Soleil will be a year old this Friday and I have to admit that reflecting on this time last year, all I can think of is myself. All I can think about is the two day journey I took to another planet and came back with a lion cub baby on my chest. My heart beats faster when I think of this. It is a story I will never forget, just like all women who cross over into Motherdom. How can we forget the day a baby came out of our bodies and minds and hearts? Up until this point a year ago (June 9th to be precise) I had heard the stories about how natural childbirth goes. You hear a lot of the same repeating stories. I’ll never forget at my 20 week check up, my midwife giving me her synopsis of what child birth is like: “You feel like you are going to die. You feel like you are going to die!!!!!!!” You hear that a woman goes to another planet, outer space. You hear that it is hard and brutal and everything in between. You hear that at the end you get a reward that makes it all worth while.
Most of the stories of natural childbirth are real. And at this point last year, I had heard all the stories. But nothing could ever prepare me for what was to come the following day, Tuesday June 10th, 2014.
Tuesday morning I woke up at 5 and had this crazy urgent feeling to clean, just like the mythology I had heard before about signs of approaching labor. And when I say clean, I mean, I am cleaning the trim in every single room of my house. I am a freakazoid cleaning every crack and crevice of my home until about 9 or 10 in the morning. My baby daddy, my 8 year long lover who is a captain at sea, had decided to stay home that day and kept asking me to come back to bed and cuddle with him since he decided to stay home and spend the day with me waiting (we were 5 days passed our due date). I began to feel super light headed. I felt odd. Like something was churning. It wasn’t nausea. Then I felt this urge to walk. So we walked around town and then it all went away. We stopped at the farm cart across the street from my house and we loaded up on veggies because I had a craving for a huge veggie sandwich. I had a feeling this might be my last meal.
We went home, made that huge veggie sandwich and then the feeling never continued. We went on a walk to the beach to try to bring back the “feeling.” It didn’t come back. Made a veggie chili dinner that night, with another night walk, Sons of Anarchy, and then I felt my first mellow contractions ease their way into my psyche. That night, I had contractions every 10-20 minutes. Mellow, I could sleep in between each one, but I still awakened every 10-20 minutes to breathe strong against my contractions. The next morning they continued, progressing to 5-10 minutes apart. We let our midwives know the report of the timing in between contractions. I told my sister that labor had started, and that Wednesday morning, she blew the whistle and let all my women from my blessing way to cut their ribbons around their wrists and that labor had started. I moved from the huge tub in my living room, to the couch next to it, and to my bedroom. When it comes to dealing with natural childbirth, it is a total head game. Your head has to be in the game to overcome the crazy awakening and emerging and movement that is going on in your body. So this day I spent moving and breathing and pulsating through contractions 2-5 minutes apart. They continued on that night and into the morning. No sleep, no food, exhaustion. But there is still that need to preserver, continue on, mind over matter, telling yourself," Open, open... move the baby down... open cervix.” My baby daddy Captain gave me those mantras. They were something to concentrate on while he walked me around the house and labored with me in the tub.”
I was now going on almost 40 hours of labor contractions at my house. The midwives became worried that I would not have the energy to have the baby once I finally opened to 10 cm. After 2 nights and now going on 2 days, I was only open to 6 cm. I was working so hard! It was crushing. My midwife and her doula began pulling out all their midwifery tricks to open me. All of a sudden I felt this pain that was not contraction pains. I learned it was my hips flexing open to allow the baby to move down the birth control. I actually felt my F$%^& hips open! It was a force I have never known. While this was going on, my midwives were pulling out their tricks: we pumped my breasts, I lunged up and down my stairs, I did some yoga stretches to push the head down onto my cervix. Then she checked me an hour later and I was only open to 7 cm. It was at this point, my team decided to transfer me to the hospital. I had never packed my hospital bag, the number one rule when having a home birth. My partner was begging them not to transfer us, he knew how important it was to me to do this at home, how important it was for me to not have anyone interrupt my goal to give birth naturally. But the decision had been made and they were going to drive me to a new facility. I knew my house had become stale for me, however, as everyone was rushing around to pack our bags to leave, I had transitioned by myself on the couch. We got to the hospital about 20 minutes away, they rolled me up to my room, got me in a bed, and all of a sudden, my body started pushing. I had opened completely during the drive to 10 cm. It was an outer body experience, I had no control over it, I didn’t do it at all. My body took over, and left me to watch it in all of its glory. My whole body sent a pushing wave from the top of my head and out my toes. And in 17 minutes and a few lion power pushes, a little girl came wiggling out. And she was our sun. Our lion cub. Soleil Brightyn Perry, born on Thursday June 12th, 2014, 1:45 in the afternoon.
My mom told me that when you give birth naturally, you get this power that you never felt before. This is true. Oh yes it is. And no matter what kind of birth you have, we all get that feeling of crossing over and joining our grandmothers and all ancient warrior women. We have joined the ranks. We will never be the same person we were before. We become a new human. A more refined human. A softer, more patient human. An unstoppable human. A mother.