"Hey, I think you should head our way, mama is in labor and has been doing this since 3am", says papa
"okay, is your midwife there yet?"
"Nope, not yet but on her way" says Papa
"Okay, I'm heading out."
"Hey, this is different than the trial run, she has had some blood and been at it all night" says Papa
"Okay, on my way"
This really is a great morning for a birth, I think as I am driving from my home to see the most beautiful lady I know give birth. The sun is shining but it is 6am and is a little chilly. Keeping the window down to give me some cool air perspective, yes indeed, what a great morning for a birth-I still see the moon hiding amongst the clouds and while the sun is peaking through, letting us know it's greatness.
I hear her before I see her. I peek through the window by the door and see know one and hear her again. She is near completion, I think. I take a deep breath of the morning air and let myself in. Drop my bag and follow the guttural, primal moan to the bedroom.
I see her, bent over the birth ball and take in the scene, slowly, quickly, surreal. Baby niece laying by her legs, had been stroking her hair I am told. Sweat soaked hair, birth rags and protective coverings abroad, women trusting in birth and encouragement, Papa coaching, midwife assistant taking notes, baby girl sister playing and in another room, outside the birthing room, trusting birth as well. Dark window coverings, lights low, dark purple wall paint, flashlight gleaming.
Papa giving encouragement and love, in awe, in love, in attendance.
I stand in awe, not sure where I fit, where this woman would have me. I smell the most magnificant smell that is eminent birth. I could bottle it, I am thinking.
I look with eyes wide at birth assistant, we make eye contact, she says "she's complete"
I know it. I feel it. She is complete. Complete in the birth sense and in the family sense as well. She knows what is happening, trying to stop it, trying to make it happen, trying to bring life. Stuck between logical brain and primal brain. Trying to be in control. Trying to lose herself to the pain, the greatness, to birth.
She says that she wants to move, change positions from the birth ball, to another area, another fresh deep breath, another way. She moves to the bed and lays flat on her back. Not a position that I would recommend but she knows what is right, what is real, what is needed for her and her baby. I jump on the head side of the bed, knowing she doesn't fully know who is holding her hand, who is holding her leg, that I am even here. Who Cares? She is giving birth.
She says she can't, says she can, knows she can, knows it hurts. I tell her that her body is working hard to release this baby, she doesn't hear me, I think. It doesn't matter. She is in her zone, her own time, her own release.
Baby is bulging, she wants release, breathe the baby out she is told, I can't, I can, I am strong, I am weak, someone take this pain from me, grab this baby and run, I can't do it anymore, I am not strong, I am the strongest on the planet, Papa says I love you and you are doing it, I am so proud of you, darkness, shades of blue and gray and light from the flashlight, praises to the King, prayers to the One, you are the only one, she hears it, doesn't hear it, accepts it and pushes, as the rushes come over her, she is brave, she is strong, she is out of control, in control, she does it...she pushes with the rush.
Baby boy has curly black hair descended, we all praise her, baby sister girl climbs up with her and cries, with her, doesn't want to see Mama in pain, doesn't understand, understands, doesn't care, doesn't fear, goes on about her business being barely 3 years old. Beautiful sister. Riding her horse and listening to "Every Little Thing, Gonna Be Alright" on Noggin.
Mama calms, rests, looks around, can I push now?, not yet,, take it easy, it burns!, not yet, just breathe him out, we see his hair, tears, tears, Grandma wanting to get her hands in there, wanting to stop the pain, wanting to see the grandbaby, wanting to help, she doesn't, she waits, like the rest of us, midwife twists and turns and grabs and pulls, and gently releases the cord, twice twisted around baby boys' neck, his life line still pulsing, still giving him life, thank you Jesus, it works, it always works, gentle hands and prayerful hearts also descend, just as the baby does. Grandma and I seeking each other's eyes. We catch, we hold. We tell Mama not to push in gentle voices, not to frighten but to let her understand the need. She does. She holds strong. Her body comprehends. Grandma's hands are itching to get in there, she tells me later, which I already could see on my own, anything to the get the throat untangled, the midwife had it, was competant, knowledgable and prayerful.
Thank you sweet Jesus, your timing is right on! Mama is surrounded by Papa, midwife, midwife assistant, daughter of age 3 jumping/loving/being 3/trusting/caring/beautiful, doula in awe/silent/thankful, grandma (mama's mama), sister/best friend, baby niece, parents, believers in Christ, believers of Mama's body, believer's of birth, trusters, caregivers, people only wanting the best, advocates but not knowing we are so, trusters, lovers.
Papa jumps in, grabbing baby boy under the pits, half of his body out, head and neck released, lower body released, legs and perfect toes released and pulls him gently into the world and onto Mama's body. Mama's inherent, ultimate, perfect body, ready for all the world, empowered quivering, in awe, in love, in relief.
She cries. We cry. Papa rejoices in his own way. He is radiant and loud and glorious. He exclaims that "Baby, I just grabbed my son, in his own home, in the home he will grow up in, in the home he will school in, in the home that we will raise him in, right here!"
Grandma eases back, thanking the Lord, blessing the baby and daughter now Mama twice again, takes a breath and let's the tears flow. Thank you Jesus. As always you are near, here, amidst the pain and amidst the love.
Mama smiles and then glances on baby boy, crying, wanting to eat, not sure of what is going on but knows he likes it.
We watch his body turn from blue to pink to red to tan as he gets his last pumps of oxygen, his formost, respectful, needed, rightful inheritance. His last rush from the placenta. Now time for it to depart. Jokes go about diggin holes, burying placenta, not really jokes but aspirations, as they know that this organ, job has been fulfilled is ready to nourish the land, the garden, the apple tree. Who knows, maybe a blueberry bush for each child?
Papa knows the fold. He knows the drill. He knows what is right, what his wife wishes, what he wishes. Everybody out! Now! We will call you in as needed. We need this time to bond, to love, to embrace this new boy into our family, our life, our dymanic.
Midwife exclaims that nursing is priority but smiles at me at the kitchen table where Grandma has provided sandwiches and tater tots, none of us really hungry but eating anyway, a way to numb the senses, to keep our mouths full instead of screaming at the top of our lungs that THIS IS HOW BIRTH IS, HOW IT SHOULD BE!! and how in awe of this mama and family for accepting that, knowing that baby boy will nurse soon, when ready, when Mama is ready, and he does, right, delightfully, hungrily, needed.
Tea, alfalfa tincture, vitamin K, iron, toast with butter and honey, replenishing, smiling on Mama and baby, big sister 3 years old pretending to be a dog named Pongo, eating eggs and ham on English Muffins, the world turns, yet stops but only for the moment. Forever for us. The secret is told, proudly, abundantly, knowingly, rightfully.
Arnica, tearing, blood-but not active, Staphysagria, happy Mama, Ecstatic Papa, giddy Grandma, calling the family, the friends, the secret is out. Mama gave birth, in her bed, by herself, raged against the birthing machine, swam against the current, polished the wrong way on the grain, told you so, you non-believers, the not willing to see, the uneducated. I did it! I gave birth to a baby, in my bed, I am proud, we all are proud, we boil herbs, soothing tintures to add to bath, to smell lovely in an already awesome smelling bedroom, to soothe the swollen, 8 lbs 6oz, healthy tan baby with an apgar of 9 at 1 minute, 10 at 5 minutes. Papa doesn't know what to say, I love you and I am sooooo proud of you, 100 times, over and over, the moment is so complete, so real, so ready, so natural, so Godly.
Baby sister, 3 years old barely, says "Papa, he is handsome just like you" and kisses Papa. What completeness. What an experience. She doesn't know she is going against society but knows it is right, complete, baby brother, 3 years senior, but is 100 years ahead of society. Knows nothing of incomplete episiotomies, nothing of the cesarean rate of 35%, nothing of pitocin and rushed, vacationed births, nothing of Mama not holding baby for 2 hours or five days, nothing of breastfeeding, it doesn't occur to her that this is not the norm, she is concerned about penis, knows she doesn't have that but confident that it will grow. Laughter comes from us, innocent is truly innocent. Love is truly Love, God is truly God!
This family is not what society would exclaim to be radicals, advocates, ole hippies, ones to go against the grain, but complete, whole, trusting birth, getting what they want and knowing what they get. They are ecstatic, loving, real, normal, happy, trusting birth, feeling what they know as love, is love, feeling what they know. This family, I hope, is shouting from the rooftops that birth is normal, is love, is trust, is God, creation, that rare is mammal that needs intervention, that the birth machine is simply that, a machine. This family now knows love, unfiltered, uninhibited, unreal, unheard of, and will make it heard.
Thank you for sharing your birth, I am forever grateful, in love and inspired. No words can I express for allowing me to be a part of this undying, selfless birth and love.
Shine on, my friends!
Friends, I thankfully and humbly bow to you for allowing me to be a part of this experience. We all learn something, mainly that God is in control, never-the-less that birth is a rite of passage, not something that needs intervention. Your babies thank you and trust you and you are loved!