© Jeannine Parvati Baker, originally appearing in "Living in Balance"- Vol.4, No.2.
This is the second article in a series about Jeannine’s vision of a freebirth community. The others are Freebirth, Every Mother a Midwife and Vision of a Freebirth Community.
I have no fear of birth. That's a gift as well as an earned trust. From the moment the bloody show comes, I know my babies will arrive within several hours. All my other babies have been born on the full moon (or within hours). How did I know the deliveries would be graced? The same way that I knew I was pregnant so early on. The brain-heart knows. And once the monkey-mind quiets down enough, all the information we need is right here, within.
Now to practice the inward skills once again. We are back home in Utah, just finishing un-packing. It is a sunny and clear day. Rico is working in our basement, our home office of Freestone Innerprizes. I have just written a letter to Marilyn Moran, author of Birth and the Dialogue of Love, my favorite birth book this pregnancy. I feel the bloody show slip through.
This is my first labor in the daytime. All four babies previously had initiated their labors at midnight and come before or just at dawn.
IT SEEMED SO NAKED, SO OBVIOUS TO GIVE BIRTH IN THE DAYTIME. I SUBMERGE ALL MODESTY AND GIVE MYSELF TO BIRTH.
Being the empiricist that I am, I must try the various stages of labor in and out of the water bath. Does the water really help? In earlier labor there seemed to be little difference. Except that I can more easily kiss and hug my family on dry land than in our tiny bathtub. But once we move towards transition, I note marked change out of the water. The gifts become LABOR PAINS, out of the bath, while in the warm water the birthforce JUST FEELS STRONG. Even up to the second stage I am getting in and out of the tub to feel the difference. Each time I carefully wash my feet to keep the water clean. Oh yes, THE WATER DEFINITELY HELPS TRANSFORM PAIN INTO URGENT PRESSURE.
Gannon, now four years old, comes into the tub at transition. He squirts a rubber dolphin bathtub toy at me. We giggle together.
I feel the baby come down. The sensation is ecstatic. I had prepared somewhat for this being as painful as my last delivery had been. Yet this time the pulse of birth feels wonderful! I am building up to the birth climax after nine months of pleasurable foreplay. With one push the babe is in the canal. THE NEXT PUSH BRINGS HIM DOWN, DOWN INTO THAT SPACE JUST BEFORE ORGASM WHEN WE WOMEN KNOW HOW GOD MUST HAVE FELT CREATING THIS PLANET.
The water supports my birth outlet. I AM NO LONGER ALONE IN THIS WORK. I FEEL CONNECTED TO THE MAINLAND, TO MY SOURCE. THESE MIDWIFE HANDS KNOW JUST WHAT TO DO TO SUPPORT THE NOW CROWNING HEAD, coming so fast. How glad I am for all those years of orgasms! Slow orgasms, fast ones, those which build and subside and peak again and again. That practice aids my baby's gentle emergence so that he doesn't spurt out too quickly. HE COMES, AS DO I.
I slip my fingers around his neck, and what's this? Ah, a little hand. I hold back this hand as he rotates and delivers first one shoulder, then the other. OUT SLIPS OUR BABY INTO HIS PARENTS HANDS. HE SWIMS RIGHT INTO OUR HEARTS.
Some water babies stay submerged after delivery for minutes but mine wanted to come to the surface immediately. He turns and faces me, eyes shut, and says, "Lift me up!"
I pull my baby up to the surface and drape a towel over his head. Gradually he opens one eye, then the other to gaze in wonder. He isn't breathing perceptibly so I hug him all the closer and sing the welcoming song. He is warm and his color is coming in so I do not worry as we await his first perceptible breath. I kiss his face, gently sucking out the mucus in his airways through his nose and mouth. We ADORE him.
The placenta, or the "Grandmother" as we like to call our babies' first mother, delivers itself minutes later. How easy clean-up is when birthing in the bathtub! Most all the blood clots fall to the bottom of the tub, whose water is bright red now. I RECALL THE STORY OF MOSES AND THE PARTING OF THE RED SEA. MY POST-PARTUM BODY FEELS AS IF MOSES HAD JUST BEEN THROUGH ME WITH THE CHOSEN ONES.
Was it the water which made this birth so ecstatic and sexually fulfilling? I would like to shout, IT'S THE WATER!" but must admit, only possibly so. It is a lot easier for me to interpret the birthforce as blissful gifts when contractions don't hurt Yet in all honesty, I don't really know for sure. This is the way it is with birth - it doesn't lend itself to repeatable experiment well. Each birth is totally unique. I just remember that when Quinn came into my birth canal there was no way I would forsake the comfort of the bath.
In closing, let me say that it is a pity that we women quit having babies just when we are getting good at giving birth. This last childbirth I did have my vision quest fulfilled. At Quinn's emergence I SAW every woman on this earth giving birth like I was doing - in ecstasy, with her lover and in the sanctity of home. To this vision, I pledge my total commitment.
Wishing YOU a blissful birthing in all ways.
by Jeannine Parvati Baker
Author of Conscious Conception