Written by Cynthia
The birth of Wren Aramis Finn: Tuesday Nov 27, 2018~born at 10:06 am. Weighing 6lbs 10 oz
About a week before my son was born, I was visiting a friend who lived near the ocean. I was telling her that my son let me know he was ready to come, and I wondered what was taking him so long! She asked me if she could pull some medicine cards for me and do a quick reading on the matter. I curiously agreed. The session took the direction of my own paternal lineage and I quickly realised I needed to let Wren know that his father and I were very ready to receive him, and were waiting with open arms and hearts. That evening I lit a candle, sat by the fire and wrote to him. I assured him we were here waiting. On my way home from her place, I felt drawn to walk the long dock at the beach just down the street from her house, so I went. I became really aware that this would probably be the last time I walk this dock without a little one in my arms and I was very excited. I was also full of questions and question marks! There is so much unknown as we enter the labour process. It really made me feel like I was holding my breath just waiting for the big day. When I got to the end of the dock, three dolphins swam by! I couldn't freakin' believe my eyes!!! Such an unusual sight, right there, in this narrow passage between two islands! The midwives of the ocean showing up for me! I knew then and there my son would be here very soon! And I felt so incredibly held by all of life in this moment. That evening I inserted an evening primerose capsule before I went to bed.
The next day was Friday. My husband and I went for a long hike up a mountain. I wanted to make sure to move around a lot to slowly get things going. Once we were back down the mountain, after having walked several hours, my mucus plug fell out. Ha! Right at the end of the hike! Luckily too, because it was pretty wet! At the time I didn't know for sure what it was. I wondered if it was my water breaking maybe so I decided to contact my midwife. I remembered her saying that if the waters break too early on in labour, I wouldn't be able to birth in water. I had my heart set on birthing in water so I was reaaaaalllly hoping that wasn't it. On Saturday, we met at the hospital so she could quickly have a look, and she confirmed it was only my mucus plug. Phewf.
Nothing more happened for a little while. Until Sunday evening. Around 7pm I started feeling some mild cramping. It felt a bit familiar, not unlike mild indigestion. When I went to bed around 11 I realised the cramping was actually pretty rhythmic so I jokingly checked my husband's contraction app on his phone to measure the timing, and sure enough....they were every 7 minutes, mildly lasting about 30 seconds. I was in early labour! I was glad it was bedtime. I knew I should get as much rest as possible, since it was my first time birthing and it would probably take a long while. I slept pretty well that whole night.
Monday morning went on as usual, still having contractions, lasting slightly longer each time. I decided to let my doula know as well as my best-friend who I had asked to also be at the birth. The birth pool had already been set up a few days before and now I was just trying to move, eat, rest, hydrate as much as I could while I could. During the late afternoon I was trying to move and dance to allow for things to move along. My doula and friend both came over then to be with us. It felt really good having them there at this point. Contractions got more and more intense and more frequent so I put on the Tens machine but I found it didn’t do very much. Funny enough, I was too afraid to turn it on the highest setting. It is supposed to alleviate the sensations of contractions with an electrical current, kind of like a shock. I then decided to call my midwife to let her know what was happening, and she said I probably had a while to go, and to call her back once the contractions had increased in intensity. She said “call me back when you’re not able to talk anymore.” At this point I was feeling enough discomfort and pain with the contractions that I was asking my husband to squeeze my hips each time which would relieve the pain. But I was still able to make jokes and chat with everyone. The thought of it getting much much worse made me cry my eyes out! I was pretty afraid of the pain at this point.
So, I had my husband there to support me with squeezing my hips, my best friend there to feed me fruit salad and keep me hydrated, and my doula to gently guide me through it all. I can’t imagine having less than 3 support people with a home birth. As the evening went along, I was still in early labour, so my doula suggested I rest as much as I can since it might still be a long while. At this point, the contractions were about 3 minutes apart, lasting about 1 minute or so. The only position I found comfort in, was standing. Nothing else felt comfortable. We decided to fill the birth pool, light some candles and just chill for a while. Being in the water was so incredibly comforting and it definitely lessened the pain. I was aware also that being in the tub too long could stall labour and I didn’t want that to happen so I didn’t stay in very long, maybe 45 minutes. Then we drained it and went to bed next to it. (The birth pool was set-up in my son’s bedroom where we would be co-sleeping once he was born. So there was a big bed right next to it.) Since the afternoon my husband was continuously there squeezing my hips with every single contraction, and now that we were in bed, I found some relief lying on my left side. (Which apparently is the side that is most comfortable during labour and allows the labour to unfold and not stall). I remember thinking to myself “Ok, I’m going to try to do this myself for a while. I’m going to breathe through the waves and try to manage the pain within a meditative state”. My husband turned on one of our playlists that had this super soothing celtic instrumental song he had found, and I played that one song on repeat the entire night. It is now engraved in my brain forever.
When we lied down it must have been something like 11pm Monday. I did what I could to manage the waves and “sleep”. I’m not sure if I slept, but something certainly shifted while we were in bed. I eventually did ask for his help with the contractions as I couldn’t manage them on my own. The pain was too intense. I remember just tapping his hands for him to squeeze my hips with each contraction. I guess at some point I stopped being able to speak. Maybe around 3 am or so my husband then said to me “I think we should get up, your contractions seem to be coming on really often” and I thought, oh really? I was super out of it at this point. Completely somewhere else, out of my body. I had unknowingly surrendered my body and handed it over to what felt like an all mighty spiritual entity or something. My doula and friend were sleeping in the other room so my husband went to wake them up. Once my doula saw the state I was in she right away called the midwife. I was definitely in active labour now!
I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t walk. And my husband wasn’t allowed to leave my side for a second. (I know, if he wouldn’t have been there to squeeze my hips with each wave, I certainly would have fainted again and again from the intense pain.) Whenever my doula or friend would step in to give him a break it just wasn’t hard enough. After a while, he had to wrap a towel around my hips to squeeze since he was getting so exhausted. So, I stood there, going through the waves, with my husband squeezing, my doula supporting ( and taking beautiful photos) and my friend hydrating me with labour-aid. (I highly recommend this, and definitely with a straw!) I tried walking but couldn’t. I was bearing down and moaning and grunting as low and deeply as I could. My doula would remind me when I’d get high pitched.
We were mostly outside at this point. The moon was shining brightly. It was a calm clear night. I had let go of all my plans, and all my fears. I had completely dissolved into the present moment and was guided by ancient wisdom itself. Or life itself. Hard to tell.
Eventually I made my way back inside as my midwife arrived. As soon as she arrived, I had such an intense contraction that I couldn’t help making a super loud high pitched sound...and it was so incredibly high that it broke my waters. A big sudden gush all over the floor. Right after that my body had the automatic urge to push and luckily, I was by then fully dilated. Thank goodness! Pushing into the contraction was so deeply satisfying. Aaaahhhh, it actually felt good somehow. I felt so good to be able to push into the pain, which relaxed the intensity.
I crawled on all fours onto the bed and allowed my body to push while the birth pool was filling up again. I was just going through the motions of what was happening while having an acute awareness that my son wouldn’t be born on this bed, but rather in the birth pool.
I pushed on all fours for about a half hour. Once the pool was filled I got in. So did my husband. Now I was really pushing with the aim of getting to meet my baby. I remember asking the midwife, “where do I push?” “Into what?” She kindly put pressure with her fingers showing me where to direct the pushing force, which helped guide which muscles I should be using. I pushed first leaning forward, then leaning back into my husband. I don’t think he still needed to squeeze my hips by this point. She pointed out that she could see the head but that with each deep breath the head would go back in. She then advised me to just push and push and push taking short breaths in between to keep the outward force going. The head soon came out again a little bit and that was the first moment I touched my son. And I’ll never forget the way his head felt in my hand. I kept my hand there the entire time. Probably another 45 minutes or so. I was leaning back against my husband, making sure my bum was low enough into the water, and just kept going and going, grunting my way through. I remember during one push I accidentally let out a high pitched sound and it completely shut my whole pelvis down. Almost like the downward force hit a brick wall. It is so true what they say about the throat and yoni being One. I had to stay really focused on keeping my throat super relaxed. Eventually his head came out more and there it was; the ring of fire. That ripping burning sensation is real. Damn! I expected that after that, he would just plop right out. One more push after that, and that’s exactly what happened! His entire body came out in one push! The midwife caught him and passed him to me right away. He was blue and crying loudly. I held him close to me, exhausted, and so deeply in love already. I was in complete disbelief that I was holding my very own child finally. I am in awe every single day of the miracle of those few days. I just held him and snuggled him while nuzzling my weeping husband. He was holding so much through it all and once it was all over he was so incredibly relieved that we were both ok!
I pushed for a total of about 1.5 hours. I only had a small tear which I am so grateful for because it was small enough for the midwife to suture right there at home. We got to just be home all together, cozy and snuggly and cocooned. And we didn’t leave for about a month.
I had the most incredibly beautiful experience with a labour that just slowly progressed, uninterrupted by any complications, in the comfort of our home where I felt safe and warm and completely surrounded by love. I gave birth to my son in water, just like I had always dreamed of in the room where we still sleep to this day. The dreamiest birth I could have imagined. And I strongly believe my informed well prepared self had a lot to do with the way it unfolded. I am grateful every day still for this experience. It was the best day of my life!