Birth Story (Part 1)

Strangely enough Abraham’s birth story began many years before he was even conceived. His birth was not a moment in time. Rather it was a process; a process of discovery, of healing, of desire, and of joy. I am exceptionally thankful for the impact that process has had on me as a mother and as a woman.

When we found out we were expecting our second child, our first baby was 16 months old. His birth still resonated strongly in my heart and in my mind. I knew I wanted a different experience this time. I knew how I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel empowered. I wanted to feel strong and capable. I wanted to feel connected to the generations of women past and present who believed in the amazing capabilities of the female body. Essentially, I wanted to feel; to experience and embrace the full sensations of birth without interference from a health care provider, birth attendant, medical intervention or the like.

The experiences with my firstborn left me feeling rather vulnerable. It was as if I needed to protect myself and this baby from the pervasive, unfounded fears that typically surround pregnancy and childbirth. I turned inward to reflect upon my desires for this birth. Free from external measurements, I embraced pregnancy wholeheartedly. I became the authority on my body and my baby. It was a truly liberating experience not having prenatal care. I felt a special connection to my baby because I had to be more attune to both of us. Slowly over the course of the pregnancy I began to trust in nature’s perfect design for pregnancy and birth.

I loved being pregnant and I welcomed my growing belly; it made me feel beautiful. Carrying a child in my womb gave me a new purpose. At 33 weeks gestation the answers unfolded as we selected a kind and gentle midwife team to attend our baby’s birth. Ironically we had initiated prenatal care with them at almost the same time during my pregnancy with J. While that may appear a confusing choice, (after all if I was unsatisfied with my first birth experience, why would I select the same birth attendants?) I felt completely confident it was the perfect choice. I knew I brought a different dynamic with me this time. I believed this force within me was the missing piece of the puzzle during J’s birth.
During one of our initial visits, the midwife asked me what I wanted from prenatal care. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect question from a care provider. From the start she empowered us to make choices and lead the way in this journey. Her sudden presence at the end of my pregnancy did not interfere with the connectedness I had developed with my body/baby (something I was afraid of in choosing a care provider). Actually quite the opposite; her support and belief in us only strengthened the existing bond between a mother and her unborn child. There were many people I kept at bay during this pregnancy, but I let her into that intimate space within my soul. I trusted her because she trusted birth.

My subconscious mind knew there was a baby growing in my womb and it told me so in a dream. I had a dream that I gave birth to a baby at home after a relatively easy 6 hour labor. I believe that dream allowed me to cultivate the birth I desired and prepared me for a journey of openness and discovery during the months that ensued. About a week after having that dream, I took a home pregnancy test to confirm what my subconscious already knew; I was carrying a new life inside me.

There were a few important, perhaps seemingly subtle, but ultimately monumental differences during my second pregnancy. Rather than attach to a calculated due date, I anticipated a due “time”. I understood that baby would arrive at the perfect time and I completely let go of any expectations around baby’s birth date. From 28 weeks on I practiced daily meditations. This was a little space in my day devoted to me and baby. It was our time to bond, to connect, to communicate, and to develop trust with one another. In doing so, I revealed the benefits of mindfully and intentionally focusing on our unborn child’s existing presence in our lives. It was through these daily meditations that I grew surprisingly excited about giving birth. I began to look at it as an opportunity. A rare opportunity to be my true self by tapping into the inner strength and wisdom I innately possessed but rarely used. Labor wasn’t something to get through; it was something to be revered.

Thursday night I experienced irregular contractions through the night. I listened to my pregnancy affirmations CD to keep relaxed so I could sleep. I did not want approach labor feeling tired. Friday morning hubby questioned if he should stay home, but I sent him to work. I knew that I still had some time before baby would make his/her arrival. Additionally I wanted time alone with J before he became a big brother. I wanted to savor our final time together with him as my only.

We went about our day staying busy cooking meals to freeze, cleaning the house, and simply enjoying one another. We took a long, peaceful nap together. I experienced mild contractions on and off throughout the day. I would stop to notice them, but then continue on with whatever is was I was doing. Hubby checked in with me on the phone frequently throughout the day. Without me explicitly saying so, he understood the baby would be arriving soon.

Later that afternoon (2:00ish) things started to pick up in intensity. J was still sleeping and I was outside cleaning up the yard. The contractions were starting to take more and more of my attention. I decided to call hubby to ask him to come home. A short time later J woke up. By that time I was experiencing more regular contractions and actively working with them by squatting, rocking, and swaying. J followed me around the house and imitated what I was doing. He kept asking me “what are you doing momma?” And I would say “I’m getting ready to push the baby out”. As much as I cherished this private time we had together, I was thankful when hubby got home because it was getting harder for me to take care of J as labor progressed.

Hubby called the midwife when he arrived home (4:00ish). She asked him if they should come over. Hubby called to me as I rocked on my hands and knees during a contraction “Do you want them to come over?” That is when I started to cry. I realized it was time: time to birth our baby. This evoked an extraordinary emotional response from me. Through my tears, I simply nodded “yes”. These tears did not carry sadness, excitement, fear, joy, or any other label I could attach to them; rather they were pure, raw…almost reflexive in nature. They felt good. I let them flow and they stopped nearly as quickly as they had started. It was as though I had to release something in order to really focus on the amazing work my body was about to do. That is when I felt like active labor started….

To be continued…Part 2 coming tomorrow…

What did you do mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually to prepare for birthing your baby? Birth is one of my favorite topics so I hope you’ll share your ideas!!


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