As I sit to write this, Malcolm at my breast, we enjoy our eighth morning together. So many thoughts, so many emotions, so much to remember, much lost to the ethers as nothingness, infinite love fills all the spaces, all the corners of my being. Full up to the brim with delirious joy and delight.
Last Thursday, January 7, I awakened with the first contractions, around 10:30. I had gotten to sleep around four hours earlier. After weeks of thinking ‘any day now’ I was thrilled to know that today was the day we were going to meet this soul mate of ours.
We were very clear about our birthing philosophy and plan. Above all else, we were planning for a no-fault birth. We were clear about our preferences and were very aware of the Truth that we were not in charge of the process. This baby would come at the right and perfect time and in the right and perfect manner.
We were dedicated to implementing our preferences, and, our first priority was to have a healthy baby and mama at the end of the process. Ours was to plan, to prepare, to be ready to receive the gifts and miracles awaiting us as we surrendered the process to the natural order and blessing of the Universe.
The short version of the story is this. It was perfect. The hypno-birth breathing worked during the entire 34 hours of labor, after which we had a c-section and were finally able to hold in our arms our sweetest of bundles of joy.
The rest of the story…
It was perfect!! Everything. Especially the relations. Jason and Pernille (our birth companion) were AMAZING, the birthing staff – midwives and assistants – were kind and gentle, competent and knowledgeable, the medical staff – doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists – were efficient, clear, focused, expert. We had the right and perfect birth experience.
We had been practicing our hypno-birthing breathing and imagery throughout the pregnancy. I had been listening to the cds and practicing for five months. Jason and I had been doing the ‘practice birth’ exercises together as well as some of the physical stretching and imagery work. Pernille had read the book and listened to the cds as well. We were ready.
When I realized I was feeling surges I woke up Jason (who wondered if he’d overslept) and called Pernille. After four hours at home I was ready to go to the delivery ward. We got together my overnight case and the birthing bag and called the taxi. Pernille met us there.
Pernille is our very good friend, colleague and comrade here at Lund. We asked her to be our labor companion and translator. We were told that everyone at the delivery ward spoke English. I am so, so, so very grateful that Pernille was there. The first two shifts of midwives and assistants didn’t speak English much at all. Her presence in that capacity alone was invaluable. Of course, she did so much more over the course of the hours.
While the surges were mild to moderate in intensity I dropped into a deep trance state, doing my breathing and imagery. As things become more intense this allowed me to relax and rejuvenate in-between surges. I was content to lay on one side or the other, Jason or Pernille by the bed holding my hand and talking with me through the breathing. As things continued to intensify I began squeezing their hands and requesting specific imageries. Both of them rose to the occasion with grace and love, consistency and patience.
Pernille breathed with me, spoke me all over the world. Most vividly I remember her talking me hiking up the Himalayas. It’s hard work and we breathed all the way up the mountains. From the very top we could see the vistas and we Knew. We Knew that we are one with the mountains and the mountains are one with us. She spoke to me of flower petals opening and blossoming (like my cervix), stretching to meet the sun, to absorb the energies and glory of my breath. Each surge was the unfoldment of an additional petal of the very dense and petal-plenty lotus blossom that was my cervix. As the hours passed and we came to more powerful surges the walk up the Himalayas was assisted by a pack-mule to carry the heavy things. Still we took long, slow breathes as we hiked the steep mountain trails, arriving at the top to Know. Knowing that we are one with the mountains and the mountains are one with us.
Jason spoke with me of our dreams, our goals, our Visions, our hopes and process. Our unfoldment. He reminded me of how the breath is love, that our lives are love, that with each breath, each surge our precious baby was coming closer and closer. That very soon we would be able to hold our angel in our arms. He helped me to remember my role model of birth, Hercules, my childhood cat, who purred through labor. He reminded me of who I am, of what we are about – Love and Magnificence – that this was part of our process as individuals, as family, as community, as a world unfolding and expanding the Universe. Jason reminded me of the naturalness of this process, that my body and our baby’s body were in bio-social dialectical relations to unfold the birth. That I was not in charge, the Divinity within us has everything under control. In our defenselessness our safety lies. We are innocent and whole, we are immortal souls. We are souls simply having a body experience. I am an immortal soul, not a physical body. My sweet love held my hand and whispered softly in my ear the secrets of our love, our dreams, our most beautiful hopes and wishes for our baby and all the people in the world. He talked to me throughout the night, helping me to actually sleep in-between surges, to dream of the beautiful futures we are co-creating.
I followed my breath. I counted. In to the count of four, out to the count of eight during the in-betweens. I imagined my cervix opening like a flower, melting like chocolate. During the surges themselves I didn’t count, I repeated my mantras in my head as I relaxed into my breathing. ‘Unity. I seek Unity with God, Self, and Others.’ ‘Breathing. I am breathing underneath the surge.’ ‘Dancing. I am dancing barefoot under the water.’ (This accompanied by much hand-dancing in the style of Wow Hall Deadheads.) ‘Long slow, long slow, long slow.’ Even, (especially?) during the exceptionally intense surges, I imagined my breath as a wave of pure white love rushing to our baby, going to all the parts of me that needed it.
The midwives and assistants would come and go periodically. They were not intrusive. They asked a couple questions, would hold my hand if needed during a full-bodied surge, and were very helpful. Many were quite impressed by my breathing. They recognized that I had tapped into a Source of something that provided great comfort and support. They knew that I was calling up my own endorphins to negotiate the intensity of the surges, and that I was in a flow that allowed for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation rather than in a state of resistance that releases empowerment to the wind.
I was in timelessness and couldn’t really tell you at what point in the process anything happened, not even so much as the exact order of things. It was the second day and I remember it was light outside (which means it was some where between 8am – 3pm) and then it was night again. The important parts of the experience I’ve already shared. The rest of the details are rather unimportant except to say that they happened. My membranes were released, I started a cytosine drip, after monitoring the baby they stopped the cytosine, then did more monitoring, then restarted the drip, then we all agreed that it was time to shift tracks and prepare for a cesarean. Ultimately, my cervix dilation peaked at 6 cm, after stopping the cytosine it returned to 4 cm and stayed there. Given the length of time laboring already (34 hours +/-) and the evidence of some baby distress it was an easy transition to make, the shift from bodily laboring to surgery. The surgeons were straightforward and gentle. Everyone was clear, calm, and focused.
Jason, Pernille and I went up to the surgical ward together. Pernille waited in the receiving room during the procedure while Jason was by my side the entire time, both of us eagerly anticipating the moment we could see our child. We heard the little one first. Two gurgled cries evoked my tears of joy. They quickly took the baby to the receiving room with Jason. The room was right there and the doors open so I could hear. Then Jason was there, looking a bit like a stranger in scrubs, he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “It’s a boy.” A boy! So unexpectedly expected. What a joyful wonder life is. Jason and our baby boy sat next to me a bit before returning to our former quarters to wait for me.
Our little fella was coddled and fondled by Jason and Pernille. He got his first bath by midwife and Dad. I was so excited to get rolled back into the room so I could finally hold my son. He was so big! So beautiful! So perfect in every single way. Within moments he was nursing while we snuggled heart to heart, skin to skin.
We, the baby and I, stayed at the hospital three nights. As far as I was concerned, I couldn’t get home fast enough. We got home Monday evening, tired, thrilled, and ready for the next bit of life as a family of three.
Because of the hypno-birthing
Many folks have commented that I look too good, too rested, for a new mom. I credit the hypno-breathing. This and surrendering the process to the Divine Plan of the Universe, allowed me to relax and rejuvenate during the labor. I was confident that all was well, going according to Divine wisdom. It was out of my hands and I could relax knowing the Truth in this. Hypno-babies routinely are calm and restful, sleep and eat well. This is credited to the months of practice, the meditation and breathing, while pregnant. I can’t say for sure that this is why,or the only reason why (these things are always the result of many factors, no?) but I do think it has had an impact. Malcolm is a sweet, sweet boy. He is very agreeable and strong willed. He is a hardy eater and sleeps well, anywhere from 2-4 hours at a stretch.
I extend many thanks and much appreciation to Katherine and Colin from the Sydney Wellbeing Centre in Australia. They were kind enough to reply to all my emails asking questions about hypno-birthing techniques and more. They are thoughtful and generous people dedicated to helping women experience fear-free and pain-free births. They are transforming the world one baby at a time. Imagine a world populated by people who were born in a moment full only of love and divinity, connected and whole.