PLEASE BE ADVISED… This is the whole, raw, complete, beautiful, sacred truth of our birth story. No details spared!
It was 1am, Monday, December 22, 2014, on the Black New Moon of Winter Solstice. I awoke with a cramping sensation. I might be in labor, I thought, so I took note of the time and fell back to sleep. About 8 minutes later, I awoke again with the same cramping sensation. Not wanting to wake my husband, Jon, until I knew for sure, and knowing that he would need his rest to support me, I continued to rest in between rushes, keeping track of their distance apart.
Around 3am, the rushes were about 4-6 minutes apart and getting stronger, and I was having to breathe more deeply through them. Needing no further convincing, I awoke Jon, letting him know that I was in labor. I explained that I should eat something to build my strength, so he went to the kitchen to bring me some soup. While he was away, I suddenly had a craving for one of my son’s organic, whole food bear vitamins, so I called for him to bring two of them, too.
This was my second birth, and I was amazed at the deep, calm wisdom within that I felt guiding me. I welcomed the experience, knowing that every rush would bring my baby to me. I trusted my body and felt fully capable of bringing our child into the world. With my amazing, supportive, deeply loving husband by my side, I could do anything.
After gaining nourishment, I went to the bathroom while Jon prepared our bed. As I passed by the mirror, I realized I was wearing the shirt my Mom gave me just a few days prior. On the front was a huge open lotus flower. How perfect! I sat on the toilet to pee and saw that my mucus plug was making its way out. I began singing that just like a lotus flower, I, too, would ooooOpen wiiiiiide.
I walked around a bit, and by 4am, my rushes were a couple minutes apart and around 40 seconds long. I texted my midwife, Jennifer Vines, to let her know that I was in labor and inform her on the status of my rushes. She asked if I would like to have doula support or contact her as things progressed. I chose the latter. At this point, I was feeling very tired, so I asked Jon to lie down with me to see if I could rest between rushes. We spooned and he rubbed my back. I could feel him sharing loving, peaceful energy with me. So soothing… Amazingly, as if my body heard my call, my rushes spread back to 6 minutes apart for a little while, so I was able to sleep between them.
Two hours later, at 6am, my rushes got closer and intensified. I sat up recharged and ready to give birth to our baby. We called my Mom to get her up to speed, telling her she could contact my Blessing Way circle of Sisters around 7am to light their candles and send good energies…and that she should arrive around 8 to be there when our 5 year old son, Abner, was waking so she could help dress him and take him to her house just down the street. She expressed that she kept feeling that the baby would come around 11am. I then had Jon call the midwife to give her an update on my progress. She said she would begin gathering her things and her team (her daughter, Carissa, and Sandee) and head our way in a bit.
The toilet, being a place of opening and releasing, felt like a good place for me, so I decided to hang out there. All the while, Jon was right by my side supporting me, rubbing my back, thanking me and telling me how beautiful I was and how wonderful I was doing. With each rush, I would tone low, primal sounds while visualizing myself opening up like a lotus. The sounds washed through me, helping me open and relieving my discomfort. In hindsight, I imagine these sound vibrations also comforted our baby from within.
(Click here to hear my Primal Birth Sounding.)
My bum began to get tired of the toilet seat, so I asked Jon to prepare a bath. He helped me up from the toilet, and we danced as he assisted me into the tub. Ahhhhhh, how wonderful the water felt. I called upon its wisdom, the support of my ancestors who gave birth before me, Source and my highest guides. The sun was rising, casting the most beautiful golden hue on the woods outside my bathtub’s picture window. I felt so much love from the sacred cedars and all the nature spirits, expressing my gratitude for them. I visualized my central channel cleared and charged with pure Source energy. I could feel it pouring in through my crown and emanating throughout my being.
Still in the bath, at 8am, my Mom arrived just as our son was waking. The midwife and her team arrived at 8:30 and finished prepping our bedroom. Sandee was diligently providing doula support and giving me water to drink between each rush. My Mom and Abner came to tell us goodbye, and they left for her house.
Feeling my rushes beginning to become stagnant, my intuition guided me to get out of the bath and back on the loo. Once there, my midwife, Jennifer knotted up a sarong to create a little tug of war for Jon and I. I began pulling on it during rushes, and after a couple went by, I suddenly heard and felt a POP, followed by waters rushing out. I then vomited, but only once. After that, my rushes reached a whole new level of intensity, like crashing waves on a stormy day, coming strong and fast. I knew then I was in transition.
Uncomfortable with the hard toilet seat at this phase, Jon assisted me to a seated position on the Gaiam ball that my intuition guided me to borrow from my Mom weeks prior. My chest was supported with pillows on our bed in front of me. It was then that I felt the urge to begin pushing, and with each rush I would circle my hips atop the ball, noticing that certain positions would bring forth more waters. I was a mammal, a powerful tigress, sounding deep and guttural. My team assured me that I was very close and doing great. Though I wanted to believe them, a part of me felt they were just saying that to make me feel better, since I pushed 3 hours with my first. I realized that doubt wasn’t helping, so I shifted back to trusting and knowing it was true, that our baby would soon be born.
In no time it seemed, I began feeling down pressure sitting on the ball, and decided to get up. My team guided me on all fours, placed the ball in front of me and draped a towel over it for me to grip. As my legs were tired, I sat back on my feet in a modified squat position and kept pushing with the rushes. Oooooooooooommmm…Ooooooooooommmmm… more sounding, more opening.
All the sudden I found myself concerned over not having paid my midwife in full, yet. I knew from reading the birthing stories in Ina May’s midwifery books that once women voiced their toils, the baby came right out. She sensed my thinking, and asked me about it, just as I was beginning to share that there was something I needed to express. Once I did, and she very kindly assured me that she was not worried about it, that it was okay, and that right now, I just needed to have this baby, I got back to the task at hand.
Just as the stories told, within 5 minutes, I felt a strong burning sensation. It was like I was giving birth through my bum hole. (People don’t talk about this much, but it’s true!) Jennifer checked me, and she said she felt the baby’s head. After a couple more pushes, she directed me to raise my bum up off my feet a bit and shared, “We’ve got the head!” On one hand I was so excited to hear his head was out, but on the other hand I was like, “Then what is the hang up?!”, because with my first, once the head was out, the rest of him just slid on out. I felt a gentle tug and immediate relief…our baby was born at 11:34am!!! Since I was facing the other direction, I turned my head and saw our precious BOY!!! Surprise, it’s a boy!!! I watched as they cleared his airways and he turned pink. The song of his cries was music to my ears.
Jon helped me to the bed, and they placed our precious baby in my arms. Infinite loooove! We went right to work on getting latched and breastfeeding. It took him a little while, but he tried diligently and got the hang of it, finally latching and drinking in my sacred, natural nourishment. The placenta was born and Jon cut the cord once it was done pumping. Abner and Mom arrived at the house to check on us, only to find that the baby had been born. They came in and greeted our new family member, Arian Om. All together, our family of four at last.
Once he was done nursing, Jennifer and her team took him to clean, weigh and dress him. I hear Jennifer calmly proclaim, “He weighs 10 lbs., 13 oz.”. “WHAT!?”, I responded. She repeated herself, and I couldn’t believe my ears. He was 22″ long, his head was over 15 inches and his chest was over 16(!!), which was why his body didn’t just sliiiiide right out. I was so amazed and happy that I had birthed that much baby without a single perineal tear. Jennifer shared that he was the biggest baby she had ever caught or even attended. She returned him to my arms quickly, so we weren’t apart for long, and it was sail away to baby bliss for me.