The birth story of my daughter Layla begins with the birth of my first daughter, Maia. After many factors playing out, both personal and transpersonal, Maia was born by cesarean after a four day long labor period, the first three being at home unassisted. My daughter Maia’s birth was a traumatic experience for me. Even though what I experienced is common, borderline typical for hospital births nowadays, it was an invasive act against my body as a woman, my womb as the carrier of new life, and my daughter. Afterwards, I knew that if I were to ever become pregnant again, I would do everything in my power to not end up in the same situation or near a hospital again.
A little less than a year later, I became pregnant and everyone I confided in including my fiancé, was convinced that a vbac had to happen with a care provider. I believed otherwise. I started reading, researching, and educating myself. I prayed, created healing rituals, and began tuning into my body and my womb. There was much to heal and release… not only from a previous traumatic birth experience, but from a lifetime of lies and wounding programmed into my mind and body. I consciously lead myself down the path of empowerment.
This took creating strong boundaries. Most people disagreed with my birth choice and I could not and would not allow this into the most intimate healing journey I would have with myself. It also took much of my pregnancy working with my fiancé around his fears and concerns. None of this was easy, as all I wanted was support from others during this time. But, it was also the lesson I needed... The training I needed to know I can do this alone.
Fast forward to my due date… God, I hate that there is such a thing as a due date. Both of my babies came “late”. My first came at 43+5 and Layla came at 42+5. Those last few weeks tempered me with the utmost patience and full surrender of what was approaching…
Monday afternoon arrives and I feel some contractions coming on. I had been having preparatory contractions for months now, but these were different. They were stronger, more regular, and a part of me just knew. Labor is beginning. My contractions became closer together but were still irregular in how far apart they were (every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes to every 5). Still, I couldn’t sleep. When a contraction would come on it was too painful to be on my side so I had to move through the contraction. So, I lay down through most of the night, moving with my contractions, trying my best to rest but by morning decided to start preparing the space. I called my mom to pick up my daughter; my fiancé handled the hand off and helped me fill the birth tub.
Now, it was just he and I… and the space we were opening up to was magic. We decided to make love which was something I will never forget. We lit sage, said prayers, began lighting candles, put on the playlist I had created… it was all so perfect. Contractions started picking up, and my fiancé was actually the one to notice. He says, “Ok, you are in active labor now.”
From here forward, things only intensified. Some hours later, I began to feel like maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. I recognized I was in transition and lit another candle. From this moment onward, I was not fully in the room. I was in and out of connecting with deeper parts of myself, spirit guides and helpers, loved ones, the stars… there was something else guiding me, some part of myself that was wiser than the woman I knew every moment before.
There were many moments I thought, I can’t handle this anymore. This pain. My body. I am exhausted. And I did worry, “What if this labor results in the same way as my first daughter’s?” What if all this work is for nothing and I end up in the hospital again? It was so clear to me the defeatist voice in my mind. I recognized it and told it to leave. It is incredible the power we have inside of us and when we choose to how we can clearly guide it to bring us through whatever it is we are experiencing.
Just when I doubted the most, I started to recognize my baby’s body descending. I wasn’t sure how much longer I had, but to know that MY BODY WAS WORKING was ALL the affirmation I needed. A couple hours later, after many many throws and thrashes of waves coursing through my womb, I could feel my baby’s head. Oh my god, what a feeling. I am so close!!! I don’t care how long it takes… I will give birth soon.
About an hour later, I pushed my Layla out. And actually, she came out all at once! Which was the cherry on top!!! I turned around from being on all fours surprised that I didn’t have to wait for the body… she was out! And she was a baby girl. Oh, my heart. My soul. My spirit. My BODY!!! The joy, the strength, the deep breath of accomplishment… I did it!!!!!!! I gave birth to a ten pound baby girl
When all others in my life doubted me, when the world told me I couldn’t, when I had to face the depths of sorrow, angst, fear, and doubt of my own self… I still pushed through.
I am whole now. I know this. I always was. I just needed to remember. Remember the wisdom my body has, remember to trust myself in all ways, remember that as a woman my worth and my value are in my essence. There is no-thing that can compromise that now. I can lead my daughters through the world with confidence and security, safety and grace.
Oh, and my Layla!!! She is the most perfect angel her momma has ever set eyes on. The bonding we have been able to share since that first moment still brings tears to my eyes. Every part of this birth was wholistic. From how we rested skin to skin in those first few hours still dripping in blood and meconium, to waiting til her umbilical cord was white to sever it while she suckle from my breast, and allowing my placenta to release when it was ready a few hours later and giving it to the tree I prayed to for strength throughout my pregnancy.
The best word to describe how I feel about this birth is bliss. Who knew life could be so complete and pleasurable?!?!! And I can say this in all honesty, I would not have been able to create this healing birth experience for my family without the support of you amazing and courageously fierce women (@ Free Birth Society). You were the support I needed and wasn’t receiving from anywhere else. I thank you from the depths of my heart. This is the birth story of my Layla.