Home birth Midwife in Boston
Ann Kilroy Home Midwifery Service Home Birth Midwife
Shortly after the arrival of my sixth baby, my older daughter was quite amused to inform me that I had given birth to six babies in four different decades. Maybe it was because my brain was still swarming with post-birth, lactating hormones, but I couldn't seem to make sense of what she was saying. I started going over it in my mind, then had to just go ahead and write it down, since I was sure that couldn't be possible, for me or anyone. Let's see, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 2005, 2011. Eighties, nineties, two-thousands, two thousand tens. Yep, she was right! Unbelievable.
My sixth and final pregnancy was plagued with numbers. They filled my head from the very first panic-stricken moment, when the realization first exploded into my poor, tired, 47 year old body that I was doomed, I mean, pregnant. Thirty two days since my last period, three days straight of spotting, three short months since my herniated discs had finally relented their daily agony. As the weeks went on, numbers dominated my thoughts. I learned that at 47, I had a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant, that my risk of miscarriage was more than 50%, the chance of my baby having a genetic abnormality, one in ten. I walked through my days in a state of disbelief, anxiety, hopefulness, confusion, and downright fear. Luckily, my herniated discs cranked up their pressure on my nerves, so I finally had something else to focus on for the last four months of my daughter's encampment.
My first five babies were born at home, into the hands and hearts of family, friends, and wonderful midwives. For many decades, people would ask me why I chose to have my babies at home, and why I chose to be a home birth midwife. I would always try to come up with a good enough answer, one that would satisfy the asker but not have to lead to an all out debate of birthing choices in America, since I only had so much time and energy on any given day. But the truth is, I never could put my finger on why I did choose to have my babies at home. I knew I could avoid potentially harmful interventions, I knew it was better not to expose babies to labor-inducing and pain-relieving drugs, I knew there was a much lower rate of C-section, but none of these were the reason for me. So I would ramble on about statistics, healthy babies, happy moms, but never had a from-the-heart answer.
Then came number six, Adele, the icing on the cake. The caboose. Now affectionately known as the family mascot. She has the distinction of having been born in the hospital. I had the whole nine yards. Induction two weeks before my due date, epidural, pitocin. Somehow, I felt that all of the years, hours, and minutes of being with women and families as their babies emerged into this world had been banked, and all the kindness I had offered came back to me tenfold. I found myself in the care of the most kind-hearted doctors and nurses, and surrounded by family and friends, joining together to carry me through to the other side. My baby was born into my own hands, in a room filled with love.
So, it only took six births over the course of four decades, but I got it. I had my babies at home because I wanted my babies to have peaceful beginnings. I wanted myself and my family to relax, breathe, smile, and experience peace. That moment when my baby was moving down through my body, getting closer and closer to emerging into the light, lifted me into a beautiful stillness. Into a state of lucidity, calmness and readiness that I felt each time I became a mother again, even with number six, amidst IV's and scrubs.
Peace is a gift we all get to receive whenever and wherever a baby is born. The moment is ours to experience, the moment between how things were and how things will be. As our babies grow, and fall asleep in our arms countless times, peace and contentment fill our hearts. It's only now that my babies aren't babies anymore that I need to remind myself to take a moment, be present, breathe, smile, and feel the peace that's always there, following me like a sunny shadow.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
The sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall softly upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the sun cause it's face to shine upon you,
And give you Peace.
-The Old Irish Blessing