Birth story Orion Daniyel Chandrakaí 30.10.16 at 8.57 am
Saturday October 29th 2016, I woke up determined to conduct ceremony to honor the four elements, our ancestors, and Mother Earth and to open the portal to Samhain/Halloween/Dia de los Muertos. I felt energized and strong. As I gathered my ceremonial belongings I also felt a call to end the day and start the night – the darkest of the month- with a greeting to the new moon in Scorpio.
We started our morning by the fire in the tile stove, in which we offered our prayers. After, we went to the cemetery to visit Orion’s granddad and to offer our prayers and songs to Mother Earth and our ancestors. As our last stop we visited the Blood Mountain, an ancient graveyard and sacrifice site. With the support from a walking staff, my husband Ola and the kind of determination that can only be found within the core of one’s being, I started to ascend the mountain. Usually, the knob of rock isn’t impressively high nor difficult to climb, despite its magical view, but as super pregnant I have no idea how to get neither up nor down! The morning was chilly and ice winds embraced us as we walked. Ola looked at me questioningly but said nothing. He took my hand and patiently accompanied me to the top to sing and pray together with our ancestors, Mother Earth, the wind and the holy waters. In all these places we invited and honored the elements. We closed the circle back home in front of the fire in the tile stove. The rest of the day was calm and I rested before my intended evening ceremony.
After dinner, later at night, we decided to paint the belly, something we had talked about for a long time but still hadn’t got around doing. I felt bigger than ever and thought it was a reasonable and nice activity before it would be too late! I was laying in bed and Ola painted mandalas on the big belly while I felt how the water softly started to flow. More and more water came and we established that, yes, the water had broken and we continued to decorate the belly. The water flowed soft and quiet. It was beautiful, joyous and symbolic.
When we had finished, I let the colors go as I enjoyed a long and warm shower. Then I decided to get some rest before continuing with further ceremonial activities.
I must’ve slept all through first stage because suddenly I found myself on all fours trying to deal with intense and regular surges! Ola was trying to time the surges with an app at the same time as he started to get the pool ready and called our Birth Team, i.e. Anahí, Marc, Aya and Jacqueline. It was now past 2 am and I had been sleeping since around 9 at night. But now I was on all fours in the bed trying to “breathe deep and flowingly” and “surf the contractions” as the preparing birth yoga and similar therapies suggest. I was wondering to myself if this really was the first kind of contractions since breathing soft and flowing wasn’t really happening! Nor did I get a chance to rest in between. More thoughts weren’t allowed through and I focused all my power on exhaling as slowly as possible and handle these strongly pulsating explosions in my body. At some point Ola had left the timing app to me and I noted that the surges was about 1 minute long but pretty soon I got upset with the annoying app that constantly put on commercials. “ I cannot deal with this right now, technology and bull shit!” I thought angrily while I exhaled and tried keeping my focus. Thankfully, Ola returned to the app while he was filling up the pool and talking to our midwife on the phone. “They have to be regular”, I murmured from the bed and he ignored my comment. Afterwards he told me that the surges had been 1 minute long with 2 minutes apart already from the start but he was still calm and had told both Anahí and the midwife not to rush! It took more than an hour and a half before they were all there and I understood that I needed that time to myself, to reach a stage where I deeply felt how much I wanted them all present. In the meantime, I continued to wonder about that first stage which you apparently can meditate through (well no, I slept during those hours!) and found my own ways of breathing. I moved from the bed in to the ceremonial room and changed into my sweat lodge dress. I prayed that Anahí would be there shortly while I tried to handle the intense surges with slow hip circles and rest.
When Anahí and the family arrived I felt a calm energy spread throughout the house as well as in my body. I cried in her arms out of relief and gratitude for her presence. My beautiful sister. Her soft loving energy and strength give me safety, strength, focus and calm. For a moment the contractions felt softer and me and Ola sang together; Gayatri mantra (to illuminate our consciousness and hearts) before I dove deeper into a haze of breath flow and focus. After a while the surges changed into those long, deep and flowing and finally I could move my body accordingly! I felt yet a layer of calm and how the energies changed inside and around. Our lovely Jacqueline had arrived. Next time I looked up from the now long contractions she sat beside me. As mama troll herself she looked at me with spirited, loving, happy eyes and curly hair. Something released inside me again, maybe some sort of acceptance that now we were really on this train and I gave my complete trust in the guidance of these humans for me and my baby’s journey. I dove deeper into contractions again.
Jacqueline listened to the baby’s heart with her horn and made herself comfortable in the ceremonial area. I raised my eyes towards the sky outside, above the altar, and between the bamboo curtains I saw a bright star shining down on us. The illuminated night and star bright sky surprised me this late in fall. We celebrate the Festival of Lights I thought and understood that my baby would bring the light. My body called my attention for change and time had come to enter the birth pool and the warm water to expand. I listened and followed my body’s guidance as much as possible even if I understood that maybe my baby wouldn’t arrive in the water if I entered this early. But who knows what’s “too early” anyways. Right then I needed to be with the water element, in the warmth. And as soon as I entered the warm water the surges changed into deep pain in the coccyx, sacrum and lower back. I tried to move softly but it was too difficult and I allowed myself to simply float, let things take their course. Sitting down wasn’t an option, the pain was too strong and I had to create space in my pelvis and the back of the body. But I found it very hard to get a good grip with my feet on the pool’s bottom and to stay up with my upper body. I hovered between sleep and pain and Ola struggled with keeping my above the surface and above the edge of the pool. Anahí gave me reiki and every now and again laid her soft hands on mine, rubbed me in the bath salt the sisters created during the Blessing Way Ceremony, gave me empowering tea and let me inhale peppermint oil. Every time I gained more energy and insight into how many we were praying and working together in this ceremony, to hold space for the new being to arrive to the earth. It was magical and beautiful.
I felt my body getting heavier and it got more difficult to stay up. Ola has told me that I was practically sleeping in between contractions- which I could feel only in my sacrum, something that surprised me for a second or two since I mostly had been thinking about contractions in regards to the uterus. It was getting hot, too hot and I had difficulty breathing and to keep my upper body above the surface and at the same time get a good grip around the edge of the pool and on the bottom with my feet. It was too hard. (How do they do, all the beautiful women in the home water birth videos who enjoyable sit in the pool breathing out the baby?! Maybe they are all two meters tall…) Anyway, it was time again for a change. The body called my attention, wanting me to move more, get out of the pool and it took me a while to gather strength to such a endeavor. Eventually, the body told me that “I needed to poo”- “well, poo in the pool!” I said to myself but it didn’t work. I didn’t have strength enough in the heat and I struggled with keeping my feet on the bottom to ground.
Movement brings change, something that is so embodied and present within me that it was never a thought but a present consciousness all through the journey. For the last contractions in the pool I didn’t move but felt a change in my breath and I knew that the long way to the bathroom would be significant, and maybe a bit challenging. Ola and Anahí helped me climb (!) out of the pool and Ola escorted me to the toilet where I straddled the seat and leaned against the wall. I gave myself a big thank you for having cleaned the bathroom thoroughly the days before, while I felt my body fill with fresh air. Barley had I taken a complete breath before the first pushing contraction came. The air was easier to breathe here, the body filled up with Prana- life energy- and I regained my strength and powers when the lungs filled with air that roared out the contractions. It was as pure Shakti, Mother Kali herself, took over my body and not to mention Vishuddi Chakra, the voice. Afterwards I even felt soar in the throat!
I understood right there that the so called need to poop that I thought I had felt in the pool rather was the urge to push but that I needed the air, Prana, to be able to do so with enough power. After a few pushes at the toilet I crawled back into the ceremony room. My beloved Ola was near at all times. Together him and Jacqueline guided me onwards in the journey. They had all prepared the floor with towels and the candles on the altar were lit. It was magically beautiful and as soon as I understood what was happening in my body at this stage everything felt fast and easy. At every push Vishuddi- the throat- opened and with the roar of Kali the power rushed through my body. It was as if I literary screamed my Shakti out into the Universe. I am deeply grateful for that guidance from the Goddess. I am also grateful for the guidance from the midwife to go slowly; how she guided me in to a technique similar to the breath of fire when the head was crowning, and for me to feel the head so that things wouldn’t go too fast and, thus, avoid tearing. She asked me if I wanted back in the pool but it was too hot, I knew now how much I needed the air element, to work with air and earth on the floor and to direct all Prana with flowing strong power through all the chakras. Instead she placed a warm towel on perineum to aid it in stretching slowly and soft.
I surprised myself in being so attentive and present in certain earthly things and at the same time be completely absorbed by and in the journey, in the power. In all shamanic journeys I’ve participated this has been the case; that I come and go in between worlds or simply is present in several places at once. Still, I couldn’t imagine this journey to be similar. Beautiful. Just in this moment I allowed the power to embrace me completely and my body followed the instructions from the midwife in breath work and moving into a semi squat pose. Ola and Anahí helped me stay balanced. And so suddenly I felt that burning sensation everybody talks about when perineum gives way for the baby to pass. In a glimpse of a second. It was as if I got encouraged to completely let go and on the next exhale my baby was out. Head, shoulders, body slided easily and beautifully and gave such a profound relief in every cell of my being. Ola caught our son and placed him under and in front of me where I was still squatting on the towel. A tiny baby, red and blue. “A boy”, I thought and speechlessly observed him in what felt like either half a second or several minutes while the brain was trying to come back and process the event. It was as if all air had left my body and left was nothing but stillness and quiet. And the relief. I cannot remember saying anything for a while, but enjoyed the relief in my body. Without a word I took my baby in my arms and held him steadily towards my body where he started to make soft sounds. I held him in my arms and almost felt as if I were in chock, why I don’t know- maybe because finally I had my baby in my arms, something one can never imagine however good you’re at visualization. I was in a silent chock of relief, joy and love. I held him and Ola held us. My eyes felt big as plates and I could only observe him in deep gratitude and an openness that said “I give you everything”. I felt empty and cleansed. I gave Anahí a glance without words, I don’t even know if I smiled.
We laid there in the magic for half an hour or so before Jacqueline thought it was time for the placenta to come out so she put a few acupuncture needles in my toes. Anahí gave me raspberry tea and a jasmine poultice. After a while we established that the placenta had released beautifully but just decided to stay in the pelvis. Jacqueline carefully pulled it out, examined it and put it in a bowl next to us. We left the placenta connected all day, for 6 hours or so, before Ola cut the umbilical cord just before Jacqueline left.
What a beautiful asset to partake in the work and magic of the midwife in this journey and to have her present in our home! Without any interference and only together with people who show respect and love for this natural and beautiful process- in the home, in the tranquility and safety, together and in the most natural environment for the baby to exit-where it entered. Magical and beautiful. I and we are profoundly, infinitely beyond words grateful for our family who worked with us in this ceremony, how everybody contributed with their knowledge and wisdom near and far to welcome our Orion earth side. To be part of the midwife’s work was an honor and I felt many karmic wounds being healed through this manifestation, but also that the power grew and so much was said.
After a while together on the floor, we moved to the bed where Jacqueline examined me. No tears in perineum but a little in the mucus membrane of the vaginal walls. She wanted to give me a few stitches just to make it look nice. Even if I could’ve healed this by myself with my herbs and salves, I choose to accept her offer and expertise and just let go of those thoughts for the coming days. Afterwards all three of us cuddled up in the bed while Marc, Anahí and Aya brought empowering soup that tasted divine! We celebrated birthday before they went home to rest. Before the midwife left us later in the afternoon she also examined Orion by weighing, measuring his head and length and feel his hips. It feels safe and true with a midwife who work holistically, a traditional healer who follows mother and baby together. No separation. Grateful for this woman in my and our lives!
Our first rest together later in the afternoon when we were alone gave me the message: “his name means ‘he who brings the light’”. I was observing father and son as they slept and dusk crept into the room. I remembered the stars I had seen and that Ola told me how he looked out several times towards the night sky and had seen Orion’s belt shine brightly. I thought about how Anahí and Marc told us that they paused and observed the bright starry sky this new moon night and, too, had seen Orion’s belt glow above the house before they entered our ceremony. I whispered “Orion” and a glowing light surrounded the boy’s little body where he laid in his father’s arms. “Orion Daniyel” I whispered again and both of them glowed in the dark. Already after a few minutes together he gave us one of his names, Daniel, after Ola’s father. It feels important to honor his spirit who is constantly present in our lives in various ways and Orion was clear with giving us that name.
Our creation. A new being. A new person and member of our family that we are getting to know. It is beautiful, natural, and surreal all at once. I love being a mother. I love to give unconditionally and infinitely to both Orion and Ola. I love to create and to nourish, and to guide the children of Mother Gaia here in the earthly journey. Deep gratitude and thanks to all who prayed with us near and far.