September, 2002

Valerie, Another autumn is here and so is the celebration of Jason’s 1st birthday. How fast the year went by. I am always thinking back to everything I was going through this time last year, and comparing how different my life is.

I remember being maybe five months pregnant and just newly being a doula attending the class with Debra. I was at a lunch of hers and heard Ina Mae Gaskin was speaking that night. (When I was in my first pregnancy, her book was the first book I bought. I considered it a Holy Book. I would get chills every time I read another amazing story of home birth.)

So I went bright-eyed and almost virgin-like to a house in Monsey all by myself. I parked, walked around the house to the back, went down the stairs, and there she was, standing right there, with her long grey braids and linen dress. I found a seat and realized I was surrounded by doulas, educators, midwives, women and babies. It was like an underground coven. I listened to her talk and then and there I knew I had to have a home birth.

I talked to Gail and she told me about this woman who was great; she was very caring and experienced. So I gave you a call. I was so thankful for the way you worked with me; how you helped me, helped Chris and also my Mom with the emotional ups and downs. I learned so much and the difference between your care and the care I had received from others was not to be compared.

I loved to sit in your room and talk. The way you included Chris was great. The time you let him listen to the heartbeat was very emotional for me. It allowed both of us to really connect with the baby and the whole situation.

Every time I was asked, “Where are you giving birth?” I would respond, “at home”, with such Strength, Rebellion and Power! My birth was very powerful for everyone in my life; Chris, Mom, family and friends, young women coming into this now with awareness and courage – not being afraid.

As a woman, mother, and doula I learned so much. I learned the magic and reality of this process. It gave me a wisdom that I can hold within myself and help other women achieve. I know it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. And I did it! Now I can say with such strength – I had a home birth!

People love to hear how simple birth is, and imagine how nice it would have been for them to be in a safe place, surrounded by a circle of support just for them and their baby. They are soothed by me saying, “Yeah, it hurt, I lost control, but that’s the only way to birth a baby.” And I did it in my home, in my bathroom, on my couch.

I felt such a connection to ancient women. I know a lot happened between us, intense stuff; I learned so much from it. So, thank you for making my whole experience so alive. Every time I think back, or look at pictures, I get goose bumps!

Every time I talk about my prenatal care and birth I say it with such emotion, and strength.

Love, and thanks to My Midwife Valerie. I hope to see you soon.