Posts Tagged ‘natural birth’

More Birth Stories – Yael Solomon

November 7, 2008

Birth story excerpted from Sheri Menelli’s book Journey into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth

More stories at https://smenelli.wordpress.com

In My Deepest Meditation
By Yael Solomon

To my dearest Yakir Daniel,

YOU REST, SECURELY CUDDLED at my breast, as I begin to process your birth. I have wanted to write it down for the past three months, ever since you entered my life, but I haven’t found the perfect moment… until now.

Your father, Amichai, and I returned home after spending the weekend with my parents. We joined them at a barbecue with friends before heading out on our two-and-a-half-hour drive back to Philadelphia. Although I am not much of a meat eater, that day I seemed to have consumed enough steak and hot dogs to feed a small army. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my body was storing energy for your labor, just hours away. The barbecue was fun and I laughed a lot, deep penetrating laughs. At one point, I thought I felt a muscle pull from a particularly long belly laugh. In retrospect, it was my labor starting. Your aba (father) and I believe that you were created with laughter, and therefore it was only appropriate that your birth began with laughter.

After we arrived home and settled in, I began my nightly ritual of yoga stretches. Without this thirty-minute practice, I was unable to sleep. At around 2:00 in the morning, I was still stretching! I realized that these “tight muscles” were probably contractions! This was it! I’d finally get to meet you! I woke up Amichai to tell him and he went into shock. He told me to try to sleep, or relax and to try to do my birth project. Yet the contractions were getting closer together and more intense. All I could focus on was you.

At this point, your aba had fully awakened and called in our support—the midwife Barbara, and Yiscah, my soul sister. When I called your grandfather, instead of passing the phone over to my mother, he hung up on me! It was 2:30 in the morning! I had to wait for the next contraction to wash over me before calling again.

Your aba was in rare form—filling up the birthing pool, clearing an area for the midwife to place her equipment, lighting candles and putting on the music we had chosen to welcome you into the world.
The world was so dark and still; your aba and I submerged together in the birthing pool—alone and intimate before the cavalry began to arrive. You had been created with love and light, and we wanted a private moment to complete that circle of life, your creation and your birth.

As people began to arrive, they respected the quiet atmosphere we had created. We wanted your entrance into this world to be as peaceful and serene as possible. Yiscah arrived first, relaxed and aglow. She and Amichai took turns massaging my back and hips for 11 hours. They offered words of encouragement as they escorted me to and from the bathroom.

I remember being in the warm water and surrendering to the contractions. They were the intense energy that was bringing you forth into the world. I loved every second of it! It wasn’t painful; it was intense. It was an experience I had never had before and one that I would never forget. This was something only you and I felt. It created a truly spiritual bond between us, a bond that I will always cherish. I know that there were other people in the room, a halo of support and love, yet I was hardly aware of them. I was cognizant of your aba’s loving touch and Yiscah’s soothing hands, but that’s it. I too was encased in a womb—waters that brought me back to the Garden of Eden, where the universe began. I was in touch with all women from all time who had given birth and who will give birth. It was such a feeling of empowerment!

At one point, I was asked by the midwife to get out of the pool to encourage my cervix to open. I had been pushing prematurely and as a result my cervix had begun to swell. I guess I was just really eager to meet you! That was an incredibly intense time—the room was dark and very still. I could hear the candles flicker and the incense smoke waft through our intimate home. I lay incredibly still, in my deepest meditation. I don’t think I had ever achieved such a level of spiritual focus, except at your aba’s and my wedding. Suddenly I felt a shift in the room, and sensed Sara Imeinu’s (Sara, the matriarch’s) presence. She represented all women to me and guided me through this most challenging part of my labor. “Open up. You are a vessel,” she kept softly repeating in my ear. It worked. I tapped into resiliency that I had stored in my soul and made it through—bright, glistening and glowing.
Barbara, my midwife, wanted to check my dilation while I was on our bed to make sure the cervix was completely dilated before I got back into the pool for the water birth we had planned. But higher powers were at work and this was not meant to be. Your heart rate began to drop and Barbara felt you should be birthed on the bed, on my back. It was the VERY position I was so adamantly against. This was the birthing position that used to be enforced (and sometimes still is) in hospitals for the convenience of the doctor, and often to the disservice of the laboring mother. Yet, did I hesitate? Did I protest? NOT FOR A SECOND! Your well-being was of utmost importance, not my birthing plan. I was becoming a mother. You taught me the precious lesson that every mother needs to know—the practice of surrender. I had to let go of the “perfect” birth to make space for your birth, which was the true birth. Once I had learned this invaluable lesson, you entered my life.

I had told the midwife that I wanted to catch you when you were born. However, at the time of your birth, it was not a passive act. It was active and primal. I claimed you. You were mine. I placed you, slippery and precious, on my naked skin and embraced you. You slowly crept your way to my breast to receive your hard-earned nourishment. Thank you for entering my life and choosing me to be your mommy.

I love you, Yakir Daniel.

Your ima (mommy)

A Mother’s Guidance: I recall so eagerly anticipating the birth of my first child, and I was told more “horror” stories than “beauty” stories; yet I was determined to create my own story, my own memory. Our home birth was the most empowering experience I have ever had. Since his birth two years ago, I have given birth to his sister, Ma’ayan Neomi, in a home water birth. Suggested reading to support a natural birth: Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz, and Mothering magazine.

Yael Solomon, her husband Amichai, and their two children live in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Yael is originally an American, but moved to Israel eight years ago, where she met and married her husband. They returned to the States for a few years but plan to move back to Israel in the future. Professionally, Yael is a psychologist and has worked in Israel as a crisis-intervention and trauma counselor. She was part of a team that responded to terrorist attacks, treated the victims and their families, and helped the communities heal. Here in America, Yael is a full-time mom. She works in her son’s Montessori school, teaching Hebrew.

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A story from the book …

October 28, 2008

I thought I’d post one of the first stories in the book. Actually, I’m planning on giving the book away as a PDF.

Yes, give it away! I know it sounds crazy but I’m out to get rid of the fear of birth.

Like Thunder Rumbling Through

by KELLY CAMDEN

Being pregnant brought me renewed vitality, but as every mother knows, there comes a time when you have had enough of being pregnant. Maybe it’s your body’s way of preparing for the separation that is about to occur. In addition to your own anticipation, there are the questions, the phone calls, and people dropping by with hopes of seeing you in labor. Your hormones are shifting and everyone wants to know, “HAVE YOU HAD THE BABY YET?” Maybe these social annoyances are nature’s way of conditioning us for the patience we will need as parents.

It was August and hot, of course. I was pitting the forty pounds of cherries that I had picked from my favorite orchard. I needed a project to pass the time, because I was nine-and-a-half months pregnant. As I finished laying the fruit in the dryers, I began early labor. I had the typical stream of emotions. Mostly I felt excitement: it’s finally happening! I had prepared our living room for the birth a month before with a birth kit, birth stool, and a variety of other things we would need.

Home birth is a common occurrence in rural areas of Colorado and many women hire a licensed midwife. My midwives, Suzanne and Jeanette, gave me such special care and attention throughout my pregnancy; I knew I could rely on them during my birth. In the last weeks, we had been in contact every day, either by phone or by home visits. When I called to tell them the good news, they assured me that they were prepared to come at any time.

Since everything was ready for the birth, I decided to go out to dinner. I was hungry and I figured this was my last chance to just sit and eat. Besides, my baby’s grandparents had just pulled into town and I wanted to visit with them. It was sort of nice, but my meal and conversation were continuously interrupted. I would be in the middle of a sentence and suddenly trail off… losing my train of thought; another contraction. I was surprised that they kept coming so regularly. The grandparents, seasoned in childbirth, understood my incoherence, but I felt awkward when I couldn’t carry on a conversation.

After dinner I walked home, and put everything and everyone else aside. I labored through the night, sweating, moaning and even vomiting at times. During my pregnancy I had read every book on childbirth that I could find, watched lots of videos and talked with nearly every mother in town. I understood the physiology of childbirth, and part of my coping mechanism was to rationalize each sensation I felt. When there was immense pressure in my lower back, I told myself, “OK, the baby is against my back and I can counteract this pressure.” Luckily, the baby shifted positions after a few contractions, so that feeling didn’t last long.

My midwife came over and spent the night with us. Although her presence was comforting, I knew that I was the only person who could give birth. I retreated to the deepest parts of my mind, reviewing scenes from my childhood like an old film. Every spoken word, whether or not it was directed to me, became a distraction. I wanted silence. I just sat there, letting my body do its work. I didn’t want to move or be touched, just to be still. Contractions came and went, and in between I would drift off, resting without sleeping.

Unlike the hospital setting, where a classroom-sized clock is staring at you from across the bed, I had a tiny clock placed strategically behind me. But in the childbirth time warp, the hours, minutes and seconds didn’t hold any meaning. Soon the sunlight was shining softly into the room. My labor was changing. I felt the baby moving, like thunder rumbling through me, and I had to surrender. I pulled together every bit of strength I had left. Suddenly I was re-energized, as if I had slept through the night. For every bit of pushing, I had to do just as much letting go. I could not hold on to the fact that I was totally naked in front of a room full of people, or consider the sounds I would hear coming from my mouth. I understood why they call it the “urge to push”—I remember asking Suzanne, “Do I have to wait for another contraction?”

Finally, at 9:03 on a Monday morning, my son was born. The midwife immediately put him in my arms. I was stunned—the sight and sensation of holding your own child for the first time is not truly conceivable before it happens. He did not cry or breathe right away, and it seemed everything was in slow motion. I was speechless and holding my own breath. My midwife said, “Talk to your baby!” as she suctioned his airways and he began to breathe.

I felt as if we were calling his soul into his body. My words were probably a jumble, but in my heart I said, “I’m so glad that you’re here!” I watched him fill with oxygen and a rosy color spread through him. He was aware, but silent, and we watched each other closely. I felt that I was looking at a stranger, and gazing into the eyes of an old friend. Maybe, as he gazed back with a slightly wrinkled brow, he felt the same way. I barely noticed when our physical tie, a purple and shockingly rope-like cord, was severed. We had completed the journey and evolved into two individuals. With some practice I was able to nurse him, and we reconnected. Afterwards I began to cry. I was sobbing, not only tears of joy, but also relief and gratefulness. I realized the fullness of my being. Every muscle, every hormone and every action of my body was nature. I had experienced the completion of one cycle, and the beginning of another.

A Mother’s Guidance: I did not take any birth classes. Instead, I read midwifery books and spoke with women who had faith in the birth process. Some of the books that I read were Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy & Birth by Elizabeth Davis, Birth without Violence by Fredrick Leboyer, and Immaculate Deception and Seasons of Change, both by Suzanne Arms. I read everything that my midwife had in her office, and anything in the library that supported normal birth.

The secret to having a great birth is… hire a midwife! Finding a midwife for your hospital or home birth is the best thing that you can do for yourself and your baby! The midwifery model of care encourages freedom of movement, use of water during labor, and no separation of mother and baby. Midwifery care is very respectful of the process that mother and baby are experiencing.

Additional Thoughts: Kelly mentions that she strate­gically placed her clock behind her. You will find that it is much easier to labor if you are not concentrating on how long it’s taking. If you are giving birth at a hospital, drape a towel over the clock or take it off the wall.

Kelly Camden is the mother of two boys, both born at home. She has worked with families as a labor support and postpartum doula since 1999. Kelly facilitated the creation of the Albuquerque Birth Network (www.abqbirthnet.org), an organization that educates the community about options for healthy pregnancy and birth, and advocates for evidence-based care.

Labor Natural or With Medication: The Big Question

October 26, 2008

Continued …

Or maybe this is a digression again.

When I decided to write the book, I decided on having only stories of Natural Birth. Little did I know that I would create a firestorm of controversy. Didn’t know that “natural birth” was a loaded word or that the planet was so divided by natural versus medication.

My point was that it was possible to have a painless birth without medication. It really is. I had one and I’ve had plenty of past clients who can attest to this. I also have lots of friends in the birth world now who know this to be true. There is a whole world of women who have experienced the phenomenon of painless birth but it is still a taboo subject.

I thought that the book would be embraced by those wanting medication at birth. It would give them confidence that if someone who didn’t have any type of pain medication could do it and have a very good – sometimes painless – experience that they could have one too whether or not they took medication.

My agenda was “Your body, your baby, your way”. Give people all the facts, take away the fear and birth will become much better! You’ll make better decisions during pregnancy and during birth and have a happy birthday despite labor.

Learn from the successes of others.

To Be Continued: