by Cara Cadwallader, a Tree of Life mama.
Perfection Embodied, you remind me that we are all born this way ~ Innocent. Pure. BeeUtiful.
You arrived in the nick of time, just as I knew you would. You did not, however, arrive on the 21st. Although I hoped that you would because there was so much energy swirling across the planet on this International Day of Peace with thousands of people meditating and hundreds of thousands marching in the name of climate justice, you were just too content to budge. We understood as we kept moving to the beat of time, allowing you your own natural process of unfolding.
The days leading up to your arrival were a buzz with people to see (and celebrate) and things to do. On 09/20, while celebrating brother Skeet's birthday while under a cool Leucadia sky, I was enveloped in a circle of Mamas who sang to you in my womb, filling my body with the vibrations of their sound as well as of the drum.
When we knew you were not heading out on 09/21, we headed south to join San Diego's March for Climate Justice. You are a born activist, attending your first protest while in utero. ;) That week, I continued to nanny for the girls, unafraid of my water breaking. I felt powerful to bee so full of life on the inside while tending to so much life here on the outside.
Sunday rolled around again and, this time, I found myself at Dance Church embodying the intention I had set. I had envisioned myself dancing to the beat of the drum as our community cheered on your arrival and that is exactly what happened. It was, as your Aunt Devi infers, the ceremony to end all of your soon-to-bee ceremonies. I was again circled by women who chanted and breathed and bared down, soles into the Earth, as they grunted and motioned, down down down, with their hands to their abdomens.
I danced and shimmied, I shook and rattled and rolled conjuring you "out" with the mantra "open, open, open" playing itself over and over again throughout my Body Mind. I moved clockwise in the circle looking at my sisters - your Aunt Jenn and I gazing deep into each other's eyes - at the drummers and then at the rest of dance church filling the studio with their pulsing bodies and witnessing eyes. It was pure magic.
On this day, there was a new couple at dance church, also pregnant and just two weeks beehind you. Mama Jana and I connected while at Swami's Park with our burgeoning bellies spilling onto the grass. It was a glorious day of sunshine and music, community and love. Your father and I continued to revel in the beeuty upon our return home that night as we made LOVE, staring into the expanse of each other's dark eyes, while intuiting that it would bee a last for many weeks to come. There was also a profound, unspoken knowing of what we had created together ~ YOU, who would very soon bee joining us.
After intercourse, and around 1:30am on 09/29, my mucous plug came out. Light contractions beegan shortly thereafter. They remained consistent throughout the day, at 5 minutes apart for one minute, and only taking place in my lower abdomen. Breathing through these early twinges, I followed Gran Leslee's advice (who was also our Doula) and went to sleep. In the early morning, after your father had dropped your sister off at school, your Poopa and I went down to Moonlight Beach.
Throughout my pregnancy, I could very easily envision my moving through the preterm stages of labor as I beecame fully effaced both here at home and on walks at the beach. Thus, this is what we did. At the beach, your father and I would stroll along the sand, hand in hand, together. Then, when the contractions overtook me, I would wade into the ocean and move with the searing energy enveloping my whole beeing.
It was lovely to bee in public doing this, especially when a few women inquired if "it had beegun yet," to which I would joyfully, with a smile on my lips, nod my head. At one point, I marched up to your dad and exclaimed, "This is the most exciting day of my life!" In the exact, same moment, I also stepped with my right foot upon a dying honeybee in the sand, receiving a slight sting of Bee Medicine. I immediately responded "Ow!" and then we all - me, your father and I imagine the Universe - simply laughed, hard and loud.
Upon our return home and while laying on the bed resting, my water broke. It was simply like one cup of water gushed out of me, then I went to the bathroom and another cup spilled out. The bathroom, and more specifically the toilet, was my most comfortable place to bee, so your father made a little nest in ours for me to bed down in between contractions.
My contractions beecame a bit stronger after that, with Gran Leslee joining us at home at 2pm. Around 4pm, she checked my cervix and I was halfway there, at about 4-5 centimeters dilated. She was quite impressed. ;)
Your sister came home from school and helped to chart my contractions as I writhed in labor. Close to 7:30pm, we decided that I was nearly fully effaced and ready to go to the Birth Center. By this point, I was long in a deep trance where I had pulled into a quiet, internal place. My gaze had contracted and I was communicating solely by hand signs, or whispers.
Early on, I recognized that I had fear where pushing you through my birth canal was concerned (and it is easy to trace this thread of fear to other parts of my life, like work, as well) but I decided that I would simply deal with my block head on.At the Birth Center, I immediately climbed into the birthing pool for some relief. However, the bathroom was my most comfortable place and that was where I went when the pushing urge came upon me. Unfortunately, I had hours of moving through my fear to go through, as I struggled to connect to my root, and bare down through my rectum. I wanted an easy out and for someone to do it for me, as we also recognized and discussed my deep fear of success.
I knew I could do this yet something wasn't working.
I moved through position after position as I was lovingly tended to, but you were stuck at station #2 for five hours and I grew exhausted. By the time Aunties Jamie, bearing bottles of Coca Cola for help, and Devi arrived, I was on my back. They insisted on getting me back up, on my feet and into my birthing dance. At this point, though, we had already been discussing transferring to the hospital but then we noticed a dark meconium in my amniotic fluid. It was 2am on September 30th and it was time to go.
I wasn't disappointed that I didn't give birth to you at the Birth Center. It was simply what was happening and I was fully surrendered to the process. Your head felt like it was between my legs as I walked to the car, rode to the hospital and then walked into my hospital room. At Scripps Encinitas, we experienced something similar to what had happened at Tree of Life ~ a non-intrusive approach to birth that allowed for trusting the process.
Our MidWife Susan was openly discussing other options, such as administering Pitocin to create greater contractions as well as an Epidural for pain relief and, even, an Emergency C-Section. With each contraction, however, I felt your desire to arrive as I simply gave in to it. I wasn't afraid of what was to come, no matter what came. I was fully present and absorbed in the Shamanic vortex of birth that has forever been a woman's rite of passage.
With Aunt Jenn and Uncle Paul's arrival, our scene was set. Discovering a reserve of energy, inspired by my Beeloved Community at my side, I finally gave in to my overwhelming desires to push. Beeing cheered on and sweetly offered other ways of feeling my body move through labor, I was galvanized by my loved ones who chanted, "Yes, you can do this!" "We see him, your baby, he's almost here!" "You got this, you can do it!" "Push, Cara, PUSH!!!"
And, at 3:21am, you slid out of my vagina and into our lives.(First, Susan had to unwrap the cord from around your neck. She, too, worked hard at helping you out of my vagina. She even gave me an episiotomy - my first time receiving stitches!) I cried my eyes out as your Dad attended to you while the doctors suctioned the poop out of your belly. "My baby," I bawled as tears of joy slid down my face. "I'm a Mama!" I cried to my sister friends who are already mothers themselves and understand this deeply primordial experience of life giving birth to itself.
Then, you were placed in my arms as your dark eyes and little lips looked for my nipples. You latched on immediately and life hasn't been the same ever since.