Birth begins before we realize
Aisla’s journey into this world began on May 23rd. I had just finished what i has intended as my last week of work and was feeling good though tired and sore. We went to the Highland games and in the warm sun we watched men and women prove their strength and skill at dance and the heavy games just like my ancestors once did. It felt a bit like stepping back in time and the combination of the heat, remembering something in my bones and being on my feet helped things get rolling. By the time we got home i was exhausted, hot, sore and was having some fairly intense braxton hicks contractions. The first that felt more than just a tightening of my belly. At that moment i knew I was done being busy and it was time to dive into rest mode and prepare for this baby. So i cancel any plans i had made and the few clients I had let slip past my end of work date.
I felt quite different at the end of this pregnancy than i had with Ayana. I was having more pain in both my SI and PS joints, I didnt have the same energy and I wanted to be alone and quiet, choosing who was allowed to be near me at this time. I felt done with being pregnant this time round and so hoped that she would not be two weeks late like her sister was. At the same time I love being pregnant, the way my body looks, the ripeness and fullness of my flesh that can grown life within it. Despite the aches and fatigue, heartburn and carpal tunnel I knew my body was made for this. I was made for this. Finishing work and cancelling plans helped shift things, listening to my body, relaxing, play with Ayana, spending time with Adam felt good, felt right deep within me. This was what I was supposed to do, this was what I needed to bring my baby earth side.
About a week later I woke up and went upstairs for my morning ritual and my body and mind felt different. I had been having braxton hicks since the night before and as I rocked and rolled my pelvis on the birth ball sinking into and connecting with my body, a sense of elation embraced me and i dropped down into a delta wave trance and I was immediately connected to the universe, I could feel all life around and the web that connects us all. I was the great mother preparing to give life to all existence. As I allowed this feeling to be apart of me I knew this was the next step in bringing this baby forth and I wondered if this was the day she would come. And so as i was bathed in this ecstacy I started to blow up the birth pool and make the bed and gather supplies, caught between the realities of what needed to be done for this birth and the dreamy universe calling to me. This bliss held me though my contractions never intensified and when it came time to go to my midwive’s appt I knew she wasn’t coming today and with the travel outside my home the state receded. But once again I moved more deeply inward and decided I would no longer go out except to the midwife or walk in nature and I would only allow people around me who made me feel safe, revered and loved. This prolonged preparation for labour felt juicy and sweet, I knew I could wait until the time came, I knew my boundaries, I knew what I needed and what this body needed. So I moved slower, lounging, taking ambling walks, taking naps and getting rubs and it was delicious.
Several days later another day came where the braxton hicks felt more like contractions and I thought once gain she might come but it wasn’t time yet and so I let go of trying to figure it out and opened further to the universe and the great unknown. It is quite a thing to wait for a baby, the anticipation and excitement, the moments of being uncomfortable and tired and wanting them to come and the movements of feeling them move and the complete awe and amazement of being so full with child and wanting it not to end. I am so grateful that I got to experience it three times in unique and beautiful ways.
Then June 12th rolled around and I was awoken by what I thought were bowel cramps and so I got up to the go to the bathroom but nothing came and I went back to bed. An hour later more cramps woke me and this time I got up and went upstairs with my tea and granola and sat down to read my book. By this time I had given up on questioning, is this it? and so I read and ate and sent texts to some friends and family, wishing other’s a happy birthday. Then contractions slowly intensified but I didn’t think it would be today, exactly 38 weeks from when we conceived. Eventually I thought well if this is it I better get a shower in and as I got up and started to walk, gravity pulled on my body and my baby and the contractions started to speed up. As I got the shower ready I started to time them and they were at 30-45 sec every 2-3 mins and I realized this was very like last time, short contractions close together. In the shower I decided to give things a boost and get the oxytocin flowing with an orgasm and from that point on I had to stop and focus through each contraction, using the water to ease the growing pain in my low back. By the time I was out of the shower my contractions were a 45-1 min long every two mins. My body doesn’t mess around or move slow once it’s in labour.
I put my tens machine on my back and slowly walked downstairs taking time to stop at each contraction until I reached our bedroom and woke Adam and Ayana telling them it was time. A little dazed and surprised they got up and Adam got himself together, while I made peyote tea and labour aide and Ayana held my hand and shook my arm through each contraction, asking me “does this feel good mommy”. By the time we were all upstairs, Adam really took things in as contractions quickly swept over me and he realized things were happening much faster than he realized and he began to fill the pool and call our Doula, photographer and midwife. After not being able to get a hold of our doula and the midwives call backs going straight to message I thought perhaps it would just be Adam, Ayana and myself as I had dreamed. But I did not have long to contemplate as my contractions drew me deep into myself and I rocked on my birth ball, roaring with each contraction and clawing the carpet through each contraction. It took all I had to focus, to breath, to roar. The roaring felt so good, it rumbled deep in my belly and some how blended with the contraction to ease it, while tapping into that primal part of myself that was born to birth. By the time our doula Jennifer arrived, Adam was trying to squeeze my hips but just couldn’t get the right spot and I had begun internally thinking I don’t know if I can do this while simultaneously reassuring myself that it would be over very soon. Jennifer swooped in and took over the hip squeezes, finding that perfect spot and giving just the right amount of pressure, while Adam came to my front and held my hands pressing on LI4 and telling me how amazing I was doing. This is what got me through transition.
I had had several dreams of a swift labour, some with only Adam, Ayana and I present, others with just our midwife or just our doula and so I knew this was going to be a very fast labour. As I moved through transition Adam kept reminding me that I had really wanted to get in the pool but as each contraction passed and I started to rise another would come. Finally, I gathered up my strength and got up and stepped into the pool and it was utter bliss. I had hoped it would be and as I sat there leaning against the pool my body melted and I had what seemed a deliciously long time to just be and between each contraction I found I could relax my body more completely, allowing things to open that last little bit and just as our midwife, Jane arrived and I began to feel the urge to push. She came over and told me to open my throat more as I had still been roaring and on the next contraction as I opened into an AH instead of a roar, transforming from a lion to an open vessel, my waters broke and I remember seeing the vernix and amniotic fluid swirl in the water. I moved onto my hands and knees and then onto my side and gave every thing with each push. With Ayana’s birth I had been so blown away by the fetal ejection reflex, there was nothing that could stop my body from pushing this baby out but this time though the urge to push was there I felt much more involved in it. I pushed with all my might! I wanted this baby out! I wanted the pain and intensity to be over and to hold my baby. And so only in what seemed a few contractions I pushed her out. On the final contraction as I felt her head slip out and I still had more contraction I pushed the rest of her out. As i turned onto my back and held my baby to my chest, elation, joy, gratitude and relief that she was here and it was over washed over me. I did it! Another little being grown and birthed through this body. How amazing!!!!
After a time contractions ramped up again and i pushed out the placenta out all on my own, no synthetic oxytocin needed. A full, plump, juicy placenta slithered from my body, one last push needed. After the placenta was born they helped me from the pool and my shook from all the adrenaline and effort of birthing a baby in a mere three hours. I laid down on the mattress Ayana was born on snuggling with my girls, wrapped up in blankets as Jane stitched me up. I had torn once again, through the skin all the way from my vagina to my rectum and slightly deeper on my vaginal side. I stared into this amazing beings eyes as they stitched trying to keeo my legs open and relaxed. When they finished and I was wrapped up again and Jennifer brought me that first bite of food it was absolutely the most delicious thing I had eaten (since I last gave birth). My heart, my mind and my belly were so full snuggled up with Adam, Ayana and our baby. We did it! Though others were there to help this was our birth as a family. No other family members or friends were there, we did it together, each giving our own energy and medicine to the process. As a family we grew exponentially that day. Our fourth member here completing and solidifying our family into four solid pillars of support and love.
Lessons, Insights and Reflections
- In this second birth experience I was much more confident in my own truth and knowing what I could do. With Ayana’s birth I felt much more pressure and the need to meet my health practitioners part way but after her successful home birth I knew alot of the fears were unneccesary. So this time there was not the same pressure to people please. I opted out of the syntocin, vitamin k and vaccines with trust in my truth and my knowing what was best for my baby.
- You create a relationship with your midwife and other supports and they want to be there at this moment with you. They want it to turn out the way you do. They want you to have your dream birth and have to navigate the possibilities that it may not turn out that way with you.
- Allowing the Man/partner to really show up is sexy and empowering for him and the whole family. With Adam being my primary support and the one who had to get things together when I went into labour and care for me after the birth, he grew enormously, as did we as a couple. He stepped into the King role and made me feel like a Queen. As Whapio says He was the perfect intimate advocate!!
- I am deeply appreciative of having a large birth team at Ayana’s birth, but the energies of family and old friends can change the dynamic. Having this birth just being Adam, Ayana and I as a family and the key supports was just the medicine we needed at this time.
- Having a separate sacred space for me to birth and then for Aisla and I to be in our own energy for the first weeks/month was so deeply nourishing and allowed for healing and connection on so many levels.
- Can we really prepare for birth? Learning to trust yourself, face your fears and create little rituals to channel the mind can help enormously as it is only you and this baby at the end of the day. So you must believe in yourself!!