On Sunday night we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world. As I type this he is nestled at my side sleeping soundly. His cooing sounds are trance-inducing and it is a tough commitment to stare at the screen instead of him. I choose to get this out now because the experience is already starting to fade from my memory in many ways. As I very slowly begin to emerge into our worldly life it feels as if I am stepping out of a river that has fully engulfed me in raw and pure emotion. It has quenched a thirst within me that I did not know existed. I have been fully present with pure love and pure pain at my deepest core for the past five days. I can feel emotions of all kinds rise within me as I start to step out. This experience has been so empowering that I know I can do anything I choose to now. Especially with my new family by my side. With that, I’ll share his official name — finally settled! Indra River Pulfer. He will be known as “Riv” for short. Riv Pulfer. I know I am the first of many who will be (and already are) madly in love with this being 🙂
I was beyond humbled by his birth. In many ways I was so prepared and in others there is just no way I could have been prepared for it. Surrender of a new level was necessary for me. As a yogi, watching sensation in the body is something I do daily. I can see pain and struggle and the reactionary patterns that are tied to it — sometimes I get caught up in the moment and sometimes I am able to stay aware and present with it. Throughout the contractions of birth, insecurities of all kinds swelled within me. While the pain was intense, it was an eventual surrender to the pain and fear that allowed the birth to progress. In the end I found myself making a deal with the universe at my deepest core that I would give in and allow myself to feel supported fully by the universe. Always. In return was given the most priceless gift; the healthiest and most magical baby I have ever met.
A more extended birth story follows for those interested in the process. From anatomical and spiritual perspectives I have a novel to share on this subject. Some day I will write a book. Being the experiential learner that I am, I will likely have a couple more before 🙂 until then, read below and I will share so much more with anyone I interact with intimately. In short, don’t be shy if you are curious or would like to share stories. Birth is a subject that needs to be much more widely expressed and developed within our culture and right now that is something I am incredibly passionate about.
Also feel free to skip to the bottom instead and enjoy the awesome pictures captured by our dearest friend, Jess ❤
Saturday, July 4th
At some point throughout the day I started to experience steady, rhythmic contractions about 8min apart. They felt amazing. While I was 12 days past the 40 week “due date” I had aligned on between my nurse midwife and midwife, I was also 22 days past the standard calculation from my last menstrual cycle. My mind had been going crazy, though my spirit knew everything was exactly as it should be. Needless to say I was thrilled the time had come. I then focused on staying decently active with house chores and ended the evening with Ina May’s recommendation of a bubble bath + glass of wine + sleep. The last two were half way completed..
Sunday AM, July 5th
Around 10am we established that I was in active labor. I was dilated between 4 and 5cm when Maria, Misty and my Mom arrived. Michael had been by my side phenomenally for quite a few hours at this point and my contractions were intensifying. There was now space to take the next steps with this group present. We sat together in our bedroom at first and I settled into my intentions. My main focus was that I find as much softness in my body between contractions and that I stay present enough to explain to the baby what was happening throughout labor. I felt like I had all the support in the world. Maria has been more than a midwife for us the past 9 months; she has been a spiritual guide, caring friend and trusted advisor. Her assistant Misty has always made us feel like we have two midwives. If Maria was out of the room, I never felt like I wasn’t fully covered. They each bring incredible and unique things to the table and having them there together was incredible.
My Mother radiated kindness, love and service to me that day. I needed her and she showed up for me big time. Michael and I’s relationship grew more than I had any idea it would. He continues to amaze me every day, especially as a father, and this home birth experience has elevated our entire family to a new level of bonding that I didn’t realize it would. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
Sunday PM, Jult 5th
Riv entered at 7:56pm after 10 hours of active labor. I hit multiple waves of depletion and exhaustion throughout the day. Mid-afternoon my cervix opened to 9cm and I found myself pressed against a wall of resistance and fear that was tough to break. I spent hours with little progress as I resisted the ultimate vulnerability that was being asked of me. Letting him out seemed terrifying. In the end I found a new place of strength and vitality inside me. I pushed through and as with most things in my life, the rewards have far surpassed the effort of the work.
Riv is an incredible babe fed on massive amounts of love. He is sleeping like a rock, breastfeeding like a boss expressing himself fully while trusting his environment in big ways. I feel stronger and more connected to the world around me than I ever have before. I know this experience will always be with me. i cannot express my gratitude enough for the love and support of our family and friends. I promise to share an awesome little boy with you all in return.
Heart exploding love,
Photographs by Jess Gallegos of Artefact Image Co