I’m slowly starting to emerge from the newborn baby cocoon now that Evie Rose is officially 3 months old. She’s not a newborn anymore. She’s a full blown baby with chubby thighs and big smiles and a snort filled chuckle that melts my heart. **Serious SWOON!**
I’ve been processing and integrating Evie’s birth story and all the lessons it gave me and I wanted to share it with you today. It is an absolute metaphor for everything in my life…and perhaps your life too?
It all began months before Evie was born. I remember hitting the third trimester milestone and walking into a prenatal yoga class fighting back tears. It had finally really, truly sunk in: I had to go through childbirth again. SHIT!
I mean really, people. I was going to push a nearly 8 pound baby out of my vagina or go through a major surgery to bring her into the world. All you mamas that have given birth know what I’m talking about. It is one helluva thing to process. And it can feel downright scary!
LESSON #1: Tell the truth and forgive to clear out the past
I began having flashbacks to my firstborn, Annabella’s, birth. She was late. Very late. 2 weeks past her due date late. 12 days past the due date I was told that I was going to need to be induced the next day or I’d be going against medical advice. (Western medicine frowns upon letting babies go past 42 weeks due to complications.) I remember going home and bawling my eyes out because I really wanted to do things as naturally as possible. And having a two phase induction meant that I’d be medicated from the start.
But I was also almost 42 weeks pregnant. I was huge and so incredibly uncomfortable after 2 weeks of contractions on and off that never went into a labor pattern. Add to that the late summer heat and the hormones and I relented and accepted my fate. When I checked into the hospital on the night of September 3rd it turned out I was in early labor so they gave me a hit of petocin to augment and I was off and running. My contractions were coupling and I was getting no break, so then came the epidural. Next came antibiotics due to spiking a fever and then, after 2 and 1/2 hours of pushing, they used a vacuum to assist because Annabella’s heart rate was dropping. Thank goodness I ended up with a healthy baby in my arms. But it was definitely a very medicated birth with moments of intense fear.
As I prepared for Evie’s birth, I spent time making peace with Annabella’s birth. I found a perspective about it that worked for me; “It was the birth we both needed to have at that moment. It was divine and sacred in its own way.”
LESSON #2: Create a Vision
As I let go of my last birth experience, I created a vision for Evie’s birth with out attachment. One that included little to no medical interventions if at all possible. One where I could feel empowered and surrendered all at the same time. A birth with as little suffering as possible, even though there would be pain.
I talked with the little being in my belly for months, asking her to come a few days early or right on time. I was SO not wanting to be 2 weeks late again…that was really really hard the first time around. Childbirth really is co-creation in its purest form. And yet as I had learned with Annabella’s birth, I was not in charge. I asked for the highest good for all concerned and left it to The Divine.
Thank goodness it was aligned and 3 days before her due date, my body began showing signs of early labor. After a full day and a half of early labor, Rob and I decided to go to the movies and have big sister to be, Annabella, stay at my folks. As I got up to go I felt a pop & gush. Yep, my water broke.
LESSON #3: Call in your Support Team
We made our way to the hospital and were greeted by our incredible doula, amazing nurses and the mid-wife team. And SCORE! We were lucky enough to get the one room with a birthing tub. This was my dream and vision–to labor in the tub. My sisters arrived shortly thereafter and my contractions started to get more intense. I had my incredible support team by my side, cheering me on and holding sacred space.
As I sat in the warm water, I put two songs on repeat; The Beatles “Let It Be” and Sarah McLachlan’s “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.” I was able to do what I had visioned; relax during the contractions and simply notice the pain vs. panicking about the pain. I was able to be truly present and enjoy the pauses between the surges. I listened to meditations from my hypnobirthing class and from my spiritual coach, Elisabeth Manning. I felt the presence of my late grandmother and mother-in-law surrounding me and holding me during my contractions. Mother Mary even came for a visit…that’s another story!
LESSON #4: Surrender and Get Out of the Way
Then a shift happened. I was no longer able to chose a perspective about the pain because it was all consuming. My entire body was engulfed in the pain. It was more intense than anything I’ve ever felt in my life. I had a moment of panic, which was quickly followed by an intense urge to push.
I screamed that I had to push and they got me on the table…just 40 minutes prior I was only at 6 centimeters (10 centimeters is when you are fully dilated and its time to push). And then it was as if my body hijacked my existence. I didn’t strain, I didn’t push, I held on and got out of the way. And my body did its magic. The midwife asked if I wanted to feel the baby’s head. I did so in disbelief. I made weird, guttural, primal noises. It was a full body experience. Until suddenly I felt relief. The pressure was gone and baby Evie was in my arms. It was all of 5 minutes and she had arrived.
LESSON #5: Receive and Celebrate the Miracle
I laid there with this slippery little being on my chest and I felt like my family was finally, truly complete. Even as I sit here now, sleep deprived and crabby, when I look at Evie and see Annabella and Evie together the sacredness of this miracle doesn’t escape me. Every day I take a few moments to tell both my girls how happy I am they are here, how blessed I feel to be their mom, how grateful I am that they chose me.
Childbirth is a miraculous experience. The most painful, beautiful, sacred, raw, primal, wonderful, deep, intense experiences of my life.
Now upon reflection I keep wondering what my life would be like if I followed these lessons everyday:
Tell the truth & forgive to clear out the past, create a vision, call in support, surrender and get out of the way, and finally, receive and celebrate the miracle. Repeat.
No need to PUSH, no need to SUFFER, no need to STRESS. Even when pain arrives at my doorstep. Even when things don’t work out. I can continue to trust and surrender and receive the miracles.
Where in your life could you apply this formula? Let me know!
P.S. Feel free to share this with your loved ones. I’m always honored when you do.