Monday, November 03, 2008

As Promised... that magical night revisited

My birth actually started on the Friday night when I was surprised with a blessingway from my friends. I was surrounded by goddesses, hands on my belly, down in the heart of the cedar grove by the creek, each of my dear friends blessing my baby, myself and my birth. It was one of the most deeply spiritual experiences I've ever had. I have never felt that much power and love around me and I knew I was experiencing a ritual of the ancients who knew the power of tribe, of sisterhood, and of tapping into the pulse of the Great Mother. As we joined ourselves with one long piece of wool I knew that I would have the most powerful birth of my life. My sweet friends filled my soul and decorated my belly with their love...

Saturday my little family went to the lake and spent the night. Swimming in the cool water I could feel the little spirit within me preparing me for a wonderful birth. I dreamt that night of this little being emerging into the lake as I swam. Thankfully, she didn't ;o)
Sunday we had a scare with Pedar -- a terribly scarey fever and ferocious vomiting. It was the perfect reminder of how tenuous everything in this life is -- and how precious it is. Sunday night my wonderful aunt arrived and I knew things would happen soon...
Monday night I fell asleep early and was dreaming that I was birthing without knowing I was birthing and was wondering how I would know to wake up when the baby was born. Then I woke up with a powerful contraction and knew instantly that things were starting. I rode the waves of the contractions for a half hour and then got up to email my friends to light their candles and cut the strings around their wrists (in case any of them were still awake). I read my friend Tabitha's birth story and watched a birth video she'd sent me of a powerful birth of one of her friends'. Then I went outside. There were so many stars and they were pulsing so strongly I felt I was in a dream. A memory of being in the bottom of the grand canyon with my family on a river rafting trip came to me and I remembered hearing my mother's laugh echo against the canyon walls. I closed my eyes and felt myself riding on the rapids of that powerful river as I rode through several more contractions. I could feel the power of the stars surging into my body as I stood under them. I went for a walk, then, and my sweet dog kept close by my side, rubbing her head into my hand as I moaned and leaned against the trees with each strengthening surge. The power of the trees felt like my sisters' hands again on my belly, pouring love and blessings into me. I've never felt the life force of my beloved trees as I did that night. An image came to me of Dina in "The Red Tent" in labour, looking into the eyes of the women around her and knowing that she could do this because of the love and strength in their eyes. That's how I felt looking up at the trees above me -- like I was surrounded by a powerful sisterhood. And it reminded me of the women in my tribe surrounding me at my blessingway -- of looking into their eyes and seeing the love and strength pouring into me...
I hung balloons at the top of the driveway for the midwife and her attendant and came back down slowly, stopping and moaning up to the stars through the trees with each surge. I laid on the bed outside and discovered the fingernail moon peeking at me through the oak tree and felt her moan with me and pour down her magic into me as I moaned up to her. Now in the moon shadows I realized that my contractions were getting very close together and I wondered if I should let anyone know what was happening! I went to get Brent's watch to time my surges, and he woke up as I reached for it. His eyes flew open and he said "what's happening?" I said "I'm in labour, but I'm doing fine and I'll come get you when I need you." He said "OK" and closed his eyes again. But minutes later I could hear him in the bathroom listening to me work through my surges. Somehow that quickened me and with the surges only 3 minutes apart I called the midwife and I called Andrea to come be with the kids. I'd tested positive for Group B Strep, so my midwife asked me on the phone if I wanted to take the antibiotics. I told her I felt healthy and strong and my water hadn't broken so I would not need them. She agreed and said she'd come right over.
I worked through a few more contractions and at 3:30 I went downstairs and started the bath. The midwife arrived just as I was getting into the tub and with all the candles lit, the warm water and my little pregnant goddess statue with me, my contractions slowed down. I felt SO joyful, so ready, so powerful! Brent's eyes were shining and I could feel that he was finally ready to be a daddy to three! His eyes are so expressive and that night I could feel love and faith in them every time he looked at me. The surges resumed and at 4:15 I could tell that things were going to start to get more intense so I asked Andrea and Brent to wake A&P. They came down, their eyes shining with excitement and sat with us in the bathroom as I worked through the next few surges. My aunt had woken up too and we were all there together in the bathroom. It was wonderful having everyone there with me with the powerful birthing energy filling up the little room. A & P were well prepared -- we'd watched some birth videos, we'd looked at the very graphic photos of A's birth, we'd practiced what the sounds were going to be like and read several wonderful children's books about homebirth. They weren't worried at all.
After awhile I felt I needed to work harder and so I asked everyone to leave the room, except Brent. Andrea took A&P into the room next to the bathroom and read stories to them. They listened for my contractions and when I moaned through each surge they stopped reading and held out their hands and sent me opening up energy through their hands (bless!) At one point it occurred to me that my moaning might be scaring them, but I knew they were with Andrea and that she had complete faith in the process and so I was able to completely let that fear go and do what I needed to do. What a gift! The surges were intense and so powerful and I found it easiest labouring on my side in the water.

The midwife asked if she could check me so she'd know when to call her attendant and I said she could as long as she didn't tell me how dilated I was. When the attendant arrived I saw her out of the corner of my eye and thought she was Brent's mum! I was so startled I missed a contraction!! We had a good laugh about that later!
Soon I was pushing and it felt soooooooo good to push. I was pushing because my body couldn't do anything but push and it was such a primal, deep, amazing feeling. In my previous two births my midwives had told me when to push and I wasn't as in touch with the feeling as I was this time. Each push felt like a deep primal earthy orgasm. It was so amazing. I felt the head crown and told Brent to hurry A&P back in and everyone rushed in. It was harder than I'd remembered to push the head out and I learned later that that was because the water sac was still intact! The midwife broke the sac when she checked for the cord, which was around the neck. She told me to push again and I was waiting for another contraction. She told me to push with a sound of urgency and then asked her attendant for her "instrument tray" and so I pushed with all my might (I thought she was going to cut me!) and out came my little baby. She lifted her up and then had to pull her back down to loop her through the cord and up onto my chest came my squidgy tiny baby. Her eyes were wide open and she looked right at A&P. She cried a little and we were all just in awe of her. Diane (attendant) put a towel over her and said something like "we don't want him to get cold" so I thought she was a HE! I was surprised! Then a few minutes of oohing and awwing later, Sylvia (midwife) asked if we wanted to check to see if it was a boy or girl and A checked and wasn't sure! All she could see was a bum. Sylvia told her it was a little sister so A announced her name. She would have been Hans Michael had she been a boy. Brent took our wee girl onto his chest so I could get out of the tub and she cried. A got very protective and told the midwife that her little sister did not like being moved around. Bless! We were all in bed upstairs within minutes and oh! What a beautiful feeling to know that our sweet little family was complete.

The sweetest girl

I never seem to remember from baby to baby just how powerful the love bond is between a mother and her new baby... This little angel is just the sweetest thing there's ever been. She's as quiet and gentle as a little fawn, so alert and strong and connected to her mama. She loves the sling sometimes, and can't be convinced when she doesn't... She loves to sit in her bouncy chair and coo to her big brother and sister. She loves to talk and her laughter is so contagious that we've been known to fall off our chairs from the pure joy of her...
She communicates so effectively and she really never cries.
She lets me know just what she needs when she needs it and is the squidgiest, sweetest smelling little pixie...
Her smile lights up the whole room and truly there's never been a more loved baby. Her big sister and big brother worship her and she adores them right back. Just look at her after-bath-cupie hair!
She loves her daddy too. But she's mama's little girl. Nothing makes her happier than the sight of my face over her. Her whole body smiles with joy. I'd forgotten what that does to the insides of a mama... Such.sweet.sweet.bliss...

All Hallow's Eve

This is us at our neighbour's door (H not so sure!)
A was "herself" (a witch) and P was a dragon
our neighbours took this one and it's the only picture we have of me. I was a witch at our Samhain party, but I didn't get any photos. Sorry! H was the cutest little bunny evah!
A and I made these cute little treat bags out of paper mache and pipe cleaners. They were totally A's idea. They turned out so cute!