I had my first contraction in the middle of Cleveland Ave. in downtown Squamish, BC which forced me to stop, grab my swollen belly in the middle of the road and catch my breath. Having just paid my taxes at the bank, I’d finally released myself of the heavy burden of responsibility I’d been carrying for another month.
I got in my car and drove myself to Home Hardware to purchase the last item on my list – a beautiful hummingbird feeder. The man at the store could clearly see I was in my last hours of pregnancy and kindly fetched a hummingbird feeder for me and ensured my check out was swift.
I endured three more waves of sensation while I drove myself home. I arrived home to meet the watchful eyes of Alec. I smiled and said, “it is time”. I asked him to go to the kitchen and grab the grocery shopping list I’d prepared earlier that week. “Ya, I’ll get it in the morning,” he said. “No, please go now, babe will be here in the morning,” I responded. He agreed despite the puzzled and bewildered look on his face, he was prepared for this to be a 24 hour plus affair.
I tried to rest in early labor – I ate a snack while mindlessly watching TV, took a little skullcap tincture, had a warm bath and lied down in bed. But I was uncomfortable and driven out of bed by the continuous rhythmic waves of sensation. There would only be small gaps of rest stolen between efforts for the rest of the night.
I labored in front of the wood burning fireplace in our living room, knelt over an exercise ball, with Alec watching over me. Breathing and moaning with sensations as they rose, and melting back into the supportive exercise ball in the in between. I was unaware of time and space. I rose to meet the sensations in my body with breath and voice every time they came, and quickly released myself from effort when they passed. Everytime my mind began to wander, I gently invited it back into my body to be a curious observer of the power growing in my pelvis.
When the sensations became more intense I reached out to Alec and he called our doula to come to the house. When she arrived she came and knelt down behind me, put her hand on my low back and without speaking, I moved away from her touch. She knew I was farther along in my labor and that babe would be with us in a couple hours. She calmly and quietly called our midwives and instructed Alec to help her fill our birthing pool.
As I climbed into the birthing pool, my body softened into the warm soothing weightlessness offered by the water and this shifted my experience of the sensations away from intensity. I breathed my baby down into my pelvis, aware of the discomfort of my pelvis opening for her. My breath and voice helped me sink into the sensations of expansion with the gentle encouragement from my midwives.
Gazing out the window I suddenly became aware that dawn was rising. My midwives encouraged me to reach down and feel my baby in my birth canal. Hair! What a great head of hair! I knew instantly I could meet my baby with a few determined pushes and a strength rose within me unlike any other I’ve known before – I pushed with all my might when the sensations came.
And there we were, paused in the moment of transition. Paused between worlds. Her head outside of me, her body still in my birth canal; my body flooded with endorphins and oxytocin and excitement and relief and exhaustion. I sat there AMAZED in this space between the world of pregnancy and motherhood. Rarely do we make time to pause and take it all in.
With a final sensation I pulled Violet up onto my chest, I sighed with relief, relaxed back into the support of Alec’s arms and closed my eyes. The effort was over and she was finally here. My midwives skillfully and quickly cut the umbilical cord early and brought her over to their table to give her a couple puffs of air without disturbing my quiet peaceful state. I heard Violet’s whimpers, then a lusty cry and she was gracefully returned to my chest, as if there was never a disruption.
My doula and midwives helped me to my bed, repaired a small tear, helped me to breastfeed for the first time, and then snuggled me in with tea and a snack. Holding Violet on my chest, I glanced out my bedroom window and watched the beautiful hummingbirds feed in the morning sunlight on our new feeder. Sitting there snuggling baby Violet, I knew deep in my bones that the tides of fate had finally turned in my life – all I needed to do was hold this precious perfect little babe in my arms and the rest would unfold in its own right timing.
Violet’s birth was everything I wanted her birth to be and it was deeply healing – it proved I could trust my instincts and safely ride the waves of wild power when they came.
Happiest 6th Birthday to you dear Violet! May your heart and love for life continue to expand as you grow, and may you continue to be one of my greatest teachers.