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Part VII: Labor and Delivery Round II (Part I)

Dec 05, 2020

I stepped in from the cold. Eight fresh inches on the road had made for an amusing 45 minute drive to the hospital. I stamped my boots and greeted the woman at the window.

“I’m here to have my baby, I called ahead.”

The woman looked me up and down and said, “okay, well I can’t let your husband in unless you’re staying.” Ugh, covid.

“Ok, I’m staying, shouldn’t be long now.”

She eyed me closely and said, “If you are in labor, you’re the calmest woman in labor I’ve ever seen.” 

I smiled and adjusted my crown. Flowers encircled my head and amniotic fluid dripped down my legs as I stood in the fluorescent white tiled waiting room. I felt radiant, like a glowing quaking power source had turned on inside of me and I was eager to drop in deeper.

A short time later Jeremy and I were settled into a warm quiet room, and I closed my eyes as the midwife checked my initial progress. “You’re at a six”, she declared.

The nurse raised her eyebrow and I looked over at Jeremy laughing. “Well this is different, isn’t it!”

Each wave brought me deeper, and the further down I went, the more the world melted away. Submerged in the bathtub I let Maren Morris’ words wash over me, “Can I get a Halleluiah! Can I get an Amen. Feels like the holy ghost running through ya…”

The water lapped gently against my skin and suddenly, something broke through my focus and I began to panic slightly, confused by what seemed like pain. I breathed in and relaxed into it, dropping down to the heart of the sensation. I realized with surprise that the sensation was coming from my chest, it was…sadness. Deep aching, heart wrenching sadness flowing out of me. It would have been easy to mistake for pain as the intensity and strangeness was so foreign in this setting.

As I sat and simply witnessed, I became aware that this gut wrenching sadness was my grandmother’s. A stored echo of each of her many miscarriages. There was something else there too, but I couldn’t put conscious thought around it. Going deep into my body had brought me to the doorway between life and death, and as this gateway opened everything came rushing through: the life force of my baby; my grandmother’s trauma; and what felt like the entire cosmos. This threshold was like a black hole pulling everything ready to be released through to the other side.

Tears dropped through the awe I felt as I followed the waves down fully present, surrendering a little more in each moment.  The emotions subsided and something changed. I lifted my eyes to Jeremy who was sitting by the bathtub and said quietly,

“It’s starting to get hard hunny.” He nodded and asked if the birthing tub was ready.

The midwife and nurse held my arms as I walked down the hallway, pausing once to breathe.

As I slid into the deep water of the birthing tub, we both relaxed and I sunk down into a squat. The lights dimmed and the world melted away into pink luminescence. I was surrounded by intimate silent darkness; I found myself at the farthest depths of my ocean, ready for the return.

Next and final post in this series, Part VIII: Labor and Delivery Round II (Part II)

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