Remembering the 1980'sby Your Midwives on 12/30/17
My Children’s birthdays are coming up …and I was reminiscing with a friend about their births and thought it may be fun to share the story with our clients on this blog.
It was 1982 and I lived out in the wilderness near Telluride Colorado. We lived in tipis, and cabins with no running water or electricity. We had no phone and wood for heat. There were no midwives within 4 hours from me and they would not attend a birth in the woods.
I read Ina May Gaskins spiritual midwifery and Elizabeth Davis Heart and Hands from cover to cover. A few friends had unassisted births in little cabins in the woods. I knew that I wanted a natural birth with no interventions. I was not fearless enough to do it by myself.
So, I found a doctor at a little clinic in Norwood Colorado. She was pregnant with her second baby and due after I was. (she ended up having her baby very quickly at home because she had no time to get anywhere! Believe me, she got a lot of grief from all the women who had asked for homebirths! )
She was open-minded and supported natural birth, breastfeeding and what we now call attachment parenting. I had 4 friends who were also pregnant at that time ...we all appreciated her acceptance of the normalcy of birth….and so it was decided.
I had a healthy pregnancy and about a week before my due date, I noticed a mucus plug and bloody show at about 9 pm. I knew I needed to get some sleep! Even though I could hardly contain my excitement, I fell asleep quickly and I woke to my membranes releasing about 1 am. I was so excited that I could not sleep any longer!
I sat quietly by myself for a few hours and thought about the upcoming birth. I had recently been with my sister in law, when she was in labor. She came and supported me early, it was wonderful to have her. My partner woke in the morning and made some breakfast for us…by that time I was working hard and could not eat very much.
We gathered our supplies together to drive to the clinic. It was about an hour away. I rode in the heart shaped bed in my brother in laws “new and groovy” chevy van with a shag rug carpet all over the floors and walls! It was as comfortable as I could have possibly been.
It was snowing…March 16 in the high mountains of western Colorado… a frosty morning that cleared by the time we got to the Uncompahgre Mesa clinic.
We arrived about 830 am….I crawled into the clinic…I really did…I was in transition by then….not that I knew it at the time! I just knew that crawling was the only way I was going to get there! I managed myself back to the new birthing room were there was a huge picture window looking over the Mesa and a great shower! I got myself in the shower and there I stayed till I was ready to push. That hot water steaming over me was such a luxury back then!
When I felt an overwheliming feeling to push, I was asked to come out to the bed. I squatted and pushed with all my might for about 2 hours and I fell asleep in between some of rushes! Finally at 11:22 am Hannah came…she flew out, slipped between her fathers fingers and plop, landed on the bed! I was so overjoyed to be done pushing, and was in love as soon as I saw her! She nursed right away and we snuggled together for about 6 hours then piled in the shag carpeted van and made our way back to our mountains.
My son Miah’s birthday is January 5, 1986. We had moved to Summertown Tennessee. I was thrilled to be able to use The Farm Midwives for my care. Again we lived in a cabin that had no running water, electricity or phones so we drove the 15 miles to The Farm Clinic for our prenatal care and we planned to birth on The Farm at the “Red Barn” as my son came to call his birthplace.
Pam and Joanna were my midwives and Deb Flowers was their student at the time. Ina May would be in and out of the clinic…always busy!
We had bought 5 acres by the Buffalo River in Summertown and had built a little cabin to live in while we worked on the property. As it happens with second babies…you find yourself moving through the pregnancy faster and I was really surprised when he decided to come a couple of weeks early!
We had been workng hard trying to get the cabin ready for the baby and we were tired and worn out on January 4. We thought a trip to my in-laws home, for an overnight would refresh us. It was 2 hours away. We were greeted by Nannie Murle, with a lovely dinner and hot baths for all. We put some pallets on the floor and had a comfy nights rest till about 4 am, when I woke to my membranes releasing! Nannie Murl and Paw Paw were so excited…they rushed us out of the house and off to the Farm. It was a dark, cold, and starry morning. We had a quiet, peaceful ride with just a few mild rushes. We got to the Farm about 7 am and Pamala tucked us into bed and told us to rest. I really wanted to get things going so we snuggled a bit, ate and bundled up for a walk a couple hours later. Rushes came faster as I walked and by the time I was back at the house they were coming quick and strong. We called the midwives to come back over. Joanna, Pam and Deb came to check in at about 12:30. I was working hard and they set up their equipement. Someone checked me about 1:10 and said that perhaps I had better go for another walk…I looked at her in amazement…rolled over on my side and started pushing! Miah was born at 120 pm…I guess I dilated quickly when she suggested I go outside again! I wanted to meet my baby!
I am grateful for the wonderful care and beautiful births that I was able to have in a time when many women in this country were experiencing the horrors of medicalized birth. My experiences inspired me to become a midwife and provide care for woman at home. I am pleased to see so many new midwives coming into practice and hope that there will be a midwife for every woman in the US in the not too distant future! Thank you for listening!