December 19th 2016, My mother and I are cuddling on the daybed in our living room watching yet another romantic comedy, as-per our usual evening ritual since her arrival from California to the bitter cold of Alberta, Canada. I started to notice some slight surges as we were watching the movie at about 9pm or so... nothing too extreme. I figured it was braxton hicks since recurring episodes of those were becoming a thing during my pregnancy. Then these surges started a repeated symphony of surges about 15min apart. My mother had fallen asleep and i didn't want to wake her. Making my way towards the bedroom the surges aka contractions (sounds less daunting) become a bit more uncomfortable, I wake Robindra up to tell him and he began tracking the surges. They were anywhere between 15min apart and 35min apart. He decided that we were in false labor and urged me to try to sleep and to let him know when each surge came on. (We had NO sleep that night.) The surges were so strong that they would knock me out until the next one would come on.
8am rolls around the next day, December 20th and same same. Surges are now anywhere from 7min apart to 18min apart. I tell my mother "I think it's happening" and she is excited but that kinda hidden excitement that has a hint of worry. We prepared her with our at home water-birth plan and it was a bit overwhelming for her. She had all her babies natural yet under the care of a hospital birth. So this idea had not sunk in quite yet until the reality that it was now happening.
The pain was like no other... Robindra was checking in with our midwife on the hour with our status, where we were and how far surges were and my level of energy, basically everything. She suggested that in order to get us out of this early labor we needed to do some walking. We walked 6 flights of stairs, up and down in our apartment building (I don't even remember how many times). There was a moment were I remember telling Robindra "I don't think I can do this!", the pain was just too much. He then holds me in his arms and looks right into my eyes and wipes the tears off my cheeks and says "You are the strongest woman I know, Yes you can!" and kisses my forehead.
At this point my legs are tired from all the flights of stairs and the surges are now more regular. I had physically given up. Robindra was feeding me fluids, keeping me hydrated while my mother had set up the birthing pool in our living room and was ready to go.
To relax my body. I sat in the tub in our bathroom where the temperature was 10x's warmer then the birthing pool. Being in the tub was ultra relaxing and it slowed down the surges. By now it's 2pm and our Midwife dropped in for a checkup to see how far along I dilated... only 3cm. She estimates I have another 5-6 hours to go and suggests I get some rest and injects me with a shot of charcoal to aid with some sleep but it did NOTHING.
By now it's about 6pm. My home has turned into a "Birthing Circuit Works", where the bedroom became the place to lay down when I felt like giving up and would have tender moments with Robindra encouraging me as he would hold my hand and spoon me as I would lay there in the fetal position. The tub became the place where I would relax and recharge. Now the toilet seat was where I did the most work. When I sat on the toilet my knees were high and my sphincter was relaxed and the surges were full on, stronger and quicker. All these places were on rotation.
Two of my girlfriends had showed up around 6pm and their support and presence was everything I needed and more. My girlfriend Caren (now Soleil's God Mother) was in charge of handling my mother in case of an emergency, she would help keep her calm. My girlfriend Katya was there for Robindra and my needs. She helped me keep my breath focused and had all my needs met.
One thing that helped me cope with the never ending pain was knowing that my mother did it without any drugs. And In knowing that I had no doubt in my mind that I couldn't do it. So grateful she shared her birth stories with me.
By now it's 9:30pm or so... I am so wiped... I had mentally given up. Robindra and I were laying face to face, holding hands and before with every surge I would squeeze his hand with all my might and yet by this point my squeeze got weaker and weaker to the point of no more squeezes. And then... POP, my water broke!
The contractions were now 3 back to back with 45 seconds in between the next set of 3. The pain was primal. I needed to mentally give up to be prepared for this level of discomfort. At one point my whole body vibrated as if I was having a convulsion... Katya said I was Transitioning into active labor and suggested I sit on the toilet to help move things along quicker. Robindra called the midwife and she said it would be another 2-3 hours until baby came.
We got to the toilet and things intensified at an accelerated speed. (I still get glimpses of myself in utter pain every now and then with I go to use our washroom) I went full on primal. The surge would come on and my body would automatically push. It pushed so hard that it would knock me out of my rhythm of breath and would take over me. At one point I realized that I was being consumed by the pain and I had completely lost my breath. This was the moment Robindra says I transformed into a BodhiSattva! I recalibrated and reclaimed my breath and engaged in the full experience of my body fully pushing and at that moment Robindra saw the head beginning to crown. I knew then that I had but a tight and small window to make it from the toilet into the birthing pool.
Katya and Robindra help me waddle over to the pool with the baby's head crowning, I then lifted my leg up and over and as I am about to say "the water is not warm enough", the first surge began and it knocked me to my knees. I felt baby's head and then the second surge came on and baby's full body slid out like a bar of soap. I gazed upon baby while under water with eyes wide open and then quickly brought baby to my chest. Robindra turned around, he had the midwife on speakerphone and sees me with the baby in my arms and is in utter surprise. I delivered and caught my own baby. Baby was peaceful and then threw up some thick, dark green, lava looking goo out, which I later found out was meconium. Soon after baby started crying. And took its first breath.
We were all in a state of joy and shock. Baby had arrived on the eve of the winter solstice at 10:18pm. 15min into the amazement of this little soul my mother asked us what gender the baby was and to our surprise we find out it's a girl. I then look up at Robindra and tell him her name is Soleil Emerald Ray, the light of our souls. Soon after she latched on and my heart exploded with tenderness.
At about 10:30 ish our midwife arrived just in time to assist in the delivery of the placenta. To my surprise it felt like I had two babies. The placenta felt like a second birth as I delivered it and realized it was the size of my head and about 2 inches thick. Originally Robindra and I intended on doing a lotus birth but in our current reality that was simply not going to happen as we moved from the birthing pool to our bedroom. So we prolonged the cord cutting to 3 1/2+ hours. Soleil was 6 1/2 pounds and measured at 22 inches long with a full head of hair, she was simply perfect.
3 hours later I asked Soleil if we could remove her from her life-force buddy, the placenta. She started crying, she went from a calm blissful state to a loud, heartbreaking cry. So I told her we would wait a little longer and to say her goodbyes to her buddy and that daddy was going to do the cutting. 45min later we asked her if she was ready for us to cut her cord and she made a little sigh like moan and we proceeded to clamp the cord and Robindra cut it. There was no cry what so ever. (I ended up getting her placenta encapsulated by a wonderful Doula and Placenta encapsulator, Justyna). Robindra placed the placenta in the fridge to preserve it.
I had two tears, in upper tear that needed no stitches and a small lower tear that needed one stitch. Our midwife stitched me up right then and there. She also removed the birthing pool and follow up with midwifery paper work and then left us to be in our blissful state with Soleil. We did not sleep that night... we gazed upon her all night in awe... "is this real life?... is she breathing?... wow, i can't believe she is here.... We did it!... i.e.
And Now we are at 4 weeks and 3 days and I don't even remember what life was like without her. She is my Sun. Thank you Soleil and Robindra for making me a mother.