It’s getting closer…
…my birth-day, that is. The day I birth my fourth baby. The day a new little person makes the journey from inside mama to outside. The day our family takes on a new dynamic with another precious life. I am SO excited!
I LOVE BIRTH!
Everything about it. The excitement. The joy. The newness of life springing forth. Yes, even the intensity and the unknown. It is miraculous. It is messy. It is glorious.
I’ve done this before–three times before to be exact–and every time has been different and unique. Each birth has had it’s individual challenges and overcomings. And now I stand here, mere weeks or perhaps only days away from experiencing birth in all its fullness again. And my heart leaps inside of me!
How to explain the intensity, the love, the magnitude of emotion that floods my heart and mind when I think about birthing this baby? It’s deep. It’s passionate. It wants expression.
Join me as I walk through my thoughts on birthing a baby:
(Mamas, every mother and baby is different. This is my experience, and what I’m looking forward to. There are MANY variations of a normal birth.)
My labors have all begun very similarly, with me waking from sleep to a crampy, I-guess-I-need-to-use-the-bathroom contraction. Not really painful, just making me aware that something is different in my body. I usually don’t connect with the idea that I may be laboring until 3 or 6 times later. Usually not until I can’t ignore the sensation in my body and have to get out of bed each time and lean on my elbows on the bed and sway my hips around to help with the pressure. And then I start to get excited inside, but I try to maintain a “wait and see” attitude until it’s unmistakable that “today is THE day!”
Who knows when this will happen this time! Previously it has always been early morning, and eventually I wake my husband, or once I let him wake up on his own and shocked him when I looked into his eyes as he woke and whispered, “I think we’re having a baby today!” But it could be any time, of course. Middle of the day. As I’m crawling into bed. Right after breakfast. Whenever it begins, I’m sure I’ll be ready and caught off-guard at the same time. That part is predictable. 🙂
After a bit of a warm-up, my body and subconscious brain will decide “let’s do this!” and active labor will begin. This is the real working time. Working through each contraction, each wave of sensation, each piece of intensity as it comes. And then breathing out and letting it go when it passes, knowing that it is gone for good. Giving my body permission to open, communicating with my baby that it’s time to work together to get him or her out. Working with my husband to make my body as comfortable as possible. Reveling in the glory of what’s about to take place Living fully in the moment in an attempt to grasp the awesomeness and power of this time. It’s fleeting in its longevity.
At some point during active labor, I start to feel the decent into what I affectionately call “Laborland”. It’s when I feel myself beginning to retreat inward, to a deeper place mentally and emotionally than I’ve been previously. Before this I can carry on conversations, make my bed, and prep my room for birth. When I start to go into Laborland, I relinquish all that to others, and release myself to be nurtured and cared for. It’s like I feel the urge to go into hiding. And I become the most grateful for the team I’ve chosen to be with me in this precious experience.
Technically the time when a mom’s cervix dilates the last two centimeters, I think it must be a little different for everyone, because I always feel like “it” comes after I’m completely dilated, but before I’m ready to push. Be that as it may, this is the most intense part of labor. The part that requires the most courage. The courage of surrender.
There is no preparation for the intensity of sensation and emotion that happens here. If one has been prepped by other mothers who have done this before, there may be a vague sense of “I’m supposed to let go”, but everything in the mind wants to jump up and run away at this point, and my “job” becomes letting go of the logical, practical part of me and surrendering to the deeper place of raw instinct. I have to believe most fiercely at this moment that my body was created perfectly for doing this, and there is nothing for me to do but get out of the way and let my body do its work. Time looses all meaning now. It could be 5 minutes, or 5 hours, I wouldn’t know. It wouldn’t matter. My body is in charge now, not my mind. The faster I can surrender and release, the faster my body will open and push out the new little person. The intensity and energy of each surge grows, and there’s nothing I can do to control, manage, or stop it. I moan a lot, not in pain, per se, but to help myself let go. My purpose in these moments is two-fold: allow my body to do its work unhindered by my mind, and to keep fear out. I focus all my emotions on releasing, and all my attention on working with my baby. He or she wants to get out of there too! And then, suddenly, my body decides it’s time to…
So it does! And I do! Strength returns to my before-limped-out frame, and I clamor to find the way that feels right for my body to move that baby down. While I love the concept of “breathe the baby out”, I have yet to experience it that nicely. 🙂 So far with me pushing is raw, fierce, and glorious! It comes with a welcome burst of energy that was previously (and purposefully, I think) “missing”. The pressure and intensity of baby’s head emerging is exasperating and exhilarating all at once. And then baby’s head is out! And the body twists and turns, the shoulders come free, and the whole baby is suddenly sliding out and in my arms! Oh the bliss!
All previous emotions and discomfort are gone in an instant. The intensity and pressure are a thing of the distant past. Relief, joy, glory, LOVE are overwhelming in the most beautiful of ways. The work is over. The baby has come.
What more is there to say? Soon the placenta will come out (no fear, it has no bones!), and I’ll be cleaned up and in bed with my warm, sticky-with-vernix baby on my chest. Baby will be new. I will be glowing with life and passion. My husband will be laughing and strong. And our children will come in to meet their new sibling. There will be kisses, hugs, and lots of touching of tiny hands, feet, and head. So much love. So much peace. So much joy.
And then they’ll all go away, and with my little newborn freshly fed and clothed, I will take a nap.