I felt the first sensation of labor on Friday evening. We were out in the garden and my body said to rest. I was uncomfortable, but I didn't think I was actually having contractions. Indeed I was, mainly in my back, and the sensations got increasingly more intense. I told Pat how I was feeling and we both got a little giddy. It was finally happening! My due date (August 5th) had come and gone. It was the evening of August 20th and I was very pregnant, hot, and ready to meet my baby! Still, I wasn't in a rush. I knew that this baby would come in perfect time.
We decided to set up the space for the birth. We rolled up the rug, lay down a tarp and towels, and Pat inflated the tub. The energy in the space changed. A birth would happen here, everything seemed to glow.
Back contractions were intense. I wasn't keeping track of how often they came, or how long they lasted. When the sensations rolled through me I needed to stop and breathe. Eventually I decided to lay down and rest. I asked Pat to put his big, warm hand on my sacrum while I laid in bed trying to fall asleep. It really helped.
We woke up the next morning a little confused. No more contractions, no baby yet. I was a little disappointed, but I knew birth was imminent.
Throughout the day on Saturday I felt normal, very pregnant still. I went about the day calmly, feeling the veils were thin and my baby was preparing to enter the world. It was all so surreal. That evening around sunset I started to feel intense cramping in my lower belly. Something like menstrual cramps at first, really strong ones. And they got stronger, and lasted longer. I felt called to get into bed and rest, knowing that my body was preparing to work very hard. As I was getting into bed I noticed a piece of my mucus plug on my leg. I didn't know that was what it was at first, thought it was a chunk of fresh aloe vera. I did a little exploring, and sure enough just at the lips of my yoni was the rest of the mucus plug. I found this to be very interesting and exciting! My body was doing exactly what it needed to do to prepare for Birth. Still, sleep called to me and I was able to rest through the night.
Sunday morning we woke up, again no contractions and no baby yet! I don't remember much of what I did that day. Things were hazy, I was very lucid. I probably rested a lot and ate Durian, which was plentiful in our home. That evening the sensations started again in my lower belly. Something felt different and as the hours passed it got more intense. I found myself feeling irritable about the discomfort and realized it was time to focus on the task at hand: I was having a baby! My bones were moving, my cervix was opening, the baby inside me was making it's way down through my pelvis.
We lit the candles we'd set out for that exact moment. Pat burned cedar and filled the tub. It was indeed a ceremony. It was around 9pm when I first got in the tub. Pat and I held space together for a while, until I felt it was time to call our midwife's assistant who lived close by. She put the word out to our midwife, Linda, who was at home 2 hours away.
I didn't time anything or really look at the clock. All my focus went to breathing. Everything in my periphery went fuzzy. It took an incredible amount of presence to stay with my breath and not get swallowed by the discomfort.
Cris arrived and I felt myself respond to a new energy in the room. Almost like I expected her to do something for me or make the pain go away. She sat peacefully and quietly at the table making notes. When a contraction came on she listened to the baby's heart rate and watched the clock. She encouraged me to use my breath more than my voice as the intense surges passed through. I did this. With each surge of sensation I let breath deep into my being helping me to soften and open. I exhaled and released it all. I went into a very tranquil state for a few hours.
Linda arrived at some point, I noticed her silhouette in the doorway. She brought with her wisdom and experience of birth. She stood in the doorway a while before entering the space, and then she softly approached me her eyes glowing with love.
After more quite time in the tub, I was ready to switch it up. Things were progressing, I was chilly, and I felt I needed to move my body. I stepped out of the tub wrapped myself in my wool blankie, and chose to go in m room and be alone for a bit.
Oh! I forgot to add that at this point my body had begun to cleanse, purging out everything from inside. At first I felt a little insecure that I just pooped in the tub, but as things picked up in intensity I couldn't be bothered with feeling insecure. Intense nausea hit me and I vomited plenty. Pat was wonderfully on it; scooping poo out of the tub and giving me clean vessels to vomit into. All night he assisted me.
While in my room alone, I began to feel tired. Very tired. I looked longingly at my bed wanting so much to climb in and let someone else take over. I was moving my body rhythmically at this point, swaying and bending, whatever seemed to give me some comfort. Surges were moving through me, it almost seemed like there was no time in between. I started to feel extremely on the edge. I had the sensation to poop and puke at the same time and yet no energy to really move. So many thanks to my birth team, mostly Pat, for helping clean me up and get everything where it needed to be. I was on my knees at one point and Linda sat on the bed above me. I looked up at her and said, "I just need to know where I am at and what is happening." Her eyes glowed and she laughed, " you're having a baby and it will be over when you have a baby!"
She offered to check my cervix, and I was reluctant. It seemed so uncomfortable for me to get horizontal on the bed and have her hands go up me when all the energy seemed to be moving down and out! So she asked if I would go for a walk with her outside. I told her I'd go out on the deck, but no farther. I was really just feeling so much. So much discomfort, pain, exhaustion, sensations I can't even identify.
We stepped out into the cool, fresh air. Linda looked at me and said, "Shine, you're baby is going to be born on this misty morning." This statement surged through me like a bright burst of energy and I remembered what I was doing. I remembered the purpose to my pain. I was birthing a baby!
Then a quick shift in energy and I was open and ready to be checked. Her hands were gentle and swift and she happily reported I was at 9cm. Yes indeed, this was transition. I decided it was time to get back in the tub.
Pat had warmed the water to a luxurious temperature and it was quite heavenly. The weight lifted off my sacrum and lower belly and the water molecules all seemed to buzz with the knowing that a baby would be born into them. I felt held. Linda came to me and offered that I check out for myself what was happening inside my vagina. She suggested I feel for the head or the bag of waters. I did this and at first I couldn't tell what was going on, everything felt soft and wet. I tried again and this time I felt the bag of waters and yes, a head! Linda advised that if I felt like it, I could tear the bag of waters myself and this would help things along. In that moment I was a full yes to things moving a long and it felt so empowering to have some control. I reached up and in once more and with my own fingernail I broke my water. It was warm, rushing out of me clear, releasing some pressure from my lower belly. And indeed things did move along! The surges changed into something so powerful. The discomfort dissolved into a more productive mission and my body got ready to birth. My experience of "pushing" was a strong force actually pushing through me. I realized right away that my job was to completely relax and let go. Sounds came forth from me that I had never heard before. I knew I was opening wide. In the breaks between these surges I remember laughing with Linda a bit, knowing that our baby was about to be born. Everything was glowing, dawn was breaking. Linda had Pat get into position to catch our baby. She encouraged me to feel for the the head. That little head! It pushed out and then went back in a bit and then out more and then back in again. Until finally it birthed completely into Pat's hands. Linda encouraged me to move slow with the next surges, but instead I found myself pushing with the force anxious to be on the other side of all of this and hold my baby. Soon I felt a squirmy, slippery body slide out and a wash of relief. "It's a boy!" Pat exclaimed softy with tears running down his cheeks.
In these moments I felt I was in multiple dimensions at once. I could see our baby, and yet I couldn't quite grasp that he was here, that all had just happened. I was slowly arriving back into my body after traveling through the portals and to the gateway of life and death. I felt fragile and very open. I remember mumbling some words, but that was only part of me. Most of me was silent, witnessing new life enter from within my womb, into this earthly plane.
We all gazed at each other for some time. His deep ocean blue eyes met ours, present and alert. He pinked up and coughed as he breathed his first breath. And finally, the moment had arrived for me to bring him to my chest. A peace settled in around me and I knew nothing else outside of that moment. We had a Sun. I was born into a Mother.
Malu Mauna Simmons ~ August 22, 2016 ~ 6lbs 6oz