Saturday, April 19

a labor of love

At 4:15 am, I awoke from a dream knowing what I was about to hear.  In that same instant, I heard the pop that some women spoke so vividly about.  Our time had finally come.  After 41 weeks and 2 days, we were ready. 

Not because I felt like a whale and could barely fit any of my maternity clothes. 
Not because I had to make sure that Brent parked far away enough from the next car so that I could make it out of the passenger seat. 
Not because I was so swollen that I hadn’t been able to wear my wedding ring for at least the last trimester.  O my wedding ring.  I missed it so dearly. 
Not because I just couldn’t sleep anymore, neither day, nor night from being so uncomfortable. 
Not because the stretch marks on my huge belly were running rampid.

I say we, because ever since the conception of our tiny human being entered the consciousness of Brent and I, it was no longer only about us.  Every thought, every decision, every action, every word that was spoken would involve this tiny human that shall soon be birthed on Earth.

When I say we were ready, it’s because God deemed us ready and we trust in His perfect timing.  
Brent sprung up from bed and started frantically cleaning.  I admit to laughing out loud at the moment as I type that out.  I constantly fell in love with him over and over again.  He excitedly arranged the living room furniture, making way for where the birthing tub would be placed in our very small, 700 square foot condominium.  I put my hair up, lightly applied some make-up and put on my favorite earrings, Brent's very first gift to me. 

I called our doula and our midwife, and let our precious family know that we would soon be graced with the birth of our daughter.  At that moment, Brent and I bowed our heads and prayed.  
Calm and peace surrounded us.

Within 15 minutes, the rushes started and came at very regular and short intervals, lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Something about the rushes felt so good as I breathed through them with Brent at my side.  I dug into my brain for every little piece of advice and encouragement that I had acquired from Ina May Gaskin’s books, Birth Without Fear blogs, and Supernatural Childbirth. 

Over the next few hours, I lay in bed in what the yogis call, child’s pose, as the rushes were becoming so strong.  I had conflicting thoughts.  One part of me was hoping that the rushes would keep coming because that would mean that I was progressing and our baby would come sooner.  However, another part of me thought, you are absolutely out of your mind.

Around 9 am, I got in the birthing tub.  O sweet birthing tub with its soothing hot water that calmed every inch of my tense body.  I kept laboring and breathing with our wonderful doula’s help.  She kept me calm as the rushes were becoming incredibly intense.  I decided that I wanted our midwife to check my progression.  After checking me, what came out of her mouth was not what I intended to hear. “Let’s all go for a walk,” she said.
A walk?  Wait what?  No.  But I’m about to have our baby right this instant?! 
No…no, silly you.  You just THINK you’re going to have a baby any moment. 
The truth is darling, this is just the beginning.  My body already felt so weary and full of doubt.
What a powerful thing the mind is.
And yes, I call myself darling in my thoughts.
We walked around Waikiki for 2 hours.  I was vulnerable but kind strangers gave me encouraging words as I would stop and labor on the palm trees that lined our path.  I came to learn that children are very intuitive.  They would look at me while pulling on their mama’s sleeve, “mommy mommy, is that lady about to have a baby?”
Beauty, blessings, and hope.

We made it back home and I continued to labor.  I would move from the yoga ball, to the birthing chair, to the commode, and to our bed.  Brent moved with me and rubbed my back.    

Jaymie, our doula, would coach me and breathe with me through each rush.  She reminded me to let go of my fears.  

She massaged my feet with coconut oil.

At times, it seemed like I could follow Jaymie’s breathing patterns and the rushes would feel shorter.  Other times, all I could do was whine, whimper, and make deep sounds because the rushes were so strong, and seemed to last such a long time.

I tried not to look at the clock.  My only perception of time was looking out of the window and seeing that it was now dark.  

I took about 10 showers total.  Something about the hot water hitting and running down the nape of my neck and my spine gave me so much relief, but with continued progression.
I kept praying to God to give me the strength to do this.  At this point, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.  I really wanted to give up.  I was so tired.

I fantasized about an epidural.  I fantasized about cutting myself open.

Our midwife and doula decided it was time to leave to give Brent and I some alone time, for increased oxytocin flow.  

 He held me ever so tightly.  Ever so lovingly.  We danced.  We swayed.  He reassured me.  He was so calm.

When they returned, it was obvious that my body had shifted.  I was spoon-fed fruit and yoghurt to acquire energy for the hard work ahead.

My midwife held me in her arms, like a mother would hold her daughter, while I sat on the birthing chair, breathing, and resting, finally.  She spoke softly to me and caressed my head and arms while tears flowed down my face. 
I was now drifting.  Floating.  Somewhere, near and yet so far away.
I found myself on the outside, looking in, at a scared little girl in the arms of her mother, longing for the approval and support that she so desperately wanted for the 9 months that life grew inside of her. 
Her mother told her that she was strong.
She said, I believe in you.
Sshh…don’t be afraid.
I love you, she whispered.
I am proud of the woman that you have become. 

I watched her vomit during transition and move to the bed that felt so safe, it was time to push.  I heard her as she made sounds that I’ve only ever heard animals make. The look in her eyes was so incredibly fierce, like a lion protecting her cubs.  The grip on her husband was with the strength of ten thousand men.  Nothing, but at the same time, everything about her seemed human.

I watched as her sweet husband sipped his coffee, and calmly reassured her that he could see the baby’s hair.  “Are you sure?”  She kept asking.
I stared in amazement as the midwife put on her headlamp and worked so diligently, but with such a gentle and delicate touch.
My eyes turned to her doula, such a tiny person with such strength to withstand the primal determination this woman had.  Every one felt so sure that at this place and time, a baby would be born.  And there she was, one last push and she slipped out at 12:05 am.

With her leaving my body also freed any memory of the pain, fear, and doubt.  Time came to a complete stand still.  My heart exploded with feelings of love for my amazing husband who so freely and calmly supported me, even when I thought I wanted to give up.  I felt God's presence saying to me that what just happened, here, in our home, on our bed, the birth of our child, it's significant.  

I came back to find myself holding a little baby.  She was ours.  Blue, but alive.  Perfect.  She had her daddy’s eyes.  I didn’t cry, I couldn’t.  I just stared at her, in complete shock. 

As every inch of me knew we were having a baby, she had been a part of me for 10 months.  Her every kick, every movement, every hiccup, all had become rooted down to the deepest part of my soul.  Every single rush that had been coming so regularly for almost 20 hours was so convincing.  Yet, a part of me doubted what was really happening all this time.  Looking at our daughter was so real.  Hearing her cry was so real.  It felt like a lifetime had passed while it all went by too quickly.

However it may seem that Brent and I labored to bring our precious little girl into the world, it was actually her who labored most of all.  Ariella Love gave birth to both a father, and a mother.  

1 comment:

  1. This is beautifully written, I think the idea of Ariella giving birth to your new roles and purposes in life is really interesting.