Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pauline's Words

We had a beautiful nurse for the birth yesterday.

Pauline, originally from Togo, is a mother of five, and a grandmother of two. Her last child was born on her own bed, birthed into her own hands. She birthed this baby on her own, with joy.

Our time with Pauline was magical. She spoke to us like she was taking us on a spiritual journey. She spoke low and slow, rolling her R's. Her words were like poetry...or a prayer...

As she was speaking, I copied her words onto paper...hear her...

The woman's body is so unique

It is well made.

the body knows this story
I don't write this story

That's how it is.

I will hold you in my heart all the time

I speak to your baby in my tongue

Your baby speaks my language

That's how it is.

Baby Zoe came into this world with grace, full of life. That's how it is.

- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula, Slow Birth

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Slowly...While Waiting for Baby...

My daughter just asked me why I haven't been posting to my blog for some time. Well, like my mum, who just can't seem to read an entire book since dad died, I seem to be having trouble writing. Oh, I could write and write about all the amazing encounters that I've had with my father's spirit, especially in France... But, write about birth? There's been a block...

So, I thought that I'd best just sit down and start writing while I'm waiting for another baby to come - a baby girl. Her mum and dad were supposed to be moving today, and were feeling quite stressed about it...so baby girl decided she would make things easy for them. She's coming early and now mum and dad get to cancel the movers! Babies can make magic happen!

I was at another birth this morning. A shiny birth... "Oh, this is fast!" "Good baby," says mum. "Great vocabulary!" says dad. "Can you say vocabulary?" "Vocabulary!" says mum after arriving at the hospital at 7cm, already feeling the first signs of wanting to push... Marcello came quickly, so that his mum wouldn't have to miss a meal. "Good baby!"

Then there were the other first babies this week... Two were both born on the same day (no overlaps!) How does this happen? First babies...under 12 hours? Yes, it happens. Marvelous denial of prelabour, I think! One woman called me to say she was already 2-3cm at her weekly checkup, but was still planning to complete her day's errands. She knew she could trust her body to tell her when it was serious about labour. But, things quickly changed, and I drove over to her house soon afterwards. Ten hours later...after dancing and lunging in the unlimited hot shower...out spun her over-eight-pound beauty!

Soon after, another baby decided to come at 37 weeks. Mum worked hard to deny the early contractions - "It must be pre-pre-labour!" She made it almost through the night, lying on her side, really not enjoying this at all! But she did it! And I did back circles, whispered calm words, while dad ran about, gathering everything possible. "Nuts!" I heard him cry. I thought it was an exclamation. But, he'd been toasting nuts for snacking... So great! We managed to make it through rush hour traffic - construction traffic - back-lane detours - phew! "Smooth and slow. Smooth and slow." I chanted. Fully dilated on arrival. "He's an angel!" said the mum over and over and over again when baby arrived. Dad stayed awake to watch him sleep all day...

And last weekend...a 2-3 day epic birth made me lose my ability to think in complete sentences. This birth taught us so much about surrendering to baby's cues, always trusting mum's instincts. This birth was so joyful...not that the others weren't joyful. But, there was ample time during this long birth for mum to contemplate the utter joy of labouring slowly. She truly had the time to think deeply about what she needed to learn in order to be the best mother for her baby. She decided to decide - and her baby came beautifully into the world by cesarean. What a triumph in so many ways!

You might think that only the long birth was a Slow Birth. But, I consider all these births to be "Slow Births." Don't be confused by the word "slow." It doesn't have much to do with time. It has more to do with giving each birth the time and attention that it deserves. It means not rushing through the experience. It might naturally be fast. It might naturally be slow. But it just needs to be what your body and the baby intend for it to be. And while it is happening...we are all listening to the body's lessons. We become connected.

Slow Birth is not hurried, not forced. It is calm, intuitive, patient, receptive. Slow Birth is about seeing the big picture and trusting each body's own rhythm. Fast or slow...

Now...I'm off to another Slow Birth...

- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula, Slow Birth