How Ula came to be Homebirthed
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Shortly after we started dating, Aran told me that he wanted to have homebirths for his children. I rolled my eyes at him and thought to myself, "How unsafe." How wrong I was. That was the greatest seed he could have ever planted, for otherwise I would have thought that only doctors brings babies into the world, and I would not have credited the truly right person - The Mother! 
 
The summer after we were married, Aran's sister gifted us with a book called Spiritual Midwifery (updated version - Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth). These varied birth stories gently opened my eyes to the increased health and well-being of mothers and infants born outside of hospitals. 

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Last fall I supplemented my knowledge base further when I attended the North American Midwife Alliance conference held in Austin, TX. In these five days, I truly began to understand the science behind medical interventions and how most of them prevent a birthing body's natural process to facilitate an optimum birth. It gave me evidence-based information - that a low-risk pregnancy at home with skilled attendants brings our nation's growing cesarean rate of 26% down to under 4%. In understanding the studies of both dr.s and midwives, the equipment used by both, labor techniques, medical interventions along with hospital and insurance protocols that limit a woman's natural abilities and more - I was becoming more inclined to homebirth.  Along the way, I found more faith in my body to bring a healthy child into this world than in hospital procedures. The human system truly has a much better way to handle pain, labor and delivery than any hospital procedure (of course if there are no high-risk elements). This means Birth by nature is NOT high risk, but completely natural and only a small percentage (under 20%) of births truly warrant any medical interventions. 
 
But it is really hard to believe that anywhere other than a hospital could be a safe place to birth, given what visions are presented to us in our day-to-day world. Birth is rarely shown to be safe or natural on TV, movies, and books. Over half of the women I know who have birthed have been induced or had a cesarean. No one tells them that labor pains are intensified and worse than would occur naturally after being induced with a drug like Pitocin. Or that both induction and epidurals considerably increase the likelihood of cesarean surgery. Cesarean surgery adds a minimum of 2-3 weeks recovery time on the mother's body. And surgery is surgery, which allots for the occasional nick to a mother's bladder or newborn's body. All of which Aran & I wanted to avoid. 
 
During my educational journey, I also gained strength and common sense when I thought about my Memere (maternal grandmother) who had 11 children at home with no complications. Women for thousands of years have been having babies where they feel the most safe, the most themselves and are the most supported by loved ones - which does truly affect how smoothly you birth. 
 

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So..., Aran and I chose to have our miracle at home! Ula Camargue Deltac came into the world with around-the-clock attention and support from two experienced midwives, Aran's sister Elan (who is also a practicing Doula in NYC) and my wonderful mother (who is also a therapist and energy worker). 
 
This was the birth we wanted, this was a birth that followed an incredibly healthy pregnancy - placing me, the baby and my body at low-risk. Our labor was 44 hours, which sounds long in comparison to today's hospital births, but is pretty average before hospitals instated limits to how long a woman could labor. To further put my birth in perspective, the first 42 hours were a build up of contractions to get me fully dilated (4.5 cm - 7.5 cm - 9 cm - BINGO 10cm - time to push!). Once dilated, I was only pushing in hard labor for the last two hours. First births in general last longer, for my body didn't know what to do yet, whereas, ( dare I say it? ) it will know better what to do next time. 
 
Homebirth may not be for everyone - but it was important to Aran & I that no drugs would enter into our child via mommy. We also wanted constant attention from a dedicated birth attendant (we actually had two fabulous midwives!) and the ability to choose who was near me during birth. Throughout Ula's birth the focus was on me and my needs and movements throughout labor - not on machines. Except when our midwives monitored our baby's heart rate with a handheld waterproof Doppler. During these checkpoints along the way, a small speaker filled the room with Ula's steady heartbeat...letting us know that she was doing fine on the inside as we held space for her arrival on the outside. 
 

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I was free to eat (even though I couldn't stomach much) and drink anything I wanted and had my music playing (which included Wolf howls during final labor!) and candles lit about the house. I love that I got to labor in a watertub, on my bed, on the guest bed, on a birth ball, on all fours, in squatting positions, in the shower as well as walking circles over and over in my home - all of which would have been impossible if I were connected to an IV or strapped to a bed by a constant fetal heart monitor at my waist. 
 
And every person in my home (plus the prayers and thoughts sent by loved ones) told me verbally and silently how good I was doing as I went to my core to get further and further into birthing. No one said I couldn't do it, no one offered me drugs or said I couldn't handle it with out medication or that I was exceeding the expected time to be laboring. My body's instincts along with its release of natural and powerful endorphins were enough to sustain me 44 hours (during which my coloring never did fade). 
 
And for those final two hours of pushing after I had dilated, I spent 1/3 in the watertub with Aran behind me, 1/3 on a bed held by Aran from behind and a 1/3 squatting amazingly supported by Aran's arms (squatting is the most universal position to birth for it opens your pelvic bones the widest). Plus, I was within a circle of five fiercely strong people who were keenly focusing attention, support and love on me and my little Ula about to be born into a dimly lit room filled with the most intense energy. 
 

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And I know in a hospital, Ula would have been born with a cesarean section, no doubt about it. Hospital procedure (and liabilities) would not have allowed me to labor that long. They would have administered drugs, induced me to dilate further and attempted to convince me that my baby would die if I didn't have a cesarean. And to me everything I did do to bring her into this world felt completely natural. 
 
Not once did I want drugs. It was hard, and there were moments I didn't know what to do, but I knew one thing - she would come out perfect at the end. I told Mom it was as if I were on a high mountain peak and my destination was the next mountain across the valley. And in the night it snowed and buried the trail to get there. I knew I had to cover the distance, but didn't know where the path was, only that I would get there irregardless. To me, in doing what is best for my child seemed to take half the strength everyone gave me credit for. 
 
And as far as the moment I did push Ula into the world, it was incredible and so vivid! And when she looked up at Aran and myself, her gaze was intense, for nothing had entered her bloodstream to dull her senses. We were in awe and she was in bliss! This pink, squirming life force was born into our lives healthy and happy. Within ten minutes she latched on with the vigor that had me saying, "Does she have teeth?" After another five minutes, I pushed out the placenta with her cord still attached, which continued to pulse for twenty minutes. We wanted to give her two sources of oxygen as she transitioned from amniotic fluid to our air. Aran cut the cord to her placenta about an hour after she was born (you can see it wrapped beside him in the photo with ?la under the towel). 
 
Aran and I had the utmost faith in my spirit, mind & body; ?la's health and participation; the skill and tenderness of our midwives, my sister-in-law's love and presence and my Mother's ability to believe and witness as well as support her daughter's rite of passage into Motherhood. 
 
I wouldn't have done it any other way. And I know Ula wouldn't have had me do it any other way. She's a week old and already smiling. We gave her the best we learned about giving her. Which is nothing in comparison of what she is giving back. We can't wait for you to meet her.

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