I am a lucky woman, and Taos is a lucky community. So many places around the country are not as blessed as we are to have midwives–the kind that will help birth your baby at home or at the birth center. If you happen to need to go to the hospital, like I did with my first baby, Ilana, they’ll come along and be your support system. I am thankful to have been able to have my second child, Kosmo, at home in the water. I cannot thank these wonderful women enough for their knowledge and experience in knowing how to help me progress and have safe birthing experiences with both of my children.
Pamela Pereyra, Taos
“What My Body Taught My Mind”
At 3 am I realized I was in labor and we decided to start the drive to Taos right away. We suspected I would have a long labor but we wanted the drive from Santa Fe to be relaxed. I had a bunch of mild contractions on the drive through the mountains. I was so excited! After nine months of waiting the time had come.
We spent the morning strolling around the plaza. We had French toast and window shopped and I stopped for contractions whenever I needed to. It was the most thrilling morning of my life.
After lunch my water broke and everything shifted into high gear. My contractions consumed me completely. As I walked into the Birth Center I stopped for two contractions on the way. The midwife watched my face as I moved towards the pink room. She could tell that things had progressed. She gave us a huge smile. “That’s what we like to see,” she said. I immediately felt safe.
The midwives showed my husband Shawn how to press on my back during each contraction to counter some of the pressure. It helped tremendously. When I felt one coming, I would nod and he would get in position and press. As a little girl I remember watching ballerinas doing amazing things with their partners behind them supporting their every move. That’s what this felt like. Shawn was my pillar and I was doing an amazing thing.
Throughout my labor I started chanting “I can do it,” whenever things started feeling really difficult. The midwives chimed in saying, “you CAN do it, you ARE doing it.” I was surrounded with love and encouragement.
At one point someone handed me a mirror so I could take a look at how things were progressing. To me, my body looked no different. I started topanic. “Uh….I don’t see how this is going to work,” I stammered to the apprentice. She looked me right in the eye and said, “Your body is about to teach something to your mind.” The wisdom and certainty in her tone made me believe her. I finally let go of my mind and let my body take over.
My body knew that I had to move towards the pain to push my baby out. My mind couldn’t suffer each contraction, because my body was harnessing strength with each wave to bring my daughter into the world. Moments passed. I opened my eyes, and she was there. It was magic.
Giving birth was the most empowering moment of my life.. People told me it would hurt, people told me it would be hard, but no one told me that I would leave feeling like a super-hero. That part was a surprise.
I have heard that a wave of amnesia falls over new mothers to make us forget the trials of childbirth, so that we will continue to procreate. I don’t believe it. I think we remember every moment of the vomiting, the back pain, and the contractions that make our whole body scream. Remembering it all, we look into our babies’ eyes and like heroes we move towards pregnancy once again, because we know that the light at the end of the tunnel is indescribable bliss.
A Valentine’s Day Homebirth
Hello everyone! I wanted to share our homebirth experience with all of you. I’ll start by saying that I had my two boys Luke (12) and Matthew (8) with the midwives and completely enjoyed the experience, so naturally when we decided to give birth again I chose to do it at the Birth Center.
I went through all of the prenatal care at the Center and planned on delivering there. At one of my last appointments, about 2 weeks before my delivery date, one of the midwives asked why I wasn’t having
a home birth. I said, “I don’t know, the thought never really entered my mind.” I actually always thought it was safer to deliver at the Center. So I had some conversations with the midwives and they reassured me that their birthing facility was mobile! Well, when I heard that, I thought, that sounds great! What could be more convenient? I wouldn’t have to pack a bag or ever leave my home. Wow, this could be nice!
It turned out to be more than nice, it was a very memorable experience. My home was filled with all of the people we loved, all our children: Johnny, Brandon, Luke, Allysa and Matthew. Our parents were present, as well as some of our siblings. My best friend Nadine had planned on spending the day with me that day. I didn’t have time to let her know that I’d gone into labor that morning. So she was shocked to find the house full of people when she arrived!
At that point everyone was nervous with anticipation of the new baby. My mom had been cleaning and sweeping everything in sight for hours! I think she was more nervous than I was! Anyway, long story short, I went into labor about 6 am and had a beautiful baby girl just before 1 pm. The labor went well, I pretty much just closed my eyes, took a lot of deep breaths
and let nature take its course. I don’t think I said more than two words through the labor. The midwives were very attentive to my needs, including allowing time for me to have peace and quiet. Apprentices Dara Ekster, Hilary Flaming & Dahna Goldstein
I enjoyed a bath early on in the labor. Johnny poured water over my belly for about an hour and then when it came time to push he moved me up to our bedroom where things moved along quickly after that.
The midwives all took their positions like a fine tuned symphony and the music began, so to speak. I began to push… they all encouraged me and reassured me that my work would soon be over and that I was doing a fantastic job. Soon thereafter the baby’s head crowned and a couple of pushes later we were blessed with a gorgeous 9 lb. 4 oz Valentine’s Day baby girl we named Caitlin Hope Ortiz!
We all enjoyed some Taos Outback pizza after the business of cleaning, weighing, and examining the baby. All in all it was a good day to have a baby! We got a Valentine for life! Thank you to all the midwives who participated in my prenatal care and Caitlin’s birth.
Mothers from Heaven
by Rose Leon
When entering into the reality of pregnancy sometimes women are left to deal with the actualities of emotions, body transformation, and relationship diversions on their own. We are often handled as if, at any moment, the life that is growing inside of us is eating away at our source, and this seven million year old process will surely compromise our existence. This is not so, and the amazing women at Northern New Mexico Birth Center helped me, my husband Rick, my daughter Harmony and our new little being Kaya to experience what it is like to embrace the enlightening cycles of pregnancy, child birth, and postpartum.
During the pregnancy I felt as though every question was asked with true interest. I was allowed to truly express my feelings with out a clock in my face. My five year old daughter Harmony was always included not just by me but also the midwives, and my husband was always treated as an integral part of the process. He was not just the “guy” in the room. They asked him questions about his health and mental well being. When we were experiencing some difficulty in our relationship our midwives did not shun him. Instead they gave us a space to talk freely and they supported both of us which helped us to see past our immediate hurt. What they did for our relationship, by listening with open hearts and no judgment, was to help us heal and create a new space for our little one. So that when it was time for the birth the two beings that had created in love could breathe and birth in love.
While giving birth to Kaya, I could not ask for better. Every thought was intuitively received and carried out. They knew when I needed water, when I needed a cool rag, when I needed words of encouragement. I never had to ask for anything. I felt like I had four mothers from heaven silently carrying out the duties of labor and birth preparations. I have never felt safer, and I was so willing to endure the pain of child birth in order to bring our daughter into the presence of those brilliant angels.
After I left, I felt so energized and ready to start on this new path. I was visited by the midwives a few more times after the birth of Kaya. The visits helped to remind me that it’s ok to take my time to recover. They also helped by giving some ideas for after-birth care that included my support circle outside of the birth center. Like having family and friends bring food, help with chores, and shopping. So their compassion not only encircled my own family but reverberated out through the community. Their presence in our lives helped others to see the importance in welcoming and nurturing the new mother and child. By the sixth week I was ready to come into my own.
Because of our experience with the Birth Center, I was able to enter into second-time motherhood with the confidence and patience that my body and mind are capable of–being a powerful life energy giving and receiving soul.
Thank you to all of the wonderful supportive women at the Northern New Mexico Birth Center! I am reentering the everyday life as an empowered open women ready to raise my daughters in the brilliant after glow of your great care. I will allow for your presence to dwell in my heart forever.