one year ago i joined the ranks of mamas around the world. i reflect on this past year and am filled with gratitude and awe. one year ago exactly, i was in the bowels of labor. exactly as it was written one year ago…this is my story.
september 18, 2010 was a day that has truly changed my life. that was the day that my beautiful baby girl was born. not only was she born, she was born in peace, with mountainous amounts of love bestowed. She was born at home after two days of labor.
the labor started in the bowels of night. i had already been home for a month and Ahimsa was nearly one week later. it was tuesday (14th) going into wednesday (15th) when i began to felt the tightened and expanding of my uterus much stronger than they had been. i had been having braxton hicks contractions for about 6 weeks. the last couple of weeks while I was till working i was having them tough and having them often. they weren’t supposed to be uncomfortable or even noticeable but sho nuff they were. looking back on it now i think that had a lot to do with the stresses of doing direct service with youth and adolescents. this night though i prayed that she would soon come. and although i slept the rushes were still uncomfortable and would wake me to let me know she was imminent.
thursday (16th) we hung around the house-walter and i. i didn’t feel like going too far but for my daily evening walk. we’d walk around the park or on the street every evening just to make sure we’d get out of the house. both of us anxiously anticipating ahimsa’s arrival began to grow crazy with cabin fever and boredom. we decided to walk and get some food. We went to yes-a thai restaurant in our neighborhood. i was still having contractions but they weren’t regular; no more than 20 minutes apart but they were so much stronger. I was having more and more mucus and bloody show. i actually thought that my water had broken. after eating we came home and even more. i knew this was getting real and closer to actual labor.
i tried to continue to relax and chill out as much as possible but my anxiousness took over. all night i tossed and turned with contractions moving from 5 to 8 minutes apart. they felt real. it was so amazing to be feeling. i know i have increasingly and with more ease allowed myself to “numb out.” being so busy with work and life i had come a couch potatoe trying to numb myself from thinking about the next day. i had never felt anything like this but was so amazed at the intensity of feeling that i was having. it was so amazing and very spiritual. i would lay there in half slumber and feel my baby moving in my body, my body moving against my better mind to try to stop the “uncomfortableness.” i couldn’t believe my strength, my patience, my will. i also could not articulate the closeness i felt to walter and the time. throughout the night he would hold my and caress me through my rushes -holding me close in between as i drifted back to sleep. i remember how happy he would be when i would have a contraction that made me pause and reach for him. he would smile he said do his excitement for the baby’s arrival and pride of our growing family. i like to think he was proud of me as well (lol).
Friday (17th) we got up and got to cleaning. i should say walter did most of the cleaning. i walked around the house directing and laid on the couch as my contractions began to intensify even further. i called my fateful friend Nancy and midwife sarah around 1 pm. this was only after hours of protesting by me and a finally demand by walter. i didn’t want to call folks too early in the game. Nancy came over right away and sarah soon arrived after. This is where things begin to get blurry. This is where i began to lose track of time. Sarah checks me and i am 3 centimeters and totally effaced. i was a bit disappointed and felt like crying. we hung out for a while and labor progressed.
sometime that evening/night i got into the birth tub. it was a nice relief but i felt like i was floating. i didn’t feel grounded but it did help my contractions making them less uncomfortable. we had the pool setup in our sunroom. our sunroom is painted a beautiful green. the room felt so sensual and warm with candles burning. we didn’t have any lights on (i believe) in the house. walter and nancy took turns pouring water over my belly and rubbing my back during the rushes.
walter even got in the pool with me. it was nice to be so close to him and hold on to him as my body expanded. i began to get so hot in the pool we had to have a fan plugged up and more cool water added to the pool. the pool had really relaxed me and eventually my contractions petered out. i was back at having one every 20 or 30 minutes. this not being productive my midwife had me get out. needless to say, i didn’t get back in.
i believe it was a round this time (or right before) that i began having contractions every time i urinated. they were really beginning to get intense. i failed to mention that in my initial stages of prelabor and labor sometimes my contractions were coupled with aftershocks as I would call them. I’d have one strong long rush (about 1.5 minutes or so) and then have a shorter as intense one just as the initial one ended. well this began to increase. i would use the bathroom and as soon as i began to urinate i’d have a contraction and as i ended and stood up here comes another one trying to knock me down. i could get on top of them. still irregular i tried to get some rest as we were moving into my third night of restlessness and sleep preventing contractions. i was having a hard time and felt like i couldn’t rest in between the rushes. my midwife and her assistant were so loving and supportive. they were constantly feeding me and hydrating me especially since i had some decels initially in the labor. they were amazing at keeping me (and walter’s) energy up especially since we were moving into day two of this woman’s work.
i believe it was 2 or 3 am saturday (18th) morning . and things had really slowed down. my midwife and assistant decide it would be best to leave and let us get some rest. we agreed. we did in fact rest until about 6 in the morning when my rushes return full force. we called everyone to return around 8 o’clock. again we collectively called on ahimsa to come. my rushes were deeper and longer. i hoped she would come soon. i kept thinking how amazing my body was although i was kind of lucid. i felt strong yet weak with exhaustion. i didn’t know how i would find the strength to push her out. my thinking mind was cautious and anxious about the pain but my body keep saying bring it on.
around 11 am sarah sent walter and i out for a walk. we walked up oakley and back to bomanville and back to foster. it was nice to be outside and alone with him. he was so tender and supportive as i would fold into a deep squat with every contraction. passerbys would stop and stare or try to act like they didn’t see us. only one person stopped to see if we were okay. i loved to hear my grunts and groans in the morning light hanging low with walter’s hands confidently supporting me. everything looked so different even though it was indeed the same. i had my labor eyes on. i was focused and ready more than i ever was. we walked the curb as i dropped my hips with each step. we lunged on the stoop. i needed her to come. i wanted her in my arms now more than ever. it had seemed like forever.
back in the house i moved into different positions. my stomach was hoisted up with each contraction. my leg was lifted to my shoulder. i hollered with all my emotion. i wanted the progress. i wanted her home.
moving into the afternoon sarah checked me again. i just knew i was close. sike. i was only 7 centimeters. it had been 12 hours since my last vaginal exam when i was at 3. i felt defeated. lying in my bed crying i didn’t know how much more i could take. i was exhausted. sarah suggested walter and i have some alone time. i popped a benadryl to try to get a nap. this didn’t last long. my rushes returned stronger than ever. i called out in enough time to get a bucket by my bedside as i began to vomit my eyeballs out. i was ecstatic. i knew this was progress.
sarah decided to leave for a while as there was still time. nancy stayed and i laid in the bed listening to one exhausted walter sleeping. nancy called me into the living room. she wanted me to go sit by my ancestral altar and talk to my mother and the Orishas. she told me to just sit and try to ask them for their help and any strength i needed. she told me to talk to them about whatever it was that may be keeping ahimsa inside. i swore nothing was bothering me. that is until i sat in front of my alter. the tears began to flow as i admitted that i was having a hard time going through this process without my mother around. I lost my mother 12 years ago when she died of breast cancer. i never truly imagined having a child without that lineage present to validate my experiences in motherhood. my angel, nancy and i talked about our lives and shared stories . We looked at pictures and cried. i really feel like this was the turning point that i needed. i released that fear that all pregnant women faced and realized that i had been doing some amazing body work. that is was laboring with strength and confidence that i due to my own issues hadn’t been able to identify. nancy is a God sent and i didn’t believe that this woman (who had known my mother in high school) was introduced into my life.
after what seemed like a few hours of soul-searching the labor really got good. my contractions were like nonstop. one right after another. i was so out of it. my body rocked and moved with every expansion. no more rushed lying or sitting down. i was totally focused and in a zone. i didn’t even notice when sarah returned. nancy had me up and moving. walter had to get up and i grabbed at him at every contraction-especially the ones on the toilet.
sarah suggested we get in the shower together and do some nipple stimulation. as some as we got in the bathroom i had a few back to back. we got in the shower and they kept coming. i didn’t have anything not wet and slippery to hold on to. i leaped out the shower like a frog and squatted on the floor. i knew this was it.
i ran out leaving walter in the shower. i was screaming that i could do the shower anymore and that my contractions were coming nonstop. all of this said as i leap onto the floor in a half lunge squat holding on the birthing stool sarah had brought over. sarah looked at nancy as said let’s try a few contractions int he bed. they began to set things up in our bedroom like the baby was really coming. i had no idea.
on my hands and knees and had a few contractions that we out of this world. a new sensation is what i was feeling. i could feel ahimsa moving through my pelvis. oh shit i thought. this was really it. sarah and nancy had me turn over to repeat the position they had me in earlier where they hoist up in stomach and leg to make room for baby to get through (this was so helpful as we found out later that she was a bit asynclitic). it was at this moment where i felt and pop and gushing from my vagina. i screamed i think my water broke. i asked if i was supposed to be pushing because at this time i couldn’t stop myself. the sensation felt so good. i felt so strong and energized. they told me to do whatever my body felt it needed to go. with that i was on my hands and knees riding some long and intense expansions. i was grunting and pushing like a mad woman.
after a couple of contractions i asked nancy what time it was. at the same time i looked at the digital clock under our tv. it said 6:18 or something like that. being on births previously, i knew that some women push for hours. i said forget that i needed to get her out fast. i couldn’t wait to see her. we had been doing this for days and was ready for it to be complete. i am thankful now for those irregular contractions because they kept coming and i kept pushing. what seems like two contractions later nancy and sarah told me that they could see ahimsa’s head stay out even when i was not pushing. i was grunting nonstop at this time and knew she’d be here soon. a few more pushes and i could feel the ring of fire which to me felt less like fire and more like a stretching that i instinctively wanted to ease through. this is when i began blowing out of my mouth and trying contain my adrenaline.
with that ahimsa’s head was out and i could hear everyone’s excitement from behind. especially walter’s. he had been giving me a play by play of everything that was going on (especially since in between my grunting i kept asking what was happening back there (lol)). i could hear in his voice that he was crying and i could see the big smile he had on his face. all my worries diminished and i was elated that i would be seeing ahimsa soon. what seemed like one more strong and long push ahimsa body slide effortlessly out of my pelvis and into walter’s, sarah’s and nancy’s hands. my baby had a 6 handed catch (lol)-she is so loved. i didn’t know she was born until i heard her scream and everyone’s celebratory cries. i looked back because I couldn’t believe i was hearing my child’s first cries. i thought it was my neighbor’s kid crying. it was 6:43 pm and our baby had been born. it had happened so fast. i flipped over and held my daughter for the first time. tight to my chest. speechless and amazed. she was absolutely amazing. i couldn’t believe that i had done that. the first thing i said after i said oh my god about a hundred times was that was fun. everyone laughed and said i was crazy. but i was fun. it was challenging and called on me to be brave and strong. it made me think and understand the brilliance that is my body. i felt truly amazing. these words don’t give the experience justice. i was holding my daughter in my arms with the love of my life holding us both. as she suckled my breast, i just stared in disbelief. this is my definition of complete and utter happiness.
Sarah put on a cd and the party began. with the normal post birth stuff going on walter ahimsa and i got acquainted more and shared endless kisses between us all. walter cut the cord and i stood up to birth the placenta. ahimsa and the house was cleaned up and sarah and nancy prepared us a delicious after birth meal. this sole moment in my life will be my most proudest moment. i am so thankful of my commitment to birth ahimsa naturally, in my home, with love and support of my partner.
i have never truly excelled in sports or have done anything to test my body’s limits before. i am so proud that i did this and although i was uncomfortable and in some instances terrified i knew i could do it. i know i can do anything. when i love at ahimsa i know i can be the model of womaness that my mother was for me. i will share with her this story in hopes that she will be able to take this with her through her most challenging times. i hope she will love back on her birth through our words, our pictures, or her subconscious memories and know she was birthed in love and peace and know that she can do anything. this is what i will carry with me forever.
Ahimsa Zipporah Logan born at home September 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm.
happy birthday my little one!