It was a chilly morning in Topanga Canyon, California and I knew Skyler Jade, my third daughter was planning the next day for her arrival into this world. My mind went into an altered state, one of constant visualization and meditation. That precious moment, holding my baby for the first time, was what I had organically prepared myself and her for. Although it would be the first time I would hold her tiny body, I had seen her face a thousand times in my dreams and visualizations. Everyday for 286 days, I had meticulously envisioned all the tiny details of how I wanted her birth to happen. But I didn’t just think about, I felt it in every single nerve in my being, everyday… With this awareness, the next morning I awoke, armed with the strength of a trillion women who had born children before me, and the full support of my husband, Bryan. We walked up and down our long, steep driveway all morning, preparing my body for the massive stresses and beauty it was about to endure. I calmly went into full-blown labor at 8:30 that evening as I was reading my daughter books to bed. Breathing through the contractions and trying to disguise the pain that I was feeling, I slowly turned the pages. I’d had two children already, so I knew the hormones flooding my body right now were the physical signs that Skyler was ready and coming, really soon. I looked over at Bryan, who was reading our other daughter a book, and very simply nodded my head; he knew exactly what that meant. It was now time to surrender to the many months of visualizations while trusting my body’s natural ability to birth our baby. I finished up the book and cuddled Zoe to sleep, knowing that this was the last night she would be my youngest daughter. I kissed my oldest child, Cassidy and tucked her in her covers, knowing that she was going to love meeting her newest sister in the morning. We left our two girls in their room, knowing that tomorrow, we would have 3 girls to kiss goodnight.
Together, Bryan and I were ready to embark on this birthing journey. We closed ourselves in our warm and primal birthing bedroom. The coyotes were howling more than usual that night. The entire pack sounded like they were in a choir, singing to Mother Earth as she welcomed a new soul onto her soil. Bryan began filling up the birthing pool with hot water from a hose connected to the sink. At this point I had been in labor for 40 minutes. 40 minutes of increasingly intense contractions. They started 5 minutes apart but very quickly, it seemed like they were happening within moments of each other. The pain was almost unbearable. I struggled to get comfortable, moving from side to side on my bed. Bryan rubbed my back with Arnica cream to help relieve some of the severe lower back pain. A powerful peace came over me for a few minutes when the owls outside began to hoot loudly in the trees around my birthing sanctuary. I kneeled on the floor with my forehead resting on a big red stretching ball while I struggled through a few more intense contractions. The rocking chair that had helped us put both of our children at peace before sleep for almost 10 years glowed in the corner of the room. I sat down in it and Bryan examined me only to find out I was dilated, a lot! He wasn’t sure exactly how much, but in his words, I was huge! I got up from the rocking chair after a few more intense contractions and Bryan held me up, my head on his shoulder. Thoughts and questions were racing through my head and hormones were rushing through my body, every nerve seemed to pulse with extreme pain, I wondered in these seconds if I could take this intensity for hours. My plan for my entire pregnancy was that I would give birth naturally at home with only my husband and children there.
Though I had never wanted nor considered a hospital birth, I knew that possibility was now gone, Skyler had embraced her freedom and nothing was stopping her and I was not about to deliver her in a car on my way to a hospital after all this. Because I had no artificial drugs of any kind, and nothing but bliss surrounding me, I was able to feel hers and my body acting as one, it was a natural, painful and magnificent process. In that moment I let myself absorb Bryan’s strength and support and a bond was created between us that became imprinted on eternity. I fully trusted myself to trust and surrender to him, I couldn’t do this without him, this was now his purpose as much as it was mine. I let go of anything an ego or mind would or could hold onto. I felt love replace it all.
After a relatively short eternity, as every minute seemed right now, my kiddy pool adorned with cartoon fish and seaweed, doubling as a holy birth bath was full of welcoming warm water. It was 10 o’clock, and I’d been in a fully immersive, drug free labor for an hour and a half. Both my previous births were hospital births with 4-hour labors, so I was expecting at least another two hours of this core-shaking pain. That thought was honestly terrifying. Could I do this? My strength was dwindling, it wasn’t just the excruciating pain I was in, it was the expectation of it worsening even more that horrified me. As I immersed my utterly exhausted body in the warm healing water, Bryan knew instinctively what I needed right now. The beautiful, powerful and sacred necklace made for me by the most powerful women I know at my Blessingway ceremony, hung proudly on the wall. Bryan reached for it and placed it around my neck.
The centerpiece of the necklace was a small Buddha made from beautiful Jade. The whisker of a mighty Tiger was attached to the Buddha and hung down between my breasts. Intricate beads and charms, supercharged with female energy, were ornately handcrafted into this necklace by powerful women I love and respect. At that moment, I felt all of the positive blessings and passionate energies that each woman had put into that necklace. I felt the courage, power and strength of the Tiger. My body relaxed immediately as I entered the warm water with the necklace now energetically re-powering me. It was the first relief of pain that I had felt since the contractions began. My body melted into the water as I scanned the room around me. The flickering flames of countless candles danced around me to the melodious music of Enya, which brought serenity into the space that I had created for my angel to arrive. Bryan climbed into the bath and straddled me. All the pain became pure Euphoria.
Suddenly, the primal urge to push overcame my ripe body and mind. As I pushed, I felt a very distinct ‘pop’ and my amniotic waters burst out and mixed in with the bath water around us. Again, I felt the overwhelming need to push and trusted all the instinctual feeling within me. I trusted the intelligence behind birthing that has evolved in all women. I arched my back, and as I did I felt an intense euphoric feeling come through and over me as oxytocin and endorphins flooded my nervous system. It was the natural pain relief that I produced myself to help me cope with the next part of the birth. With the next contraction, Skyler was firmly on her way through my birth canal. I asked Bryan if he saw her head and he exclaimed excitedly that he could see way more than just her head! With all my strength and feeding off of Bryan’s energy of excitement, I pushed again and her shoulders slid out, she was now half way through the remarkable journey of birth that happens to every one of us only once. I felt like she was guiding herself out of the birth canal and I was helping her along the way. I summoned every muscle, every breath, and every bit of energy in every single cell for the next mighty push. As I did I felt no pain, none, just rushes of pure energy. It felt like she was pushing inside me too.
Then her body left mine, with only a small lifeline connecting us. She slid from my womb into her daddy’s hands. I watched him hold her under water, in pure amazement of what we had all just accomplished. His tears joined mine and my birth fluids in the amazing soup of life that my pool water had become. He slowly handed her to me. I looked at her as the lights from the heavens shined down in the ever so blissful room that I created for the arrival of this little light being. We lifted her out of the water together. There she was… She took her first breath of life as she gazed up at my face. Our eyes locked and another eternal imprint was created. She was perfect and amazing! I cried as I repeated, “I did it, I did it!” 41 weeks of living with intention. All of the time I spent in the bath tub while I was pregnant visualizing how I wanted the birth to be all came to fruition. It was exactly how I intended her to arrive into the world. I consciously chose to have her at home without a midwife, doula, doctor or friend. I had her at home with my husband while our other 2 daughters lay peacefully asleep in their beds. The whole birthing experience in the pool was only about 10 minutes, with Skyler actually in my birth canal for no more than 3 minutes. The energy that night was crystal clear. I went to that mountain in Topanga Canyon to have my baby my way, which I believe I was called to do.
With another mild contraction, my placenta flowed out. We left the placenta attached to Skyler for about 15 minutes while we sat in the bath, gazing at her beautiful face. I used these special moments, watching her breathing air for the first time, to mentally and physically recover from the immense ordeal we had all just gone through. After I knew we had achieved the birth of my choosing I was ready for my bed. Bryan very carefully cut the umbilical chord with special weighted scissors and clamped the end, cutting the physical bond that linked us. He carefully picked up the placenta and put it into a bowl, which he later turned into capsules for my postpartum recovery.
I got out of the tub and into my bed with my brand new heaven on Earth baby. Bryan checked my body over to make sure nothing serious had happened and found a tear on my vaginal wall that really concerned him. He took a picture so I could judge for myself. I only needed to study the picture for a second to see the tear was deep and should have some attention. However I knew there was no way I was going into a hospital now, after my blissful birth. I told him, “it is ok, I’ll heal myself, I know I can.” My tear was healed in a week. As my brand new baby so naturally and gently suckled on my breasts for the first time, my husband and I laid in bed, bathed in the blissful bubble that we had created from listening and trusting the intentions of our hearts.
Skyler Jade came to us on December 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm in the year of the Tiger. She was born naturally and without assistance, in warm water, in the same room which she was conceived in. She is my visual representation of the power of intention and manifestation. I am so grateful that I trusted my self and the power behind the intelligence of birthing.