I was 22, married (but that’s a whole other story).. And the pregnancy test said POSITIVE. I was awestruck to say the least. I lay in bed trying to feel the cells dividing deep within in me… yet physically, I felt nothing…. but there was a definite magical excitement brewing… I could not sleep for days as when I was alone in the dark all the wonder and curiosities of life, birth and motherhood engulfed me, the joy was intense.
The first midwife I met was “the one.” She had very long sandy blond hair that ran all the way down her back, she told me that she spent every Sunday washing it in a ritualistic way- Of course she was the one! Her excitement for my pregnancy mirrored mine, her blue eyes watered with joy as we chatted in her home about this journey I was on. Her honesty and openness was new to me, and contagious, I felt her warm love and I bathed in it. She was to be my guidance and I put all my faith in her, and she put all her faith in me.
The initial joy I felt stayed with me the whole pregnancy. There was also emotional roller coasters, cleansing and transforming which was at times strong. Most days were filled with excited talk about what the baby would look like, what motherhood would be like… hopes and dreams.
I chose to birth my baby at home. It seemed like a reasonable choice, yet I wasn’t prepared for the negative reactions thrown at me. Your baby could die, what if the cord is around the babies neck, you are not an animal etc, every single person had a scary idea to plant in my head. Yet I knew that if I could get a baby in me, surely I could get it out. There seemed to be much effort to pop bubble of joy… but I protected that joy bubble with my life. Even my husband said “go to the hospital where the medicine is.” I replied “when I go into labour, you can wait at the hospital with the medicine (not sure what the medicine was for) and I will birth our baby at home, come join me if you like:” I refused to allow others negativity to penetrate me, I felt sacred and relished the joy of carrying a baby in my womb. I’m a magic woman.
One night before bed, I went to the loo and noticed my mucous plug coming away!! Intense excitement! My head spun and I wondered if I should phone the news… I mean shit, Im about to give birth… nothing ever felt so news worthy. Instead, I smiled at my magical self and went to bed. I awoke in the night to surges, it felt like a special little secret that I kept all to myself, rolling it around in my heart, till the morning. When I told my husband he reacted in panic, which was alarming for me…. so I sent him to work and told him I would call him if things progressed. I called my friend, who also panicked…. right! That’s it! I’m a magic woman and the deep sense of calm that flowed through me didn’t need disturbance, so I also told her that I’d call her when things changed.
I went for a walk with a big pad between my legs as my waters were leaking. I enjoyed being within myself, knowing my baby was on his way, protecting my joy, my sense of inner grace and trust, keeping myself safe from others desecration. I felt sacred, and I needed to protect that.
As the day went on my surges intensified. Dark came, my mother and twelve year old sister arrived. I got to a point where I didn’t know what to do with the sensations as they were so strong. Panic started to trickle in…. I phoned the midwife.
I shut myself in my bedroom in the dark and felt scared, how can I do this? It hurts way more than I thought it would, way more than I ever could have imagined. What do I do with this pain?? And then it dawned on me, I cannot escape this, it’s coming whether I’m ready or not. That’s when I let go, resistance stepped graciously out of the way, my mind left and there was just quiet. The dark comforted me and I began to instinctively rock left to right during the surges, this helped. When my midwife Lyndel came, she bought in her aura of calm and her empathetic watery blue eyes that said “I’m here with you, I see where you are, I trust you.” She whispered to my husband to start filling the pool in the lounge and I rocked through the night in the darkness, and security of my own quiet bedroom.
I hoped in the pool of water exhausted, eyes closed. It felt good but I wanted it to take the pain away… it didn’t. The intensity doubled, or did it triple? I don’t know, there was no thought, I was just being. When the surges came I roared, I roared deep and long and loud and was shocked that I made such sounds. But it felt so so good to express the enormity of power that was overtaking me. I roared deep into the night. It seemed to never end. In between surges I hung my arms over the side of the pool, my husband held my shoulders (he didn’t end up going to the hospital for some reason..), and there was such profound stillness, nothingness, complete rejuvenation, and when a surge came, I grabbed my husbands arms and ROARED. The student midwife pressed the pressure points in my back and my mother put hot towels on my back and my sister rolled her eyes and thought I was rather dramatic.. This continued until the early hours of the morning when…I heard my roars change tone as the baby came down lower and lower. I stepped out of the pool to change positions and the next surge bought me to my knees, he was coming!…. ohhh the feeling was so deep, I began to whimper, and then a stinging sensation… ahhh they told me about this. I wasn’t scared. I heard my mother say “Oh he has juicy lips and lots of hair,” Oh she can see him! I marvelled!.. !! I felt his head birth!
The next moments here lingered as I awaited the next surge, in limbo between pregnancy and birth, between me and motherhood, there was peace, there was total trust and surrender. Some form of being witness to all the miracles of the universe, to creation itself! It was the initiation!
The next surge came and my baby’s body came out of mine! My eyes were closed and feelings gushed over me like a powerful waterfall. Pure elation, joy, AWE. I scooped him up on to my chest. His arm reached up to me, we looked into each others eyes and I began to cry rather loudly. He didn’t, he just peacefully watched, he was so alert, so present.
“I did it!”
“Hello little guy”
“I did it!!”
He was perfect of course. All babies are. Brand new and perfect. And there was that joy that I had held within me my whole pregnancy! Only far bigger than I could have ever even imagined! Love was as powerful as the birth, I cried for every mother, I WAS every mother! Every mother was ME! I felt the universe, I was Mother Nature and wow she is magic!
After birthing the placenta, my midwife tucked me into bed and lit a candle. She sat with me in those quiet early hours of the morning and told me how amazing I was, told me of my power, the power of woman.
The way she cared and loved me has inspired the work I do now as a Birth Doula. I walk with women to the gates of initiation. They have to walk through themselves. I am just there believing in them, encouraging them, holding the space. I get to witness the power of women at every birth I attend. It is a sacred event- to witness the act of love in its highest form.