homebirthI had very confidently planned a first homebirth. As a matter of fact, I had wanted to do unassisted first time around. My husband was nervous and thought we ought to at least have a midwife for the first one, and then we could do it ourselves for #2. We had the midwife but I ended up in the hospital at 34 weeks having a baby while my husband was on an airplane trying to get home. My midwife attended, we went to her back up dr. who let me delivery vaginally. Any other hospital in the area would have sectioned me in a heartbeat. I had polyhydramneos- too much water- a sign of possible birth defect, which my baby did in fact have. She required surgery after birth and then a 3 week stay in the NICU. Eventhough, initially I felt like that was NOT the birth I had intended, in many ways it was. All through the pregnancy I kept a daily journal, writing to the baby. When I read through it after the birth I cried tears of joy and not disappointment. Throughout, I had written things like, "I really want to be open to the experience of you, whoever that is." "I hope that you will show me love in ways more powerful and profound than I have ever felt before." "My intention during birth is to connect with you on a soul level and totally forget about my body." There are many more. Let me tell you, at no time in my life have I connected with someone more fully than during her birth. They did not know what was "wrong" with her and there was a lot of speculation going on in the room. The dr. , midwife, nurses and neonatal team that was waiting for her were discussing out loud many possiblilties- I won't mention them- but they were very intense. I just kept thinking that this was going to require ALL of me to be fully present, in the moment, and accepting of life and the experience for what it was. I have never been so clear and at peace in my life. A second would be a really intense meditation after a long retreat. When she came out they let me hold her and kiss her briefly, right then my husband just boarded his plane in Japan and was able to use the airphone and I held the phone to her ear so she heard both of our voices simultaneously. Then they wisked her physical body away from me for tests and what-not. I did not feel any feelings of fear or separation. My sister looked at me desperately and asked if she should go be with her and the question seemed silly to me. I said, "you could, but she's not alone." I felt more "with" her than I think I would have if she were physically. I think I would have been more distracted by a cute face, lots of dark hair- ooh, little fingers, etc. That is not the baby. The baby comes in a body and when the physical body is there I think it is easy to become distracted. I wouldn't change my experience for anything. Then she went in for life saving surgery. Talk about intense love- looking into the eyes of a 36 hr baby about to be put under and going in for exploratory surgery- hoping they find the problem so they can fix it. You can only surrender to experience and put it in God's hands. My daughter and I share an incredible connection that started in a very profound and powerful way. She is two now and I still feel that we don't have to be together to feel together. I got the birth I wanted, I just thought it would look like a birthing tub with candles and Ohms in the background. I did get that birth experience for my second one and it was fantastic to be at home, but it wasn't nearly as powerful as the first. My best advice is be open to the experience and don't let the circumstance cloud what you THINK you want vs. what you REALLY want.
I am eternally grateful for excellent birth classes I took while pregnant. I am in the LA area and took classes at the Golden Bridge Yoga Center- there is also a prenatal yoga tape available from then, which is excellent. Guru Muk leads the class and it is available on The Method series. Also a great post-partum one. She stressed that if something unexpected were to happen, the worst thing you could do for your baby was to go into self-pity and the why is this happening to me senario. She said to BE there for your baby, don't abandon them emotionally! You don't need to be physically with someone to be emotionally with them. Particularly newborns who supposedly aren't really hanging out in their bodies that much anyway in the beginnning. Reassure them that their soul is wanted, loved and really be with them on a soul level. You can't love and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. CHOOSE LOVE!!! The babies are partners in the experience. THey are coming from broader perspective and are more in touch than we are. Be open to their guidance. I often felt very reassured by her, not the other way around. They are dependent upon us physically, but spiritually, they have the advantage at birth.
The other excellent resourse I recommend is Pam England's Birthing From Within. I had the fortune of taking her workshop and came up with the affirmation that, "Whatever my birth experience is, it is perfect for me and my baby." and I truly felt that. I recommend that every pregnant woman get that book. If she's in town, or your area offers her workshop- take it! But otherwise get the book! Invaluable! I never did feel let down or disappointed by my experience. Many of my friends had a harder time than I did- because I didn't seem the type to have any problems- whatever that means! I truly feel blessed and grateful for every minute of it! It was the most challenging, heart-stretching, emotionally draining, spiritually connected experience of my life! I also had no fear and zero problems with homebirthing my second. And it was wonderful in it's own way. Happy birthing to all.