I am taking a bit of a diversion on the blog for this post, as it has nothing at all to do with food. However it does explain my long absence! Many people have asked me if I would share my birth experience and I can’t think of anywhere e...
I am taking a bit of a diversion on the blog for this post, as it has nothing at all to do with food. However it does explain my long absence! Many people have asked me if I would share my birth experience and I can’t think of anywhere else to share it, so it will live here. Keep in mind while reading this that some experiences are hard to put into words, even for a writer.
I think most people asked to hear the story because I chose to have Alba Rose at home in the company of midwives, something that is thought of as quite unconventional in this day and age, despite millennia of precedence. During my pregnancy people would tell me I was brave, and sometimes people were concerned for me when I told them my plans to have my baby at home. My response was always that I thought people who had babies in hospitals were the brave ones, surrounded by strangers in a strange place going through one of the most truly awesome experiences in life in the hands of doctors. Not that doctors are bad, just for me they didn’t belong in my vision as a part of my sacred transformation from maiden to mother (unless there was something wrong with me or the baby that made it medically necessary for their expertise).
For me, having a child is one of the most monumental and natural acts in the world. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time, and always at home, attended by midwives. This has been the norm for a very long time. Our culture in modern times has relegated giving birth to the realm of doctors, medicine and medical intervention, sending women the message that giving birth is in the same category as having a disease or a medical problem and that they cannot birth a child on their own. Personally, I never bought into that for myself and was always confident that when the time came, my body would take over and know exactly what needed to be done.
So my birth plan was a simple one, to labor and give birth at home in a birthing tub with very little intervention. I have always loved the water, being an avid competitive swimmer once and the idea of giving birth in water felt comforting. We were all set up a few days ahead of time, I had an intuition that the baby was going to arrive in week 39 and that is what ended up happening.
One night as we were lying in bed, wondering when the wee one was going to arrive we heard something we had never heard before in the 4 years we have lived in this house, an owl on our roof hooting loudly. I will preface this by saying that all during my pregnancy I have been drawn to anything with owls on it, and had bought a few owl themed items for the baby, so when we heard the owl, we wondered if it was a herald of labor beginning soon. I found out later, that my cousin Michelle, who is like a sister to me, had an encounter with an owl on the same night.
The next morning I woke up to some cramping. I was getting these cramps about every half an hour. They didn’t feel at all like the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had been experiencing, so I didn’t pay too much attention to them. We woke leisurely and then decided to go into town and have brunch and take the dogs on a nice long walk. As we enjoyed our day, the time between cramps got shorter and by the time we got home and had prepared a snack for dinner, they were coming about 5 minutes apart. We were just relaxing and watching TV and at 9:40 PM my water broke. It really wasn’t until that moment I realized that this was for real and I was in labor and had been in early labor all day!
We called the midwives and within the hour they were here. For the next two hours the contractions started getting more intense, but I was lucid and in my normal frame of mind, chatting it up with everyone in between contractions and taking a minute or so to concentrate when they came on again. Around 1 am things started to change, the contractions were very strong at this point and I was having a difficult time noticing my surroundings, my attention was drawn inward, into my bre