Becoming a mother is an event that changes you. It is undeniable that in our western culture birth is the closest we get to experiencing a true rite of passage. The saying, “With the birth of a child comes the birth of a mother” cannot ring more true. What I have learned from both my birth experiences is this; birthing and mothering continue to unfold layers of your being as time goes on and that the call of motherhood is one of deep transformation, if you allow it to be.
It was January 29th, two days shy of 42 weeks pregnant when I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a ton of bricks. I was incredibly tired for just waking up, my back was aching and my legs felt heavy. The oh so familiar signs that my period is on its way, except for today it was a baby!! I had a feeling things were starting to progress and that I needed to prepare for birth.
It was a super stormy day with more wind and rain expected over the night. As I walked out of my midwife appointment that morning I joked “I’m going to lay outside tonight with my legs spread and let the wind blow this baby out of me”. We all chuckled as we parted ways. Little did I know how foretelling that little joke would turn out to be.
That evening Cody and I went out to a lovely dinner and enjoyed a night at home just the two of us. What would be our last dinner out in a full year thanks to the current global pandemic. We cuddled on the couch and watched a movie (a rare occasion for us since having children!) while I used my breast pump to stimulate my nipples in hope that would get things moving. I went to bed that night mentally prepared to head to the birth center the following day for induction.
My contractions started a little after 1 am. Gentle at first but a sure sign things were starting. As I laid on my side in bed my cat Sully came and laid on my hip as the contractions gently made their presence known. I started mentally preparing myself, grounding and packing up my toiletries for our birth bag that Sully proceeded to smack off the bathroom counter. He was trying to get my attention that is for sure! I notified our birth team that labour had started and our midwife wanted me to call when things had progressed a bit more. And boy did things progress. A mere 15 minutes later I decided it was time to call the midwife. She seemed surprised to hear from us so soon but agreed to meet us at the birth center at 3:30 AM. From this point forward my body completely took over.
I found myself in our living room with the birth ball that I had been doing hip circles on earlier in the day. The same ball that sat unused for almost two years after our planned home birth turned into a hospital transfer.
At 2:30 am, an hour after labor started. This is the moment I remember my body completely taking over.
For a cold and windy night outside I felt nothing but intense heat flooding my body. Cody was fanning me with a handheld fan which barely touched the heat emanating from my body, and he soon realized we needed to bring in extra support and got a standing fan from our storage room.
I have to give major props to Cody for doing such an amazing job creating a comfortable birthing environment for me. He was watchful and listened, offered support and backed off when I asked. It’s funny how I love to be touched basically anytime EXCEPT for in labour! He wore the “Again, I surrender” pin that our doula, Katie, had given us at our first meet up. Looking back now on the unfolding of events, there is no mistake in Katie wearing and gifting me that pin. Because my due date was late she was unable to be there for our birth, but I believe her support was there, through the wearing of that pin. (you can read more about the significant of the pin here)
With the cool air blowing over my body my contractions continued surge on and I had no option other than to completely surrender my body to a force that was much stronger than I. My body moved in the exact ways it needed to allow my baby to move through the birth canal. It moved, it shook, it shimmied, it took control. It was incredible to witness the power of the female form when forced to surrender completely.
My mind on the other hand was like an annoying backseat driver, my ego loudly saying “you are crazy, you could be in the hospital with an epidural right now”, “how on earth do women cope if THIS is what natural childbirth is like “. Witnising the defetest stories my mind likes to tell myself while my body was in cruise control.
I remember letting out a guttural “FUCK- how do women do this!!!”, this was my transition. As I came up for a brief sip or air and water I started to hear Cody’s sweet selection of Stevie Wonder's album The Talking Book playing in the background. Over the next few contractions my mind finally surrendered, letting go and singing along to Stevie wonder between contractions.
Soon after I started to notice the infamous ‘puh’ sounds that come with the pushing phase. I asked Cody what time it was, he said 2:50am, in disbelief I monitored a few more contractions before asking Cody again what time it was (He lied and said it was 3, in reality only a few minutes had passed) and requested he find out where our doula and midwife were, because my body was starting to push.
A few contractions later I felt a forceful wave of course through my body that felt like I was having a GIANT bowel movement. (Come to find out later there is something known as the fetal ejaculation response). I said to Cody- “I’m not sure what just happened, but I need you to rip off my pants, I’m not sure if you are going to find a baby’s head or poop but I need my pants off now!
He did as instructed and low and behold baby Ziggy’s head was right there! We were shocked. That was quick.
Instinctually, I rocked back into a kneeling position as Ziggy’s head dropped into our hands.
Holy shit! We were holding our babies head in our hands, just like that.
There was a moment of pause…
Here we are alone, on our living floor completely unprepared for this experience.
Thoughts are racing through my mind- what if the baby isn’t ok? What do I do next?
And with that thought my water finally broke as I pushed baby Ziggy out and into my hands. I gently unwrapped his cord from around his waist and as I brought him up to my chest he let out the most reaffirming scream. We looked at each other, a combination of terror- what in the world just happened and recognition- it’s so nice to finally see you in the flesh. We kept our eyes locked together and our gaze allowed us to melt away the trauma and surprise of that quick birth experience and settle into the abundant love of the birth energy surrounding us.
Our care team arrived shortly after and helped deliver the placenta and provide aftercare for both Ziggy and I. We were so incredibly grateful for the support and care our team provided in ensuring both Ziggy and my health and safety. Around 5am we settled into our own bed, in our home and snuggled with our new baby as he slept soundly between us. We were still wide eyed with disbelief and in awe of what had just transpired.
(we were not prepared at all and had to use white blanket to wrap the baby and I in...not ideal, but that blanket has lived through a lot!)
And just like that baby Ziggy entered the world, like the surging wind storm around us but bringing nothing but peace within. Sweet baby, thank you for the journey and for teaching me to trust and have faith in the power of my being over the power of my mind, to surrender to that which is outside of my control, and for the capacity to love even more deeply than I knew I could.
This story was written shortly after Ziggy’s birth. And this last paragraph still rings true. This year has been all about learning to trust in and step into my own power and potential. Challenges and areas for growth have been brought up that have given me the opportunity to grow. The need to seek support, and surrender. To trust in the process and value what it is that I have to offer. To commit and be here for this crazy journey. Ziggy is a window in, showing me edges that need to be softened, boundaries that need to be strengthened.
And I know along this journey my inner critic will be there trying to slow me down. But I know now that the wisdom and power are held within my body. And that is unstoppable.