Homebirth: One Mom’s Experience

nursing-pagudpudX.jpg

lotusbirthmayaplacentacordLotus birth with placenta and cord

Seven years ago, Monica Eleazar Manzano gave birth to her son via an emergency C-section. The experience left her woefully traumatized. A professional yoga instructor and mompreneur, Monica explains, “I truly felt that it was unnecessary. If I was given the proper guidance by the hospital staff (doctors, nurses, etc), I would have given birth normally at my own terms. My birth plan was not followed and I truly felt violated.”

And so when Monica found out that she was pregnant once again, she decided to take the homebirth route. Unfortunately, her decision did not gain instant approval. She recalls, “Of course, at first, people around me thought I was asking for the moon.”

Monica had to deal with a number of popular misconceptions. Most people thought it wasn’t safe. A number thought it’s only practiced in the provinces, among women who have no means or access to a hospital delivery. She says, “I remember my sister who studied nursing told me that it isn’t safe and not hygienic - but when I researched, our microbiomes in our homes are actually the friendliest to our deliveries versus hospitals where foreign microbiomes are everywhere that can attack us and our babies!”

She adds, “There is just so much miseducation on the matter so I am glad that I studied it well and stood my ground because it is safe and is ideal for every healthy mother.”

Once Monica set her mind on a homebirth, she started preparing for it spiritually and physically. A student of Kabbalah, Monica made spiritual preparations with the guidance of her mentor. As she narrated in her blog, www.birthingbeyond.blogspot.com, Monica kept her pregnancy a secret for as long as possible. She explains, “It is said that the first trimester is very critical because the energy of the growing baby within you is so sensitive. It’s common for people to announce to the whole world once they find out they’re pregnant. What they do not know is that, other people’s consciousness may affect their baby in utero. We are all made up of energy, after all. Energy can pass through flesh and bones. So yes, negative or upsetting or jealous thoughts can affect what’s inside of you.”

Once the secret was out, she wore the Red String; it’s a practice of Kabbalists to protect them from negative energies; the emotions of some people may not be healthy for the pregnant woman and her baby in utero.

Monica also faced any resentments she may have harbored from her past as these kept her “closed.” By moving towards forgiveness, she made herself “open” for birth.

Her physical preparations were also plenty. Informed of an ordinance banning home births in Quezon City, she and her family moved to the San Juan compound where Monica grew up.

Because she wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible, she read a lot of books. Some of which are: * Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin * Silent Knife: Ceasarian Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean by Cohen & Estner * The VBAC Companion: The Expectant Mother’s Guide to Vaginal Birth After Cesearean by Diana Korte * Active Birth by Janet Balaskas * Cut, Stapled and Mended by Rosanna Rosewood * Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation by Gurmukh * Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach to An Easier, More Comfortable Birthing by Marie Mongan

She also watched videos, including The Business of Being Born, Microbirth, and Orgasmic Birth on YouTube, and had Moringana Malungay Infused Teas and Organic Red Raspberry Tea Leaf throughout her pregnancy. The latter, she read, strengthens the uterus muscles.

Having done her homework, Monica was calm, cool, and collected on the days leading up to the birth. She says, “I was 'on the waiting game', because I was very well prepared. I was not anxious but, of course, a little nervous since it was my first time, after all!”

She goes on: “When I did have the birth of my dreams, it's like the puzzle pieces finally all fell into place. The actual experience is just so special and empowering. I remember reading, if a mother can birth on her own, she feels like she can do anything!”

So empowered was Monica that she highly recommends the experience to other moms. She explains, “I feel that it is my duty, one of my life's many advocacies to support moms who want to try VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). All the health and psychological advantages of a homebirth definitely outweighs the risks. And all births are risky, whether done in the hospital or outside one. I urge all mothers to study it and see for themselves if it is something that they truly want for their families.”

nursing-pagudpud Monica breastfeeding Maya in Pagudpud

Monica will soon be offering a retreat for mothers-to-be. She will be working with her doula, Irina Otmakhova, to educate and guide moms on how to have the birth of their dreams, too! We will keep you posted!

Interested in home births? Find out more about it through the following: * Betty San Luis, certified birth doula under Childbirth International, 0916-5205787; beasanluis@yahoo.com; www.birthingisablessing.com * Deborah Gustafson, home birth advocate, deborahannegustafson@gmail.org * Conscious Birth Manila Doula and Birth Services, 0927-9146955; consciousbirthmanila@gmail.com; www.consciousbirthmanila.com