The Naturalness of Birth
by Kathy Frago
From the beginning of my pregnancy, Greg and I talked only of a homebirth. We assumed it would be unattended by anyone who’d ever been to a homebirth. Early in my pregnancy I started accumulating books and reading about homebirth and midwifery. I also came in contact with support groups through the mail, and located a doctor 60 miles away who attends homebirths. We had decided we didn’t want a doctor present, and by my seventh month had located a couple of fairly inexperienced birth attendants who agreed to make the 65 mile trip. As it was, Zenon was born at 6:40, and they didn’t arrive until 8:00.
The week before the birth was full of lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions that had a different quality to them than those of the last 4 months. Our first child, Meadow Fawn, was born in a hospital 5 years ago.
At 3 a.m. I had a bloody show, and figured this was it. I woke up Greg and activated his nesting instinct. I called the birth attendants before 4:00. They said they’d find baby-sitters about 6:00 and be here by 8:00.
The labor progressed, but didn’t get as intense as I had expected. It wasn’t really until my water broke and I knew I was in transition that I realized how quickly I was having the baby. For about the last hour before my water broke I could feel my cervix being pulled open. So at 6:00 my water broke and shortly after that my friend, Stacie, arrived. She got her first practical experience in baby catching, although no one actually “caught” Zenon. He just shot out onto the bed between Greg and Stacie and my legs.
A few contractions after the membranes ruptured, I felt the baby’s head move into the birth canal. It surprised me how easy it was to feel just what my body was doing. I had decided that a lot of conscious pushing could interfere with the flow of my body expelling this ripe baby. So for part of each contraction the last half hour or so, I blew so as not to speed up baby’s entry to this world. I could feel my uterus and whole pelvic area contracting and pushing the baby down the birth canal. Greg and Stacie supported and massaged my perineum and worked the skin from the top down for extra elasticity. When the head was born to the lips Stacie said, “Push the rest of his head out.” With the next contraction I didn’t blow and out he shot. He weighed 9 lb., 7 oz. My perineum didn’t tear, although I did get a couple of tears on my labia which healed quickly on their own. The placenta was delivered about 20 minutes later as I squatted over a bowl.
The whole birth experience was almost very matter-of-fact. There was such a naturalness to it that wove it into the fabric of our lives. At the same time it was a very charged and intense time. You can appreciate the force and simplicity with which the world populates itself. This sense of sharing in the celebration of life is impossible in a hospital. That experience alone should be almost all the reason you need to have a baby at home.