My story of home birthing my daughter in Costa Rica

 Just 20 days before Amelie's arrival.

Just 20 days before Amelie's arrival.

It was 7:00pm on the night I gave birth to Amelie, in the little house I rented in Costa Rica, and I had just kissed my two and half year old daughter Ava good-night and watched her fall into a peaceful sleep... My contractions were coming with more frequency and more intensity, about every six minutes. I began to create the sacred space in our little rented house to birth Amelie while I waited for the arrival of the midwife and her assistant. I lit candles, placed framed photos of my late husband, Mitch, in easy view, burned sage, laid out the yoga mat to stretch through my contractions, and put Mitch's i-phone music on shuffle. As I was creating the space, I was overcome by big heavy tears of grief for Mitch's physical absence. I let them come to move through me as I knew pretty soon I would need all of my focus and energy directed toward one thing and one thing only, birthing Amelie.

 Glamour selfies of me and Ava, just days before Amelie's birth.

Glamour selfies of me and Ava, just days before Amelie's birth.

The midwife and her assistant arrived at 7:30pm, they held space for my grieving, and then after I moved through my fears of a stalled labor, which was what happened with Ava's birth upon my entry into the hospital, my contractions began to come faster and stronger. I breathed through the pain, was massaged with essential oils during each contraction, and prayed for the support of Mitch, the angels, and God. Any conversation I had been having with the midwife and her assistant had come to a halt as the strength of each contraction took all of my focus, energy, and breath. At about 9:30, the midwife and her assistant began setting up the birthing pool in the living room while I laid in bed with Ava who had temporarily awoken. By 10:30pm, with Ava once again sleeping soundly, I got into the birthing pool, and with each contraction, I visualized my breath opening my cervix with as much ease as I could muster to allow the little one to pass through her birthing canal peacefully. I visualized being in bed with my two girls... When the pain was overwhelming, I remember hearing a song come through on the i-phone, “Walkin' on a dream,” by Empire of the Sun, a favorite of Mitch's... It was the only song I remember hearing during that intense period of labor. It was that song, and a memory of a dream I'd had the night before in which I gave birth in the squatting position, that gave me the energy to refocus my efforts and energy to safely and quickly deliver Amelie. I got into the squatting position in the pool, and asked my midwife if she could see Amelie's head with her pocket flashlight. She said she couldn't, but that I could reach into her birthing canal to feel for her head. Well, I reached into her passage to the world and felt her head through the amniotic encasing that was still intact. My midwife offered that I could keep my hand on her head while I pushed to help direct my energies. So I did just that, I prayed and pushed, and felt Amelie's head move further and further down the canal. I switched to a half laying/half seated position so my midwife could deliver Amelie as she made her entrance into the pool.

 My girls, all three of us snuggled up in bed just hours after Amelie's birth.

My girls, all three of us snuggled up in bed just hours after Amelie's birth.

With a few final pushes, at 12:23am, Amelie was pushed safely through her birthing canal, her cord was unwrapped from her body by my midwife, and she was placed into my arms. I did it. I home birthed Amelie in Costa Rica, with a midwife, in a birthing pool, without Mitch's physical presence, all while not waking Ava who was in the next room. I sat in the pool with Amelie for a few minutes before I got out and did one last minor push of the placenta, and then laid in bed while the midwife did a health check of both me and the baby; we were both fine. Just then Ava woke up and got to meet her baby sister for the first time, pure love and perfect timing... After showering, I crawled into bed with my two girls, and it was just pure heaven. All I could do was marvel at the little miracle that I had just birthed, thank Mitch, the angels, and God for her safe delivery. The new chapter of our lives was just beginning...