For those of you who love birth stories, I’ll share my first two at a later date. Until then, here’s a follow-up to Birth
#3: Visualization and Meditation, and how those two techniques ended up working out for me.
Glenn was born early one snowy morning at our home in the mountains. I’d pondered my approach to labor for months, mentally preparing for this birth as if it were a marathon…well, as much as a mother of two young ones can.
Since this was my third (and likely last) labor to personally experience, it felt that much more exhilarating. And I was eager and anxious to try out a new birthing method to see how the experience could be altered. So this time I did meditation and visualization. (I had wanted to do daily practice, but never found that rhythm in our day. So I ended up practicing with a set of CD’s, perhaps twice a month or so. Not at all as often as I wanted…but helpful enough I later found.). I wanted to be present and in control, as much as that’s possible. And I knew already that despite the descriptions of birth I’d been raised with, birth is empowering.
This time I was aiming for ecstatic.
A few days before active labor began, I noticed low radiating contractions deep in my pelvis. These were unlike the lovely Braxton-Hicks that had come off and on throughout the latter half of my pregnancy. These were strong and deep. I knew labor would start soon. As mentioned in my
previous post, the morning before Glenn’s arrival, I found my visual out the back window. That morning I decided the incense cedar that stood so tall and still would inspire my journey.
Later that night, I settled into a warm bath before bed and instead found myself floored. I stood to step out of the bath and found myself caught in another contraction. A message as clear as day rang in my head. “Glenn Charles is coming tonight.” (This was extra special to me since we didn’t officially know the babe’s gender still…though I’d been feeling like it was a boy for the past few months.)
I headed downstairs and woke my husband. We then called the midwife. She asked me to wait an hour to confirm that things were picking up. However, this question of waiting put me in quite a quandary. The last
birth had moved fast once I’d gotten in the zone, and this time it was night, a fresh layer of snow on the ground, and my midwife was a good hour away.
I stopped my labor, frightened of tearing as I had with both previous births. I hung onto the idea that I needed my midwife there to help me work through that final stage. An hour passed and I felt frustrated and disappointed. I wanted to
call and say, “Come. Now. I want to have this baby.” And yet, labor had stalled out as we made our phone calls and waited for things to pick up. At midnight, I finally headed into our dark bedroom to sit. I needed to accept that this birth might be on our own. Another contraction came rolling in like a huge ocean wave. I stood tall. The pain washed right over me. And suddenly labor started up again, contractions suddenly coming on fast and strong.
My husband called the midwife again and this time she headed out. At this point, I’d successfully let go of my expectations. Things pushed forward in a state of peace and continued intensity. As the contractions arrived, I found myself resting in my husband’s
arms at times. And with each one, if I stood up straight and tall like
the trees that surround our home, repeating, “I am a tree. I am strong,” the pain instantly diminished. When I began to get tired, the pain would seep in, causing aches in my body that I hadn’t felt since the last birth. I asked my husband to remind me of my tree with each contraction.
I soared above it all.
Finally, I sat on the birth ball. Time swept, contractions passed, and the midwives arrived. I began feeling urges to push and knew my body was ready. But my water held tight. We woke our girls and they patiently sat watching. I finally moved
onto the floor, leaning on a stool. Although I felt strong urges to push, I feared tearing and wanted to avoid active pushing as much as possible. And with my waters still intact, the urges weren’t
With each contraction and some light pushes, I bent and rolled my hips, waiting and wondering, “This could be my last contraction ever.” That thought alone made me savor it all.
And then suddenly, another contraction. My water broke, splashing at my feet. Baby’s head was crowning. “Blow out your push,” my midwife reminded me. Stretch. Open as wide as possible, I repeated. The contraction passed and I waited. With the next contraction baby’s head was out. “Blow it out,” they reminded me again. I held tight. And then on the third contraction I had no choice. I pushed, and my baby boy slipped out.
This birth was my most intimate and calm birth yet. Having my husband and children there made it that much more full and exciting. And, I can attest to having had an ecstatic birth. I’m happy to have shown my daughters what birth can be like, while imprinting upon my son, a peaceful entry into this world.