Indra turned two this week! We had the most beautiful birthday celebration. I feel so loved by our community and pretty sure he does, too.
This week has provided me so much reflection and processing. It was our first birthday home as last year we were traveling in New Mexico, visiting the Kundalini women in white at the Guru Ram Das Ashram ❤ But this year… being back home in the space where Indra was born, it felt like I really relived the experience. I also have been processing a lot preparing for this next babe, so this post may be one of my longer ones.. So happy to finally get a more detailed recap of Indra’s birth down…
Here’s our story;
Contractions came on so slow and gentle for me. As the fireworks went off on July 4th, 2015, I felt tiny little vibrations that told me our babe was coming soon. I was just shy of four weeks past my original due date of June 12th, waiting as patiently as I could. Michael had picked up a massive load of seconds from Dripping Springs and we chopped literally hundreds of onions that night on our counter. I swayed my hips while I danced with the knife, swimming in a sea of excitement. I would pause and go outside and watch the fireworks from our back deck. Pure bliss.
Inspired by Ina May’s advice to drink a glass of wine, take a bubble bath and go to sleep, I did just that. The wine didn’t do much for me though and the excitement continued to build as contractions built ever so slightly. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I stayed glued to a contractions app, wanting to track my progress and so anxious for what was to come. When was it going to be time to call our midwife, Maria?? Am I really in labor? When will the baby come?
This next time around, there will be no contraction apps..
Flash forward to early morning where I had given up on sleep. Krishna Das played in the background and I wandered around our house lighting candles with the intention of resting. “Save your energy” was a theme that played loudly in my head. Michael texted Maria a few updates as the contractions really began to build with the sunrise.
By 9am Maria, Misty and my Mother arrived. Maria checked me and I was at 3cm, confirming we were in motion. I remember being fairly aware of logistics, where people were in the house, feeling intensity and so unsure about where things were going from here. I spent a lot of time in a deep OM as the waves of contractions would come on. A low groaning hum that I worked to match the intensity of my sensation. Later Maria would tell me I had a very peaceful birth and at the time it felt like I was screaming.
I progressed very steadily. We had our house filled with sunflowers. Maria would check me, and then find a flower that matched how wide my cervix had become. It was such a sweet visual representation of my progress. I had no low back pain, however, the heads of my femurs were starting to burn with each contraction. More than anything the waves of energy were completely exhausting with each surge. My body was doing so much and I was still working to stay in control of it in many ways.
Then, early afternoon, something seemed to stall. By 4pm I hadn’t made any progress in some time. As my pelvis began to widen and babe inched down further, my thighs started to scream with pain. I had one moment on my hands and knees of “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this”. I didn’t even want to say it. I was almost testing myself whether I would voice it or not. I changed course with, “I want to do this” and felt myself continue back on the path of my work. But I was surely at a point of exhaustion. We identified that I was at 9.5cm, so close to there, yet a lip of my cervix had begun to swell and it wasn’t clear whether babe would be able to push through.
Maria encouraged me to walk more. I didn’t want to move. The pain in my thighs was so intense. Misty and my Mom were putting hot rags on my legs and Michael pressed against my knees as I begged for more pressure — the only momentary relief I could find. Between contractions I just wanted to freeze and avoid any sensation.
Finally, around 6pm I managed to leave the bedroom where I had spent most of the day, apart from a few rests in the shower. The feeling of water rushing down my body offered peace. At one point earlier in the day, I was sitting in the bathtub talking to my Mom and suddenly had an overwhelming urge to get clear on something from my past with her. At 14 she sent me to live with my Dad against my choice. My experience was being put on a plane with a letter saying that she was done raising me. At the time I had an Uncle who had asked me years earlier to be sure that I stayed living with my Mom. He said if I did, he would generously cover my college expenses to anywhere I wanted to go. He had the means to do that and I was committed to following that path to ensure a certain life for myself. Over a decade later and multiple years of not speaking, my relationship with my Mom had moved on. A combination of student loans, working full-time and with her helping me as much as she could, I had a college degree and the exact life I had wanted. So between contractions and from the bathtub, I told her I wanted to apologize for holding onto resentment and anger. That everything had worked out as it should and I love my life exactly as is. She asked if I wanted her to say anything and I said I didn’t need her to. Later, my midwife would tell me that she spent time on the porch crying after that. She was beyond strong for me during the birth — I had no idea the impact that entire experience would have on her. Once a midwife’s assistant herself, I have early childhood memories of being at home births with her. It seemed like a natural thing to have her there and I wanted my Mom’s help. Upon seeing and knowing what I know now, for my next birth, I fantasize about having no one there. It’s such a personal and intimate process and no one can do the work but you.
Now back to the 9 hours of active labor in full force. By 7pm I tried to head toward to the bedroom again; however, this time I wouldn’t make it there. A contraction came on as Michael met me in the kitchen. He held me, looked into my eyes, and told me I was going to have to do this. “You’re going to have to push this baby out”. I was so scared. I felt like I was going to break if that happened. As I told him that he stayed present with me, held me, and offered me love. I dug deeper into some of my fears and let them pour out. I told him I was afraid we weren’t going to make it, that he was going to leave, that we weren’t going to have enough money, that the baby wasn’t going to be okay. All of these things began to rush out of me as we lowered down to the ground. At that moment I rotated my pelvis in a new way and big shifts followed. The baby was coming.
Michael started to sing our song, “Danny’s Song” and full transition was on. We sang it together as he held me and I cried. We never confirmed a gender for the babe and the song specifically says, “think I’m gonna have a son.”
Then, I rolled onto my back. My Mother sat behind me with Michael and Maria ready to catch the babe. This part felt natural and powerful. While intense, I found major confidence through my transition. By the time we met Indra I felt like full on mama — give me that baby was my first reaction. I held him close to my chest, so happy to meet him. As we waited on the placenta Michael held his son and I got to watch them bond from across the kitchen floor. That picture will be burned into my mind for life. Indra (unnamed at the time) was born at 7:51pm on 7.5.15 and our lives were never the same.
So here I am today, with a cup of Chicory sun tea (The Mother flower, wildly harvested from my front yard). And doing more work than ever on feeling supported by the universe. My highest thinking never questions my daily experiences or the big picture. But the lower instincts, of fight or flight and scarcity or rejection, those are most definitely present in my functioning brain and beyond triggered during a primal process of labor. Looking to release, to be, and to experience what is in front of me.. a wonderful family that makes my heart explode, a huge community of loving friends, a home that I fall more in love with every day, businesses that inspire me and a beautiful garden of wildflowers, cultivated for my spirit and body by my Mother Earth.
Written from my lips center on a warm summer day.