeful during a one-hour meeting with her, I became disappointed when I heard the $1,800 fee, knowing that we did not have that money to exchange. For 36 weeks, then, I let my homebirth dream sit idle, going to see nurse-midwives at the local hospital, covered by Medicaid. Refusing all of their pregnancy-screening tests like blood-sugar level testing and many others, I remained confident that my healthy vegetarian diet, regular exercise, and Love were growing a healthy baby.
I hired a doula (who is now a friend) at 4 months pregnancy, and I began the prenatal yoga class that she taught. My doula had given birth at home, and her story was important to me in our sisterhood bonding and trust-building. I got to see her each week, along with other beautiful pregnant mamas at our yoga class, building even more of a strong mama circle. The energy shared among women in bloom is one that cannot be described, yet it is a present-day and ancient, lovely vibration which the Earth knows well and wants women to feel.
I believe it was the fears I was holding which put a temporary halt to my homebirth dream. Yet, my intention sent spirit in motion, and at 37 weeks gestation, a friend told me of her aunt, a midwife, whom i could connect with. It was here that I felt my power grow and my dream become clearer. This sweet midwife, whom I will call Raya, told me that I needed to face all of my fears before I would be able to bring my little baby out into my own home. Already close to term (40 weeks gestation), she agreed to guide me spiritually and be present with me in support when I went into labor.
Three more weeks passed, and i began to internalize some of the "time pressure" the nurse-midwives were constantly talking about. "You don't want to go over your due date...Your baby could be harmed if you don't get induced", was what they said over and over. I had a mind set that was letting some of this fear penetrate but there was this stronger place inside that said, "No way. My baby is fine, and he will come when he's ready." Admittedly, I wanted my baby to come, so i chose an acupuncturist who did a labor-inducing session with me. Later that night, the rushes began to come, their drum-beat consistency feeling totally lovely at first. I called no one but Ben, my husband, and he danced with me, held my hand, and gave simple words of loving encouragement. I spent the whole next day doing my work: cleaning my house, crocheting, dancing, and feeling the contractions increase in intensity as I moved.
Another sleepless night passed, and I remembered my midwife's words, saying that in changing the word "pain" to "intensity" it would make the sensations a lot more bearable. It's true that word medicine shapes your reality, and this simple trick helped me. The next day, I called my doula and midwife, and they stayed with me into the evening, watching me dance, listening to me moan and sing. The beautiful interplay of Ben, and the two women was amazing. They would squat in front of me as i squatted, touching the person who was in front of me, holding my hands. Gracefully and instinctively, they would switch, one person fetching a cloth to bring coolness to my forehead. All these acts of love and gentleness, my baby was feeling with me. And it was when the new moon was high on that chilly November evening, when sweet River came with one transitional push, into the bathtub's sacred waters. I spoke to him in Spanish, as we awaited the birth of his placenta, and he simply opened his eyes, looked around, and started to suck my breast's nipple.
45 minutes later, the placenta was born, and we placed it in a bowl, leaving his umbilical cord still attached to the pulsing organ with the other end connected to River's belly. It is not good to sever the cord right at birth, as the baby is still receiving important oxygen-blood flow, and it's quite shocking to a baby to do this so we chose to wait until the placenta stopped pulsing. My midwife asked how we wanted to free River from his placenta, and I instinctively asked to chew it off. At a distance of 8 inches from his belly, I chewed River's umbilical cord, and we coiled the remaining cord around his belly button. It dried and fell off, leaving a perfect belly button, and a hardened umbilical cord that will be a reminder to him of his sacred birth for the rest of his life.
My life opened to the power and simplicity of home birth, and my Motherhood was glowing with Love and connection to my new little one. Now 4 years old, River knows his birth story well, and has his own thoughts to share about how babies are born onto this Earth. He says that babies want to be born to their mamas and their mamas alone. "They don't need anybody getting in the way", he says, and I agree.
Lunaya's Birth at Dawn
My second child, Lunaya, was born to me at 7:01 AM on September 13, 2005, in the same bathtub as her brother. Weighing 8 lbs (just like River) and measuring 21 inches, she arrived with a quicker pace and a gentleness like no other.
A Blessingway is a ceremonial gathering to honor a pregnant woman, which has varying rituals or pampering activities for the woman carrying a child. Mine occurred less than 24 hours before Lunaya's arrival, and as I sat there under the willow tree surrounded by beautiful women giving me blessings, my contractions were steady and making me focused in breath. Dreamlike in its scenery, the late summer sunshine and green- everything of the gardens at my Blessingway were sweet to this active labor of mine. My friends, many of whom had also given birth at home before, were witnessing me labor, and the loving energy of this circle was so much a part of the community to which Lunaya was being born to.
News was shared about our friend's home birth 2 days before, and also a prayer was sent out to another friend in the midst of her homebirth labor, during my Blessingway. How awesome and special this was to have shared in our pregnancies and then the time-space of our births! For me, this circle of women had grown in rooted connectedness since my first home birth back in 2001. Having the intuitive knowing of my baby being a girl throughout the whole pregnancy, this circle of women became even more integral to my spiritual community.
The rushes were coming on so strong at the end of my Blessingway that I asked my friend for a ride home, even though my house was just a mile away. Soon after entering my home, a friend arrived to deliver the community birthing tub which had just been born into 2 days before. Joyous at the site of this beautifully-painted water tub, decorated by my friends, I danced around it and sang.
The rest of the evening was filled with my walking about the house, preparing River for sleep, and connecting with Ben, my husband, during the rushes. Ben and I didn't realize that we did not have a certain part to the birthing tub necessary for the faucet hook-up, but the flow of the labor kept me focused on the NOW. The only other person I was welcoming to Lunaya's birth was a friend who lived 3 hours away, so this was going to be an "unassisted" birth, by legal standards.This second labor of mine was so different from the first in that it felt so familiar, easier to breathe through the rushes, and filled with direct communication with my Grandmothers. I had dreams that Lunaya's cord would be around her neck, and I spoke to both her and my Ancestors.
"Sweetheart, come out freely, and we will do what we need to. I love you, and thank you for your presence, Grandmothers. You are here with me and Lunaya!"
Sometimes intently looking into my eyes in the mirror, I sent my body and all parts of my being such an strong love vibration, and I could feel Lunaya's receptivity to this. A waning crescent moon filled the night sky, and my sleepless night was still energized with Light and my coming baby!
Things really started to shift to transition-like sensations, and I got the call from my friend who announced that she was not 3 hours away, but 15 minutes away! What a relief! I had called her at 10:30 PM to just announce that the rushes were picking up, telling her that she should not come just yet. She heard it in my voice, I guess, that she had better prepare for the trip, so that is what she did. Arriving just one hour before Lunaya's emergence, we stared into each other's eyes, held hands, and breathed together.
The Sun's rays were beginning to spread across the Earth as I breathed, panting shortly, and believe it or not, staring at my friend's gorgeous-looking toes with her toe ring. I told her how prettly they looked, and we all laughed at such a strange comment considering the scene. A few minutes after this, i hopped into the bathtub, where Lunaya's head came out of my yoni. My friend said that she did not see a cord around her head, but Ben was right there, and he did see one. My dear husband was the midwife to this situation, and he skillfully slipped his fingers in the right way and removed it from her neck.
Lunaya opened her eyes, looked at me as I sang to her, and began sucking my nipple, all in the water. 10 minutes later, the placenta was born, and we put it in a bowl, still connected to her. Our bedroom was the place where I chewed the cord to separate it from her body, as I did with her big brother, and it was awesome to do this primal activity again!
Holiness and Peace filled my body, my baby, and all present. Truly, the sensation of more peace emanating from that space and time was sent out to the Earth and the Universe, and I welcomed this little woman-child to my life with an open heart....She is now 16 months old, and still emanates this sweet tranquility, and thank Love that I have such a heart-filled story to share with her forever!!
Used by permission;
Copyright 2006, Elise Brion