My daughter, still so little, was sleeping next to me, her little body curled up peacefully. As my contractions increased in intensity, I remember crying. I love her so much. I held her tight, and hoped that she would enjoy being a big sister. For a while, I watched TV and finished the article I was working on. I left my daughter to sleep as I got in the tub and felt the hot water soothe my laboring body. I prayed. For a smooth birth, for the intuition to tell me if something was wrong. When the water grew cold, I got up, and went back to bed.

It was cold in the apartment. Russia and the Ukraine were in the middle of a gas dispute. Our city’s central heating system was short of fuel, we were left in the cold. Outside, there was a fierce frost and a lot of snow. I was struggling to get the air conditioning in my apartment to blow hot air instead of cold, so that my baby would not be born into a cold space. I finally succeeded but it was still cold, so I turned the oven on and left its door open. Finally, things were starting to heat up.

Contractions were now painful, and I vocalized through some of them. My daughter woke up and asked what was going on. It was probably around three in the morning. “The baby is on his way, honey, he’ll be with us soon!” She brought me drinks, and seemed excited. I tried to get her to go back to sleep, but she wanted to be there with me.

My second birth was an extremely spiritual experience. Because I chose to birth unassisted, and had to rely on myself exclusively, I felt every sensation, and was aware of the process every step of the way. I did ask myself whether I was doing the right thing, and if I should go to hospital, but I knew, in my heart, that this was the best choice. Not just because of the medieval maternity system in our country of residence, and not just because the midwife who attended my first birth did many of the things that they did in hospital too, like shouting at laboring women and trying to cut an episiotomy without the consent of the mother. No, this birth was so much more than an alternative to something unwanted. It was a rebirth for me, as a person, too.

My son was born into my own two hands, face up. My daughter was excited to meet her little brother. “Hello, little one. Hello, my little one,” I exclaimed, as I stared into his tiny but bright blue eyes, eyes that stared right into my soul. He was tiny. So much smaller than his sister. So fragile, and so perfect. The placenta came out with ease, very soon after my son did. After I was sure that the umbilical cord had stopped pulsating.

We bathed together and then got dressed. My daughter picked the clothes my son would wear for the very first time, and we went to bed. My children went to sleep peacefully. I couldn’t possibly let this precious moment go to waste by sleeping, and observed my two beautiful children for hours, just being. I felt at peace, yet energetic. For months, I was on a birth high. I felt euphoric.

A crunchy homebirth mom of two. I blog about trying to conceive –