The Divine Work / A Labour Story
I am bathed in vulnerability to share this. And I do so because we women need to give voice to the moments when we unveil the power that lies within our cells. So that for all women, when we are tested, we have a collective knowing that we can dive deep and find resources of pure gold.
I am 42 weeks pregnant and not in labour. My waters have been broken manually in hospital. After 4 hours swaying on a fitball during contractions, the obstetrician tells me there has been absolutely no change to my cervix.
The pregnancy that was so relentless, now refusing to end.
I need to find a way to crawl out of the tailspin I can feel myself well and truly on the verge of. I get Alex to bring the portable monitor into the bathroom. And I pour out all the feelings I can’t hold any longer.
I cry for the 42 weeks of sickness. For having to advocate for myself so emphatically in the weeks leading up to this moment. I cry for the labour that won’t start. For feeling trapped. For constantly surrendering with all I have and still not being able to find my way. For the hours I have spent cultivating sacred space and moving through surges of energy that seem now to have boiled down to nothing.
I cry because I know what is going to be required of me. Because I don’t have ‘calm births’. Because I know I am going to have to go to that place. A place of allowing so much power to move through my body. A place so intense.
I let those tears fall and I surrender every ounce of my soul. And in doing so I unearth the steely determination I need to stay in this moment.
It’s 3.15pm and the induction drip is connected to my cannula.
The contraction that comes moments after is incredibly powerful. As it passes through me I instinctively stand from the fit ball to meet it.
The pure joy of progress.
I ask how quickly the drip works. The change so remarkable. The midwife says ‘not usually that fast’ and notices that, in fact, the drip hasn’t started running yet.
Which leaves me with one truth. Somehow, someway, my body has created that change.
I leave behind feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. And stand firmly in the centre of my own glorious power.
The work has begun. And I am more than ready.
At once I find my rhythm. Find my position. Close my eyes.
I dance with those big real feelings. And I slip into the world where only babe and I exist.
I can’t move, but I don’t need to. Somehow the restricted movement from all the leads and cords works for me. I find my centre by grounding my feet firmly into the floor and resting my head softly on the bed.
The monitoring system beeps warnings constantly. I ignore it. I have to. My job here is to stay in the dance with my body and my babe. To commit to them. I use the frustrating beeps and noises as an invitation to drop further into myself.
They can’t get a trace of babes heart rate during contractions, and the conversation around attaching a scalp clip comes in. I breathe through it. Ask for more time. More. Time.
I hear the openness in my throat. I recognise it from my first labour and I know it as progress.
The hospital midwife tells me she needs to get the doctors in to talk to me about attaching a scalp clip.
I don’t want the f&#*ing scalp clip.
I feel the gritty and primal determination within me that knows that it’s not something I’m going to do.
That I am going to bring this baby earthside.
And I pour myself so fully into completing this divine work before the midwife comes back with the doctors.
The most incredible adrenaline surges through me now, and I know this is my chance to create my experience.
It’s 4pm. I can feel progress picking up pace. Rapidly.
Time twists and contorts in labour for sure, but I know this is fast.
Waves come thick and fast. One on top of the other. Electricity in my skin. My voice changes again – the groan of deep within me and I know we are arriving at the meeting place.
My heart is calling this baby. I am desperate to have their body in my arms.
The hospital midwife tells me I can’t possibly be ready. Not to push. But I can feel there is almost no stopping it. My private midwife tells me to hold off as long as I can, to pant instead, but to ultimately do what my body is asking of me.
It’s all the permission I need.
It’s 4.15pm and I get through half of one contraction by panting . I need to stand on my tippy toes just to hold myself back from down bearing.
But it’s time. There is simply no stopping it. This baby is coming, and I give in to the most amazing urge. Surrender to the wild woman within and roar this delicious soul into the world.
I don’t have to push at all, but simply to get out of the way. My body is doing the rest.
I feel the fierce power within me. The fierce power of me. And I birth my babies head.
I know it’s all happening so fast. I take a breath. Another contraction already building. Breathe. I go as easy and as slowly as I can. Ease my tiny baby out. She slides out and the divine work is done.
It is 4.23pm. I birth my baby standing.
I pull her up to my chest and we meet in this world. I hold that warm and slippery body tight to me.
I am so proud of her. So proud of us.
So proud of the pregnancy I couldn’t imagine getting through. Of the challenges we have already walked together, my girl and I, culminating in this purely divine slice-of-heaven very first meeting.
I find my way to the bed and we lay down. She is on my chest. And I love her. I already love her enough for both of our lifetimes.
Her head weighs just the right amount. She is just the right size. She is nestled on me in a way that I will always remember.
I am in a state of cosy euphoria. With the energy to move mountains and using it all to take in my baby girl.
It is 1 hour and 10 minutes after my first proper surge, and we are staring into each others eyes. Finding each other. In the same world so soon, and at last.
Her umbilical cord stops pulsing, and Alex separates us. As he does it feels like my baby girl becomes ours.
She finds her own way to her very first feed and I smile knowing this will be the first of many.
She is so divine. Our little piece of the stars. Right here on my chest.
We weigh her. I think she looks smaller than her brother. And yet here she is, all 10 pounds 7 / 4.73kg of her.
And I tuck this day into my memory for safe keeping, as they day I met her, again.