Allison: "Unconditional faith" was the theme of my whole pregnancy and labor. This was my first child and I did not know what to expect at all. I just followed my intuition, went along with it and knew I was protected by God. I had read Birth and the Dialogue of Love by Marilyn Moran many times and it was that book I used for guidance in preparing for a homebirth. The love and support my husband Michael gave to me throughout my labor was incredible. I would have never had the same care with anyone else because no one can care for me the way my husband can. I was relaxed and comfortable and the mood was perfectly set.
After labor began, my husband and I took a shower together. From then on we stayed naked. Michael began massaging my perineum. He had done this with such care and intent that I knew I was in competent hands. We sang together, stared in each other's eyes, talked, ate, slept for two hours and before we knew it, 30 hours had elapsed and our child was born.
It was the ultimate climax. I felt open, loose and free. Words cannot explain the feeling as my baby's body slithered out. To this day I can still sense that wonderful feeling inside. It makes me tingle.
I'm a very tiny girl (100 pounds) and I gave birth to a beautiful son weighing approximately 8 and 1/2 pounds and did not rip. We only had a bathroom scale available to weigh our new son. Having contractions five minutes apart for most of the 30 hours of labor, I can only imagine what they would have done to me if I would have been in the hospital.
I believe God always knows what is best and therefore chose to never interfere with His intelligence. Many people commented on how alert, perceptive and aware our baby was as an infant and it was very obvious to me that this was indeed true. I believe the way we welcomed him into the world was solely responsible for this. From conception to birth I was surrounded with love and faith that childbirth is a most beautiful and natural process and now I know from experience that this is definitely true.
Michael: Before we knew that we were having our first child, my wife Allison and I decided we wanted to have a homebirth. When she suggested that I too be naked during the labor, I knew right then that there would be no midwife. Fortunately, we share the same philosophy of honoring the life force. Having a homebirth was never debated.
Our birth was to be a very intimate and sacred event. To prepare for this we packed a picnic which included warm water, grape juice, raisins, plums and bananas. We had a crock-pot on hand so that I was able to keep applying heat to her perineum which she instinctively wanted. We spread newspaper throughout our house in order to not confine ourselves to any one specific room. It was our understanding that freedom to move about wherever Allison felt she wanted to be at any given time was an important accommodation. This showed itself to be true when toward the end of our labor, Allison had an impulsive "urge" to stand in our bathtub, at which time she immediately and conveniently broke her water.
The most important job I had was supporting my wife by letting her know how beautiful she was and how wonderful everything was going. During the contractions, which were never more or less than five minutes apart, I applied heat to her perineum, performed the massage and encouraged her to breathe and not to push. Her main request was that while I performed my duties that I look her straight in the eyes. It was also my job between contractions to make sure that she moved around and had enough fluids on hand to drink.
The theme of our birth which we vocally affirmed throughout was "unconditional faith." At one point I walked into the bathroom and observed Allison with one foot on the bathtub and the other foot on the toilet bowl, hanging onto the shower curtain rod and singing. I knew this to be a most unusual occurrence for a childbirth and could do nothing but join her in song. As strange as this sounds, it was a lot of fun.
Many times Allison and I kissed and caressed each other. It was incredible! This was without a doubt the most romantic and sexiest moments we had ever shared. We did not videotape this event, which probably added to the intimacy we shared. We had candles burning during the evening to provide our only source of light. We had previously selected music to play softly in the background. I put a "do not disturb" sign on our front door and periodically changed the message on the answering machine to update those concerned friends and family members who were calling. We turned the ringer off and never knew when a call was coming in. This was our moment! We believe having such reverence for the process of childbirth was the main factor as to why Allison and I had such a pleasant experience.
We do not believe that it was a coincidence that our wedding song was playing when our baby's head popped out into the world. Five minutes later my new son and I had our first game of catch. I caught him! It was instantaneous and he seemed to "shoot out" after the shoulders were delivered. The placenta was delivered 11 minutes later at which point my wife let out a big "sigh" seeing that she was no longer physically connected to her baby that she had carried around and bonded with for nine months. It was then that I realized that it would be best for her to cut the umbilical cord. She did so about an hour later. It was appropriate and very symbolic.
According to the clock it was a 30 hour labor. To this day, Allison and I are certain that it was the fastest 30 hours we had ever spent. Having a homebirth was the only way to go. Our son is now 17 months old and very healthy. He is our pride and joy and is still living on his mother's milk.
To say that this experience strengthened our marriage is an understatement. I believe that if people found it in their hearts to have a homebirth there would be less divorce, less child abuse and a positive step toward world peace would be made. To deny families their right of experiencing this once in a lifetime event is sure to have an effect on everyone involved. I believe that if you can truly not come from a place of fear and make an educated informed choice, which honors your true beliefs, that the end result can be nothing less than the miracle that childbirth is. This was only our first birth experience and we are looking forward to having many more homebirths in the future.
Allison: This was my second pregnancy and, as with our first child, my husband, Michael, and I decided to have another unassisted childbirth. This time, we were hoping to have someone with us, our 2 1/2 year old son, Anthony. We prepared him well for the event. We had "undress rehearsals" and continually educated him on what to expect.
This pregnancy was different from my first. Michael, and I were more intimately connected with each other. With Anthony's birth, we had learned to trust in nature as we surrendered to what was to be a successful thirty hour labor. This time, we were more physically active and did less observing and more participating.
I was a lot more educated with Angela's birth. For instance, I studied the three stages of labor in depth. With Anthony, I had little knowledge of the stages. I also explored myself and was more in tune with my physical and emotional feelings. The connection to Michael was obvious as I was able to openly express exactly what I was feeling. I visualized the way the baby was lying inside me and felt deeply connected with her as well, realizing that although we were two different people, we were bonded together in a relationship that will never end.
Two weeks before I went into labor, I was in the bathtub and was able to feel the baby's head internally. It was an amazing feeling knowing that I had a fully developed person inside me and that we were only separated by tissue.
We were all just waiting.
On January 31, I woke up with a burst of energy. That evening, I put my son to bed at 9:30 after reading him a story. I got up ten minutes later and instantly felt a warm sensation in my lower back. It felt like a big hand was holding onto my tailbone. It was a familiar feeling - I had also experienced it during my first labor. I called Michael at work. "This could be the night," I said. I tried to lay down to get some rest but was too excited. It was now 10:00, and the sensations were getting stronger.
At 10:30, the sensations inspired me to squat up against the couch. I experienced an energy that was not a contraction but very pleasurable. At the same time Michael came home and saw that I was totally in tune with myself. We hung around downstairs for about an hour and a half packing our picnic and gathering anything else we might need. We knew that once we went upstairs to our bedroom we were not going to come back down. We then went upstairs.
Since our first labor had lasted thirty hours, we took our time getting ready. However, things seemed to be moving along quickly this time and we had yet to prepare our bed with plastic sheets or cover the pillows. Soon the sensations became stronger and more frequent. When the sensations came, I felt my actions were well orchestrated. At times I sat up, rocked back and forth, hummed, concentrated on connecting to my breath, and relaxed. When Michael joined me in an aroma oil bath, the love between us became apparent.
When we got out of the tub, we went straight to the bed where I got on all fours. Michael got underneath me and we kissed and caressed each other. At times he would rub my back. We even had intercourse and were both reaching climax when I felt the baby right there. I had an urge to go to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I had my first real contraction. It was big, strong, intense, and pleasurable. As I hung onto Michael's shoulders, I had another one. It felt so great to just hang there and have gravity weigh me down. I had another contraction and this time actually felt the baby rapidly drop down into the birth canal. I reached down to check my progress and to my surprise felt the head right there.
We walked over to the bed where I had Michael perform the perineal massage. I held back the baby's head. I did not want to rip. "Lubricate me. This baby is going to fly out," I said. On the fourth contraction the head came out. I felt this enormous build up of pressure inside. It was the water bag that had not yet broken.
When her head was out I could feel her kicking inside me. I knew that I was building up to an ultimate climax and was anxious for the release. Another contraction came, but only her arm popped out. Michael felt her neck to make sure the cord wasn't around it. As he did, I had another contraction. Wow! Out she came along with all the amniotic fluid. Michael was caught up in the emotional beauty of the whole event as I had the biggest, sexiest orgasmic release of my life. He was crying and I was panting. We looked at the clock and could not believe it was only 2:10 a.m. I sat up on the bed. My placenta came out right away and Angela proceeded to nurse for 20 minutes on each breast.
At 4:00 a.m. we cut the cord and by 4:30 we were snuggled up in bed with our precious Angela Jule between us. "Boy, does our son have a surprise to wake up to in the morning," I thought. We closed our eyes and fell asleep thinking of the miracle we had created through an act of love that was now complete.