“A miracle is just a shift in perception from fear to love. “
When I look back on the conception of Aya, it was a moment of purity and perfection in my life. We were in Kaua’i, across the road from the ocean. We had Indra with us, and we were saying goodbye one more time to Laurie with our family present. Everything about that moment felt magical. It was like we were on a higher vibration. I look back at the moment and think of sunshine and peace.
When I discovered I was pregnant, I felt complete joy. I’d felt her magic with me – I was not surprised. Somehow I knew and was happy in a way I’d experienced few times in my life.
What I learned in this pregnancy and in the birth were maybe some of the the most poignant lessons I’ve ever learned. Let go. I had such an incredible birth and pregnancy with Indra that I started holding on tightly to replicating that with Aya. With Indra, I didn’t know anything and had no expectations. With Aya, I wanted the best for her so dearly that I added anxiety to my already depleted state. I’d wanted a home and to be settled and feel peace. But she taught me, more than any other time in my life, when to fight and when to let go. I was so tired I didn’t feel like I had any more fight in me, but I found it for her. When it was time to let go of my expectations, I did it for her too.
The night before I went into labor, I knew something was happening. I had a feeling. There were the physical symptoms of the body releasing and relaxing, but so was my psyche. My emotions were heightened. I was open and raw. I don’t know that I felt ready, this time I had more fear. I had more self-doubt. I didn’t feel as supported.
I went to bed knowing that things were shifting. Some time after 4:00 I started having regular but mild contractions. I didn’t wake Ezra, but when he woke after 6:00 with Indra, I let him know things were starting. I let Amy (my doula), mom and Jen (my birth photographer) know what was happening, but thought I had some time. Not really thinking about it, I nursed Indra. I knew that nursing released oxytocin but I wasn’t thinking about that. Quickly I had strong contractions but they soon subsided. So I let Indra nurse on the other side. In hindsight, why? I knew things were changing but she was still my main priority, and I wanted this moment with her. I still wanted to take care of her. This brought on a whole new flood of contractions and Ezra suggested I not wait and to have my mom come for Indra now.
My mom came around 7:30 and was worried about me. I brushed the concern off, I was consumed by what I was feeling. I said goodbye to sweet Indra and tried not to make a big deal of it. But my mom called and expressed her concerns… I was so hot and sweaty. I was in labor of course, but there’s something about having your own mama around that makes you feel vulnerable. Ezra shared this call with me and it made me more honest with myself about what I was feeling. Until this point I’d figured I was in early labor, that I just needed to get in my groove. The first couple hours was nothing, so how could this last hour be much different?
I talked with Amy and said I was thinking about heading to the hospital. She reaffirmed she was there to support me when I needed her. Because we were having this conversation did I want to try a bath or something different first? It was up to me. I got in the bath but all of a sudden I felt pushy. I was so hot and my body wanted to push. Ezra thought maybe we should try timing contractions. I remember being on my hands and knees in the bedroom and I couldn’t figure out where they started and ended. I was in one long contraction.
I decided to go to the hospital. It didn’t cross my mind that I’d have a baby soon, I just didn’t know what else to do. There would be no beautiful laboring pictures at our home. There was no time to adjust to what was happening, it was time to go. Ready or not.
By 8:30 we were in the car and I texted Jen, that I was feeling pushy. She said she was on her way!! We pulled up at the hospital and valet was not a service on Saturdays. So Ezra ran inside and got a wheelchair. A woman at the front desk wheeled me quickly to the elevator as Ezra ran to park the car. I was trying not to push in the elevator. Then I tried not to push while I was checking in to the maternity unity. I was wheeled to Triage and in the room alone, swaying my hips and groaning and feeling a bit out of control, my water broke. It was a comical sound, and I wish someone else had been there to tell me if it had been audible to their ears or just something I’d felt internally.
After that everything happened so fast, it’s hard to remember the sequence. Ezra arrived and they checked how dilated I was. I was complete. I was stunned. As they wheeled me to a birthing room I asked if I could get in the tub and they laughed saying there was no time. These next minutes were a blur. I was on the table pushing and Aya’s heartbeat must have dipped because they gave me oxygen and had me change positions. They gave me a bar to push my feet against and a strap to pull on but it wasn’t productive. I needed to squat. I remember Gerry, the midwife, saying two more pushes and when that passed I was disappointed. I wanted to accuse “you said two more pushes! I should be done.” I tried to keep calm and just focus. When things became so intense so quickly at home, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do this, at least unmedicated. But now in the hospital it was never a thought. I knew I had to just focus on the next push. Then the next. I had sensations this time that I’d not felt with Indra. The ring of fire was a real thing. Aya seemed to get a little stuck and then she made her way out.
At 9:27 Aya Pearl came into this world sunnyside and eyes wide open. My sister called it auspicious and I can’t think of a better way to describe it. She came into my arms in a hurry. A labour of just four-and-a-half hours. My whole body was shaking. I forgot to wonder if she was a girl before they announced it. I was so flooded with emotion, a bit overwhelmed, and in shock of what’d just happened. I kept saying, I can’t believe its over. It felt like one minute I was pregnant and sleeping and the next I had a baby.
Something about Aya just feels like magic to me. I feel she will continue to surprise me and show me my strengths and weaknesses. She came into the world awake. She was quiet, eyes open and looked around. I cannot wait to see what she does with this life and learn who she is.