Birthing Story: My Daughter of the Moon

Water birth home

After months of anticipation I walked in the big glass hospital doors to the Birth unit. This was the day I had been dreaming about. It was 6:50pm. I had on my new scrubs and a badge with RN under my name. My first night shift as a Labor and Delivery Nurse was a blur of lights and switches, beeps, chatters and moans, and oh the smells. I work three nights in a row and slept the days away in a parallel universe where I dreamed that my two-year-old daughter kept trying to open my eyelids and echoing, “Wake up mommy, mommy play.”   

By the fifth day in the timeless daze I had a feeling there was something more. I got a pregnancy test. Two little lines and I couldn’t stop the flood, the doubt in my own capacity. It was a pregnancy lived in the night, surrounded by laboring women, sitting on the floor with them, soothing their fears, riding the waves of labor from the early excitement to the crescendo of the physical body reaching its limits so that the life force of the universe can come through the womb.

I dreamed of birth and I saw its uniqueness in each woman and I cried a lot. And then it was my turn. I chose what was most comfortable to me, which was to be back in my family home in Kula. I had two world-wise Midwives and one who was training. Among the three, they had been attending births in women’s own homes for 80+years. It showed in their calmness. In their trusting nature. I knew all the equipment and I saw it carefully laid out. I was free to be the keeper of my own birth.

I made love to my husband in the morning, the men poured cement, the women baked and talked. I drifted in and out of sleep in the early hours not knowing how long it would be but knowing that my energy would be needed. The day was alive. We walked Thompson Rd. We had a beautiful dinner and as the sun dipped below West Maui I left the table to begin the deep inward spiral. In the shower I lifted my leg to the edge of the tub just to see. About 4cm I felt. Conserve. And sweet husband please sleep and stop staring at me. I am going to need you later.  The surges started to come in predictable patterns until I could no longer lay down through them. Shower. But it was a cold night and luckily there was a tub prepared. As I slid down into the warm water I let go into the fast flow. My body still and fluid, floating through the rapids of my labor. I floated up onto my hands with each one blowing bubbles into the warm water and then came to rest closing my eyes and recharging silently for the next surge. Building to towering waves overtaking me, the Milky Way reverberating back my groans.

As I reached the peak. I looked into my midwife’s eyes, “Is she okay?” “Yes,” said the wise woman. And I rolled back with my head resting on the side of the tub. With the power I curled instinctively and felt her slide down into my inner space. There was a quiet pause. Looking up to a cloudless night, dark with the new moon my soul smiling into the heavens she slid down into my hand, my finger pushing gently on a soft squishy bag that covered her little hard head. Like brail, her head filled the space of my hand through the tissue. A loving touch from the midwife felt like fire. Don’t Touch Me!… Gentle… Opening. I felt her little nose slide beneath my pubic bone. Squishy bag… breathe, and with a crash the next surge brought her spiraling into the blue water. Midwives gentle hands pulling away the silken bag from her face, little lavender arms and legs swimming to the surface and like a butterfly emerging with wet wings, her strong voice echoed to the stars.

Aisis, the Goddess Mother of the World that birthed through me. My daughter of the moon.

Image Credit: Kiana Rowley

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Kiana Rowley is a Maui women’s health advocate and a cofounder of the Pacific Birth Collective. She graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa with her BA in nursing in 2012 and began her midwifery journey in 2013 with an intimate understanding of how harmful fear is to the hormonal physiology of healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

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