Last night I experienced the miracle of childbirth, for the first time as an observer. I have two young children of my own and specialize in Obstetrics Acupuncture & Health Coaching. So I have birthed, I have helped women prepare for birth, and I have helped women after birth, but I have never been part of a woman's birth.
As I drove to the hospital, I could feel the powerful emotions of the upcoming experience. Since my purpose is to work with women around birth, I knew on a deep level that this experience would be a pivotal moment in my career and in my life as a woman.
My friend was in labor with her second child. She had arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes before I and was settling into her birthing room and completing the admissions process when I arrived at 8pm. Her water broke earlier in the day while she was out to lunch with her mom; through giggles, she continued to shop for a hamper for her baby's nursery and picked up her husband's dry cleaning, all before heading home to meet a rep from Pottery Barn about her curtains! Not long after putting her son to bed, her contractions were increasing in frequency and duration, so she and her husband decided to head to the hospital.
She had come into my practice for 6 birth and labor preparation treatments weekly from 34 weeks on leading up to the birth. During these sessions we talked through her previous labor, focused on pregnancy wellness, and finally began preparing for labor; each session was a combination of health coaching, acupuncture, and energy work.
When I arrived contractions were fairly strong, but she was managing them with grace. While her husband was completing the paperwork and she was waiting through the initial monitoring, I began to use acupressure massage with essential oils to stimulate the acupuncture points that assist with the downward movement of qi in the body. I also worked on the meridians that circulate into the genital and uterine regions. I included Reiki energy (universal qi or life force) into everything I was doing and brought two gem stones for her to hold that assist in childbirth.
Once the monitoring was complete she, her husband, and I were left in a peaceful dim lit room. I drew a warm lavender bath and she got in to soak. Water is such a source of yin - so feminine and deep. And from source to source, water to water, baby to mother, it can be so effective in labor. My friend relaxed for a bit and then got on her knees and leaned forward resting her head on the tub. I massaged her head, neck, shoulders, and back. I encouraged her to go into the pain, to view it as a signal that her baby is coming, and to allow her baby to come out.
She stopped the massage and contractions became very long and intense. She could sense a shift and felt increasing pressure. We helped her out of the water and immediately she was feeling her body starting to push. We got a nurse and directed her to get on the bed. Fresh blood had discharged and she was complete when the nurse checked her. She climbed onto the bed in between surges and made her way onto her left side. The contractions were strong and we assured her that she was ok and that the baby was coming. Her Ob came in (he was was with another patient in the next room) and on the next push her daughter's head came out. With the following surge, she was scooped up onto mom's belly in magnificence at 9:27pm! Tears flowed to my eyes and I was so blessed to have witnessed such a miracle.
What struck me the most as an observer of a woman in labor is her power. As the laborer you are experiencing such an internal process. A process of so many weeks and months and movements and breaths; so many worries and hopes and fears and joys. And a process that is only truly known to you. As an observer you see the strength and the power of that process. You see it clearly - it is pervasive and undeniable. It is this ethereal beauty that is so profound. I am so incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity to learn that and to know that. May you be so lucky to know this too.
Birth is a perfect reflection of life. Can you observe yourself and yet be yourself? Can you realize your power, strength, and beauty, yet simultaneously feel the vulnerability and humility of your emotions and experiences? This is interdependence, this is oneness, this is divine, this is love.