September 19, 2005

Dear Valerie,

My little guy, James Dakota, is two years old now. It seems like yesterday when I first called you up to make our first appointment (December 1998). The funny thing is this was all the result of a joke between Joe and me, remember? I had no idea that homebirth even existed back then. We had just moved upstate from the city and I needed to find a new “OBGYN”. After consulting with a couple of very different doctors, Joe and I grew extremely depressed and exhausted. Jokingly, Joe suggested that we have our baby at home, to save us the trouble of having to deal with doctors. I threw the phone book at him and said, “If you can find me a legal and safe way to do this at home, then I will”. With a big grin on his face, he looked under “H” for homebirth, and there you were. I felt a true spiritual connection to you from the day we met. While I was unknowingly searching for something in myself, you helped me to find it: my inner strength to have my baby at home. We have weathered four beautiful pregnancies and homebirths together.

My first homebirth was so fast that we forgot to take pictures. Then Jake threw us a curve ball when he decided to come out breech, but Jewel was the perfectly planned homebirth and my last one. James was my most empowering birth of all (I highly suggest squatting!) Your patience and wisdom arose through every occasion. But most importantly you supported Joe and me through so many feelings and decisions over the years. I can remember how hard it was for us to make the decision to have our baby at home, especially because we didn’t know anyone who had done this. Every time I thought about my hospital birth experience it reminded me of how I couldn’t go through that ever again. I felt like a prisoner that was being held in a cage. I remember crying from the pain that I didn’t understand, and they wanted to take it away from me with drugs. I was disconnected from my baby and the process of labor and birth.

After all of this, I was so happy to have the option of giving birth at home. It allowed me to be who I really am, a strong woman. I was able to heal from my hospital birth experience through my home birth experience and as I have always said, “my 11 year old, John, paved the way for his brothers and sisters.” What I loved the most about my homebirths is that I brought my babies into this world in the most peaceful and loving environment that which Joe and I have physically created from our every day lives. Our family has a very unique bond because of this. I am very thankful for the wonderful support that I had around me. Gail Cirone was the perfect doula for me. She was just so instinctive and knew when, how, where and why she should touch or talk to me. Diana VanCampen photographically documented my third homebirth and captured every precious moment of it. My family was there for every minute that I needed them to be. I am the mother, wife and woman that I am today because of my homebirths. My experience allowed me to make decisions that I will live with for the rest of my life and I am proud of them. They allowed me to grow and be with my family through every moment of labor and birth. I do miss our prenatal visits and short labors together but I am thankful every day for the memories that you have helped us to create. And now I can share my experience with my daughters and them with theirs. Thank you for guiding us through this journey in our lives and may you go on to assist many other women on their homebirth journeys too.
All of my love and blessings.

Jean