excerpted from Spiritual Midwifery
Sally Kate’s Birthing
I had my first daughter in a hospital ten and a half years ago. She was an eight-pound breech, and I was completely knocked out. I nearly died from aspiration pneumonia caused by my vomiting while under anesthesia. My next pregnancy and birthing was different. It was a lot of fun.
I was really grateful to be pregnant. I had had an operation for endometriosis* four years earlier and was told it would be beneficial but difficult for me to ever get pregnant again.
*Endometriosis: Some endometrial tissue, the lining of the uterus. occurring outside as in the abdominal cavity. usually on and around the ovaries.
I felt like I had gotten unattached to getting pregnant and that when we made love I wasn’t thinking of getting pregnant. I was really trying to get Donald high and was loving him a lot.
When I started labor, I asked Donald for a clock to time the rushes. I couldn’t believe it, but they were only three and four minutes apart. I decided I’d better call Ina May even though the rushes weren’t very heavy. I got up to call her and the rushes started coming on stronger.
I had to pee and when I squatted down to do that, the rushes came on heavier and one right after the other. All of a sudden I was peeing and rushing all at once. I could feel myself opening up-I really felt great.
I had a little bloody show then too. I called Ina May. She had Mary Louise come over and check me. Mary Louise said I was almost completely dilated. I tightened up some then because Ina May wasn’t there and neither were the sterile packs. The rushes kept coming, but I was holding them back some. All of this had only taken about an hour.
When Ina May got there she checked me. I was about nine centimeters dilated then. Ina May broke my water bag. I told her that I had tightened up and I relaxed again and the rushes really started coming. Donald and I made out and he rubbed my back. It felt good to do that, and it helped me stay relaxed. I loved Donald and everyone there so much; there was so much love all around for each other and the baby. I could feel it really strong. It helped a lot to say, “I love you.” to everyone. It made me rush and helped me stay relaxed. I felt higher than I ever had in my life. It was such a heavy spiritual experience, and so much fun. In between rushes I’d laugh at how telepathic it was.
When I was ready to push it was all I could do. It was very compelling and required a hundred per cent of my attention. It felt good to have a direction to put all of that energy. It was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. Between rushes I‘d relax so much I felt like I was melting into the bed. It all felt good.
Ina May kept giving me progress reports on what was happening; it helped a lot to know what was going on. She also was massaging the muscles in and around my puss and was putting baby oil on. All of that felt good and helped me keep loose. It became more and more obvious that the only thing happening was that a new soul was about to be born. It kept getting prettier and clearer and higher. It was such a rush to look down and see her head coming out from between my
legs. Donald was really amazed by that, too. Her head popped out, then her shoulders. then the rest of her body. It was such an amazing rush. It felt really good.
She started to cry as soon as she came out. She was really beautiful and very aware of everyone around her. Ina May put her on my belly for a few minutes before Mary Louise cleaned her up. It was so great to have her there.
I was very grateful to have her and to have had the experience of having her at home. It was really Holy. I’m glad to have been able to share it with Donald. It really helped make our relationship solid.
Mary Louise brought Sally back after cleaning her up. Ina May held her for a few minutes, then gave her to me. Ina May said, “Nice cure for endometriosis, huh!” She sure was. 9 pounds 9 ounces of healthy baby girl. Donald and I are really grateful for her.
I was only six months pregnant when I went into labor with Keif. It was a Sunday evening and I started rushing every two or three minutes. It was happening for a while before I really admitted it. I told Donald that I felt like if I could just relax and fall asleep I could get the rushes to stop. Donald rubbed me out really good and I fell asleep while he was doing that.
I woke up the next morning very grateful to have stopped. It was Monday and I had an appointment with Dr. Gene, our local doctor, for him to see a pregnant couple (I was the midwife on our Wisconsin Farm at the time). We all went to the doctor’s office and when Dr. Gene was through with the pregnant couple, I told him what had happened to me the night before. I had been rushing some that day too, but irregularly.
Dr. Gene checked me and I was one and a half centimeters and over 50% thinned out. Whew! “It’s too soon for you to have this baby,” Dr. Gene said. We agreed!
What to do now? I knew it was too soon—the chances of the baby making it if he was born now were slim-but there’s always a chance. I went through heavy changes in my head. I had to get very unattached and get at peace with the idea that I might just go ahead and have this baby. I prayed a lot. I felt very close with God. I understood what was happening. “If there is anything in my power I can do to keep this baby in, please help me to do it.” I knew I had to be grateful for being pregnant and keeping the baby in as long as I did. I felt a great love for Dr. Gene and everyone around me. I knew my friends were going to help me through this, whatever the outcome.
Dr. Gene and I decided I should go home and go right to bed, see what that did and take it from there. I went home and got in bed. The next two days I stayed in bed, but my rushes kept coming on more.
On Wednesday night I called Ina May in Tennessee. I felt like I really needed to get connected with her. She said I should start drinking some booze to see if we could slow me down. Dr. Gene thought so too. So I did. I got drunk and stayed that way for about ten days, rushing on and off regularly and irregularly. Drinking helped keep my body relaxed and made it easier to stay in bed. It also took some of the psychedelic feeling away. My rushes slowed down.
Dr. Gene came and checked me again. I was a little more dilated and more thinned out. I stopped drinking for a few days. Then it got to where all I had to do when I noticed a rush was sip on a drink and that would be enough to mellow me out. I still had to stay in bed, lying flat most of the time, occasionally sitting up. Every time I got up I started to rush.
I had to pay close attention to the energy. If it started feeling really psychedelic and good all over, I would drink I had to be careful not to get into how good I felt, because that would bring the rush is on. Donald and I had to not get too close to each other – we couldn’t smooch or cuddle because that make me rush. Every morning when I woke up I was very grateful to have made it through another day. I felt like I was lying there being an incubator.
At times I got impatient and wanted to get up, but how could I? I would put those thoughts out of my head and think more of how grateful I was to be able to keep the baby in. I sewed and read and slept. I had a lot of help from Donald, Kimberly our 12 year old, and our friends we lived with. Everyone was really nice to me and took very good care of me and kept it very mellow around me.
I rushed on and off for 10 weeks. I watch the leaves fall and the snow come. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years went by on until January. I was grateful for every day. Dr Jean said if I kept the baby in until he was 36 weeks (8 months) he would come to The (Wisconsin) Farm and deliver me. How could I resist that! I really didn’t want to have to go to the hospital. As nice as the folks were there, I’d still rather do it at home. So I stayed in bed and paid attention.
I was eight months on January 22nd. I started rushing pretty heavy that night. I knew if I was going to stop this, I was going to have to get good and drunk. Sips weren’t going to work. I got drunk and fell asleep.
I woke up several times in the night to pee. Then on towards dawn I was waking up quite often. I would get up to pee (I had a pot right beside the bed) and just a little would come out. Back to bed and sleep. A few minutes later I’d have to pee again. Then I realized the sensation was rushes coming on. As soon as I realized this, I looked at my watch. 3 minutes apart and coming on strong. Then I called Karen, my friend and assistant midwife, to come and check me out. I was about three and a half centimeters.
We called Dr. Gene. He said to try and stop them – it would be good if we could hold off a little longer. I told him I wasn’t sure if I could, but I would sure try.
I went back to my room and drink about 3 ounces of vodka. It’s slowed me down some, but I could tell they weren’t going to stop. Just as I thought that, Dr. Gene called to see how I was doing. He said to stop drinking. He’d make the hospital rounds and be right out. He said, “This baby’s wanted to come out for a long time. Let’s let him out an have him be sober!
Woo! What a relief! I really started to come on then. It felt so good to let go and open up. The energy was making my whole body shake. Donald and Lisa, our friend, rubbed on my body. It felt so good and really helped me channel all of that energy. I was really coming on strong. Karen and Susan set up and got things ready for Dr. Gene. They were going to assist him. I ask Karen to check me again. I was about six centimeters. I told her to call Dr. Gene back and tell him to hurry. She did. He was already on his way. Donald kept rubbing me and we cuddled and smooched – it felt really good to get to do that and had been so long since we’d been able to. It really helped me. I loved Donald so much and was so glad to get to have him there with me.
When Dr. Gene got there, I was really relieved to see him. I’d been rushing pretty strong. It felt really good. I knew I was opening up.
Then my rushes stopped. Dr. Gene got there at about the same time as everyone else in the house got up and the three ounces of vodka took take effect. It was too much to integrate.
I kept doing what I know works to bring the rushes on. Donald and I cuddled and smooched and he rubbed my belly and tits. Finally I sat up and rubbed Donald’s back. That brought them on more. My getting up and putting some energy out helped a lot.
Dr. Gene checked me again. Even though I’ve been rushing, I was still opening up. I was 8 centimeters. He broke my water bag and I had several nice strong rushes and was ready to push. It felt really good to push. I felt the baby slide under my bones and start up the birth canal. Dr. Gene rubbed baby oil on and massaged my muscles. He felt as tantric and loving as one of the other midwives. He’s really a gentle man. I was really grateful to have him help me.
Once I got the baby through the bones, I had to slow down a little. Finally out popped his head. I panted, no cord. I pushed again. It’s a boy! A beautiful healthy baby boy. He weighed 8 pounds even though he was a month early. Donald and I have big babies. It was nice to have a boy; we already had two girls.
Susan took him to clean him up and put drops in his eyes. Dr. Gene delivered my placenta. I hadn’t torn. It was the first home birthing Dr. Gene had ever done. He was amazed, really amazed. He was really glad he’d done it. He had a really good time. We all did. We were grateful for such a fine healthy boy after all that time. We named him Keith Oliver.