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In Reflection: a year since my last birth as a BA

5 Mar

A Birth Chamber, Alma Tadema

March 5th, one year ago, I was 34 weeks pregnant and serving a laboring mother in her birth. I was heavy with child, and while I knelt down under her ripe, fertile belly to listen to her child’s heart tones, I felt my own child quicken within me.

I stooped and I swayed with her, I bent low and I squatted right next to her, with both our round bellies hanging and dangling from our frames. I took my cool fingers and touched her furrowed brow. The son that I carried in my womb, the child that jutted his foot into my ribs as if to remind me not to stretch too far, while I reached out to steady her body in labor –  would soon arrive. 

And all the labor love that I poured into the hearts and lives of the women I served during my 40 weeks of pregnancy would be returned to me in my own approaching birth.

I’ve always wanted to tell mothers, steady yourself because the sacred is mixed with the devastating. And as you labor, still your heart; the intense work of birth is surrounded with holiness of life.

One year now since I’ve seen a mother toil through her labor, and I can still hear in my ears the heavy moan of a life that is creaking the door open for another. I can hear the sound of a body open in birth. 

Make way, make way, her body says as she flings herself into the holiness of life. Make way, make way, my heart says, as I thrust myself into the holiness of motherhood.

One year in which I have set down my love of labor to give exclusively to the fruit of my labor.  And in this year, my motherhood is reborn again and again; dear second child, you remind me that I know nothing – but to love you (and it is like nothing that I’ve known).

I remember a young mother, who was exhausted from her long labor, stretched out on the bed to rest in between her contractions. I watched as her own mother came to her, laid down beside her and wrapped her arms around her laboring daughter. The mother pressed her cheek into her daughter’s head and sang out in a lullaby, “You are so beautiful to me. Can’t you see…” The mother’s voice cracked as she fought back tears, but she continued to sing in hushed tones to her daughter. Her daughter closed her eyes, and settled her body in closer to her mother’s – soaking in the strength of her love.

I feel that mother now, singing to me, one year later. I can hear her, and it is beautiful.

In the fullness of time, one year later.

A Poem About Childbirth That Wrecks Me

5 Mar

Click image for photo source

The Moment the Two Worlds Meet

By Sharon Olds

That’s the moment I always think of – when the 

slick, whole body comes out of me,

when they pull it out, not pull it but steady it

as it pushes forth, not catch it, but steady it

as it pushes forth, not catch it but keep their 

hands under it as it pulses out,

they are the first to touch it,

and it shines, it glistens with the thick liquid on it.

That’s the moment, while it’s sliding, the limbs

compressed close to the body, the arms

bent like a crab’s rosy legs, the

thighs closely packed plums in heavy syrup, the 

legs folded like the white wings of a chiken-

that is the center of life, that moment when the 

juiced bluish sphere of the baby is

sliding between the two worlds,

wet, like sex, it is sex,

it is my life opening back and back

as you’d strip the reed from the bud, not strip it but

watch it thrust so it peels itself and the

flower is there, severely folded, and

then it begins to open and dry

but by then the moment is over,

they wipe off the grease and wrap the child in a blanket and

hand it to you entirely in this world.

The Strength of a Woman

2 Mar

Usually when you talk about muscle strength you need to consider force per mass. With this in mind, this makes the myometrial layer of the uterus the strongest muscle in the human body relative to its weight. This achievement is based on the ability of the uterus (aproximate weight is around 35 – 40 ounces after birth) to deliver an average 7lbs infant. This myometrial layer of the uterus can exert a downward force of 100 to 400 N (25 to 100 lbs) with each contraction. Source

Valerie’s VBAC | An Israeli Birth Story

17 Feb

I met Valerie while I was touring Europe with a band the summer of  2oo2.  She sat across from me at a dinner party and spoke her perfect English with her ever so charming Swiss French accent.  She was so sweet and quirky and funny – I just couldn’t help myself, I loved her.  As fate would have it, Valerie and I became the best of friends. In 2003, Valerie met and married her husband, Youval, where they settled outside of his home town of Tel Aviv, Israel.  In June of 2011, Valerie gave birth to her second daughter and her fourth baby. It was a successful VBAC. I asked Valerie to share her story with us and she’s done a great job telling us about her birth.  Keep in mind as you read this that English is just one of the four languages Valerie speaks.  I’m seriously impressed by this mama (and proud of my friend) and I think you will be too. You’ll read about how she found a new care provider at 42 weeks in her pregnancy who supporter her birth choices, she labored in a birth pool, she pushed for FOUR HOURS and gave birth to a 10-pound-baby. Amazing! Enjoy ~

Valerie, her husband, Youval, and their four children.

First of all, I am so thankful to have four wonderful kids. I must say that I have learned so much about birth through my own experiences, but still feel that I have so much to learn.  I always hope that my next birth experience will be better, but we’ll have to see. :)

I always have babies that are big, more than 9 pounds/4 kilos. My first two births were natural births, but my third birth didn’t go well, and I had a c-section.  At the hospital here (in Israel) there is a “protocol” that if the water has been broken after a certain amount of time and after 2 hours of pushing they don’t give any further chances to the mother and require a c-section. So that’s what happen with my third birth.

Valerie makes one gorgeous pregnant mama!

When I became pregnant for the fourth time, I knew I wanted a VBAC. I prepared by reading a lot about VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) and I was definitely optimistic that I could succeed with a VBAC!

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