here's an excerpt of an email i sent to my blessingways women, who were candle-lighting and meditating for me during my birthing time; in it, i describe what happened at little dylan's homebirth on january 3, 2008 and how he came into this world:
hi to my dear aunties, sisters and blessingway candle women,
i can honestly say that i had no idea that women and our bodies were so damn powerful. i know john is a changed man---i can see it in his eyes, the way he looks at the baby, the way he looks at me, all of it. it was the most amazing experience of my life. thanks for contributing your energies to our cause!
thanks for all your blessings. i felt all of them, and it helped me get through the day on january 3, when we had no idea what time the baby was going to arrive. my body, i'm happy to say, took its own sweet time, as did my uterus, cervix, and baby, as they all arrived, did their job and did their thing, according to my midwife and doula, all in its perfect rhythm and time. i was so emotional when john and carole my doula started lighting your candles!!! it was sooooooooo beautiful to see them lit one at a time, and sensing everyone's blessings as storm clouds gathered above, as barometric pressure dropped, and a sense of opening and ripening and fullness just filled me up that morning. i felt absolutely safe and secure. carole says it's not unusual when women start their birthing when a storm's ahead.
so, the day of january 3 began at 1 a.m. early morning when contractions/waves began and ended that late night with baby landing in john's arms. john caught the baby and also cut the cord. i'm not sure if it was the ragin' cajun' spicy shrimp dinner and fried hush puppies from dinner the night before that began labor or the storm. 'john, i think this is it,' i said, the time was 3 a.m. from 3 to 6 a.m., contractions/waves went from 20 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart, which was so sudden that my doula got out of bed, drove from her home in mission viejo, and arrived at our house at 7:30. when she arrived, she set about making breakfast, we talked, chatted, and did our hypnosis. we later called davi my midwife and john and carole went about setting up the house for birthing. that's when carole called phone tree lady kathy, i believe, as kathy called back and i was near tears to hear her sweet voice, knowing that you were all alerted for the big event ahead. again, a huge thanks for your blessings.
rebecca the midwife's assistant came at 11 a.m., and checked to see where my cervix was at, and i was already 6 cm dilated, and my bag of waters was intact, had not burst. 'that's the baby's to decide,' said davi, when she arrived later. at noon, i was still in early labor, so the schedule was just to be---we just hung out, talked, ate, did my hypnosis, which helped a lot---if i forgot to go under, i could feel each contraction and it was painful, but every time i did the hypnosis and went under the most i felt was a dull menstrual-type crampy backache. but those few moments when i didn't go under, phew, oh boy, i could see why women would go to the hospital and demand drugs.
davi arrived, and she checked me and instructed us to go for a two hour walk. this was hard, as baby was descending, which meant as soon as i left the house, i had to run back and pee so badly!!! john and i'd walk, talk, hug, do my hypnosis, run to the house, use the toilet, then we'd walk again. that was what i did most of the afternoon, just 'hang out' and wait for full dilation. it was awesome that everyone just set up camp and let me go at my own speed, get used to all the waves from my uterus, let me rest, eat, sleep, nap, talk, have fun, joke around.... it was like a little love fest happening at the house, just waiting and making the place nice for baby to arrive at.
i know this sounds too hippy dippy, but i think what got me through it was all the love that i felt. i felt tremendous love and care throughout the whole thing, that i almost didn't want it to end. in the middle of all of this loving and hugging and eating and candle-and-incense-lighting, my parents show up, unplanned, not on schedule, which then totally stalled my labor, as their very excited, nervous, and hyper-worried selves brought this heavy energy into our birthing environment. they were sweet to show up, my mom and dad, i guess they thought they'd act as my doulas....my mom started to soak seaweed to get the korean seaweed soup going, to be consumed as soon as i gave birth, my dad reading newspapers in the bedroom downstairs. i just closed my eyes, and went into the bedroom to take a nap, as this was all exhausting.
my midwife and doula all came in to confer with me, that my parents needed to go home, that they were not helping, but that their worry and concern was appreciated. so davi shooed them out the door, i waved at them, and proceeded to relax into the waves, and listen to my cds, while rebecca, davi, and my doula carole all did different things---errands, cleaning, cooking, getting out to get coffee and smoothies from starbucks, while john ordered pizza for an early dinner.
at 6:45 p.m., my bag of waters broke like a fat man jumping into a pool, as i peed into the toilet with a huge 'pop' and 'splash.' 'what the fuck,' i thought, 'was that????' amniotic fluid collected in the toilet, and everyone jumped into action. from that point on, i was almost 100 percent effaced, i was 'this big,' according to rebecca. she held her hands together to form a circle in the shape of a small melon or cantaloupe. 'wow' i thought, 'that's great!'
we then waited for baby to arrive, and he started to descend even more. all this time, though, john and i were still walking to get baby in a good position, to coax him to come out naturally, so really, no rushing, just letting nature take its course---and for this, i'm hugely grateful to my birth team for allowing me to just soften and birth naturally, i thought, this is a godsend, these women. they were so patient, so loving, nurturing, that it made me realize that my giving birth was just something they were going to help me with, but not interfere with, at all....john was doing the same thing, holding me, holding my hand, whispering sweet nothings in my ear and telling me how proud he was of me the whole time. so emotional, i wished i could've shared this time with the world, with you all, with everyone. in essence, you guys were with us, so i felt great.
'stick your finger in,' rebecca said, 'and you can feel your baby, he's got hair!' the baby was half a finger's length away, that was about 9 p.m. how exciting and awesome was that, so i said that i would start pushing to speed it along. then that's when time seemed to go real fast, and real slow, at the same time... using mirrors, they'd show me his head, as it crowned, and during the last two hours, all we did was try different positions, me squatting, on my hands and knees, on my back, on the floor, in the tub, to see what was most comfortable, and i decided that being on my side was best. that's when i started breathing and pushing---this was the only 'hard part' for me, as it was physically one of the most demanding things i have done, and as i hadn't eaten so much and was beginning to tire, but nothing doing, it was exciting to know he was coming out, so i pushed: carole would bring me honey sticks to suck on, and so with each contraction, i yelled/sang/breathed the baby's head out, and at one point i just wanted to laugh myself silly listening to all the weird sounds i was making.
as soon as it looked like he was coming out, i got on my back and in my bed, his head came out, he started crying (!!) immediately, then his whole body just slipped out, just like a stick of butter as i had imagined. john caught him, and the moment was just surreal---john handed him to me, everyone was happy and excited, and the baby was perfect! he was immediately on my chest, davi was cleaning him off, and john was really happy and emotional, as was i. i just sat there with his little body on me and i just couldn't believe it, that he was here. i felt almost absolutely nothing after that, physically, no pain or pressure, i felt totally completely normal, after he was out. i was sweaty, and feeling like i had done a really hard long yoga class, like how you feel when you're done with yoga---complete refreshment and relaxation. that's all i can compare it to, with that real great endorphin-filled feeling, as if one had worked hard but then you got your reward as well. so that's what it felt like, in a nutshell, apart from the weird breathing/singing i was doing when i was pushing, it was just like i was doing pilates or yoga. it was hard work, and it was worth it.
so to make this long story even more detailed and winding, my midwife davi, carole the doula and rebecca the assistant pretty much high-fived each other, as i birthed the placenta, which felt like a soft blob coming out--and then i had some pretty heavy bleeding, which davi gave me a shot of pitocin for, and some homeopathic medicine. 'medicine is a good thing' she said, later, as she examined me. i was so grateful for EVERYTHING, her care, the beautiful, wondrous, and somewhat messy moment when he came out, all of it. i didn't have to lift a finger but push, as the team, now past midnight, just let me hang out with the baby next to me, while they cleaned up the room, cooked some food for me, and while i ate davi's scrambled eggs, john bathed the baby. they all left at 3 a.m., happy and tired. i can't believe they stayed with me for that long, and never rushed me, never left, even if i was still in my early labor. we basically hung out and waited for baby. patiently, all of us. john, me, carole the doula, rebecca, and davi. my parents were impatient, but i'm glad everyone else had the impatient energy, as everyone who was here didn't. everyone was supremely cool and confident, even john, who kept kissing me and telling me how great i was doing the whole time. and for that, i have to thank god, and i have to thank my birth angels, and my blessingway aunties, i have to thank everyone. it was just more perfect, looking back on it---but the only pain that i have from the event was some soreness, but i required no stitches, my perineum remained intact and i have just some light bleeding that's normal, and the baby, the pediatrician declared him 'a strong baby' yesterday during his first day out, and that's all we need.
this relationship with davi and the midwives was truly an amazing journey, a truly trusting relationship---i can not stop speaking volumes about the great work that she and rebecca and my doula did. davi and rebecca have been coming by the house every few days to check on me and the baby, and so far, we're doing great.
thank you guys for being a huge part of this---i couldn't have done this without you guys cheerleading me on, thinking of me, thinking of my birth, my safety, the baby's safety! and sending your prayers!
thank you, god bless!!!
(big thanks to my doula carole thorpe: www.hypnosis4birth.com
and my midwife davi kaur khalsa and rebecca and all the staff at tender loving childbirth womens center: http://www.tlcwomanscenter.com/)