Pregnancy and birth are magical and a very special moment of life, which is very hard for me to put into words; I cherish it so much.
By the act of love the journey started and by the act of love my husband Oliver and I decided to invite our baby to this world.
At 2:30 in the morning my first contraction started and when another one and another one followed in 3 minute intervals we got excited. This is it. No matter how long it will take, there will be three of us at the end.
I called my midwife, Katherine and with excited and happy voice described how everything was going.
To my surprise her final gentle words were, “let me know when you need me…” Through the whole pregnancy she never let me down…I was always leaving our appointments lighthearted, happy and special. Now also I trusted her confidence in me that I will know the moment to call her again.
I sent Oliver back to sleep, because I wanted him to be rested. At 5:30 when I couldn’t be silent anymore, with more intense contractions I woke him up and he called Katherine.
I welcomed her from my ‘throne,’ the most comfortable spot in the house at that time...the toilet seat. She
was followed by her assistants.
Katherine was checking the baby’s heartbeat and preparing the rest of the things she would need for the birth. Everything was working very smoothly and gently.
With the urge to push I was helped to the living room, where Oliver and the assistant midwife were trying to cool the water in the birth tub. I had to laugh, when the assistant approached the birth tub with the smallest pot in the house in order to cool it! It was a great moment!
I never made it in the tub. From the birthing stool I switched to leaning in Oliver’s arms in front of the bed. Through all the contracting and pushing, Oliver was gently holding his hands on my belly and stroking my head.
My thoughts were thick and charged. They ran through my head very fast. I thought how close Oliver’s hand is to our baby, just some layers of skin and tissue in between. I thought about my mom, I admired her and all women who have given birth…especially my friend’s mom who had fifteen children.
I thought how impossible it is to get someone to tell you how the birth feels.
I was asking my baby to help.
When my baby’s head started to crown, my eyes went big. I have never felt like that before. It was beyond everything.
And then again there were the kind brown eyes of Katherine…who told me at that moment very reassuringly, “that’s okay, that is the ring of fire,” and she smiled at me.
The ring of fire it was!
I was seriously weighing my options, “shall I push the baby back in?”
“No, no. I would have to deal with it later. I cannot run away from this one.”
“Well then now or never…” and I pushed the last time and what a relief! And at the same time the most magical moment in the world…our baby was here.
That is indescribable. It was a short (7hrs)…an intense and beautiful birth.
From that moment on I was elevated to the clouds and nothing in the world could bring me down. We have a baby boy Marco, so loveable and a real manifestation of our love.
Katherine, I'm writing this at 1:10 a.m. after a red-faced screaming match during a diaper change...and yet I have to agree with you...to admit that you were right: I would do it again.
This Is What I Know To Be True About My Labor And Birth
I went into labor on Monday late afternoon
I spent my early labor bustling around town with my mom
Around 2 pm the next day I was 70% effaced and 2 cm dilated
Tuesday evening I labored alone in the dark with my music
That time was very other-worldly
It can take a long time to go from 2 cm to 10 cm
I don't know how I would have survived without my amazing birth team
Assistant midwives Rock
'Let It Be Big" -Katherine
The lip of my cervix was very stubborn
"Why is it taking so long?" -Me...about everything
The birth tub was amazing
I was amazed at how much the birth tub didn't help me once my labor truly progressed
I understand why some women cuss out their partners
Apple juice ice cubes are delicious
My water broke at 9:08 a.m....it had meconium in it
My informal mantra was, "relax, trust, open."
Mantras only work for so long
When in transition I firmly told myself that I had felt more pain than this before...somehow that helped
I saw the dawn on the day of my daughter's birth
I lived every second
I was naked...I didn't care
I had a birthing song
Sometimes there is no 'more
There is always 'more' when there has to be
I planned a homebirth'
I gave birth in a hospital
I am at peace with the 2 previous truths
The ambulance ride took a lifetime
She presented occipital posterior
I had an ipisiotomy
I had 2 failed tries at a vacuum assisted birth
There is nothing more beautiful or more strong than a woman in labor
I did it
I did it without drugs
I would do it again and again for her
I am a mother
The Birth of Maya
It was Sunday, five days past my due date. The elusive due date…the first glimpse of the mystery that is our children.
My first baby was almost two weeks early. So I was ready.
I was able to find some peace in Katherine’s assurance that my baby knew the exact moment she would be born. This Goddess child who has been sharing my breath all these months…trust her…she knows.
I went for a massage that Sunday morning. Lindsey was pregnant too, about three months and I knew that I would be doing this for her when she was close to meeting her baby.
This is what I love…women and mothers supporting each other, nurturing with our hands and with our hearts, reminding each other and ourselves of what we too know.
Bonnie and Sophia went skating that afternoon so I could nap. At 3:00 I woke up and in that sleepy, dreamy just-waking state I could not figure out why I was wet. When I stood up everything made sense.
I called Bonnie and then I called Katherine to tell her my water broke. No contractions yet. I would call later.
Bonnie, Sophia and I spent a quiet afternoon and evening together, our last moments as a family of three.
After dinner contractions started coming sporadically. I had given birth before but labor had been induced, so there were definite moments of needing to keep the doubt at bay. I told myself, “my body knows how to do this. MY BODY KNOWS HOW TO DO THIS.”
Around 7:00 my mother arrived to help with Sophia…stories and bedtime as usual. Well, as usual as possible while timing contractions that were now more intense and more regular.
We loved Sophia into sleep that night. My precious first child. She has no idea how her life is about to change.
At 8:00, with Sophia tucked in bed, my body kicked itself into high gear. I called Katherine again “do you want me to come now?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I guess so. It feels like things are moving quickly.”
With lights low, candles lit and my favorite CD playing, I felt calm and quiet, moving inward, preparing for whatever was coming next.
Katherine arrived. Erin shortly after. Some details of the next two and a half hours are sharp and clear, forever burned into my memory. Other details are soft and subtle like twilight. It was in these moments where I felt myself slipping between worlds to a place where my baby and I have known each other for
eternity, a place where we could connect to complete this journey of meeting again.
I thought I would be up and moving a lot more but ended up spending most of the time in the recliner. Bonnie sat in front of me where I could lean into her. She was so solid, which is what I first loved about her when we met.
We were doing this together, our baby was coming.
There was a moment when everything changed and it was time to get into the tub. This transition was scary for me. I was actually a bit panicked. Should I sit? Should I kneel? Should I get out of the tub? Nothing felt comfortable.
There it was…the Oh My God I Can’t Do This feeling.
Fortunately this passed quickly. I felt my body rise and fall with each breath and was able to relax and allow myself to be completely supported in the water. Water…the element of change and transformation, containing the ability to be both fierce and gentle, exactly what was required of me to birth this baby.
Outside of the tub Bonnie was behind me, her arms around me, supporting me. Erin’s quiet words of encouragement floated in like whispers. Then there was Katherine…her words I will never forget. Spoken softly but with such conviction, “don’t push, just breathe. You’re going to breathe your baby out. Don’t push just breathe.”
No words were ever more true for me or touched me more deeply. It happened quickly, less than 15 minutes I think.
Don’t push, just breathe and our baby slipped from my body into warm water and welcoming hands.
After nine months of feeling her inside me to now be looking at her face and touching her skin is beyond description.
My baby, the entire world held inside that tiny body.