Thursday, January 05, 2006

Strength is not in her/but she enacts it as the wind fills a sail


Each and every birth I attend is a profound and unique gift. But sometimes, just sometimes, events conspire to make the day even more inspiring. Tuesday was exhausting, cathartic, and joyful for all of us. I can’t even put it into words. Even talking with my client just now, rare tears flowed when I shared some information about how the obstetrician had helped her. The obstetrician, with her private source of inspiration drawn from losses of her own, trusted my client’s need to do this her own way, and in her own time. The obstetrician agreed that if my client had been given an epidural, a repeat cesarean would surely have followed. We had all reached deeper than usual to support this woman fully through her life-changing day.

So here’s the basics on paper:
Previous cesarean for 10 lb baby
Arrived at hospital 6-7cm after 4 hours labour
Movement, shower, swaying, rocking, gas
Fully dilated after 7 hours at the hospital
No epidural, no forceps, no cesarean (to the staff's surprise!)
Just plain hard work, squatting, moving
Born after 3 hours pushing - an 8lb 5 oz girl!
"You have the most beautiful ears!" says the pediatrician to the baby

My experience was of a continuous flow between us, connecting us like a rope, a lifeline. Her husband would whisper encouraging words softly. With every single contraction I would say, “Breathe in strength...you can do this...breathe out...you are safe...deep breath in...blow it away...breathe in for baby...blow it away...deep breath in...you are safe...you can do this...” On and on, hour after hour, one contraction at a time. Resting in between: “Feel how amazing the rest is, your head is heavy, your face is smooth, your arms are heavy, your legs are heavy, your bottom is loose.” Hips shaking, pelvic rocking, foot massages, constantly moving... If I stopped talking, she would call, “Jacquie!” or “Talk!” I would hear her mouthing the words, “I can do this!”

The mum says she is changed by this experience. Here are some quotes from our talk this morning:
“I will be a different person after this”
“I was reaching to new levels of my own strength”
“One step at a time...like a rock climber...I was putting hooks into things...”
“When I was pushing, you said to push through the pain and I’d come out the other side - it worked!”
“You knew exactly what I wanted even before I knew what I wanted”
“With each contraction, it was like I’d jump over a crocodile laden swamp and would land safely on firm ground on the other side”
“How are you able to translate birth into all venues and all languages?”
“It’s like you are my fairy grandmother”

Many thanks, Andrea, for your inspiration. As your daughter’s birth has changed you, it has also changed those of us who helped you. Thank you for allowing us to bear witness to your strength.

1 comment:

Meagan said...

Jacquie, you are an inspiring and amazing person. Im 18 and just 3 days ago my best friend had her baby. I got to be there to see the whole thing and I suddenly understood the strength needed to bear a child. You are a huge part in helping women remember their strength when they need it most. I believe you are doing exactly what you were meant to do in this life.
"Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thougsand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."
~Rumi