— S.C. 2012
Jen came into the bathroom to ask if I wanted to move and give birth on my bed. I was on hands and knees by this point. No way. Not moving. So she good-heartedly set up in my tiny bathroom, squeezed in between my bathtub and me. My supporters gathered around, speaking encouraging words.
Someone woke my husband up, and told my absent friends that the birth was imminent. I felt the head moving down the birth canal, and something kept telling me to take it slow, to not push, to just let it happen at it's own pace. I heard Jen saying that she saw a head with not very much hair, and a hand! Don't push, don't push, don't push. I felt him sliding down, and grabbed myself instinctively to prevent a tear. Jen caught him and told me to take him and put him on my chest. I was more or less in shock at this point, and all tripped out on hormones. I had a moment of not knowing what the hell she was talking about (baby? what baby? oh yeah! that's what all of this was about!) and took my sweet little boy into my arms for the first time.
I felt overwhelmingly amazed that my body had produced and expelled this little being with relatively little pain or consciously hard effort on my part. What a beautiful moment. What a beautiful child. What a beautiful life.
Jen calmly asked if I felt as if I was losing control. Yes. What did I need? Food, specifically a longer break in which to eat it. Jen gave me a homeopathic to help space out the contractions, and also to help them build in intensity to help things move along. I climbed out of the bath after eating some apples & peanut butter and crawled into bed.
Jen gave me some herbal friends: Skullcap to take the edge off, Motherwort to mother the mother, Passionflower to open the heart (and the cervix). I curled into bed around my husband, and we hummed in harmony for awhile. Unbeknownst to me, my friends had left at this point, thinking that I would be laboring for a good while longer before transitioning.
Apparently what I really wanted before transitioning was privacy, because it happened pretty quickly after the house emptied out. I didn't know at first, I thought I just needed to poop. So I sat there, peaceful as the contractions melted away and became pushing. My cat came to visit me. She purred at my feet and loved me for awhile. My husband came to visit and told me that he'd just cried his first tears of joy. I realized I had entered the pushing phase, but didn't tell anyone. They noticed, of course. The spots of blood on the floor were a pretty obvious giveaway.
My contractions had gotten progressively closer together, to the point where I was only getting thirty second breaks. I needed food, badly, but didn't have time to eat in between contractions.
Another contraction. I let myself go, fell further into myself, further into the blinding heat. I stood up, dropped to hands and knees and rocked with the contraction. The heat was gone, and didn't come back.
At this point, the contractions leveled up. My real biggest fear, that I wouldn't be able to let go (I was abused as a child and have battled this before), proved itself to be unfounded. When the moment came, there wasn't even a struggle. Some wilder, deeper, more animal part of my brain had kicked in with the hot flashes, and all my mundane brain could do was watch. My body just knew what to do. It dropped to the ground during contractions. It asked for water when it was time for water. It drank, and nibbled on food, and smiled at my friends as they arrived to assume their supportive roles.
I was having back labor (I have a retroverted uterus that pushes against my backbone during menstruation, and apparently, labor) and my friends and husband were taking turns pushing on my back during contractions. I heard myself ask for a bath, and was soon soaking in the warm water. This helped tremendously, and eliminated the need for someone to be present during every moment of every contraction.
While I was pregnant, I spent a good deal of time meditating. I've never been very disciplined about meditating, even though I've known how good it is for my well-being for some time. In any case, during these particular meditations, I started humming. I practiced for months. It wasn't just a normal humming, it was a strong, vibratory humming that massaged my belly and felt as if it was capable of wiping away any worries or negativity or uncertainties that I was feeling. These sounds came from somewhere deep inside of me, and I let them erupt spontaneously. It felt good. Really good. Soon I was humming through contractions, and this proved to be as pain-relieving as the water. The humming helped keep me calm, and probably helped my supporters know when they were especially needed.
Jen Anderson-Tarver, my badass midwife, had arrived by this point. She'd taken me out of my watery bliss to check dilation (6 cm) but now I was back in the water, humming.
I knew that he was coming, for sure, in the small hours of the morning. I had been fairly certain, but not sure, early in the evening, but I'd opted to take a bath and a nap rather than worry over it. When my husband arrived home from work some hours later, we made love, and afterward the contractions gathered in strength. I let him sleep before I told him, I knew he'd need it, and went and sat on my favorite chair to think. I felt very calm, despite having had some pretty typical fears in the days and weeks prior (what if it hurts like hell? what if I die? what if my child has an extra arm or something? what if I can't let go and my labor lasts for days?)
I'd had a pretty knockdown fight with my mom the evening prior over our lifestyle preferences, and her preference to not accept mine at all. It was the type of fight that ended in me almost slicing my finger off and then crying in the bathroom and asking her to leave. It was pretty unfortunate that this had happened right before I went into labor (which I knew could be inhibited by emotional issues) and I had a realization that I loved my life, and if my mother couldn't accept that, she just wouldn't be a big part of it. It was a sad moment, but also an empowering one, one that made me feel like it was all going to be okay, I could be my own mother now if I needed to be. I climbed back into bed, ignoring the pangs in my belly, and slept, hard.
I woke up more or less with the sun, the pangs were getting stronger now. I was having hot flashes during each contraction, and had a brief moment of panic while sitting in my rocking chair. The pain level was nothing, I could do this. But the hot flashes?