Monday, December 1, 2008
"this womans work" - kate bush
being invited into someone's birth space is such a sweet honor. i've been witness to such sacred events only a few times.
the first overwhelmed me. i was there to video the event. i was young. i was scared. she was loud. the babe was born. i felt myself gasp for air and tears stream down my face. new life.
the second was my dear aunt amy. there was a reverence to her laboring hours. people spoke in whispers, the birth suite was dimly lit, sarah mclachlan played on repeat as she swayed in a wooden rocking chair while i rubbed her feets and tears streamed down my face at the reality of the painful work she was deep in the throws of.
the third was my littlest sister jade. i arrived at the hospital just after she'd received her epidural. i brushed her hair back and whispered in her ear, "this is it. you're doing it. your boy is on his way." i held her shaky hands in awe of what her tiny jadey self had been doing for the previous nine months. i left her there to do the big work and cried my eyes out all the way home.
and of course i was very much present at the birth of my first babe. i'd planned to have a homebirth. everything was in place. all things delegated. this is what i remember:
two weeks late and counting. new slippers. my comfy couch. my mama holding my feets. smiley face socks. nick at nite. andrey waking for work. my red plaid blanket. amy arriving with ramen and sunmart ice. the birth pool. my birth skirt. dancing with andrey. big deep breath. amelia arriving with a hug to acknowledge the work i was doing. a caramel candle. bob marley's greatest hits. my squeezing belly. the pain in my back. will he be here by dinner? hours. more hours. even more hours. the stoplights on the way to the hospital. walking with andrey down the hall. frantic. waiting on the IV drip. asking for my dad. waiting on the epidural. the epidural. i. can't. breathe... and the rest is a mushy mess that i can't really remember.
until my boy is born. on my birthday. my husband tells me how cute he is. i think i hear him cry. he's whisked away. "go with him!" i tell andrey. he came back washed and clean, poked, prodded and bottle fed. then i finally saw him. lucas jude.
something about being posterior. something about him being very much tangled up in the cord. something about him being 9+ pounds took us from my sacred birthing space to the hospital. the trauma of that part weighs heavy on my heart.
i am thankful for the days i spent laboring in the peace of my own home. i am thankful that my voice was heard when i knew i needed to move my production to the safety of the hospital. i am thankful for the modern technology and medicine and the kind doctor that allowed me to safely birth my boy. i am thankful that he is healthy and happy and just plain perfect. i am terrified to do this again.
i was given assignment by my mama midwife to go back and explore that day and say outloud the fears i have for the upcoming birth of this baby boy. i decided to do that here. in order to do that i asked some the bravest/wisest/sweetest people i know to help me. i wanted to hear words from them of their own (all very different)birth experiences. not really to compare them to my own but more to find the empowerment that i needed to remind me that i can do this. that our bodies are made to do this. that each babe will come when and how it needs to. each has their own story.
they were each willing to let me share their stories here, too. a new story each day this week starting later this afternoon. do you feel like sharing your own story? post it on your blog and email me the link. i will post a list of all of them at the end of the week. and don't forget to leave loving comments all week long here - as many as you wish. invite your friends to this women's circle. i will collect all the comments you leave and pick one of you for a year of MOTHERING magazine. my favorite.
let me remind you, however... being invited into someone's birth space is an honor. respect these lovely women and their stories. turn your voices down to a whisper and enter their sacred space with me. do you hear the sweet music? smell the candles? feel the reverence?