Birthing Bealah Moss
It was such an exquisite autumn afternoon, such soft warm, golden light. I was home alone with Hakea and I knew your time was coming soon. You had been due to be born on Indigo’s birthday, about 12 days earlier, but now it was the 3rd of April, 2011, the day before my birthday and I was wondering if you might turn out to be the best birthday present I would ever have.
My belly was so tight and round, and my body felt soft and ready, but I was also a little anxious about how it would be to bring a newborn baby into our family because Hakea still felt like such a baby and he was so deeply a part of my daily life, requiring so much care from me, that I was wondering about how I could stretch to meet you also. Would there be enough of me to give each of you what you needed, you and your big brother Hakea and your big sister Indigo?
In the last days before you came to us I had journeyed into such an open and yielding place. I surrendered more and more of my fear and came into such a sweet place of trusting you and our journey together. It was such a time of prayer and contemplation and indwelling. I had found a beautiful book that reminded me of how close to Spirit we were. How gentle I needed to be with your tender new being. I spoke and sang to you often.
These times in my life before birthing have been some of the most magical I have experienced in all my life. How connected I have felt to Spirit, how held by the universe I have known myself to be. It was such a sweet, sacredness about this closeness and connectedness, how able to dwell in multiple realms of being at the one time I have been then. I have wished for this same quality of being to immerse me at other times in my life, called to this experience of being to remind me of how it is true that we are always walking in the hand of Spirit, we just sometimes forget to ask for help. In those last days of your pregnancy, my midwife Fiona and Steffi were very supportive and present, visiting often and sharing lots of cups of tea and slices of cherry cake.
So on this beautiful, golden afternoon, I put Hakea in the pram and we started off down the driveway for an afternoon walk. The first part of our driveway was very very steep, I had walked up and down it many times with you in my belly and Hakea in the pram but this time felt different and as I strained to keep the pram from going too quickly down the steep hill, I felt a pain in the front of my belly and that familiar sensation of my fore-waters breaking. I walked a little further down and then stopped to do a wee in the moss on the side of the driveway and there I felt the warm, thick fluid, which had been surrounding you in the womb flow out onto the green, mossy earth. I was so excited because I knew that this meant your birthing journey had begun. I rang David, (who I was a little bit cross with for being out at a barbeque) and asked him to come home straight away, and I think I called Mum, and Fiona, our midwife to let her know also and then I headed back up to the house. Our walk would have to wait for another day.
I must confess, my dear one, that I am writing this just after your second birthday, (I have been very busy since you came), and so there is a lot of your birth story that has faded from my mind or been lost in time, but I will try and capture how it was for us my love, so that you will have a record of your first big adventure as you grow into your life.
Your Dad came home and we had some dinner and I had a bath with Hakea and put him to bed. We had the birthing pool set up by the open fire down in the lounge room and both fires were going, so the house felt soft and warm and safe. David and I lay together in bed for a while but my contractions had started to flow now and I was afraid of waking Hakea so we came out by the fire and made a bed up on the floor. I turned my awareness inside to feel my body working hard to bring you to me, I turned inside to find the part of me that knew how to ride those waves, I turned inside so that I could listen to you my darling, so that I could hear what it was that you needed of me. And I felt your beautiful Daddy David’s body resting with me, holding me, and helping me to feel safe.
Soon the contractions became too strong for me to stay lying down, and so I got up and sat on the big, blue ball beside the Coonara, my head and arms resting on the table. As the contractions became stronger and more potent I needed your Dad’s strong hands to be holding me tightly low at the
front of my belly and also on my lower back, as I rocked and swayed and circled my hips. Between the contractions I would rest and your Dad would move around the space getting things ready and when I could feel a contraction coming I would call for him to come and hold me.
We rang the midwives, Fiona and Kelly and Steffi, our doula and Sh’ana who was coming to help hold Hakea and Indigo. Steffi was the first to arrive and she asked me if I would like to get into the bath. I thought that I might but then we realized that the bath hadn’t been run yet so there was a lot of hustling and bustling to get the water ready.
I think Sh’ana came next and then Fiona. Soon I was sinking my body gratefully into the beautiful, warm water of the birthing pool, in the flickering light of the open fire and the candles on our alter.
The water felt so good, as it always has in my birthing times, cushioning the pain of the contractions, wrapping me in it’s comfort.
Everyone in the space felt so loved by me, so safe and strong and gentle and supportive. Although I barely opened my eyes, I felt Steffi’s care and Sh’ana’s love and Fiona’s presence. At different times I held the gaze of my sisters and my love, your Dad. When I needed a drink or when I needed to vomit or a cold cloth when I felt too hot, there was a loving presence to meet my need.
I must confess that a part of me has always felt more than a little frightened and resistant to that powerful, potent, magnificent and terrifying energy that moves so uncompromisingly through my body while I am birthing, but with your birth, my Bealah Moss, I felt able to meet it with more courage and strength than I ever have before. When I felt the small, frightened part of me come present that wanted to run away and hide, the part that says “no” and “it’s too hard”, I also felt close on it’s heels, another part that knew that the more I hid from that pain, the longer it would last. And so I would focus myself harder on being with you, talking to you, singing my birthing song.
I used sounds to help me to enter into the contractions, to help my body to open. Big wide-open sounds I made with my mouth, deep growley, crooning sounds, I felt the mirror between my mouth and my cervix, and later I heard the sounds in your name in the birthing sounds that I made, the eeeees and the ahahahahahahas, opening my mouth, opening my cervix. We were journeying deep into the eye of a powerful storm, me on one side, you on the other, we were journeying together to meet one another, on the other side of my cervix, which was stretching and opening so powerfully and beautifully to let you out into the world and the arms of your family. We were both so strong my love, working so deeply with that unfathomable energy, so driven by our love and the longing to behold that which our love had created.
We heard a car on the driveway and the last of our Birthing friends had arrived. Kelly, our second midwife had come from the city and was bringing with her your big sister Indigo who had been at her Dad’s house. As Indigo’s arrival in the room approached, I felt a panic and asked my sister’s to hold Indigo, I wanted to have her held by someone so that she would feel safe and loved and I knew that I was too deep in my birthing journey to reach out and hold her myself.
When she came into the room, my heart was flooded with such love, my beautiful baby girl Indigo all grown up. Birthing has always felt like such a battle between fear and love for me, and Indigo’s presence and fortuitous entrances have always tipped the scales in the favor of love. Like I understood in a more real way what it was that I was journeying, birthing a beautiful human being into existence. She has been such a potent midwife to me. My heart flooded with its sweet nectar of love and my body opened even more to you my beautiful child, my second daughter. Indigo settled on the couch and Steffi sat close beside her, giving the holding I had asked to be offered to Indigo.
Soon after Indigo and Kelly had arrived, a sound arose from the bedroom, Hakea had woken up and I felt another wave of panic, how could I birth my baby and take care of Hakea also! Sh’ana and Indigo went into the bedroom and resettled him for a bit but he soon awakened again and they brought him out. I think he knew that he needed to be there to witness your arrival, and I think we both needed him to be there also. He was crying such a deep and mournful cry and David went to him and held him close for a while as he slowly woke and settled. I had felt like surely my contractions would cease and the birth would stop with Hakea’s arrival in the room but of course I was mistaken. As soon as the next contraction coursed through my body I was back in the eye of the storm with you. Indigo sat on the couch and held Hakea close, giving him presence and love and holding him in his initiation into big brotherhood.
I had moments of fear and doubt, when I held the gaze of my midwife Fiona with such fierce entreaty to make this stop and to help me, help me, help me. But she met me with such faith and strength and honesty that I soon gave up on trying to avoid entering more deeply through the next gateway. My cervix fully open, you were ready to journey down from my womb.
I don’t remember exactly when the urge to push came but it was strong and purposeful when it came. There is such a relief that comes with the change from those sharply painful opening contractions, with that smarting ache in the cervix, to the deeply primal pulsation of pushing. There is nothing in all the world quite like that compulsion to push, in that moment there was nothing that could have stopped me, there was nothing more right than to push you down, with my muscle and breath and sound.
It felt like only a short time of pushing before I could feel your head, soft and hard and bulging from between the lips of my yoni. I had been leaning forward, I think holding on to your Dada for strength but now I changed position, I raised myself into a squat, determined to fully meet you with my presence when you came. I reached down and felt myself opening to let you pass through. That almighty stretch, so outrageous it felt, beautiful and ecstatic, and wildly agonizing at the same time. I felt a great orgasmic wave of energy move through my yoni, my vulva, at the same time as feeling a terrible sensation of painful stretching, and then so very quickly, your head passed the fullest point and you slipped forth, slithering, first your head and then to my great surprise, your body followed straight on through, slipping out into the warm water and my waiting hands.
This time around, for your birth Bealah, I was fully awake and in my body, my heart and mind and body awake and alive and waiting for you, spirit and soul, to be born into our family. Your brother and sister before you had taught me much about birthing. I lifted you up a little, you were face down and still beneath the surface of the water and I looked up at Fiona in a moment of doubt, “Should I bring her up, out of the water?” Fiona’s smiling nod empowered me to bring you up from the water and against my breast. It was 4:30 in the morning.
You felt small, my little bird, the smallest of all my babes, and so unfathomably beautiful, and so still and exquisitely present. We all gazed at you in wonder and amazement and such deep love as you took your first breaths and arrived upon the Earth in this whole new way. We were delighted to find that you were a little girl, how blessed I was to have another daughter. It had been my secret hope and longing, and I felt that life had somehow met my deepest prayers. Your Dad was there, beside the pool, looking in at you, and your brother and sister were there, reaching in to greet you and welcome you into our fold. Your little body was so utterly perfect, so fresh and new and also somehow ancient looking. Nothing can quite describe how miraculous it is to behold a baby at it’s birth, so profoundly animal and yet so deeply of spirit, so other and yet so deeply known. You were so extraordinarily beautiful to me my love and so perfect.
We stayed in the water for a while and then moved into the bedroom, to get warm and cozy. There were yummy warm drinks brought, and I had a beautiful cuddle with Hakea, and Indigo. Hakea looked at you with a mixture of awe and suspicion and was soon rolling around on the bed and then he went out to play with Sh’ana in the early morning light. David worked in the kitchen and there was a flow of energy from the kitchen to our nest, I could hear Hakea and Sh’ana playing as I turned in again to birth your placenta. Fiona and Steffi, holding that gentle space and me again using my own hands to guide your placenta out, as I had done you, while Indigo cradled you in her loving Sister arms.
We ate and drank and replenished our strength and you latched on and suckled at my breast. And family came, your Grandmas and your Aunties and Uncles and cousins. We must have slept at some stage and we all began the long journey of learning to be a family of five. All through those early days the golden autumn sun shone through our window, the shadows of leaves dancing on the walls. There was such a grace and a magic to this newborn time, each of us born anew to life and love.
We left your placenta attached for a few days and tried salting it with rosemary and salt so that it could fall off in it’s own time, but the warm weather and a delay in salting made it a bit smelly, so on your second or third morning, we cut your cord. David and Hakea and you and I took your placenta up the hill and dug a hole in the Earth in the bush above our home. We smudged and sang and had a little ceremony, calling upon the Earth to receive your placenta into her Earthy womb and to claim you as her daughter. The sun shone, the breeze blew and our hearts sang for the grace of you amongst us. We planted a Meliodora, a yellow box, over your placenta.
There were also challenges for us in those early weeks. My left nipple became split and very painful to feed from and it took a few weeks for us to realize that you had a tongue-tie that was preventing you from latching on properly. After much pain and torment I had stopped feeding from that left breast and had been expressing from it to keep my supply up, but that early time of excruciating pain was hard for me and also for you I think. After an initial difficulty feeding immediately after having your tongue tie cut, we soon found our way again and I have only just weaned you, 2 weeks before your second birthday. We have shared such a beautiful breast-feeding relationship in that time, although we never did find our way fully into feeding well with that left side. I expressed milk for a good few months of your early life, for a little milk sister who had lost her mother at birth.
As well as the pain from my split nipple I also had such a tender vulnerability moving through my being in response to your coming. Very strong emotions that sometimes felt quite overwhelming punctuated my joy. The fear of harm or hurt befalling you, the great weight of responsibility of care, the great aching stretch of my heart opening to an ever-greater love than I could ever have imagined feeling. Three babes had been born of my body now, cradled in my heart, in a world that sometimes feels a difficult place. Could I be brave and strong and loving enough to care for you all, keep you all from harm?
My heart went through it’s own birthing to receive you fully into it’s fold. And your big brother also had a journey of integration; many tears and growing of his own took place. And you rode through all this turbulence with such beauty and grace and calm serenity. Of all my babies you were the one who could surrender to sleep, and your spirit landed very gently Earth side, as you slowly opened your eyes more often, and held our gaze for longer and brought the full weight of your beauty to bare in our lives.
You are now two years old. It is such a joy to share your birthday with you my sweet girl, something we will journey now for all our days. You are so strong and so beautiful and so fiercely loving. You are so deeply treasured and loved by us all, such a close sister and brave adventurer and tender heart you are, and this is the story of your birth.
Lucy Pierce © 2013
Lucy Pierce © 2013