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 informative video.
Homebirth Story of Alissa Rose Klusky- August 15, 1998
I began experiencing pre-labor several weeks before the big day, but starting two nights
before the real beginning things were more intense. The contractions would go from 15 to 5
minutes apart for up to two hours throughout August 12th and 13th, with breaks when
I got little sleep the morning of August 14th, but tried to nap three separate times
during the day, but got little rest. My husband, Neil, and I started to try to our
DSS system to work and I began having contractions 7 minutes apart. This was just after my
Mom and I took a 40-minute walk in
hopes of getting things started. I paid attention to the new contractions because
they were stronger than the others were, but as soon as Neil started to time them, they
stopped again. I was tired and grumpy. We decided to start watching Lawrence of Arabia and
I made it through a half-hour before I knew I just had to go to sleep, I was so very
It was about 10 PM and the contractions started up again at about 10:30 PM. I remember
being unhappy because I didn't feel ready to have the baby, I just wanted to sleep, but
Neil was bouncing off the walls with excitement! This is when the big event had started
but we didn't know it yet. We got
up and I got in the bathtub and started timing the contractions. They were 3 minutes
apart, fairly strong, lasting about a minute. We got out of the bath and I kept changing
positions and timed them until about 1:00 am. It was at this time we decided to call
our doula Robin. I had decided that
things were not going to stop, the contractions were still 3 minutes apart and strong.
I was so tired and I didn't really think about it being an exciting time, but Neil
was full of energy and running around between contractions getting me everything I needed.
He even did a load of laundry for me and our laundry room was not in our apartment
of course! Neil was so wonderful and I kept telling him "I can do this"
because I was super tired, and in what I thought at the time, major pain. Neil
helped remind me to breathe and relax and told me how much he loved me and how proud he
was of me.
When Robin (our doula) arrived she started helping by supporting me and Neil right away.
She watched us in labor for awhile and encouraged me. She told me that I could do it
and that eventually my body would just take over the labor and I would stop trying to
control it. I thought she was crazy
at the time, I was already having a tough time, or so I thought. Robin had me get
into the bathtub again and things continued the same. She then offered to check my
progress and she said I was about a 6 she thought, but she didn't have much experience
with exams. She asked us whether we were
ready to call the midwife and we said yes, it was about 3 am. Neil called my Mom and
she came right away. Denise (our midwife) arrived and set-up for the birth and then
checked my progress. The exam was extremely painful and she wanted me to relax
during it, HA! She announced I was 3 cm and 100% effaced and was proud and said I
was doing very well. I was not to be consoled because I had thought I was further
along and I got very unhappy and started to cry and moan during my next contraction.
Denise told me to stop moaning or I would make it more painful. Then she told
me something very important that got me through the rest of my labor. She told me to
"surrender to the power" of my labor. Somehow I got a grip for about the
next 4 hours. I spent them mostly in the bathtub. I told myself over and over to
surrender to the power. I prayed to Jesus to help me. My thoughts were
completely absorbed in getting through the pain. I rested in between contractions (a
whole 2 minutes or less) and I was very sleepy. Neil fed me grapes, O.J., yogurt,
water and honey. He rubbed my back, breathed with
me, supported and loved me. Robin or my Mom took over when he was busy
with something else. Denise went to sleep on our couch.
I remember being amazed at how my uterus would swell so large and hard that I could barely
breathe. I adapted a new way of breathing that I had not learned from my Bradley
training. I would breathe in through my nose and out with a wide-open throat.
It helped a lot to breathe that way. I also
did a lot of visualization in my mind of my cervix opening up like a rose. This was the
only breathing I did when I was in control from then on.
Around 9 am we had Denise check my progress again. She wanted to check my during a
contraction, but I said no way, it was too uncomfortable. As it was I could barely stand
to lay on my back for the few seconds it took her to check me without screaming.
Denise proudly announced me to be a 5 or 6. At this time I lost it again because I thought
I couldn't go on anymore. Everyone came to my aid and supported me, they explained I'd
already done the hardest part and that things would progress much quicker from now on. All
I could think was that I wanted the labor OVER and that I was going to die. I said a
lot of stupid thing at this point like, "cut it out of me!" and "I just
can't" during my contractions. Somehow I managed to accept that I must go on
and became absorbed again for the next hour and a half. I don't remember much about that
time period; I was delirious and was in transition. My contractions never seemed to stop.
I actually preferred it
because it was easier to stay on top of them mentally for me. During this time
period, I was sitting up on the bed and Neil was sitting behind me and I felt a bunch of
water release. I announced I had either just peed or my water had broken. Denise
checked the fluid and it was my water.
After yet another trip to the bathroom, (I spent a lot of time there!), I was side laying
on the bed and I guess I was moaning and Robin asked me if I felt like pushing. I
sounded good, so I started to! Denise wanted to check me and I guess she did, I
don't remember the exam, just Denise
laughing and saying, "oh yeah, we're ready to have a baby". Pushing was so
natural but extremely intense. I asked if I could make noise and they said yes!
I was so relieved to be able to make noise that I screamed during my pushing, it
felt so freeing and wonderful. My Mom told me later she thought
I was in pain, but I wasn't, it just felt so good to release my emotions!
The pushing contractions would peak into 3 huge pushes and then stop. I pushed side
laying through 3 contractions, then Denise had me sit up classic style with Neil right
next to me. Denise pushed on my cervix where I should push and it was easy to get
there when she applied the pressure. I had my eyes closed and was concentrating intensely.
Suddenly everyone said they could see the head. I couldn't see it, but I
didn't mind. They had a mirror for me, but I missed it. I really just wanted to have
the baby out of me! I screamed at Denise to cut the baby out, and she just laughed
and said I was doing it and the baby would be here in 10 minutes!
I looked at the clock and she was exactly right, because 3 contractions later and 10
minutes later at 10:45 am, I had my baby! When I felt the head come out everyone
yelled at me "look Kimi, look at the head!" They asked me to stop pushing but I
just couldn't, so I tore myself inside which
I felt a little, but could care less about. They had me reach down and touch the
head and her ear and I was in wonder and said "holy cow!" With the next push,
Alissa was born, she just slipped out, and it felt wonderful. Suddenly there was
this new life in my arms, as she was handed right to me. She looked right into my
eyes, I will never forget that
feeling, and I said, "oh, I'm in love". She was so beautiful and it was so
amazing, no words can describe my feelings. Her apgar scores were 9 at one minute
and 10 at 5 minutes. The rest was so easy, the placenta came a few minutes later,
Neil cut the cord and the baby was in our arms. I nursed
her right away. I remember feeling so relieved that the ultrasound had been right
and that she was indeed a girl!
I cannot begin to explain the closeness Neil and I felt with our daughter and each other
after this amazing experience in our home. We developed a new connection together.
There is nothing in the world for me that could ever compare to the intensity of
this experience and the wonderment that came from it. I was so extremely proud to
have had Alissa naturally and at home. I felt like a complete person for the first
time in my life. I also felt so powerful and knew that from now on in life I could do
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