i have tried several time to post a storyboard of photos but just keep coming back to these two, two powerful moments. the exact moment anais was born and the first time we made eye contact, they seem to speak about the intensity and the rawness of what becoming a mother is like. i keep replaying the day in my mind as not to forget the magic of these moments and those of the day. i have sat at this computer numerous times to write this out but nothing was able to evoke the power of what birthing a baby is like, or how it feels to welcome a new soul into your family or how captivating it is to watch those you love fall instantly in love with this new being. there is power there, it is enchanting and miraculous, it is like no other moment in your life, you are forever changed and enlightened.
i set my intentions early in my pregnancy: gentle, loving, kind and painless. my first experience, with lucy, was long and the recovery was hard, to this day i still describe it as traumatic; like someone hit me with a mac truck and then threw a baby at me. i knew i wanted to do it differently this time around, take out the trauma and replace it with beauty. so everyday (and sleepless nites) i would send energy into that intention, i envisioned myself in labor and how i wished it would be, i focused on my hopes and sweet baby anais growing inside me and prayed that ali would be there to catch my baby. a few days before her birth (i was already in the early early stages of labor, i was having totally random contractions) i started saying out loud that i just wanted to show up at the birth center fully dilated and ready to push. so on april 24th, like every other day, dave went to work, lucy and i went on with our routine of breakfast, playing, reading, etc… all while i was dealing with noticeable but completely random surges. i had a midwife appointment set for that afternoon and knew that once i left home i would be returning with a new baby. i was uncomfortable throughout the day, i took a hot bath and a few hot showers to alleviate some of the discomfort. lucy gave me a massage, at one point i was in child’s pose (there was a lot of pressure in my lower back) and lucy had the wisdom to sit on my sacrum and squeezed my hips with her legs, it was a moment i will never forget.
throughout the day i was checking in with dave and michelle (my sis in law) to let them know nothing had really changed and that we should just all head to the midwife together to see if they can get things going. i called ali (my midwife) to give her a heads up, we exchanged a few texts and decided we would just see each other later that day, unless i needed her sooner. meanwhile, i was making lunch and washing dishes and taking moments of pause when needed. i did notice that when i started moving around my contractions would lessen and grow farther apart, i tried laying down as much as i could to keep things going, i read and tried to rest. by 2:30pm the surges were getting a bit more noticeable but were still nice, so i knew i still had a while to go. i was having to slow down to get through them, they were 30 secs to a minute long and there was still no pattern, they were anywhere from 4-16 mins apart, i thought i was in it for the long haul and that i wasn’t going to deliver any sooner than 10pm that night. i kept my intention close, earlier in the day i read a quote that i wrote down and kept at my nightstand, “inhale trust, exhale fear”, it became my mantra. during these nice surges i would envision my cervix dilating (i really pictured a flower blossoming, would completely relax and sent that energy south) and i would smile. smile because i wanted this to be a happy experience, smile because i wanted it to change my physical composure, smile because i wanted to send that message to my body, to be proud that it could birth a baby, to be delighted that all this work is worth it, to be happy with feeling empowered.
so i continued to smile, when i hugged my sister in law when she arrived at my house, when dave got home, in the car, sitting in traffic and especially when i saw ali’s face once at the birth center. we arrived there around 4pm, settled in, checked mine and the baby’s vitals (my BP was off and high) and talked about where i thought i was at. my surges were still mostly nice, i was able to carry a conversation, laugh and have total clarity. i was nervous about being checked because i didn’t want to be disappointed about being at 5cm or even worse at 3cm, i was thinking this was going to have to get a lot harder before my body was ready for pushing. ali needed to check me so she could get an idea of where we were and if she needed to call someone to take over her rounds, i picked a busy day to have a baby (by the time we left the birth center was full). so she checked me, i was at an 8 and her checking me moved me to a 9!! i cried! i was so happy! i looked at michelle and exclaimed, “an 8?!? that’s the peak of pain!” i was so thrilled and kept saying.” this is so awesome” over and over, i looked at ali and made a remark about the power of intention. i also looked to lucy and told her what a great job she did, she was with me ALL day while i was at home laboring and that she helped me get to this point! we now had to make a decision, i was given the option to lay down to bring my BP down and labor for a bit (my water hadn’t broke yet) or i could have ali break my water and have a baby. i chose the latter, laboring more didn’t sound too inviting. at 4:43 they broke my water and started running the tub, i laid down while it was filling, lucy changed into her swimsuit, i had a few powerful surges and then lucy and i got in to the tub at 4:53. there was a moment of utter stillness when i looked over and saw lucy sitting on the other side of the tub, in lotus pose, meditating. it was a beautiful site and made me giggle a bit, as i often wonder where this glorious child came from. i made a comment about not feeling the urge to push, then a few seconds later it came, i immediately went from lying down to on my knees and with my hands felt the baby’s head coming. i pushed, there was her head, i pushed again and there was her body. at 4:56pm anais wren was born. i immediately scooped her out of the water, lucy was already holding her hand and as a family we discovered that we had welcomed another little girl into our lives. her birth was everything i had hoped and wished for.
i had a few postpartum complications, a bit of hemorrhaging and a stitch. i still didn’t look like or feel like i got hit by a mac truck and even though there was a lot going on around/for me, i still felt very much loved, was treated kindly, was spoked to with gentle words and felt very safe. i stayed at the birth center a bit for observation, to eat a meal and for security of having my midwife around just incase something changed. things slowly but surely remedied and we were on our way home. we were all in our pjs and in our own beds by midnight.
in the end, i was in labor for about 12 hours, labored at the birth center for an hour, pushed for 3 minutes and gave birth to a beautiful perfect soul. anais wren was 7lbs 8oz, 19″ long and had a head full of dark hair. and there is no surprise at all that her big sister is madly in love with her, as are we.