“I loved her the moment I laid eyes on her; I wanted to hold her close and breathe her in.”
…She was such an intense little newborn, with a lusty cry, almost like a lion cub…my sun girl…dark hair covered the nape of her neck; I felt so magical about her and knew instantaneously that she would have this hold over me. Her name means “the Creator is beautiful”…I knew that my body had to heal but also that she needed me. Upon getting her home, it was like “what do we do now?” But she let me know and we slowly fell into a rhythm…I was thankful, truly. She latched on perfectly when I began breastfeeding. I felt kind of emotional about my delivery, but feeling confident during breastfeeding somewhat superseded those thoughts. Time truly healed my spirits and watching how beautifully my baby girl was thriving gave me so much peace.
“Was there anything I was afraid of?”
When I think about my first birth experience, it was like there was a loss of control over the situation; my birth was in “someone else’s hands” and I felt very vulnerable being in a hospital setting to have my child. I remember how I felt emotionally, I was VERY nervous and my temperature had slightly risen. My contractions were gaining momentum and I was feeling weary and unsure. The energy from my nervousness was felt by my baby and when my water broke, it was not clear. A c-section was in order not long after; mostly related to concern over my baby’s heart rate, meconium in the amniotic fluid and “distress”. What was about to happen? I had not imagined that I’d have my baby born via a c-section. Everything was so sudden, I was scared as hell, yet prepared to do this and move through. I didn’t know what to feel at first about having a c-section and honestly after I saw my baby, I knew that she and I would be like two peas in a pod… Still, it would be a long road to recovery. The healing process was no joke…dealing with major abdominal and uterine surgery, and caring for an infant is a reality for many new mothers. Though I was thankful we were both okay, I did not wish to go through another c-section in the future…and so learning about a VBAC would be my next journey.
A few years later; I was expecting my second baby and feeling more confident in my choices about how this birth would go. It seemed that when I shared the fact that I had a C-section with my first child; that I was automatically a candidate for an indefinite hospital birth and possibly another c-section; neither of which I desired. Hope came in the form of a midwife that some of my close friends had used for their births, she was spoken of highly and I definitely wanted to connect with her.
I felt confident with her when I met her and knew that she’d seen many babies come into this realm and her calling was to be a “gatekeeper”, a midwife. She had faith in my ability to birth my baby naturally this time around; something I wished to at least try. I wanted to have a clear mind on what would be taking place; I began comparing birth books that I read; my interests piqued from “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” to books written by Aviva Jill Romm and Sheila Kitzinger; women who spoke openly about birth, not to mention “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin.
“I was about to embark on a new adventure as I planned to tread the waters of “natural birth”. I would be giving birth at home…”
I remember the day like yesterday, being surrounded by my loved ones, and feeling reassured that every contraction was bringing me closer to seeing my little one. I remember how we prepared the room in which I would be laboring, I remember our trip to the store to gather the supplies we would need for my home birth. It was surreal; I couldn’t believe the moment had finally arrived. I remember the joy I felt when I went to the bathroom and noticed my mucus plug becoming “unplugged.” My contractions were coming but were not as intense yet, so I had some energy to rely on for the real work I had to do later. My midwife would not leave my side, she watched me as I walked around, ate, took a nap, laughed, bounced on my birth ball and then later; as I sighed. Doubt started to creep in right around the time the contractions were beginning to reach their peak, but I knew I had to stay with this energy… My beloved doula, a very close friend of mine who also had used the same midwife, rubbed my feet, she hugged me, and she asked me what I needed. I tried to keep a sense of humor, laughing with everyone when I could muster the strength to…I smelled food cooking in the kitchen as I walked around, now feeling the depth of the contractions. It was a beautiful day in March and I needed some air, and many a walk did I take that day. There was a lot of leaning and squatting…I wanted to get things moving, subconsciously I was accessing my inner power! I loved how I was working with gravity to assist me in labor; I was proud of myself. My midwife listened to my baby’s heart beat, she checked me, but not often, as she knew I was progressing well. I tried to rest in between contractions but it was not as easy or seemingly possible. However, I caught a few moments somehow…My tolerance for pain is not weak in the least bit, but this pain was overwhelming after a while. I also began feeling the baby moving down more, especially after all of the walking and squatting I had been doing. I knew that it was getting real, I was about to go to the point of no return. I started to become nervous, yet felt ready to experience this birth. I sat up in bed and listened intently as my midwife looked me in my eyes and calmly told me my baby was coming. She had tuned into me from the beginning and could naturally sense my hesitance…Her encouragement and the fire in her eyes was reassuring in the ways that I needed. I began feeling the desire to bear down, like an uncontrollable force had overtaken me; I felt my womb working to help my baby come forward. I actually was excited at the prospect of pushing during my contractions, working with them instead of against them was quite inviting to me…I sat up, my red flowery dress falling around my hips and released the energy needed to push. I felt the most indescribable feeling ever; my baby emerging from within. I paused between pushes, my midwife sitting in front of me and my partner next to me. She looked down and said she could see the baby’s head. I honestly can’t remember if I reached down to touch; but I knew I was close to delivering as I could feel the unmistakable “ring of fire.”
For a split second I was in a state of ecstatic bliss and pain at the same time if that makes sense; I attempted to go within the blissful feeling but it was so subtle and just like that…I heard her cry and knew… the last and final push, I gave my all to and out she came. I felt so light; literally. I had another little girl; My little moon, her name means “heavenly child, wreath of flowers”. She had the biggest eyes and they looked me over and took me in just as I did with her. My midwife weighed her using a spring scale and she was 7 pounds even. She looked at me and said, “she’s a beautiful baby, mommy”…I smiled and felt the love in her words; her congratulations to me… Big sis came in the room after having not seeing mommy for a bit and we cuddled together, this was what my home birth was like. I would not have traded this for the world.
I’m in awe of the journey a woman can have during her birth…we have what we need. No woman ever forgets how she gave birth, how she felt, what she envisioned and her memories are part of her journey.
Listening to our inner voice is like having an internal compass, we just have to pay attention and follow its lead…since when has it ever been wrong?
Such is the case with our birth experiences…
“I feel a little heart beating now, outside of my womb, yet still next to my heart…