She straddled the edge
And felt into eternity.
The edge of the old
And the new.
The edge of comfort
The edge of what she could bear.
The edge of her life.
Facing the illusion of choice,
She had to decide to push past the edge
And burst open.
Explode her heart.
Shatter what was.
She surrendered to intensity and allowed primal knowing.
It lasted forever,
But it was gone in a flash.
And then there was
Purity and innocence.
A whole new existence.
The whole birth team had assembled and the house was buzzing with preparations for the birth by 8am that morning. We had the birthing pool set up, all of my essential oil blends handy, aromatherapy diffusing, miso soup and date-o-rade ready to fuel me up, windows covered, energy work being done remotely – the place felt absolutely magical. The contractions were strong at this point and I needed help managing the back labor. I was alternating between laboring on the yoga ball, on my knees in front of the couch, and on my knees on the couch, all with Chris, my husband, pressing on my lower back and encouraging me. Between contractions I tried to rest, but the contractions were coming faster and faster so rest soon became impossible.
Around noon my midwife checked me and I was only 3cm dilated. I was disappointed and surprised. I had been laboring for 10 hours and the contractions felt strong, and regular! Then suddenly – I was at 5cm. Labor became a blur, with my contractions getting intense. I withdrew within and could only be present to my process.
Around 2pm I jumped in the pool, desperate for some relief. I felt that it didn’t do much and was worried I might pass out from the intensity. Throughout the day, and night, my husband was by my side, pressing on my back, holding me when I walked around, walking up and down the stairs with me, sitting behind me as I labored backwards on the toilet, in the shower helping soothe the intensity, coaching me throughout. Around 9pm I was at 7cm, and around 2am about 9cm. It was probably around midnight that I started questioning my sanity in wanting to have a child at all, and maybe around 4am that I was fantasizing about having a C section. I felt exhausted and hopeless, but kept pushing through feeling deep down inside that all was as it was meant to be – all was ok.
At some point during the early morning my midwife told me that I had a cervical lip, but that I could try pushing the baby past it. 10 hours of pushing went by, with very little progress, at which point my midwife suggested I take black and blue cohosh every 15 minutes, and walk up and down the stairs, or go to the hospital. This sounded horrible to me at this point, but not as horrible as going to the hospital. Chris and I felt the baby was close and so we did as instructed, at home. Within a few contractions, the primal pushing kicked in, and with it, an uncontrollable scream as I started feeling like I was being torn apart. Finally! My midwife checked me and let me know she could feel the head – we had finally gotten past the lip! I was able to feel his silky, squishy head. It felt unreal.
When they finally placed my little Koa on my chest, the first thing I remember saying to him was, “You made it.” The feeling of disbelief took a while to shake. I was so relieved to be on the other side of my life, and so grateful for having had Chris by my side throughout. For the first week after delivery I was very weak, but every day my heart kept bursting open wider and wider, making room for all the love pouring in for my baby. My whole existence was changed, as well as everything I thought I knew about myself, and what my body is capable of. Even after 36 hours of labor, I would do it all again in a blink of an eye.