Is life totally different?

Are you feeling okay? Can I hold him? Does life feel totally different?

The three questions I’ve gotten the most. Answered in detail below. Even in this socially limited state, connection with others is happening a lot. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love that I have felt from my community. While almost all of my energy is going toward this little man, many moments of connection outside the babe bubble have been priceless for my presence in it.

Are you feeling okay?

I am feeling great. Healing has progressed really well and yes, I am planning to get back on my mat very soon!! Maybe later this week 🙂 I know rest has been a major piece to thank for my progress. Indra is sleeping soundly at night and I am still taking it easy throughout the day. Hands down I know it has been my yoga practice more than anything that has guided my smooth journey into motherhood. My mind and emotions have also been steady. Indra is like a 24-7 meditation companion. Just looking at him makes me want to still my mind and not miss a minute of right now. We joined in on some teacher training sessions back at the studio this weekend! Indra experienced his first group OM outside the womb.

Can I hold him?

No… For the first 40 days Indra River is staying right by my and Michael’s side. Grandparents and a few dear friends may be a brief exception, for their sanity 🙂 I love Yogi Bhajan’s quote;

“He was inside where he was warm, cozy, and well contained. He came out and now he needs that touch, that feeling, that oneness within the nine feet of your aura. You are a modern woman. You want to go to a movie theater. When a child is born, you must stick with him for forty days and for two years you and your husband must keep him near the breast and the chest. That is the most darling God born in innocence to two people who believed in love.”

This time is so precious to me. Mama Bear in me is for sure present. While I appreciate the interest that others have in connecting with and building a relationship with Indra; it is not time yet. Babies are sacred developing humans. Soon enough he will be running around investigating the world and there will be plenty of time for bonding and connecting then. For now he is building his own energy field and learning to trust the world around him from his parent’s arms. Smiles and hellos are most welcome when you see us!

Is life totally different now?

Life feels exactly the same. My intentions are still exactly the same:  Stay connected to my highest self, live life to the fullest and do the best job I can on planet Earth. While the focus has now shifted towards being a Mom and I have new daily tasks that support the life of another, I am still dealing with the exact same challenges:  Stay present in the moment, manage my energy in support of my intentions and be my most authentic self. When I train yoga teachers, we work with the idea that being authentic means what you say, what you think, what you feel and what you do are all in alignment. I still have so many opportunities the develop this within my own life. Indra River is turning out to be the most incredible witness for this. I want so very badly to be the best possible example of authenticity for him. Every day I am identifying more ways to make that happen. Seeing it is always the first step — making the change often takes more courage. I am grateful for this little human that is challenging me now more than ever to step up and be the person that I want to be.

Cheers to navigating new paths of growth and life,
Alexandria

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Week 1: Postpartum 101

Indra River has officially been with us for a week. Best week of my life. The healing and integration process has been beautifully intense. This post will likely be enjoyed most by those to whom the postpartum process is near and dear. Also, anyone working through healing of any kind or an interest in early human development.

When I woke up the morning after Indra’s birth (His first name is sticking quite a bit these days.. 🙂 Post on that coming soon!) I had the swift realization that I was officially in full-on rehab mode. This has been my first experience with bodily trauma. Aside from a routine wisdom teeth removal, I have never experienced a surgery, injury or major illness — nothing near the level of post-birth. I had some minor tears (no stitches) and a standard, healthy birth. As my organs return to their normal size and my body sheds excess blood and fluids, I am again left humbled by the birth process.

Healing feels like a dance with rest and rejuvenation. There is definitely a level of pure rest that has been non-negotiable. I felt myself cross the line of too much effort once or twice and for the most part I have been honoring that edge. At the same time there’s still a level of effort necessary to stimulate my body and mind. Meditation, gentle breath-work and a general commitment to staying engaged with Michael and others (while also being present to the babe in my arms) has been key for me. In addition to the following..

The top 4 things supporting my healing process;

  1. Herb baths 2xs/day – first thing in the morning, last thing at night. It is also a really meditative time for me while I focus on feeling comforted and refreshed. Also, for connecting with little man — he loves bath time! I make sure to nurse him at the end so that Michael can take him and give me extra space for self-care rituals. Abhyanga, self oil massage, is a favorite. Just a couple extra minute to braid my hair or put on earrings makes all the difference in the world, too.
  2. Daily tinctures of Nurtured Mother (from Birthsong Botanicals), Chlorophyll and Turmeric. Along with a ton of fluids all day long. All necessary for strong blood, inflammation and hydration. Chanting to myself healing mantas as I consume. I am healing, I am healthy, I am happy.
  3. Breastmilk. It’s magic. Those tears I mentioned, breastmilk almost numbed them. Also, kombu! It’s seaweed — feel free to message me for more info 🙂
  4. Last, Michael’s food. If I could only have one thing from the list, this would be it. Healthy, intentional meals are key. Great news is he’s offering a meal service. If you’re nursing you have to try some of his lactation bars. Amazing.

Everything else on this list can be found at Ozark Natural Foods and/or Terra Tots.

The first few days I was waited on hand and foot just to accomplish the above. Michael was back and forth between the kitchen and bonding with the babe and me. My Mother supported him with cleaning and all other household management. Michael and I have been able to give this little man so much direct love and energy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Indra’s development has been amazing. He is such an awesome little member of our family already. He is sleeping soundly in 5hr+ stretches in the night, solidly nursing throughout the day and clearly communicating with us when he needs something. All this in addition to being supremely healthy, interactive and a sweet cuddler.

The top 3 things most supporting his development right now;

  1. Skin-to-skin Contact. As much of it as possible. He’s either in our arms, laying in our laps or in a Boba wrap on Dad’s chest. He still has yet to wear anything but a cloth diaper and socks. All of these things are helping him stay calm as he feels loved and cared and connected to the world around him 24/7. He is also able to utilize his muscles more throughout the day and build a stronger sensory interaction with the world than he would in a bouncer or swing.
  2. Continuous Communication. We are talking to him all day long about what we’re doing: What the plan is for the day, what we’re doing in the moment, explaining noises he hears.. When we go to pass him off, there’s a clear “Daddy’s going to take you. Ready? 1,2,3 ..” You can watch his body tense up right between 2 and 3 as he prepares for the transfer. It’s so freaking cool. And totally contributing to his comfort level with the world.
  3. Instant Need Fufilment. When he asks for something, he gets it. As quickly as possible. We’re watching his mouth for signs that he’s ready to nurse. Or adjusting him if he’s obviously uncomfortable. It takes a high commitment to presence with him and it’s so important to us that right now he builds that trust in life right now. That he has a basic feeling of ‘I get what I need from the world around me’. There will be a time in which I am interested in teaching him about processing emotions like fear and frustration. Now’s not the time for that. It’s happy baby, happy momma. And it is a beautiful, blissful time.

I have a lot more to share! Including a recap of my experience with the placenta smoothie (yep, I saved it) and I’d like to write a whole post on my emotional and spiritual process of this week. All coming with time. Please share with the mommas you know and keep feedback and thoughts coming! Photos below of Indra River’s documentation process earlier today! He is now official in our man made world.. Pales in comparison to the essence of existance ❤

xoxo,
Alexandria

He’s here!

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,
AJP

Photographs by Jess Gallegos of Artefact Image Co