Saturday, May 22, 2010

Two years ago, early in the morning...

Two years ago today, early in the morning my sweet baby Ilo was born.

My third pregnancy with Ilo was long: I was over it almost as soon as it started. My first pregnancy was exhilarating. The second was during grad school and went by beautifully but I didn't have time to dwell. The third time around though I missed running, hated thinking about getting my body "back" into good form again, and just wanted to get to the most amazing part: the baby.

Ilo was our second planned home birth. My oldest son was born in a hospital attended by a Certified Nurse Midwife. Although my labor and birth went relatively well and I felt ecstatic after he arrived, I knew the hospital was not the proper place for a low-risk pregnancy. It wasn't until I experienced the pleasures of a home birth that I realized how absolutely amazing and different this experience could be.

During most of the day on May 21, 2008, I labored in the home I shared with my husband and two young boys. Later in the day my husband and I walked to a nearby park where we sat in the grass and I continued to labor. I remember the New Mexican sky was more brilliant than I had ever experienced. All of my senses were crystal clear as endorphins soothed my body and heightened my experience. Back at the house I labored longer into the night and slowly but surely I turned inward, morphing into the birthing queen of my universe. As my contractions grew stronger and stronger I grew stronger and stronger. I labored in and out of the birth pool in our bedroom and walked around the house as I pleased.

A mix of Iron and Wine, and Dirty Three played over and over, an amazing soundtrack to an amazing birth. Candle light filled the house and when I was hungry or thirsty I drank red raspberry leaf tea and ate what I craved. I was in control of this birth and it came naturally, needing no script.

Although I desired the ease of birthing my baby into the water, as I had with my second child, I ended up on our bed on my hands and knees. I pushed Ilo into the world, and into my hands, no one elses.

During my labor and Ilo's birth, thunderstorms rolled past our house. Two weeks later, we finally felt we knew him well enough and named him Ilo. The name is Nigerian and means where the world begins. He truly is where my world begins.

My birth was strong and changed me forever; it was more spiritual than words could ever explain.

Happy birthday to my sweet baby Ilo.

At home between contraction.

I think more women would choose midwife attended home births if they knew the numbers. I think more men/women would insist that their wives/partners choose home births as well. These stats aren't coming from left field either, they're coming from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and from the British Journal of Medicine, to name a few:

Healthy childbirth is a natural, normal process, which can be safely attended at home by a trained professional. By having your baby at home with a midwife you are 90% more likely to avoid an intervention in your birth, you are 88% more likely to have a successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby and you are much less likely to receive a caesarean section.
But don't take our word for it. A study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, another published in the British Medical Journal and a statement issued by the World Health Organization all concur. Click on the titles to read more.
A two-year study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that a planned home birth with an experienced attendant is safer than a hospital birth. The results of the study showed that the infant death rate in hospitals was 12 per 1,000 live births, whereas the death rate for planned, attended home births was 4 per 1,000 live births. *Center for Disease Control, "Live births by place of delivery and race of mother, 1992", section 1, Natality, page 246
A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 concluded that planned home births for low-risk women was associated with less intervention, no additional neonatal risk than that of hospital births, and a much higher degree of satisfaction by the birthing women.
In 1990, the World Health Organization stated that using midwife care during pregnancy and childbirth led to more favorable outcomes for mothers and babies and urged all countries to offer midwifery education, confident that the increased availability of midwives would improve birth outcomes throughout the world.


  1. Wow, what a beautiful and inspiring story. In terms of home birth, I find it so sad that though the statistics are there, the information is not readily known by most. There is a misconception that home birthing is putting the baby at risk or somewhat "Neanderthal." I had always been curious about home births, and after taking a women's studies class I find it amazing how women's bodies intrinsically know what to do and how fulfilling the birthing process can be for BOTH mother and child. I wish that more people shared stories like this, thank you.

    Happy Birthday Ilo!

    - Jenna

  2. i loved reading this, kristen.
    when the time comes for me i'm going to have mike read this.

  3. A very happy birth day to all of you-
    all my love- JM


Search This Blog