It has been four weeks since I gave birth to Emma in our bathroom. Sometimes I still wonder if it actually happened. It feels like a dream.
On May 17th in the evening, I had the urge to text my girlfriends who attended my Blessing Way about a month earlier and thank them for their ongoing support on my journey into motherhood. I said, tomorrow is Emma's due date. Let's see when she decides to come.
That night, my water broke.
My husband and I were watching a TV show when I became emotionally agitated. I could feel that I needed to leave the situation. I went outside and looked into the sky. The Half Moon was lighting up the night. I breathed deeply and sent out a prayer to help me relax. I went back into the kitchen, and SPLASH. Water falls on the floor and I'm wet. My water broke!
I called my midwife and she advised me to go to bed and sleep. So I went to bed.
My contractions started soon after my water broke. Each one was about a minute or two long and about 30 minutes apart. So I had time in between to sleep and rest. Whenever a surge came, I got up, went onto all fours or moved around, depending on what felt good. I have had practice surges (Braxton Hicks) in the end of my third trimester, so I already had some idea how they felt and what positions work for me.
After an hour or so I started a Hypnobirthing meditation that I found on Youtube. After a while, I woke up my husband and said, we should measure the distance between the surges. They were now about 4 minutes apart. It was time to call the midwife.
Cassie arrived about half an hour later, around 4:30am. At least, that's what my husband told me. I was in labor land - standing in the bathroom, breathing through each surge, riding the waves.
The surges were pretty intense at this point, and every time one came up I yelled: SCHATZI, SCHATZI, SCHATZI! (which means treasure in German - that's how I call my husband.). I couldn't say much more but he knew what to do. He placed his hand on my lower back and that was the most amazing feeling. (We took a class together that prepared us for labor and showed how he can assist me. It was so beautiful to have him so deeply involved in the birthing process!)
I also used horse breathing from Ina May Gaskin, one of the world's most popular midwives - and it helped wonders. It made me even laugh! I found it so hilarious that I was breathing like that and Alex said, you're a motorboat and I just busted out laughing! It ended up becoming the joke during labor and we had to laugh several times (which was the best way of relaxing through the surges by the way!)
My bathroom was decorated with birth pictures and affirmations, like "I open & surrender" or "My body is powerful" that were very helpful during labor. We also had candles burning and an OM meditation playing in the background. And of course a bunch of crystals everywhere lol. It all helped to get to a state of mind outside of time, focusing on each wave like a surfer riding in the ocean.
Time flew by. The only real measure of time that I had was when I looked outside the bathroom window once in a while. First I could see the Half Moon, then the sunrise and then the sun shining brightly.
After a while the second midwife Erica arrived as well. They prepared a bowl with ice water and towels and placed them on my forehead and neck. That felt so good! When the surges were about 2 minutes apart, my midwife filled up the bathtub. What a wonderful feeling that was when I emerged my body into the warm water! I changed my position for each surge and in-between I took a sip of water and relaxed. Luckily I have eaten so much right before it all started so I wasn't even hungry.
At some point the midwives wanted to check where the baby was positioning. They asked me to come out of the bathtub and lay on the floor, on my back with my legs spread apart. OH MY...! That was THE WORST! Lying like this was honestly the only time where I felt like the pain was unbearable. (crazy to think that that's the position you're supposed to give birth in the hospitals in the States!). They checked my baby's heart beat and said she was laying in the perfect position. I went back into the bathtub.
I could feel the transitioning phase coming in. How did I know? Because I had moments where I thought I couldn't do it anymore. That's when I remembered in class that it's a sign that you're now in the transitioning phase, the phase right before the baby comes. Just when you think you can't do it anymore, it's right before you're finished. I imagine that's how it feels when you're running a marathon. Right before the finish line, you might get some doubts but then all you have to do is keep on going and you're there.
Thinking that I'll be holding my baby in my arms soon, I got motivated to push through. Alex helped me to speak my affirmations and we did some OM sounds together. I held my strength object in my hand (a big smoky quartz crystal). The midwives wanted to check again where the baby is lying now so I got out of the bathtub.
After the examination (that was again extremely painful just because I had to lie on my back), I went on all fours. I pushed and pushed and Emma's head was coming through slowly, a bit more, then back one step, then two steps forward, and back one again. Gently.
For the last pushes I wrapped my arms around my husband's neck while kneeling and used each surge to breathe the baby out.
The moment her head emerged my blessing way necklace broke apart and the beads landed all over the floor in front of me. (The necklace consisted of beads brought by my girlfriends and my mom filled with love and blessings to support me during labor). It seemed like the breaking of the necklace marked the end of labor.
Feeling so excited, I pushed a few more times and her body came out.
Baby Emma May was born.
My midwife gently caught her, and then handed her to me through my legs. I held her in my arms. I couldn't believe it. I kissed her. I looked at Alex. It was so magical. We were so happy.
Emma didn't cry when she was born. She transitioned from my womb into a place of love, just as I have always imagined.
A few minutes later the Placenta came out. We laid it into a glass bowl and Alex and I went to bed, cuddling up the baby and then slowly burned the cord. While we were burning the cord, I sang, happy Birthday to Emma. Burning the cord helps the belly button to heal faster and it is gentler for the baby to say goodbye to the “mother cake” who had provided nutrition for her in the past nine months.
The rest of the day we all cuddled up in bed.
Emma came exactly on her due date at 8:12AM and weight 8 pounds and 12 ounces.
It was a dream come true.
Thank you, Cassie Franco and Erica from Well Rounded Mommas for your support during pregnancy and labor <3.
Thank you Jenny Fox for your birth education class ‘The Journey’ that taught Alex and me what to expect and that pain doesn’t mean suffering. <3
Thank you to my family and friends who sent me wishes and blessings during pregnancy and labor. <3
Thank you to all my girlfriends who came to my blessing way and burned a candle for me and Emma during labor (Brittani Rael Zoe Dane Stephanie Sager-Gorney Melissa Blynn Busi Buthelezi Candace Campbelll <3)
Thank you to my husband, my soulmate, my twin flame, my dream man for being the best birthing partner and daddy Alex Christensen <3
Thank you Emma May for lying in the perfect position and working with me in a team for a gentle birth. <3
And last but not least, thank you spirit for giving me the strength, endurance and power to birth a little human into this world.