Words cannot describe the sheer bliss of this time of my life... I love love LOVE being a mother and it's unbelievable how my heart feels when I look at this little gentleman.
I wrote a very long birth story to one day give to Rafi, but here's the short version so that you can be invited into a beautiful fairytale of a family beginning, and recognize how empowering and enlightening a properly supported home birth can be.
"Dear Rafael, you are the love of my life. This is the story of the day you were born.
"Before I do my best to describe that day, I have to go back to many months before to set the stage. Your daddy and I decided out of love that we wanted the gift of a child, and we prayed that God would give us you. God heard us, and we began to see him work small miracles of healing of relationships and our own hearts from the time we found out we were going to have you and onwards.
"Sometime during my pregnancy, I heard about the possibility of having a supernatural childbirth. There is a book called Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize and I read through it and listened to the audiobook a number of times. The best way I can explain it is that it is natural childbirth with the power of Jesus removing the curse of sin from man and women so they can experience childbirth as God had planned it from the time Adam and Eve were walking in perfect friendship with God in the garden. The most important statement that is made in these books is that fear is a great source of woman’s pain in childbirth because it makes her anxious and tense and the labour harder. Perfect love, God says, casts our fear, so if we have God then we have power over fear and everything to do with it! What an amazing promise this was, I was so happy to hear it!
"Well, April 30th arrived – a day after your due date. I always thought you would be “late”, but I imagined at least 5 days late! I was woken up by very mild achy feelings at 1 am. When Daddy and I decided to get out of bed, I imagine it was around 8:30, and we did our regular routine – he was off work at this point, so we ate breakfast together. I told him something was different today, something was happening! He was very excited! I had to sit on the exercise ball and bounce around or roll around on it more often as the morning progressed.
"I called the doula Suzanne around 11 AM and she suggested timing the waves and calling her when they were ten minutes apart to see how I was coping. I decided to take a bath and it felt a little bit better and I was more relaxed after getting out, but the waves kept building in intensity. After the short bath, I chose the “welcome and ignore” tactic by starting to make your great grandma’s sourdough recipe – yum! Just the smell was enough at times to distract me and bring memories of fresh baking at great-grandma’s house. I had planned to make cinnamon buns for the midwives and everyone who was paying me a visit shortly after your birth. I took twice as long to make the dough because I had to sit on the exercise ball and bounce around or lean on the kitchen counter to focus on breathing, but it was the best dough I ever made!
"On the earlier advice of the midwife and because I knew I had to conserve my energy, I took two Gravol and went upstairs for a nap. Well, that didn’t happen! I kept having to kneel on my hands and knees to sway through the sensations and before long I was bouncing on the exercise ball. When Nidal came back home, I told him to time a few of the contractions. They were four minutes apart! At this point I was moaning and making low soothing sounds to help my body open up to get ready to let you out. The doula listened over the phone and said she would make her way over, and suggested I get in the shower and let the hot water run on my back. I did so, and it felt much better. I was sitting in the shower on a stool for as long as it took the hot water to start to run out, and then I decided it might be best to conserve hot water for the birthing pool so I got out and sat on the toilet to pee. Shortly after, my water broke on the toilet! How convenient!! Thank you Jesus, haha!
"After my water broke the doula arrived, and my midwife Heidi showed up shortly after. When the midwife arrived, she asked if I would like to get into the pool which your dad had prepared and I responded with a resounding “YES!” I was helped over to your bedroom and knelt in the warm water, draping my arms over the side of the pool. After this point, I rarely opened my eyes, only to look for water occasionally and once to gaze into my husband’s eyes and smile to reassure him everything was going fine. Most of the time I felt like I was in a completely different dimension where the only thing that mattered was each moment right in front of me. As Auntie Judy had said, giving birth would be the most radical present-moment living I would ever experience, and she was completely right!!
"I look back and reflect on how things were so easy for me to transition through phases of labour. Throughout this whole time, I occasionally chanted, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…” to gain strength from his name and do what I could to turn what could have taken over as “fear of pain” (and therefore an increase in pain which could have stalled the laboring process) into “working muscle pain” in my mind. I didn’t have much energy to say a lot of words, so sometimes I asked for “water” or “hip squeeze” or “harder”, depending on what I needed. I gained strength when the ladies around me sang along to the worship music I had playing in the background, and especially when my midwife prayed over me. Of course, having your dad’s hands to squeeze like no tomorrow was helpful! He was praying over me the whole time too, that God would help me through it.
"Finally, it was time to give the final big pushes! Some part of my brain was excited for this, but mostly I was still functioning in that moment-to-moment primal brain. The midwives had me lean back “traditional-style” with my legs up on the side of the pool. I gave two big pushes (I think two!) and your head came out! I was so relieved to see your little head out there in the water! A few more pushes and some help from the midwives turning your shoulders, and you were born at 8:38 pm! Heidi helped me lift you out of the water onto my chest and I was overwhelmed with joy!! I could see the relief and complete joy on your dad’s face too!! You started crying immediately to clear out your lungs, but comforted pretty quickly on my chest.
"The ladies helped me out of the pool – I felt a little dizzy due to all the blood loss, and so I laid down next to the pool and they gave me an oxytocin shot to slow the bleeding. The second midwifeTara jokingly said, “Okay, this is going to hurt worse than labour!” – I only believed her for a second. Heidi said that I only tore about a paper cut width and didn’t need stitches – I was praying for no tearing or stitches and was happy about this! While they were tending to me, I exclaimed, “You guys, I feel great!! That was not as bad as it sounded!” I thought to myself, I could certainly do that again! I crawled into bed with their help and then you were put back on my chest. Your grandma and grandpa and auntie Carmen and uncle Cody came by around 10:30 pm to welcome you into the world and bring flowers. Then after they left, your dad and I fell into the most peaceful and blissful sleep, and began the most peaceful and joyful time of our lives."
There you have it! My fairytale continues with a wonderful first month at home with a speedy recovery and blissful time with family and close friends.
If you have any questions about home birth that I can answer from a layperson perspective, or about a vegan pregnancy that I can answer from a Dietitian perspective, please drop me a note!