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Drake's & Reed's Births
By Betsy Steinberg
With the birth of our first son, I labored all evening at home. On the night my water broke, I remember enjoying the full moon, pancakes and the warmth of my husband, Ryan, in bed. When the sun came up, we drove to the hospital and found the front door locked. The words on the door told us to use the other entrance during the wee hours. I did not want to go back into the car, nor did I want to walk around the building while in labor. Together we reflected on the childbirth preparation class that we had attended at the hospital, and realized that it failed to mention this technicality. Once inside, I spent much of the following six hours standing in the shower. I felt the urge to push and started to do so. I was exhausted and denied the glass of water I had requested. I was instructed to lie back in the bed to push my baby out. Everyone around me was counting. I remember wanting to keep standing upright. Gravity would have been on our side. We had informed the doctor prior to the birth, that we wanted the birth to be natural. When the baby was crowning, against my wishes, she asked if I wanted an episiotomy. I declined. I pushed two more times and our son was out and in my arms. I wouldn't let the staff take him to do tests on him. I felt like a mama lioness territorial of her young. The staff was great and complied with our wishes. We were thrilled new parents, and hungry ones too! The hospital food was not hitting the spot. At least now I could drink.
Years later we found ourselves blessed and expecting a child again. I had decided that I did not want to give birth once more in the hospital setting. I wanted to celebrate being pregnant. Rubber gloves, bright offices and doctors seemed out of place. I needed to find out what my options were. I wanted to find a way to give birth without being poked or prodded and it amazed me to meet many other women in my community who felt the same way. I found a midwife who was able to assist me with much more than prenatal care, labor and birth. Our midwife helped me process scary reoccurring dreams and many deeply rooted negative feelings from my own birth. She taught me to take care of myself and my ever growing baby, not just through the power of delicious food, but through the very delicate connection of the mind, body and spirit. When the birth day was here, I was confident and excited. It was 10:30 pm and I was returning from the bathroom and decided to plop down in the living room chair when my water broke and I silently called out loud, “Yeah!” I got on the phone to our midwife. The plan was for her to pick up my dear friend on her way to my house. I felt so special to be able to choose who would be present for our second child's birth. I enjoyed the time to myself, worked on setting up the birth pool a little, and did some dishes. After a half hour or so the energy waves were really starting to pick up. I remember closing my eyes and seeing the ocean. The waves of energy inside me reminded me of waves in the ocean. I the went to wake up Ryan. I kneeled down at the side of the bed and I spoke of the baby coming. He flew up like an eagle and began rubbing my back with his huge strong palm. He worked on finishing the pool set up as I knelt down by the futon and rolled my hips around with each wave bringing our baby closer to us. I peered up at the door and in came my support. The midwife and my friend were starting some amazing smelling herbs on the stove. The back rubs were great. I hopped in the pool and it felt awesome. I immediately wanted to push, so I did. I could feel the baby moving down and then down further. The midwife reminded me to put my hand down there so I could feel the baby's head. Another good push and then a rest, just in time for Ryan's mother to walk into the room. She was the other phone call I must have made. After passing semi-trucks on the two lane mountain highway, she had arrived to witness the birth of her grandchild. A few more pushes and out the baby slid. Born into my arms, surrounded by his family, I welcomed him over and over as his big brother leaned over the pool to get his first glimpse of his baby brother. “Mom said Uggh, and my brother was here,” our four and a half year old son recalled later. I was laughing and almost forgetting I still had work to do. The placenta was birthed a few minutes later. As my loved ones lined a walkway of towels and helped me out of the pool, I was still giggling with joy. How amazing it all was. I had given birth in the comfort of our home on a cold December night and then walked 15 feet to my own bed.