Healing Birth Heals Mother Earth
Three months have passed now and I am STILL processing the wild journey of birthing our baby on June 18th, 2021. I am choosing to share my birth story for many reasons. One reason being that I feel very passionate about the natural birthing process. Another reason being that I feel it is important to share our stories, especially the ones that have had such a huge impact on our lives. I share this with vulnerability in hopes that others may read and feel inspired to share a story of when they went through a major life transformation, too.
Natural Home Birth
My partner Colby and I planned for a home water birth. We both knew we wanted to bring our baby into the world with the least amount of intervention and trauma as possible, so I had done extensive research and sought out resources to support our plans.
“It is my belief that original sin is birth trauma, because it determines how we as a species impact our environment. Thus, protecting children at birth will initiate a better world, with the potential for healing change, within one generation.”
– Robin Lim, Author & Midwife
My due date was June 5th and days had passed. I was getting closer to the 42 week mark. Indeed, I was more than ready to bring our baby into the world, and I felt the pressure from everyone chiming “Are you going to have that baby already?!” , “Do you have a plan B for induction?” , “Aren’t you worried your baby might be stressed?” , and even “What are you waiting for?” as if the timing of her birth was in my control.
Nonetheless, I did my best not to let others’ projections of what they felt was best affect my knowing of what was right for my baby and I. I trusted that our baby would come exactly when she was meant to. If something were not right, I would feel it in my body. I had full faith in my inner knowing and my body’s innate wisdom. And sure enough… in the middle of eating eggplant parmesan the evening of June 17th, the contractions hit like a brick wall.
And so it began…
Before I knew it, I was moving all throughout the house mapping out what position I wanted to be in before the next surge came. As I vocalized louder and louder, and my sentences became shorter and shorter, Colby was scurrying around the house creating the ambiance that I desired. Between contractions I said “all the lights off… put on the music… rub my back… nevermind stop touching me… read the affirmation cards… nevermind stop talking…”.
Yes, really. What I had imagined myself needing during labor was much different than what I actually needed in that moment. I thought I would be dancing through my contractions, wanting lots of words of affirmation, my back rubbed, yet in that moment I found all I needed was to completely surrender as I entered into what some call “the void”. I went inside myself. All the words of affirmation I needed flowed as a constant stream of thoughts through my mind.
As each contraction rippled through me, I found myself losing touch with actual reality and entering an altered state of consciousness. I felt very in touch with my primal nature. Weeks prior, I had set up an altar with items I knew would give me strength during labor. Many times I found myself looking at an art print of a medicine woman (pictured at the beginning of this blog) my friend had given me. I stared into that work of art, and felt the presence of my ancestors. Not only did I derive strength from the medicine woman, I also felt her nurturing, wise, and healing energy with me. With each surge I reminded myself that the contractions were not being created by an outside force. My body was creating those surges and WOW did I feel my STRENGTH when they came!
I hesitate to call them contractions because in fact, I did not feel I was contracting. I felt expansion. Each surge was bringing me closer to meeting my baby, and each surge seemed to peel away layers of the woman I once was as I began to move into this new phase of my life – motherhood.
Mind you, it was only myself and my partner Colby alone in our tiny bungalow along the river. We were in the darkness with soft music playing and I had absolutely no sense of time. What I did sense though was that our baby was coming, and she was coming soon. I knew the presence of the midwife and her assistant would be comforting for me.
Once Colby had called the midwife, she directed him to start filling the birth pool. That pool couldn’t have filled up any quicker. I was very eager to submerge my body in some warm water… that would feel so nice. No…really… I meant that pool couldn’t have filled up any quicker. We ran out of hot water once it was only 3 inches high (quirks of living in a tiny home and only having a 20 gallon hot water heater). But I didn’t care. I stripped down and submerged my body in that small amount of water. Meanwhile, Colby filled all of the pots we had and put them on the stove to boil water.
At this point I was no longer in the void (transition) and was back to reality as I was pushing. The midwife assistant arrived first. She calmly stated that the midwife was on her way, but if she didn’t make it in time it would be okay – confirming that our baby was coming soon. Not long after the midwife arrived. She checked my heartbeat and our baby’s heartbeat and then sat on the couch. I will forever remember the way that both the midwife and her assistant sat there in complete presence with me. For the majority of this time my eyes were closed, but occasionally I would open them to look up and find them looking right back at me, smiling. They didn’t say much, but when they did they affirmed that my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to.
Colby continued to fill the pool as I pushed for 2 more hours. It seems as though the pool was filled just in the knick of time! Colby joined them and I remember the amount of love and presence I felt from the three of them watching me. Knowing that they trusted my ability to bring our baby into the world with no interference influenced me to feel extremely empowered. Once the head was crowning, Colby joined me in the pool. I could see the sun was beginning to rise through the windows.
After a few more pushes the head was out, and the next push our baby’s body shot out like a rocket! Colby scooped our baby up out of the water and said to me with so much excitement “It’s Nyla!”. I feel so pleased knowing that Colby was able to be an active participant in that moment and delivered our daughter.
Amazed is an understatement. In that moment I was completely speechless and overtaken by unconditional love. I was finally holding the little human that grew with me for the past 10 months. A baby that divine love had created. It was as if time had stopped, and nothing but the three of us existed. I felt so much space… there were no thoughts, only the feeling of infinite and unconditional love and presence.
About 15 minutes passed and I birthed the placenta. We placed the placenta in a bowl with a strainer. We chose to do a lotus birth, which means we were not going to cut the umbilical cord, but instead let it fall off naturally. I have to thank my co-worker, good friend, and doula for recommending the book “Placenta The Forgotten Chakra”. A lot of the spiritual significance shared in this book deeply resonated with Colby and I. We believe that cutting the umbilical cord introduces unnecessary trauma, since there is no known medical reason as to why one should cut it.
*Side note: There is no medical reason as to why medical professionals cut the umbilical cord. It is simply because it is an inconvenience to keep it attached. In fact, the placenta, which is the organ that communicates from mother to baby to nourish baby in the womb and is formed even before baby, is considered medical waste!
The Golden Hours
The midwife and assistant helped me out of the birth pool and into our bed to rest. The first thing I ate was a big bowl of grapes and I truly felt like a goddess. I was so proud that I was able to birth her naturally, that I trusted my intuition and connection to my baby, and that her and I were both healthy.
Together we spent the rest of the day cuddled up as our new family. That night I began processing all that had occurred within the last 24 hours. I couldn’t sleep, despite my lack of it. There I laid looking at Colby and Nyla sleeping, and I sobbed. I felt so much love flowing through me. There was an immense amount of gratitude pouring from my heart for the life that I am living and for all of the experiences that led me to that exact moment. I also felt a new level of connection had been formed between Colby and I since the majority of that labor time was just him and I. He had made me feel so seen, heard, and honored. I am extremely appreciative of the way he showed up that night and am so blessed to be in a partnership that has so much depth.
Once morning came, we began to tend to the placenta. We put it in a handmade woven bowl with towels layering the bottom, and covered the placenta with a drying blend of herbs. The placenta was to stay drying this way for 24 hours before being placed into the placenta bag. Typically the umbilical cord and placenta naturally detach between 3-10 days. Nyla and her placenta were together for 6 days on the earth side until she decided she was ready to release her physical connection to her placenta.
The period when the baby and placenta are still attached is referred to as a sacred window. I can attest to this period being a sacred window. It certainly allowed us to move much slower, encouraging not only my body’s healing but also our presence for each other as a family unit. Colby, myself, Nyla, and her placenta moved as one during that 6 day period.
Two weeks later, once the placenta was completely dried out, we made the decision to plant Nyla’s placenta with an oak tree. Oak trees are known to be sacred, strong, and live for a very long time. We are not home owners yet, so for now we are keeping her placenta tree in a pot until it is decided the appropriate place to plant it in the ground. Not only will Nyla be able to connect to the energy of her placenta through this tree as she gets older, we believe that because she is lotus born that she will be very in touch with the Earth and its natural processes.
A Message to Readers
Change can be very uncomfortable… even painful. Sometimes it takes peeling away a lot of layers of who we thought we were. It’s important to trust our inner guidance system and recognize that the discomfort we encounter is necessary for our growth. In the heat of the moment this may be challenging. Yet in hindsight you begin to see that you are completely transformed after going through the profound experience of birthing (in this sense I don’t necessarily mean birthing a child, although this applies. Birthing can look like many things… whatever you find guides you into a new phase of life).
I share my story in hopes that you read with an open heart and an open mind. My intention is not to imply that any other way of bringing a child into the world is wrong. Natural birth is simply the path that felt right for me. That does not mean that this is the only way or a way that works for everyone. I believe that all birth is beautiful. Thank you for reading as this is something I will hold close to my heart forever. <3