From Womb to Eco Womb
2 years ago tonight I was making some hot tea, putting my feet up after a long day out buying towels and a car seat, and planning a weekend full of nesting around the farm that we had landed at just five days prior. We had just met my midwives from Three Sisters Midwifery that would be attending my birth, just put up our tipi that I wanted to birth in, finally got our hot water heater to work, and was breathing in all that had transpired to bring our journey here. In less than a week we had arrived in this space, set up camp, bought a van to get around (after selling our volkswagon bug, Violet, and going without a car for awhile), found a local consignment shop to get a few items of clothes for our sweet baby, set up our tipi and birth tub in the tipi, and was just beginning to feel out our nesting grounds. We had our first home visit from the midwives, and actually received a call from Jai that night just to check on me while we were out shopping for a car seat. I told her I felt good and that I would be setting up my birth space this weekend and would be in touch. Little did I know I would be going into labor that very night.
It was a full moon, so I should have known you might make your entrance sweet baby, and as we loaded up to go get your car seat and some towels for our home birth, I did feel a pretty strong surge that stopped me in my tracks. So, yes, should have known. Being my fourth baby, I just knew you were ready, I kept saying to my hubby that you were coming soon, I could feel you making your way. But, I had asked ever so politely if you could just wait until I set everything up, a sacred birth space in the tipi, car seat all ready in the van just in case, to spend a few more family circle times with the kids in case they had any more questions or needs, and a few days of rest and mentally preparing myself since we had been so busy traveling and getting here.
I went to bed about midnight on Friday night, October 18, 2013, and woke about 2am, October 19, 2013, to a pretty strong surge that would then continue every few minutes. I tapped my hubby on the arm to wake him and said "I think it's time." Not really being ready, but knowing that babies come when they are ready, it was the full moon and all, and our little man must have known that we already had all that he needed within. I got up and started swaying with each surge, letting go and leaning in. Trying to tell myself I was ready, even if not one cloth diaper had been washed because we hadn't got our washer yet, and my birth space wasn't set up yet, and we still needed to grocery shop! All the while listening to his whispers that none of that mattered. That all he needed was my portal to birth him earth side, my breasts to nourish him to life, and my love, our love as a family, by his side. My sweet baby boy you have taught us so much about letting go and loving hard. Thank you for choosing us.
From womb to Eco Womb you came in with such a beam of light. I went into labor under the full moon and you were born at high noon, ten hours of back labor because of your posterior position. And, as soon as I let go of all the things in my head that had to be for your birth, and any silly reasons why I had not helped you get into the 'right' position or prepared our space properly, and truly just trusted my body and your timing and the way you wanted to come earthside, well, then you turned your sweet head and slipped right out.
Daddy had been running around all night and morning with a headlamp on his head and a hose and boiling pots in his hands, trying to get the water temperature up in the tub in the tipi, but in the middle of the night in October in Oregon, it was cold, and so it took a bit! When it finally did get warm enough it was close to noon and I was in transition and just knew I couldn’t make it all the way out there. But the warmth of the sun glow inside our cozy tiny home felt just right, and I finally gave in to the comfort of our couch, hearing you whisper to me that you wanted to be born there, in the Eco Womb. I labored to my hypnobirthing cd for hours (I remember asking for someone to turn that lady up, ha, she calmed me), in the shower as the kids went by saying "hi mom," holding onto the walls and then our two front seats as guideposts just as they have served us on the road. I tried my birth ball, but no, that didn’t feel good. I constantly focused on my birth alter that I makeshift set up in the wee hours of that morning when I realized this was it, a candle, my salt lamp, affirmation cards, and some crystals. And, my hubby or midwives giving me pressure on my lower back was needed the whole time.
Back labor is no joke and if you have never experienced it and you're on your fourth baby it comes as quite the surprise. I kept thinking this would be a four hour labor, so when we had already hit eight and you weren’t going down, I got tired. I had not been internally checked this whole time either and I kept thinking I was there at any moment, that you were coming out each moment for hours. Then, being the empath that I am, I felt bad that I had my hubby call the midwives so early in the morning and it was taking so long. So, when my sweet midwives asked at one point if it would help to know, I agreed, and appreciated they were so hands off, only stepping in when I agreed on help. I was only 6cm when they checked and I think I literally just exhaled and laid down out of exhaustion. I hadn’t really slept, had a very busy day out the day before, and I thought I was much further along. They explained that a posterior baby sometimes takes longer, and that the constant pressure from your head was making me feel as if you were coming out for hours on end. So, I allowed myself to rest for a few minutes, I laid down on my left side, I took lots of deep breaths, and truly let go. Let go of the fact I had nothing “ready” whatever that means. Let go of the fact that I had not mentally been prepared for that day. Let go of the fact it was taking longer than I expected. Let go of what I thought should be and allowed the moments to happen as they were.
My mind shifted, I could feel it, and it was if the sad and anxious and worry released into the air, because just at that moment, one of my midwives held my hand and I swear she could feel it, too. Kristy said she had a song she would like to share if it was ok with me. Goodness, how I appreciated the care they took in asking me what I wanted rather than telling me what was happening. Of course, I said, a song would be beautiful. And she preceded to sing this song of opening - "We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous love light of the one. We are opening, we are opening, we are opening, we are opening!"
I cried and felt lighter and just knew I could do this. That you were ready sweet baby boy and that is all that mattered, that I had nurtured you up to this point and that I was already everything you needed. So, after this bout of rest and shifting, I felt a really strong surge that got me back up on my knees, and then sitting, on my side, and back and forth. I got word that the water in the tipi was ready, but at this point I heard you whisper to stay, and I really didn’t want to walk outside right then. The tipi was set up literally right behind our home, but I didn’t think I would make it. I guess I intuitively knew you were ready right then. I reclined at one point because I could feel you shifting your little body inside, turning your head facing down instead of up, releasing all sorts of pressure on my back. I could even see you shift, literally my belly twisting and moving with your every move. It was surreal and beautiful and amazing all in one, and then I knew you were ready, we were ready. And, I told you to come to my arms, that I would help you transition, that we had this, together.
With Daddy and your sister by my side, rubbing my shoulder and loving on me, your brothers just outside and coming in right when you came out, and my three midwives holding space for me, Jai watching over me, Rhionne making sure you were good, and Kristy holding a sacred circle for us all, I knew it was time. A bit of Mama roaring and moving and turning, and I could feel you coming out. With all I had I pushed when my body told me to push, and breathed when it told me to breathe. "Reach down, your baby’s here," I heard one of my midwives say. And, I did, and felt your little head and then your shoulders and pulled you up to my chest. All it took was letting go, all it took was trusting myself and truly listening to my body and my baby. And, in that moment, I was a Mama all over again.
You exhaled a cry almost immediately, and I pulled you right to my chest. Instinctively, I held you to my breast to nurse and latched you on as if we had been doing this dance forever. You quieted down and knew your transition was safe. You smelled Mama’s milk waiting for you. You looked up into my eyes. All these months of growing you inside and there you were meeting eye to eye. We were in love. Surrounded by the kids and Daddy, there you were, a part of our family, as if you had always been in the wings waiting for your entrance. I held you a long time in my arms, taking you all in, checking your tiny fingers and toes and belly and ears. We then checked and yup, you were all boy. We wanted to sing you happy birthday, and then our girl reminded us of a sweet natural rendition of a “hush little baby” book that we had been singing to you in my belly, and so she ran to get it and we all sang that to you. You seemed to love it and take us all in, all those voices you kept hearing now in front of you. Your family circled around you, in our home, born on the couch you were conceived on. I seriously couldn’t be happier. I didn’t have to go anywhere or worry about anyone else. I was home. You were home. From womb to Eco Womb, we did it! Our first homebirth, our first roadbirth, our first Eco Womb birth. And thank you sweet midwife for grabbing my phone to capture these moments right after birth! Considering I didn't have time to line up a birth photographer, and carried some disappointment with that, I am forever grateful for your captures and that I do have pictures from that day because of you.
I think it wasn’t until almost 50 minutes later that the midwives asked if I felt any other surges. Oh goodness, my placenta! So I sat up and then stood just a bit off the couch and out it came without much of a thought. And there you nursed some more with the placenta right next to us, your nourishment up until now. We sat some more, the midwives showing the kids the sac that you stayed cozy in and how the placenta resembled the tree of life. Eventually, when your cord was long done pulsating and I was ready to release it, Daddy held you skin to skin while your big brother, our middle boy volunteered to cut the cord. It was magical for us all, everyone a part. I held you some more kissing you and breathing you in. I glanced up and my midwives were doing dishes and cleaning up, seriously these amazing women. How did I ever birth before without a birth team? I’ve had a midwife in a hospital, but this. Oh my this was so different. They were doing my dishes (I am sure from last night’s dinner)! And, caring for me and our new baby boy, and the entire family. Everyone needs a midwife.
Eventually, after all the cuddles and baby weigh and Daddy making everyone lunch, I was ready to rest. So, they tucked me into my bed, as I lay you right next to me, curled up just as you were inside, heart to heart again. And, I couldn’t have felt more at peace, knowing I was right where I needed to be. The midwives said their goodbyes, and that they would see me tomorrow. Daddy man, who had been amazing all night and all day, and was probably just as exhausted but running on adrenaline, came in close to kiss me and you, our sweet new baby boy, and it all felt so normal, as if we had been doing this forever, just waiting for you to join us here on earth. He whispered to me that he needed to run to the grocery store (oh reality, we had no groceries, ha!), and asked if I was ok in bed with you. I answered that it was like we had been here curled up together all along and that I couldn’t feel more safe and secure and cozy and loved. And, oh my, our bed felt divine at that point. The boys stayed with me in case I needed anything, and he took our girl with him, super excited to go tell the world that she just got a baby brother! I dozed off with you at my breast, so serene, so comfortable, in total baby bliss.
I had been worried about not having a washer, not having groceries stocked, not being ready, yet, you needed nothing but me. How silly of me to think you needed more. You stayed skin to skin for the first week anyway and didn't need clothes, you stayed warm against my chest as you brought my milk to the surface for your nourishment and comfort, and we had everything we needed at home, together as a family. We found a washer/dryer pair off of Craigslist that we got a couple days after you were born and started washing everything then. We had a naming ceremony in the tipi when you were five days old and spent a lot of time in there as sacred family space, nursing, drumming, bonding, and just being. And, when you were about two weeks old and we had a warm sunny fall day, we took a beautiful herbal bath in the birth tub in the tipi and that helped heal my vision of birthing there.
Because, no matter what your vision of birth, it always plays out the way it is supposed to. Sometimes it adjusts to the needs of the day or the baby or your family, and sometimes it’s so completely different than what was envisioned. But, baby knows. And your trip earthside sweet star seed was exactly as it was because you went from womb to Eco Womb for our very first home birth and road birth. After being induced with my first, fighting that with my second and allowing him to come in his own timing, and then standing up for a completely natural birth with my third, this fourth birth at home was exactly what we all needed, calm, comforting, supported, and beautifully family focused. Thank you my love for guiding us down this road, for speaking clearly that you wanted to be born on the same couch that you were formed, for the stars aligning to bring together my birth team at the very last minute, for us landing on a farm that welcomed such a unique birth, and for being the first baby born on native sacred land in decades. You taught us (and still remind us daily) to let go and trust the path, to BE in the moments without rush or worry of how it should have been, and for loving hard with all you got! Leo Jace, sign of the sun and Native American for moon, you are our full moon sunshine baby, always smiling, always loving. Thank you for gifting us with your sweet soul, and thank you for such a beautiful journey. Happy Birth Day precious spirit!