Saturday, June 2, 2012

What Gets the Baby In...A Birth Story

"What gets the baby in, gets the baby out"
-Ina May Gaskin - founder of modern American midwifery

"...sexuality is a whole.  The same hormones are involved in the different episodes of sexual life such as intercourse, childbirth, and lactation....The final phase of each sexual event is always an 'ejection reflex': sperm ejection reflex, foetus ejection reflex, milk ejection reflex. 
-Michel Odent from The Farmer and the Obstetrician

I was awoken at around 2 am by a phone call from Kim (you can read her awesome rendition of giving birth here)  Expecting her second baby any day, I was waiting for her phone call.  

"I couldn't sleep so I had sex.  After we were done, my contractions started coming every five minutes.  I swear, I wasn't trying to bring on labor!"  Kim laughingly told me. I listened through a couple of contractions then told her to change positions, maybe try a shower and call me in half an hour to see if things slowed down, or picked up, or what.  I was thinking that things would peter out after her hormones calmed down.  Oh, how I love to be proven wrong.

My somewhat rule is that if the dad calls you during labor, it's go time.  About twenty minutes later, the phone rang.  Mike's Irish lilt turning serious told me that things were picking up and it looked like labor.  I could hear Kim moaning through a contraction in the background. Wonderful!  I told him to call the doula, and that I would get myself and my things together and head over.   

As  I was approaching the lights and wonder that is crossing the Bay Bridge in the wee hours, the doula called.  My other somewhat rule (because can birth really have rules?) is that if the doula calls, I better step on it.  Britt informed me that Kim was indeed active and that they just wanted to make sure that I was on my way.  Yes, I was, ten minutes I said.  I went as fast as feels safe over a bridge and through city streets.  

It was a lovely night to be born, a chill, crisp March evening.  Entering Kim's birth space was truly magical.  Kim is an artist. She makes each and every thing she does an act of beauty, creation, and meaning.  From our first visit her birth space and how it looked was of utmost importance to her and her husband.  She came through.  The tub had been moved into their living space. Candles, with inspiring collages and quotes from Kim's myriad friends, filled the room with love and light.  Music, which I never would have pegged as birth music, but suited the moment perfectly livened the mood.  Kim was on the bed hands and knees.  I threw my things down to say hello and have a quick listen.  As soon as I did that Kim let out a deep, sonorous yet guttural sound signalling that the power of birth was moving through her. My midwife ears heard it and I peeked at her perineum, indeed it was bulging with a soul determined to take it's place in the family, and soon!  

Kim made it clear that she wanted in the tub.  She was so relaxed and in control, yet totally surrendered. She had a vision of her birth, and she was going to make it happen if at all possible.  We moved her into the tub with the head sooo low! It was the perfect ending to a whirlwind labor.  The contractions slowed a wee bit, just in time to wake big sister.  Kim moved to hands and knees in the water.  With a couple of pushes, her son's head was out, witnessed by all in attendance, including her two year old pajama footed daughter.  I reached down to help with the body and sweep him through to mama's waiting arms.

And just like that, it was done, a circle of love completed.  Truly Kim's birth was an illustration that birth is not separate from sexuality, that it draws from it, and intimately relies on it.   It was an honor to see, and a privilege to so clearly observe a truth about women's bodies and their hormones, we are indeed vessels of love. 


  1. Great story! I was geting all choked up :) My labor started this way too. If it hadnt been for the small ammount of blood after sex I would have assumed it was just braxton hicks, since the intensity was the same and it AlWays happened after being intimate anyway!!

    1. What a beautiful story! Life is a perfect circle where everything fits together naturally.

      How lucky they were to have had such a lovely midwife. I wish you could have been there at my Alia's birth :)

    2. @alabasterMuslim - sounds like you are one in tune mama. would love to hear your birth story sometime;)

      @littlelake - thanks, and i would have loved to be with you for little alia too;)next time? if you send me your email i want to send you a picture of fatimah's finished doll insha'allah...

  2. InshAllah next time :) I sent you an email, and look forward to seeing fatima's doll.

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