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          Friday, December 15, 2017

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Love and Liquid Sound
By  Marina Alzuguaray

The story I have to share with you about sexuality and birth is about a homebirth couple who took my AquaNatal classes for several months. We had built a fun relationship through our class time and we were used to making sounds for the baby underwater, exercising and playing in the water, and sharing openly about any subject related to their pregnancy and birthing. Their prenatal exams happened right by the pool. Doing prenatals this way gave us a feeling of wellness: no buildings, no office, just us under the shade by the pool-very lovely.

A few weeks before the birth the father told me that his perineum was tied. That was a new one for me! I just replied that maybe he needed to do hot compresses on his bottom, just like her, in preparation for the birth. I did not know what else to say, and we did not speak of his perineum any more.

On the last day of June 2001 they went into labor. When I walked into their home in the middle of the day, she was floating in a pool that she had purchased for $39.00. This inflatable pool was 10 feet long by 6 feet wide and 2 feet high. The couple could float in the pool together. The pool took over the entire kitchen floor. They had lowered all of the curtains in the kitchen, so that even though it was very bright and hot outside, in their kitchen we were in the shade and cool.

She used the floating lotus position for a lot of her labor; otherwise she would sit in a full squat as she chanted. This couple practiced tantric yoga in their 20s; they were focused, limber, devoted, sure of themselves, and were using postures, breath and sounds to move through their labor. Their yoga teacher arrived with a small organ and a flute. The addition of long and modulating tones was exceptional.

Sometime during the active face of labor, the father took the bridge posture while in the tub and began to make very loud, low-tone sounds; he was breathing slowly and releasing. She was floating with her ears underwater so that she did not hear the full tone of her partner. But I did, and it was almost scary, powerful and at some point during this I wondered just who was in labor. His yoga teacher was by his side helping him breath though it. She gave me a look of confidence so I just stayed calm, chanting with the laboring woman.

He later told me that his perineum had become tied again in fear of her power, that the sounds that she made reminded him of her lovemaking sounds and that sometimes she was an unbelievable lover devouring him with her sexuality. She was sometimes much more than him being able to have multiple climaxes while he could sustain the moment but only have one release. And during that early part of her labor, again, there she was in all her power and making her moaning powerful sounds. He reacted by wanting to run away or cry like a baby, just like he had sometimes felt again and again in his life when he was scared. But he knew that he needed to be present for the birth and not be afraid of her.

That is why he took on the bridge position and began to move his energy beyond fear, beyond self pity and right into being present. And present he was once he finished with his process. That is when he began to chant right into her vagina and that is how labor happened from then on. The two of them in yoga postures. She, floating face up in the lotus posture. He also in lotus posture facing down and chanting underwater right into her yoni. This went on for about 6 hours.

The chanting from the tub in the kitchen, the yoga teacher sitting on the floor playing the organ or the flute, the doula and I mostly standing and chanting as well. I listened to the baby and did not check her internally until late in the day and by then she was 7 to 8 cms. The sun began to ebb and the labor took on a different quality. The sounds grew right along with their tantric connection. I stayed around her head, him at her bottom feeling her energy, the room full of waves, modulating voices that were touching everyone and everything. Then the sounds changed-so full and low that it was percussive as if drums were playing, as if the earth was separating. And so it was that the child separated from her mother while the birthing mother made a primal call of power that swirled into the vortex of sound, and then I knew the baby was beginning to crown.

I moved to her other end and helped the dad in receiving the child. Four hands gently caressing her perineum, his by her clitoris, mine gently flexing the head of the child, slowly breathing the perineum open with the uninterrupted chant and a flute playing in the background. Another midwife arrived. The sun had moved to the other side of the planet. The doula facing the mom caressed the mother's face, making sure that all lips were soft, her jaw open, and so her perineum opened slowly releasing the baby's head, and just as easily her body into the water.

The dad felt an energy as the baby's head came into his hands. This energy moved up his arms and as the body fully emerged into the water, he said that he felt the energy go throughout his body and out his head. Then the baby was out of the water and embraced by the mom as the new dad embraced both of them cooing softly in semidarkness.

The placenta was spilled easily into the water and floated attached to the baby. The room was steamy hot and eventually the mom crawled to the bathroom and her bed and the dad with baby and placenta attached walked to the dark bedroom. No lights please, just love and the sound of loving words.

The next day I returned to weigh the baby. Veronica was 8 lbs. 5 oz. and peaceful. The couple was glowing with the joy of new parenthood and the bliss of their first birth. Mother, father and baby intact- healthy and pleased. And I, grateful for the opportunity to be a witness of birth in liquid sound from a young couple doing what they know how to do well. This is birth in the 21st century. It gives me tremendous hope and satisfaction to know the potential of young couples to manifest their birthing within the depth of their being, using their lovemaking energy to birth their baby into their arms. What a blessing of sexuality for birthing in love.

Marina Alzugaray, MS, LM, CNM, is an international midwifery consultant and speaker with more than 30 years of experience in women's health care. She received her Master of Science degree from the University of California, San Francisco, where she focused her research on homebirths and birth positions and related maternal-infant outcomes. Marina has facilitated sacred births in homes, hospitals and birth centers. She now offers homebirths and waterbirths in the Florida Keys, where she develops courses and facilitates educational retreats as director of Comadres Institute. Marina is known as a provider of holistic midwifery care; pioneer of water births; developer of the American AquaNatal method, a prenatal water exercise program; and producer of continuing education courses on sacred birthing, women's health and care that empowers clients. She serves as regional representative to Midwives' Alliance of North America (MANA). .

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