Off the Line
Sweet Homebirth (Video)
Midwives have existed since the
beginning of humanity. Why, then, is it so difficult to find a midwife in America?
What events occured between the mid 1800's until the present day which nearly made
midwifery extinct in America? And why are more families now looking into homebirth as a
refuge from hospital care?
Home Sweet Homebirth provides
the answers. Interviews with noted doctors, historians and midwives. Very interesting and
by Beverley Viljakainen
How bizarre that I had to be 61 before I experienced my first home birth!
Had it not been for my son and daughter-in-law's decision to have their third
child at home, I might never have participated in this Celebration of Life.
I offered to take care of the children, almost five and two-and-a-half. When
the first signs of labour began late in the evening, my son called to ask if I preferred
to come for the night or to be called later. I hastily left my bed and drove the
twenty-minutes between our rural homes. Was I up to whatever the night would bring?
The parents were timing contractions and I left them to it, once again readying myself for
sleep. Never have I been so grateful for and dependent on my long-time practice of yoga!
Before long, the sounds of the midwives' vehicles roared down the laneway shattering the
night silence. As the outside lights lit up the pre-dawn darkness of my room, I was
overcome with the strength of my emotions: the fervent hope my daughter-in-law
would remain strong and well, gratitude, and an abiding confidence that the Innate
within us was flowing as best it could and would serve us well. I was ready!
Peaking into the softly-lit bedroom I sent my daughter-in-law a silent message:
"Let's do it, girl! One more time! For humanity. For
God." The courage of woman was reflected,
at that moment, in my belle fille, the ever-so-elegant French expression for
I settled myself for what I expected would be "the duration" but my son
called for me to bring the children. As I stood between their beds in the next room,
I said to myself,
"Yeah, sure! They're sound asleep." Tentatively, I said to their
sleeping forms, "The baby is coming." Before I finished the sentence, my
granddaughter's feet hit the floor and she
was gone. Her roly-poly younger brother made it to his hands and knees before
I picked him up and shot out after her. The midwife swears their little sister
paused to wait for us before completing the last thrust of her journey. As we marvelled at
the newly-arrived, perfectly formed wee being, she turned her head towards the
children's voices, voices she
had heard from the womb for many months. Gazing intently in their direction, it was
as though she wanted to see who had been speaking to her all this time.
Before the cord was cut, my son, a chiropractor, checked the infant's spine, wanting the
communication between her brain and body to be as free-flowing as possible before the
umbilical connection to her mother was severed and her nervous system began to function on
its own. The necessary minor spinal adjustment made, we watched as her newborn gray
colour became a rosy pink right before our eyes, the life force turned on full throttle.
My elder granddaughter was asked if she would like to cut the cord and, without
hesitation, she held out her hand for the scissors, listened carefully to the
instructions, and did the deed. My young grandson beamed on, full of the wonder of
"New baby out mommy's tummy!"
The placenta was examined carefully by midwife and father, then taken to its previously
prepared burial place in the orchard. A new fruit tree has since been planted
and we continue to marvel at the magnificent harvest that yet another autumn has delivered
to us and to the world.
Beverley Viljakainen lives near Priceville, Ontario.
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