Yolanda made me feel strong, dignified and capable.
Delivering a baby with Yolanda Visser is an anthropological experience celebrating life and the strong, courageous, beautiful women, scattered throughout time and across the nations of the earth who have given birth at home. With skill and intuition perfected by 35 years of experience, Yolanda has orchestrated over 3,000 homebirths.
One of them was mine. I never would have expected to deliver a baby at home. In fact, my husband used to taunt me about giving birth in our bathtub just to save money. But when we found ourselves eye-to-eye with the prospect of paying $7,000 to deliver our second baby, his taunts suddenly became a real possibility.
Our first daughter was born at a local hospital. I had an epidural early in labor, and when progress slowed I was give Pitosin. Finally, after pushing for three hours, Sophia was extracted by forceps. Despite major tearing, gross hospital food, and awkward examinations from uncomfortable male students, I was fairly satisfied with my hospital delivery.
However, determined to find a less expensive alternative, I made an appointment with Yolanda. At our initial consultation, I expressed my fears about pain and abnormalities in delivery requiring medical intervention. I fully expected, and perhaps hoped, that she would somehow discredit my fears. Instead, she addressed them frankly, acknowledging that labor is difficult and that sometimes things go wrong. She encouraged me to think of the pain as work and taught me that in every human language the word for giving birth means labor.
Yolanda’s competence was instantly apparent, her intelligence, experience, and education obvious. I found her warm and fascinating and was naturally drawn to her. Her office was full of exquisite artifacts from various trips and intellectual pursuits. The waiting room was thoughtfully equipped with colorful wooden toys, a lending library, and an overstuffed couch.
As we spoke during that initial conversation. My qualms were superseded by a sense of the naturalness of delivering a baby at home and the propriety of being attended by a woman in this most feminine of human experiences.
I enjoyed my monthly visits with Yolanda tremendously. She performed all of my prenatal care herself so I felt like she really got to know me: inside and out, body and spirit. I never felt rushed or insignificant as I had at my OB-GYN office. She listened and responded to my questions and concerns often suggesting natural, effective, and cost-efficient remedies.
Her birthing class was the highlight of my prenatal care. I learned more in that one morning listening to Yolanda than I had through five prenatal classes at the hospital and the delivery of my first child. Even better, Yolanda made us all a fabulous meal to share after the class. By the time my due date arrived, I was genuinely excited for the delivery and thrilled that Yolanda would be orchestrating it.
As pleased as I was with the prenatal care that I received from Yolanda, I was entirely surprised by the intense affection and appreciation I felt for her after the birth. Contractions began at 8:30 am and Yolanda very calmly monitored my progress over the phone throughout the morning. When I asked, she came immediately, and within 40 minutes and four pushes after her arrival, my second daughter was born. It happened so quickly and with such ease, that I could hardly believe it was over.
Despite the fact that my water burst all over her pants, my hair looked funny, and I wasn’t especially friendly, she made me feel strong and dignified and capable. During the hardest contractions her words and voice were sweeter relief than any drug or breathing technique could have afforded. Yolanda has an intuitive and indescribable ability to manage the physical, mental and emotional aspects of birth such that to be a recipient of her care can be experienced, and perhaps witnessed, but never perfectly conveyed.
I gave birth at home. I heard the ethereal strains of a song that united me to millions of women throughout time and around the world. And I did this not by myself, but as it ought to be, with the help of a remarkable woman. For as long as I live, I will treasure the echoes of Yolanda Visser’s birth songs as they reverberate deep in my spirit.
- Megan D.