Birth of a Spirit Child
Some pregnancies are planned and some come by complete surprise. Like a small seedling sprouting, searching for the sun without the smallest glimmer of awareness from the soil around it. This is how my third son came into existence by chance against the odds and totally in charge. I would later learn that these amazing and frustrating traits would also carry through into his next stage of life as a breathing, creating child. At the time of conception my husband Ben and I were raising ourselves and two small children ages three and a half and one years old. The thought of adding to our family was enough to cause me to inhale into a paper bag with a full blown panic attack.
As the months went on of hugging porcelain and always having a garbage can nearby, the thought of a new baby grew warm in my mind. Thoughts of tender moments nursing and small socks kept me going through those long hard months of the first trimester. As the months changed so did I. I became a new woman who could take any day and make it my own.
“Patience is a virtue” my mother always shouted as I blew full force into any given situation and the world, and I would respond in a whisper just loud enough for her to hear “A virtue that I don’t have.” Once you give your life, body, and soul over to motherhood patience is all that can save you from the whirlwind of chaos that is being MOM. Learning this has been my greatest challenge and blessing.
Some things come when you plan them and some things come when you don’t, and that was my thinking when I woke up after a much needed nap at 41 1/2 weeks pregnant with my spirit child. I am strong. I am powerful. After two previous home births I was following a long line of strong powerful women that date back to the beginning of time. Trusting our bodies to know what to do and become one with a place where life and death meet. I was doing a spiral dance into the heart of creation and at the center was birth.
Ben told me he could tell the time had come for our child to be born. I called him that afternoon wanting to check in and I told him I was feeling a little groggy. In true fashion he was home in 10 minutes. He told me that he could hear it in my voice, a mirror of births past, that I was in early labor. The labor of love that you can experience is ever changing and always transforming. Each labor experience is different, each unborn child has a say in the way it all turns out and so do you. The way a mother responds to each surge of her body’s contracting uterus has a direct reflection on the birth of the child. When the water of our child’s old life came forth and soaked me I knew the moment was here when you test your resolve to pass through another door. Giving birth is what I imagine a caterpillar must go through inside its cocoon. A complete metamorphism, the closest thing I can compare it to is a self-induced trance where the only battles are the ones in your head.
My husband Ben is my midwives ideal cast of a father to be, her praise still rings in my ears even after all these years. It amazes me that he always remained so calm, a pillar of strength for me to lean on when I needed it. Being who I am I never doubted my body or the fact that everything would turn out okay, but he was on the outside of all that, an observer to my pain and he was still able to be fully present in the moment. After a quick phone call made by him to inform our midwife of our momentum he discovered that our son had turned and was no longer head down, but had decided to present himself to the world bum first.
Much of the memories are mine alone; cellular changes in my DNA; unremembered grandmothers chanting in my blood, a divine flow of energy transmuting pain into a birth of my son and myself. I can only really remember a small amount of what others spoke to me during this meditation of consciousness, but this said to me by my midwife will never be forgotten. After she had indeed confirmed Ben's examination that our son was breech she came to talk to me. “Sarah your baby is breech”, “Ok,” I said “What does that change?” She whispered back at me with worry in her eyes thinking she was going to scare me “Well instead of dilating to a 10 I need you to dilate to a 12” my response was automatic “I can do that!” I had total confidence in myself.
A lifetime went by, days turned into years as I waited for my body to release its captive, to give life. I was later told only four hours had passed in the mortal world, but I knew the universe had sped up in those moments to help me bring his life to earth. My body waged a battle on itself, bending, spreading, opening like a dew laden flower ready to be picked. My mind was totally dedicated, with one goal, one focus, to open for this child to come through me and be born. I was ready for the shift to the next stage and my body followed in blind faith. I believe once a woman believes in herself a primal echo engulfs her body and provides all the courage needed to fulfill the path that crosses the chasm between life and birth.
As Sage Jacob came forth into the world at 9 lbs. and 11oz. and 23 inches long a deep stillness came over me. An exhale you feel all the way to the core of your being. He is pure undiluted light. My midwife told me once that there is a unique connection that comes with birthing a breech baby because your hearts are aligned and in sync, and I believe her. I am not saying I love him more or even that we get along better but we have a link, an understanding, a spark that binds us together as spirits.
Remembering these next few moments are the hardest. After being handed my new son and snuggling him close, things changed fast. Gone was the peace inlaid state that had filled our bedroom, fear had crept in while I wasn’t looking. The blood of my body was leaving me. A kind of panic I never seen before became apparent on my family's faces. I couldn’t understand why my midwife was frantic; I knew in the end all would be fine. I truly felt untouchable.
I remember her trying to will my body to comply; offering up prayers to whatever God would listen. My head started to feel heavy and words started to sound like they came through a long pipe before they got to my ears. Finally in desperation my midwife, this woman I loved, just looked at me and told me to make it stop. She all but stomped her foot at me, “Make it stop!” The words I can do that rang out in the front of my mind again and I did. Singing songs I learned at my mother’s side as she attended women gave me focus. I drew upon the endless supply of energy and I sealed my wounds. I bathed in pure love as all my fears and inhibitions were cleansed from my soul. I felt so alive. Basking in a glow of a baby smells and oxytocin .
16 years later I read these words again but this time as a Certified Professional Midwife that has been on the other side. My heart reaches for my own midwife as I can now understand the intensity of the situation and also how capable she was to handle it. I have now been at a surprise breech birth with my waiting hands held aside. I have now sang songs to others. I now have been the provider that does all the things and says those words to others. I now know how to move my hands to help the uterus contract. I now know how to assess the bleeding. I now make the herbal tinctures that support the body to close the wounds. I now carry the medications that work when all those other things don't. I now am the one that attends to families.
When I reflect on his birth I look back with joy and power. I still feel that warmth and peace. Birth is still an unknown and it always will be. Birth, as with life, carries it's own risks and joys. I am forever grateful to the amazing woman who midwifed me through all four of my pregnancies and births and who encouraged me to reach deep and seek this work. She knew who I was before I could see myself and I will forever love her for it. Thank you Sherri