Sunni was invited to Kardec Radio to talk about Sacred Birthing.
We invite you to listen to the conversation here below (the actual conversation with Sunni is between 9min 30sec -1h 14min).
"Birth is the essence of evolution. The gift of a sacred birth fosters peace in our babies, our self, our community and our sacred planet."Sacred Birthing Insight
Sunni was invited to Kardec Radio to talk about Sacred Birthing.
We invite you to listen to the conversation here below (the actual conversation with Sunni is between 9min 30sec -1h 14min).
By Cynthia Good Mohab MS, IBLC from BREASTFEEDING ABSTRACTS, November 2002, Volume 22, Number 1, pp. 3-4.
In the absence of underlying organic causes (e.g., liver or kidney disease, prematurity), vitamin D deficiency is sunlight deficiency. “Vitamin D” is actually a steroid hormone produced in the body from a pro-steroid which is formed upon direct exposure of the skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation in sunlight. Migration, industrialization, urbanization, social inequities, and concern about skin cancer have reduced sunlight exposure for many people globally. Nonetheless, direct, casual exposure of the skin to sunlight is the biologically normal, most common, and most important means of attaining sufficient levels of vitamin D for humans; dietary intake becomes important only with inadequate endogenous production and depletion of body stores. Only a few foods naturally contain significant levels of vitamin D (e.g., the liver and oils of some fatty fish). Without supplementation or enrichment, it would be unusual for people of any age to obtain sufficient vitamin D solely from their diet (1).
The biologically normal sources of vitamin D for nurslings are primarily prenatal stores (for the neonate) and sunlight, with a smaller contribution made by human milk (2,3). Research has shown that without postnatal sunlight exposure, vitamin D stores of fetal origin were depleted by eight weeks in exclusively breastfed infants (Tampere, Finland [61°N] in winter)(2). However, studies in children have shown that only a few hours total of summer sunlight produces enough vitamin D to avoid deficiency for several months (1,4,5). In a study of exclusively breastfed Caucasian infants under six months of age (39°N; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA), 30 minutes/week (diaper only) or 2 hours/week (fully clothed without a hat) of sunlight exposure appeared sufficient to prevent deficiency (5). Exclusively breastfed Caucasian infants exposed to sunlight may not require vitamin D supplementation during the first six months of life, in spite of seasonal variations of UVB exposure, particularly if their mothers had sufficient sunlight exposure or took prenatal vitamins during pregnancy (6,7). Darkly pigmented infants may require three to six times the sunlight exposure of lightly pigmented infants to produce the same amount of vitamin D (8).
When infants and their mothers are exposed to biologically normal amounts of sunlight, human milk must be assumed to contain biologically normal amounts of vitamin D. However, human milk from mothers with vitamin D serum levels currently considered within the normal range for adults provides much less vitamin D than the 200 to 400 IU/day commonly recommended for infants in the first year of life (1). A variety of studies have shown that mature human milk contains approximately 5 to 136 IU/L of fat-soluble vitamin D, depending on how its activity is measured and on maternal vitamin D status (9,10,11). The concentration of vitamin D in human milk increases with higher maternal stores, which depend on sunlight exposure, skin pigmentation, latitude, season, and—in the absence of sufficient UVB exposure—on dietary vitamin D (12). The concentration of vitamin D in human milk increases significantly with what are currently considered pharmacological doses of vitamin D supplements (13,14). Yet administration of 1,000 IU to lactating mothers (Tampere, Finland [61°N] in winter) did not normalize the 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of their infants (15). Breastfed infants require sufficient sunlight exposure or supplementation to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency in childhood can cause rickets whose signs and symptoms include bone deformities and fractures, muscle weakness, developmental delays, short stature, failure to thrive, respiratory distress, tetany, and heart failure (16). The effects of subclinical rickets are unknown. Vitamin D deficiency in the first few months after birth is relatively rare, but has occurred congenitally in infants of mothers who were severely vitamin D deficient during pregnancy (17,18). Overt rickets appears more frequently in children 6 to 36 months of age than in infants under 6 months and its clinical presentation varies with age of onset (16).
Rickets was epidemic in the industrialized cities of North America and northern Europe at the turn of the 20th century. By the 1960s, it had been virtually eliminated in most developed countries through the use of vitamin D supplementation and cow’s milk fortification. Rickets remains a serious health problem in some developing countries (e.g., 40.7 percent of children in China; 23 percent of children in the Ulas Health Centre Region of Turkey (19, 20,21,22)). Due to the convergence of a variety of risk factors, it is actually most common in those regions of the world where sunlight is plentiful (e.g., the Indian subcontinent, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia (23,24,25,26)). Since the 1970s vitamin D deficiency rickets in breastfed infants has been documented among at-risk populations in North America, northern Europe, and former Soviet countries (16).
Many factors (e.g., genetic, hormonal, nutritional, cultural) interact to cause rickets in susceptible children. Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy, which is often asymptomatic, results in insufficiently developed fetal stores of vitamin D (17,18). Environmental risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in the breastfed infant interact with each other and overlap significantly with those of maternal deficiency. These include: indoor confinement during daylight hours; living at high latitudes; living in urban areas with buildings and/or pollution that block sunlight; darker skin pigmentation; sunscreen use; seasonal variations; covering much or all of the body when outside (e.g., due to cold climate, custom, fear of skin cancer); increased birth order; exposure to lead (27), and the replacement of human milk with foods low in calcium or foods that reduce calcium absorption. In the presence of these risk factors, other risk factors include not consuming vitamin D fortified cow’s milk, other vitamin D fortified foods, or vitamin D supplements.
There is no global consensus on whether or how to screen infants, children, or pregnant women for vitamin D deficiency or on how to best prevent vitamin D deficiency in breastfed infants and children. Recommendations for preventing vitamin D deficiency in breastfed infants include universal supplementation, supplementation of at-risk breastfed infants, and habitual small doses of sunshine; some regions with plentiful sunshine have not yet developed recommendations (28,29,30,31,32). Recommendations for supplementation of at-risk infants can be difficult to interpret and apply (e.g., the difficulty of defining “dark skin”). The exact assessment of UVB exposure is difficult. Research showing a relationship between sun exposure and an increased risk of skin cancer has led some agencies to recommend avoidance of all sunlight exposure. The determination of the exact amount of regular, brief, and nonerythemal sunlight exposure needed just to produce sufficient vitamin D in specific infants and children depends on many factors.
There are no known risks of orally supplementing infants and children with 200 to 400 IU/day. Vitamin D supplementation and fortification have been used in many countries for decades. However, that does not mean that supplementation is not problematic or without risk. The prevention of vitamin D deficiency through the routine supplementation of all breastfed infants under six months of age may be seen by some as evidence that breastfeeding is inadequate. However, continued reports of rickets among exclusively breastfed babies may also undermine efforts to increase breastfeeding initiation rates and rates of exclusive breastfeeding. Many questions related to vitamin D supplementation in breastfed infants remain unasked—and unanswered—in the scientific literature:
• Does vitamin D supplementation have any deleterious physiologic effects on the infant?
• How does vitamin D supplementation of breastfed infants at various dosages, ages, and latitudes affect the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency rickets among at-risk infants?
• Does a universal recommendation of vitamin D supplementation affect breastfeeding beliefs and behavior (e.g., use of other supplements, premature introduction of other foods, weaning)?
• How does direct sun exposure that is no greater than that needed to produce sufficient vitamin D in the breastfed infant affect the infant’s lifetime risk of skin cancer?
• What means of preventing maternal vitamin D deficiency would be most effective in reducing the risk of early vitamin D deficiency in infants?
Given the varying incidences, combinations of risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, cultural practices, and financial resources that occur across the globe, one uniform recommendation for prevention is unlikely to successfully meet the needs of infants living in different areas of the world. International organizations like La Leche League International and UNICEF acknowledge that vitamin D supplementation is necessary when sunlight exposure is inadequate and that some infants have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than others(32,33). Research on this complex, global, controversial, and interdisciplinary issue is incomplete and must be expanded.
Cynthia Good Mojab is Research Associate in the Publications Department of La Leche League International and Senior Editor at Platypus Media. She is an independent researcher, author, and speaker in the areas of psychology, culture, and the family, particularly in relation to breastfeeding.
1. Holick, M. Evolution, biological functions, and recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D. In Vitamin D: Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Applications ed. M. Holick. Humana Press: Totawa, NJ, 1999, 1-16.
2. Ala-Houhala, M. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels during breast-feeding with or without maternal or infantile supplementation of vitamin D. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1985:4(2):220-26.
3. Makin H., D. Seamark, and D. Trafford. Vitamin D and its metabolites in human breast milk. Arch Dis Child 1983; 58: 750-53.
4. Poskitt, E. M. E., T. J. Cole, and D. E. M. Lawson. Diet, sunlight, and 25- hydroxyvitamin D in healthy children and adults. Br Med J 1979;1:221-23.
5. Specker, B., B. Valaus, V. Hertzberg, N. Edwards, and R. Tsang. Sunshine exposure and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in exclusively breastfed infants. J Pediatr 1985; 107:372-76.
6 . Greer, F. and S. Marshall. Bone mineral content, serum vitamin D metabolite concentrations, and ultraviolet B light exposure in infants fed human milk with and without vitamin D2 supplements. J Pediatr 1989; 114:204-12.
7. Birkbeck J. and H. Scott. 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol serum levels in breastfed infants. Arch Dis Child 1980; 55:691-95.
8. Lo, C., P. Paris, and M. Holick. Indian and Pakistani immigrants have the same capacity as Caucasians to produce vitamin D in response to ultraviolet radiation. Am J Clin Nutr 1986; 44:683-85.
9 . Specker, B., R. Tsang, B. Hollis et al. Effect of race and normal maternal diet on breast milk vitamin D concentrations. Pediatr Res 1984;18:213A.
10. Hollis, B. et al. Vitamin D and its metabolites in human and bovine milk. J Nutr 1981; 111:1240-48.
11. Butte, N., M. Lopez-Alarcon, and C. Garza. Nutrient Adequacy of Exclusive Breastfeeding for the Term Infant During the First Six Months of Life. Geneva: World Health Organization 2002, 27.
12. Holick, M., J. MacLaughlin, and S. Doppelt. Regulation of cutaneous previtamin D3 photosynthesis in man: Skin pigmentation is not an essential regulator. Science 1981; 211:590-93.
13. Greer, F., B. Hollis, D. Cripps et al. Effects of maternal ultraviolet B irradiation on the vitamin D content of human milk. J Pediatr 1984; 105(3):431-33.
14. Hollis, B., F. Greer, and R. Tsang. The effects of oral vitamin D supplementation and ultraviolet phototherapy on the antirachitic sterol content of human milk. Calcif Tissue Int (Suppl) 1982; 34:582.
15. Ala-Houhala, M. et al. Maternal compared with infant vitamin D supplementation. Arch Dis Child 1986; 61:1159-63.
16. Garabédian, M. and H. Ben-Mekhbi. Rickets and vitamin D deficiency. In Vitamin D: Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Applications ed. M. Holick. Humana Press: Totawa, NJ, 1999, 273-86.
17. Pal, B. and N. Shaw. Letters: Rickets resurgence in the United Kingdom: Improving antenatal management in Asians. J Pediatr 2001; 139(2):337-38.
18. Daaboul, J., S. Sanderson, K. Kristensen, and H. Kitson. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant and breast-feeding women and their infants. J Perinatol 1997;17:10-14.
19. Özgür, S., H. Sümer, and G. Koçglu. Rickets and soil strontium. Arch Dis Child 1996; 75:524-26.
20. Ma, X. Epidemiology of rickets in China. J Pract Pediatr 1986; 1:323.
21. Rafii, M. Rickets in breast-fed infants below six months of age without vitamin D supplementation. Arch Irn Med 2001; 4(2):93-95.
22. Thacher, T., P. Fisher, J. Pettifor et al. A comparison of calcium, vitamin D, or both for nutritional rickets in Nigerian children. New Engl J Med 1999; 341(8)563-68.
23. Raghuramulu, N. and V. Reddy. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in malnourished children with rickets. Arch Dis Child 1980; 55:285-87.
24. Lawson, D.E.M., T. J. Cole, S. I. Salem et al. Aetiology of rickets in Egyptian children. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr 1987; 41C:199-208.
25. Hojer, B., M. Gebre-Medhin, G. Sterky et al. Combined vitamin D deficiency rickets and protein energy malnutrition in Ethiopian infants. J Trop Pediatr 1977; 23:73-79.
26. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Nutrition. Seventh Report. Rickets. Rome: FAO, 1967, 31-34.
27. Metropolitan Toronto Teach Health Units and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre. Why Barns Are Red: Health Risks from Lead and Their Prevention. A Resouce Manual to Promote Public Awareness. Toronto, Ontario, 1995.
28. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 4th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 1998, 275-76.
29. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics 1997; 100(6):1035-39.
30. Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997, 264-66.
31. Vitamin D Expert Panel Meeting. October 11-12, 2001, Atlanta, Georgia. Final Report. url: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/nutrition/pdf/ Vitamin_D_Expert_Panel_Meeting.pdf
32. UNICEF. Vitamin D: Rickets in children and osteomalacia in pregnant women. In The Prescriber: Guidelines on the Rational Use of Drugs in Basic Health Services. December 1993; 8:11.
33. Mohrbacher, N. and J. Stock. THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK (2d rev. ed., in press). Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International, 606-7.
In Aboriginal wisdom, the placenta is always buried – given back to the Earth, to let Her know that a baby has been born and, by its blood, who this baby is. In the early years, all the mothers and grandmothers of the tribe guide the growing child. Then, when a child is an adolescent, the first blood or first seed is also given to the Earth, buried in a handkerchief. The child steps away from the guidance of the mothers, into the guidance of the Earth Mother, who now begins to oversee the child to become what his/her soul intended by incarnating. Life circumstances are created by the Earth to help this child become who s/he means to be.
Without burying the placenta, Earth Mother would not know a child had been born; She would not know to cherish the baby in the years after birth, and from adolescence, the child would flounder without Her guidance. How could a child ever become what her soul intended and grow to fulfill the need of the village and the universe without this guidance from Earth Mother? This is the importance of the placenta to the child’s whole life.
The Aboriginals see energy. They paint with dots to express what is emanating from the world of nature, rather than to express its form. They see and know that the stars above and the Earth below work together to guide and guard each child. We of the white world have a rudimentary respect and understanding of astronomy, but their star-wisdom is embedded in them and they remember they come from the stars. They remember their purpose in coming to Earth was to hold 7th dimensional wisdom. They remember how to live together in society, honoring each one’s gifts and individuality; how to heal; how to travel; how to be self-sufficient so they don’t need to play the money game. We belittle them as being barbaric, yet they have abilities we have lost and need.
At all times they are in intimate communication with each other, the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, the weather, the stars and the planets. They know how to access the answers they need and their requests are heard and fulfilled. Their dancing may look funny to us, but is purposeful: it communicates with the Earth and nourishes Her with each rhythm. The dances result in altered states that maintain open-heartedness, their continual communion with All That Is.
Therefore, it only makes sense to look most deeply into Aboriginal wisdom when it comes to the placenta. Blood wisdom is inherent in the placenta. A mixture of mother-father blood went into the creation of baby and placenta, and now, when its job is complete, the blood carries this wealth of information into the Earth. What is really happening with the burying of body fluids? The DNA tells the Earth on what stage this child plays. Who is this child? What consciousness does she carry? How must she be celebrated in her village to be who she is to be?
Another cultural difference in our childrearing is that parents with discordant patterns from their own childhood are not responsible for raising this child. Mama Earth who has known this being through all time sees the bigger picture and offers each next opportunity to become all she is meant to be this lifetime. Parents give way to the lessons of The Mother, releasing their overlays from the child. Without the limiting matrix of the parents’ belief systems that a child typically takes on as her own identity, she is free to become what her soul intends. In this way, successive generations grow healthier.
I had found a special tree to plant on my big naked lawn, a 12 foot Kauai Camphor tree that smelled wonderful, with beautiful bright shiny leaves and white bark, and who would someday grow to have a huge spreading crown, almost as big as a Banyan tree. Knowing I bought this tree, a mother asked me if her daughter’s placenta, frozen for over 4 years, could be buried under this tree, as they did not feel that it belonged at their rented home. So we planned to plant them both at the Monday afternoon meditation. When 23 people showed up instead of 6 or 8, it emphasized how very important this ancient ritual is.
The placenta belonged to a four year old, a fiery redhead who often threw angry tantrums and would cry for unknown reasons. Naps were nonexistent and sleep was constantly disturbed. She would strike out and nobody could figure out what she needed. Both parents were at their wits end, knowing how tormented she was and not knowing how to help.
The family had prepared baskets of different colored flower petals for their placenta celebration, pink, red and white from roses, and yellow and orange from marigolds. The hole was dug, the placenta laid down, the tree placed on top and the soil packed around it. One parent spoke about her birth and one about how happy they were to finally place the placenta in the Earth. The little redhead sprinkled petals decorating the base of the tree, and everyone else added more handfuls of color. As we backed away from the tree, a mighty energy let us know we had done something important. Something had been accomplished but we didn’t know what.
The next meditations brought reports that this little girl had started sleeping through the night: before this, she had slept through the night only one time in over four years. Planting her placenta had somehow anchored her enough to let her rest. And, in the next 9 months, what had created such anger, also eased and she seemed much more at peace.
I felt it was so appropriate for this little one’s placenta to be beneath a Camphor Tree: Camphor is the substance used to burn away negativity in Pujas. This tree seemed to be her homeopathic similar – Like cures Like. And it worked.
Mother/Baby Soul Communions initially referred to working with mothers whose infants had physical, emotional or behavioral challenges but were too young to be worked with directly. Using the hypnotherapeutic model, I would help a mother go into a deep state of relaxation and expanded consciousness and through her, call in a connection with her infant’s spirit and inner wisdom.
Through the study of the life and work of a South African wise woman by the name of Sobonfu Some’, I received the first role model I had ever come across reflecting the work I was doing. She took me a step further by telling how in her village, a similar process to what I was doing was used consistently with every pregnant woman for accessing the spirit of her unborn baby. The purpose for this was to ask questions like, “who are you? why are you coming to us now? what is your life purpose? how can we support you in fulfilling that purpose?” and so on. Reading Some’s beautiful books, I realized the scope of this work was much bigger than I had realized.
The stories below reflect the wonder yet naturalness of this capacity we have to access the spirit of our children; whether born, in utero, or before conception; whether aborted or in other ways deceased and so on. I learned early on, that each experience in this work was individual and unique to every situation and that the essential key was to ask and receive permission from the spirit of the child we are endeavoring to make contact with.
My First Experience of Mother/Baby Communication
9 Month Old with Skin Rash
Early on in my years of teaching at the Oakland Center for Hypnotherapy Certification, I was teaching a class entitled, “Accessing the Inner Healer”. I lived in Berkeley at the time and had a next-door neighbor who had her one and only child at age 40. At nine months old, her son developed a rash all over his body. She came over one day and we discussed ideas about what might be causing the rash and how it might be alleviated. Her diet was very healthy so it seemed unlikely that the cause was her breast feeding. At a point in our conversation, I wondered if it would be possible to access the inner healer of a child by going through his mother. This was a new concept for me but I offered it to my friend. She is a subtle energy intuitive healer herself so she was open to checking it out.
We got together soon after this and began our session. I invited her to do her familiar foundational practices for doing deep inner work. She let me know she was having trouble grounding. I made mental note of that but continued to guide her into deeper levels of expanded consciousness. We called forth the spirit of her son. In her mind’s eye, she saw her son approaching looking very serious. He told her that we had to ask permission to do this work. I remember the profound feeling of humility and awe that came over me in that moment. We asked permission and after a serious pause, were told that we both needed to learn from this so permission was granted. In that instant, my friend went very deep within; making is quite clear what had inhibited her ability to ground earlier. When asked about the rash, her son told her it had nothing to do with diet or anything physically wrong but had to do with his grieving having left the spirit realm. He directed his mother to take him up in the Desolation Wilderness and lay him on a rock. Then she was to take him to the beach where the ocean meets the shore. Something in the context of these two energetic vortexes would help him to integrate into his body more efficiently.
My friend was not one to question what she had experienced or received from this communion with her son’s spirit. She followed the directives and when they were complete, the rash cleared up.
So began my own exploration into the potentials of Mother and Baby Soul Communions.
Overdue Mother with Previous Abortion Issues
A doula friend of mine called me in to work with a client of hers who was two weeks past due in birthing her baby. The woman was showing anxiety symptoms and my friend thought I might be able to help her.
I went to this woman’s house and we began to talk. She told me about the time a few years earlier when she was pregnant and living in, what she referred to as, a dangerous relationship. She knew she needed to run from the man she was with but she also knew that if she ran with his child, he would follow. So she decided to abort the baby. Now she was living within a healthy relationship and she very much wanted this baby. Yet, as her birthing time neared, her guilt came forward making her afraid that this baby would die at birth in punishment for what she had done in the past.
When I helped her to go deep within herself, we invited a connection with the baby soul she was currently carrying. When that connection was established, we learned from the baby that it was the very same soul that had been conceived before. The baby soul told the mother that S/he knew that the decision to abort in the past had been made in love and that now everything was perfect for the soul to come forth into form. The baby soul told the mother that it was excited to be with her and that all was well.
Tears of joy and relief were pouring down the mother’s face as this exchange was taking place. The force of her guilt and anxiety was the constriction in her body not allowing the labor to start. After the session, this mother’s labor came on within the next 24 hours; her baby born vital and beautiful.
Doula and Mother with Stillborn Baby
A doula Friend of mine called one day to tell me a very emotionally charged story. One of her dearest friends, who this doula was supporting in a home birth, gave birth to a stillborn baby. My Friend told me about the labor. She said that everything went really well: the baby’s vitals up to the labor were strong and clear and remained that way into and through labor. Even the birth was normal except for the fact that the baby was still and never revived after birth.
My doula friend was distraught with anguished questions about what had happened. Did someone do something wrong? What could have prevented this? How could this have happened with everything up to the end showing such vital life? She felt deep grief with the mother being her dear friend and such guilt having been in the birth support position.
I didn’t know whether it would work to connect with the unborn baby soul through the doula rather than the mother but offered to support her in the attempt. Once my friend was taken within to a relaxed and expanded level of consciousness, we invited a connection with the still born baby soul. A connection was made and though little was said, what was needed came through. My friend was told that no one had done anything wrong and that this happenstance was purposefully designed and was between the mother and the baby soul. Apparently this incident, as it played out, was to affect some opening within the mother. The baby soul also said that it would be coming again to this mother.
This communion brought my doula friend much healing and relief.
Pregnant Mother Seeking Insights into Behavior of Older Son
This was such a fascinating study with many layers and connections. A woman came to me in the latter stages of her 2nd pregnancy in hopes of finding some keys to the discord she felt with her 3 year old son. She worried about having another child come into the tension that was in the home.
When I took her into deep consciousness, she made easy contact with the spirit of her 3 year old and was told that he needed art supplies around him. He needed paints and an easel and other supplies. This medium would help him express and develop himself for easily and harmoniously.
This mother decided to check in with her unborn child whom she knew to be another boy. She was told that this child would need a lot of nature around him and that this would be key for him to connect with and develop his life purpose.
Then a most unexpected thing occurred. This woman’s deceased mother-in-law walked into her consciousness. The mother-in-law came to tell this woman to inform her husband that it was time that his mother’s ashes be let go of. He was to take them out on his surf board and dispose of them out in the ocean. His mother also said that she would be carrying away something for her older grandson that he did not need to carry any longer. She finished by saying that her daughter-in-law and the two grandsons should be on the shore watching as her son paddled her ashes out to sea.
Turning a Breech Positioned Baby
A woman who had taken my HypnoBirthing Classes came to me in the latter stages of her pregnancy to see about the possibility of turning her baby who was in the breech position. As we conversed, I learned that she had never wanted to have children and that it was her husband’s desire that had moved her into this pregnancy. I also learned she had experienced some sexual trauma when she was younger. Hearing all this, I had a pretty good idea what was detouring baby from proper positioning.
I helped her relax into a deep, expanded state of consciousness and we invited the spirit of her baby to commune with us. When that connection was granted, I watched as this young mother’s eyes filled with tears. She learned that this baby was coming in to teach her about love and that he was very excited to be with her. When the heart opens, the tears of healing and love tend to flow and clear the way. This mother fully opened to the wonder and blessing of this soul coming to her.
We described to the baby about the proper position for an easier birth for baby and mother. I doubt whether that was a necessary step in the process but regardless, Baby turned into the proper vertex position within the following 36 hours.
Why does a birth unfold the way it does? Why are some birth easy, flowing to a climax with the baby sliding into mom’s waiting arms and others filled with fear, unexpected detours, trauma for mom and baby, separations and seemingly endless hours, days, weeks, months or even years of trying to figure out what went wrong. When we see all births as sacred there may be an easier way through these questions to a place of peace no matter how the birth unfolded. There is no wrong way, only the path to the unfolding of a new life.
We all, the women of this earth, come to birthing with an inner knowing that will lead to birthing the future. However, along the way, maybe even generations back this inner knowing was blocked, pushed underneath consciousness, or momentarily forgotten. As we are waking up and remembering the ways of our ancestors we may feel cheated, wronged, guilty, sad or darn right angry about the way a birth unfolds. And yet in this unfolding are rich and very powerful lessons that the birth has brought. Can you find the teachings in the planned homebirth that ended up in the hospital with a cesarean birth? Or the baby that came early and had to spend the first week or more of her life in the newborn nursery? And, what about the baby that was “too big” to fit through mom’s body, or the baby that did not arrive on time – two weeks late and was then coaxed out with synthetic drugs, or the baby that died during the journey or shortly after – are these not as sacred as the baby who arrives on time, was the correct weight – not too big not too small – without the use of drugs, and is thriving in your arms?
What is the birth story telling us? I could stay stuck in the trauma of an unwished for birth outcome or I can accept the sacredness of birth, all birth, and love who I am as the person who gave birth to the future. I can let go of the ideal and fall in love with the person I am and the baby I created and gave birth to. I can go deep to my core essence and discover that the birth I had with this baby was perfect and unique and brought us both, me and baby to a place of understanding who we are and the power and beauty that always surrounds the birth time.
Telling your baby his story in all its glory, which includes the fear and trauma, will easily bring baby to a place of acceptance and understanding that she is pure light and nothing less. This pure light came from you, the mother giving birth, and is thus a reflection of who you are. See the birth as a time to undo the past and believing that birth is anything but sacred and perfect, and move once again into the place of inner knowing, the mother wisdom that so perfectly orchestras each and every birth. Let go of the fear, the doubt, the guilt, the blame, and see yourself as the pure love and light that radiates from your baby.
Trying to figure out why is exhausting and will only diminish your love and light. Knowing that all birth is sacred and unfolds in its own time in its own perfection will allow you to accept your own love, the love you have for your baby, and the birth that was. Become a willing participant in this life knowing that you have all you need to create birth and love the child that is put into your arms. When all birth is seen as sacred the birth process is secondary – this is your story, your truth for this birth and will lead you to even more truth as you maybe prepare for the birth of another child and this birth to, will unfold in unique perfection.
As I write these words I am filled with wonder as I discover that my birth was sacred. The moment that I arrived in this world was a sacred moment. I have never though of my birth in this way, and this changes a lot for me. It does not matter that my mother was heavily drugged with ether which means that I also was unconscious when I arrived, this was a sacred birth. It doesn’t matter that I was pulled out with forceps and taken to a newborn nursery for ten days while my mother and I both recovered from this birth, this was a sacred birth. She was allowed to see me every 4 hours and I was briefly held then returned to the nursery. Did this cause harm to me? Probably, but at the time no one thought that the way a baby comes into the world really mattered. I was breathing and my physical needs were being met – I was being feed and kept in a clean diaper. My mother was being looked after and all was fine. I was harmed by this birth, but I was loved and both my mother and father, with the help of grandparents did the best they could to raise me to be a loving and kind person in this world. It may have been easier for me if I had been given my birth story right away instead of having to dig back on my own to finally find the details that then helped make sense out of my life. My life long message of “you are on your own kid” would not have been imprinted so deeply into my core and I could have moved forward faster and easier. None of this takes away from the truth of my birth – it was a sacred event, and finally knowing this eases the pain around the events of my birth. I, as all of us are, am a sacred child of the universe.
I can also look at the births of my own children as sacred moments. My first son was born with ease in a small rural hospital with little interference. I was moved from a labor room to a delivery room and in the process discovered the mother bear that resided in me. They tried to give me gas as they were wheeling me to the delivery room, but I hit the nurse who was putting the mask on my face and that was the end of the “let’s get her drugged and ready for birthing” phase of my first birth. My son was born and about 4 hours later I went home. This was a sacred birth.
The birth of my second son was different. He was born in a large metropolitan hospital and I was all alone. Husbands were not allowed in and mothers were isolated in small labor rooms then transported to a delivery room. I was given demoral during the labor then put under with gas as he was being born. He was pulled from me with forceps and taken to a nursery. I did not see him for hours and then only briefly. During the two days that I stayed in the hospital he was brought to me for feedings then taken away. A month after this birth it was discovered that he had a condition called pyloric stenosis and taken back to the hospital for surgery to open up the pyloric value into his stomach. Did this happen because of the birth? I don’t know. Did the problems that he had all through school stem from this birth experience? I don’t know. Did I harm my child? This is a difficult question for a mother to answer, but I do now know that this was a sacred birth. I did not intentionally harm him. I did not have enough information about giving birth at that time in my life, and trusted in the medical system that said they knew best. I do know that his birth was a sacred birth and that telling him his story has helped him to understand his life better and to find ways though and around the challenges he has had to face. I have suffered through pangs of guilt as I learn more and more about birth and then believe that I harmed my baby. I have let go of this guilt as it is a useless emotion. I did what I knew was the best for me and my baby at that time in my life. Today I know so much more and would not go back to that kind of a birthing situation. Did I harm my children – no I did not – their births were sacred and unfolded in perfection, and we have all found a place of unconditional love for each other because of the way the births unfolded.
I was led to connect with Pachamama, but instead of heading to the jungle in the East, I was led toward Mindo in the north west. So I thought OK, the clinic must be about the local people there. Then, I went to the Butterfly House, a cool tourist attraction, a beautiful place in a few weeks when construction is done that houses many kinds of butterflies in all stages of development. Very cool to learn about them. Beautiful and awesome in their sensitivity – they responded to my kalimba playing and within minutes, settled down and alighted on the flowers. Anyway, Rosie is the owner and a new friend. She sat with me and filled me in on the ways of Mindo living. Once people hear that I am going to live here, they immediately open up and the welcome is wonderful.
So I found out that the local people will not populate the Birthing Sanctuary. They are given free care at the hospital 15 miles from here. Rosie said they have been so spoiled by so many foundations coming in here to bring their specialty that they are given everything, Catholic education, medical care, Christmas gifts, …… so she said, don’t count on them unless you offer your services free: They don’t need anything other than the clothes on them, so they don’t work. They are not interested in becoming part of any work force – there is no motivation. (Hawaii 50 years ago.) – Until they buy a truck. Then they become drivers so they can make their truck payments. “So I hope I did not pop your bubble.” she said. I told her it just moved me back into my true purpose – A Birthing Sanctuary, not a birthing clinic.
I meet an older woman named Judy, who was an ESL teacher for years and we go to see her home that is a beauty in the back of a very moist ravine. She drew it on a napkin and ta-daa! She said she would give me the plans. I’m thinking, why did this just happen? and I sense that I will be building. She is a trip, and a chocoholic, and she knows where this special brownie place is, so we will be seeing each other again!
I meet the town OB, whose name I can’t remember. This OB is a woman of great heart who is here for a year, offering prenatal care. (Every doctor finishes school as a family practice doc, and then has a mandatory year in a rural place to give back to the country. Then they can specialize in their desired field.) Sara, a beautiful woman in her mid thirties, works next door at the Clinica del Salude, health clinic, and started her year in July. We have not spoken yet as I have to know what’s going on in me first. Our hearts are pulling us together though and we both feel it. What a meeting it will be when it happens. It feels to me like we will be working together.
December 12, 2009
Today the gringos who are all staying in this hostel go on a field trip. It’s pouring rain and we go up to the house that Karen and Gary are building. It’s going to be really beautiful. They are bird watchers and the house is built for that. (Did I say that Mindo is the bird watching capital of the world? With 1900 species!) Without children, their house will be left to Mindo as a bird sanctuary. This house in Hawaii would cost $8-900,000, and he said it should come out to costing $80,000. We then go down the hill to their neighbors who are camping out, as I did when I was their age, while planning and building their house. He makes jewelry and she is a full time doula, the real thing too! (She started 10 years ago but still had another job till 2 years ago.) Every question I ask, she answers with the same words I would say! She works with moms (and dads!) starting at 5 months until the birth. She said the doctors love her and hate her because they know that the women she works with will use no drugs nor have epidurals. And because it is she who is there, the doc knows they can come in at the last minute. She teaches that the drugs are not good for the baby and wake the parents up to this. What a meeting! They are working to move to Mindo instead of staying here for 3 days a week and in Quito for 4. She has an incredible heart and I look forward to knowing them.
Then we went to a bird watching restaurant in Los Bancos, with a spectacular view of a valley with a river at the bottom. Truly there were fifty hummingbirds whirling all around the feeders and ten kinds of Tanengers eating bananas. We topped off this rainy day with a gooey homemade brownie, made with homemade chocolate. Joe showed us every step of chocolate making and served this brownie that was better than anyone’s mom could make! And there were such tastes in this brownie, several different tastes that he said were from the individual beans. Wow, such a different experience of choc ko la te. (We called Judy to join us.)
I didn’t sleep last night after midnight when a neighbor came home making a lot of noise. What am I doing here???? Going out in a car around Mindo, and seeing Los Bancos yesterday makes it really obvious that this is such a third world country. Really nothing but shacks along the road, until you get to two big houses then shacks again. And I’m doing what? Why did I choose this place, I am asked by others continually. My small self, has not, my higher Guidance has. I have not even seen enough of the country to choose this place, except that it’s not Quito, the megamaxiopolis. Yet I keep feeling that this is exactly right. So whenever I get to the mountain of doubts from seeing this “reality” in front of my eyes, I go over all the reasons that I have discovered that make it right. So what are the reasons to go ahead?
Mother Nature is pristine. Major reason.
I understand that building here is so much cheaper, and this allows me to see that a Birth Sanctuary can finally be built exactly as is my vision. Major reason.
Knowing that I can simply build what I want and not have someone from building, permitting, or whatever, say no. Major reason.
Hearing that the land has been prepared for birthing, that it has what is needed. Major reason.
Mindo, (pronounced ‘Meendo’,) is just about to take off and become an alternative haven for the country. It attracts many people from Quito on the weekends and in the summer. Global tourists all the time – which is how we had a gringo field trip. Right now it needs everything. Anyone’s passion is welcomed, (which is how there is a chocolate factory.) There is little infrastructure aside from the roads and there’s an amazing system of busses so cheap transportation is possible all over the country. This too is major. Hopefully more people will stay, bringing their gifts.
It hit me just two days ago that I am to start with raw land. Wow! What a shift, after thinking that I could start with a B&B and have part of it done. That is so huge when I am alone and not with a group, or at least somebody who is as committed as I am to this vision. It’s probably why I am so overwhelmed. So how do i do this????? But as soon as I get it, the next pieces come through
This morning I hear the question, “Why do you think that you are so utterly alone here on the physical plane?” The answer is, so that I can see my level of creation. It’s all my creation, the good and the not so good. So how am I going to do it? Go home? Look in another place, only to end up here in Mindo again if it truly is the place where this is to be? I’ve been shown these two wonderful women, the doula and the OB. That is stunning Support of Nature that should help me to say, “OK! I’m going to build the Birthing Sanctuary right here and right now.” But I see how few services are here, how there is no infrastructure, how the needs are so different than I thought. So what will I place my attention on? The overwhelming reality that IS? Or, what I know can be within a year?
Everybody who speaks English is a support system for me. They are all blown away that I am here to do this and each has offered their help. Susan, Rosie, Karen and Gary, Judy and Renee, the man I met yesterday at the restaurant. Support everywhere I look, and each offering help with building to make it seamless, instead of the karmic experience they each had. The nature support is there for building, towards becoming a resident, toward helping me. I better look for land. I guess I’m building.
My, how time warps for the days have flown, yet it’s only been weeks since I came – Dec 4!! But on the inner planes it’s been 3 months since I’ve arrived since night time is as productive as daytime. After a very hard 3 days where the waves of culture shock kept rolling through, everything has been rearranged and I understand / remember where I am being led. I can’t possibly share the journey that I was taken on, because there were so many steps to it. And un-ravelings. But this morning after the noisiest night possible, the dawn breaks and clarity arises to make sense of all the pieces I have been given through time about the Birthing Sanctuary.
The purpose of the Sacred Birthing Sanctuary is
to renew the wisdom of the indigenous cultures of the world.
Remembering and reinstating birth in the ways of Natural Law
their higher states of consciousness, their ability to be present,
& their innate self-love.
These babies know they are born to hold and renew their culture’s ancient ways, the ways in alignment with their Divine blueprint, for this is their culture’s unique footprint on the face of this Earth that holds their purpose, their offering to Great Spirit.
I saw it: The buildings, the school, the birthing temple, the community, the gardens and orchards, the animals, the pristine place in nature with clean waters running by and through it. I saw the first family who came to cook and build. I saw the elders choose and groom the young parents who would carry the baby to ressurect the ways of their people. I saw the parents who came in their indigenous clothes, carrying the pride of their tribal ways. I saw them come with their lovers and their mothers and sisters. I saw us teach them the ways we’ve learned to take back to their people in their land. I saw how it would work.
I saw the people involved as the holder of this Sanctuary, and how it came into being. With my Christmas plans already erased, I am on to the next part of this adventure: finding the players of this incredible Sacred container. This is why we have all worked so hard! Thank you each of you. Thank you and Merry Merry Christmas. May all blessings pour over you all. May the love and light from this work that we are honored to do together, be as a balm poured over you in all the ways that you need. May we each know the importance of the piece that we play so that together Sacred Birthing flourishes to accomplish the task that was set for it.
Words from Earth Mother
“Birth was never meant to be in pain. To give birth was a gift of love. So much has been forgotten because feminine wisdom was destroyed each time it grew to be threatening. Fear grew where wisdom abated. It was in this frame of mind that you were told, ‘birth is painful, for you have sinned.’
Can you let this go now? Can you see the context of that era and know that it is complete? Can you recreate another powerful statement to affirm the birth of your babies as the highest gift there is? Let them be brought forth in the joy and ecstasy of your fullness: ‘In joy all babies are born and in that joy we live.’ I am your Mother Earth. Hear Me.”
Excerpted from Sacred Birthing: Birthing A New Humanity by Sunni Karll page 136
Thirty one and twenty seven years ago, I gave birth to my 2 daughters in pain-free ecstasy. I had no idea then that what I had experienced was out of the norm for women of my culture. I only found that out after I began teaching HypnoBirthing Childbirth Education Classes years later. The birth research path this took me on revealed all too well how disconnected to themselves, nature and birth my sisters have become. For the past 10 years, I have taught childbirth preparation classes, first HypnoBirthing and now Sacred Birthing classes. In this time, I have seen the reversal of the belief that birth equals trauma and pain. Over and over, parents or individual women have reclaimed their innate birthright to birth with ease and empowerment. Many films now testify of this new trend as we watch couples and women, surrounded by other wise, loving, and supportive women, family and friends, give birth in the quiet of their own homes, in birthing centers and in hospitals. These births show the beauty and power and sanctity of birth as it always was before fear entered the birth arena hundreds of years ago.
A key element of a sacred birth without trauma and with greater ease is a woman or couple taking conscious responsibility for their birth experience. What does that mean? Ideally that means a couple go into conception, pregnancy and birth prepared for the transformation that childbirth is for all involved. The couple clear themselves energetically of fear, cultural misconceptions, personal traumas and negative imprinting that may have been held in mind or body. This allows the energy within them to flow clearly and at a vibrational level aligned with that of the soul wishing to incarnate into this life. The process of clearing the past is a huge gift to both baby and birthing mother because negativity held in the body is a fear resonance that constricts muscles and the flow of energy, blood and oxygen in the body which can all contribute to the creation complications and pain during the birth process.
Going into conception, pregnancy and birth being aware and practiced in healthful eating, physical fitness, meditation and other relaxation and self-realization aspects of life are also indicators of taking responsibility for conscious living and play their parts in creating an attuned, gentle birth.
Couples taking responsibility for their birth experience will also explore their birth choices around what practitioner, midwife, support persons and childbirth preparation classes best support their birthing vision. They will also explore where they will feel most comfortable giving birth: home, birth center or hospital. These steps take one to clarity, empowerment, confidence, and trust. Trust and love are the vibrations within the birth field of energy that engenders a truly natural and gentle birth experience.
The re-emergence of the role of Doula is a wonderful sign that our remembrance of birth is on the rise. A Doula is a trained birth assistant who reminds us of the community or village wise woman. Her place in birth is as mother/family focused pregnancy support, birth support and postpartum support. Doulas are there when questions arise about or during the birth process They are there when mothers or partners get anxious, or when something needs to be communicated to hospital, midwife or birth center staff, allowing the birthing mother to stay in her birth bubble undisturbed They can organize the family and friends of the birthing couple to have meals brought to the family, or errands run, or laundry cleaned after birth. Statistics show that the presence of a doula greatly reduces the rates of interventions and cesarean births. When a woman feels that level of personal support, her sense of empowerment rises greatly
Long, long ago, during the times when fear entered the birth chambers, midwifery was abolished. During the European inquisition, it became illegal for women to be attended in birth. Those, whose lives were centered on this ancient art, were either killed or went into hiding or disclaimed their professions. There is much to this story, but suffice it to say, it is still very difficult in most parts of this country, to be a midwife. There are more and more women stepping up to do this work, but with no support from community or state, it is still the rarity for women to have true information on the benefits of such support, and it is difficult for these services to be affordable for many families.
Looking to the midwifery model of childbirth is key to remembering and creating conscious, gentle birth. The rapport that comes from the deep relationship of family and birth care-provider makes a huge difference in a woman’s capacity to trust herself and birthing. Studying the difference between the medical model and the midwifery model, including the statistics, is an eye-opening way of preparing and empowering oneself in making the decisions that support the vision of the beauty of natural birth. This is not to negate the place of Doctors, medicine or hospitals in childbirth. They are important and have their place in the whole scheme of birth. There is simply work needing to be done to bring balance, truth, ease, empowerment, nature, ecstasy and sanctity back to birth in all arenas.
I have seen how the remembrance of birthing wisdom in a community can change the consciousness around birth all the way to the highly technical halls of modern hospitals. As women and families empower themselves to learn about birth, clear the misconceptions and fears around birth within themselves and their world and then insist on a different, more conscious and gentle way, the institutions shift as well. Sometimes that shift comes from the economics of watching women stay at home or go elsewhere to birth. In other instances, the shift comes when care providers witness empowered women or couples give birth gently and naturally. In many countries in the world, such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, the great majority of births are accompanied by a midwife and happen in the comfort, safety and sanctity of the home, and this way is entirely supported by their political and economic structures. I very much look forward to the day when we can say the same about our United States. Again, this is up to individuals to step up and take responsibility for changing the face of birth.
There are many wonderful ways to create the inner and outer ambiance that allow for gentle birth. When we trust in our bodies and own inner wisdom, we find the birthing way that is true for us. It is important to allow for the individual qualities of each birth. This means to allow each birth to unfold in its own timing and form and allowing baby to lead the way in this regard. Birth has never been and never will be standardized. There are so many aspects of being that are unfolding in every birthing. To alter, add or subtract anything from the natural flow of each birth is to bring an intervention that can cause complications. Frequently the alterations come from a place of believing that we know better than Nature and Spirit how birth should unfold.
When birth happens with some or all of the pieces above mentioned in place, a woman can more easily let go to her birthing body. She may experience pain and she may not. In either case, she has within her the power to meet what comes and in so doing, finds new and expanded aspects of herself born with her baby. We are on the bridge of reclaiming birth. It is a powerful and vital place we stand. But every woman’s body knows how to birth as has every woman before her throughout time. Just like the other creatures of nature that birth without trauma, surrendered to the powerful life force pulsing through them, women everywhere have this innate ability.
Those who have looked deeply into the modernization of birth and the fear and expectations of pain around birth that has become prevalent in our society, can see how we create complications. The babies being birthed and hurt through these practices are teaching us not that we as women are innately flawed, but that we have forgotten our innate wholeness and connection to our bodies. These babies are pointing the way home to remembrance.
My name is Sharon Gonsalves and I attended the Sacred Birthing Foundation’s Doula Training Program from January through April 2009. Barbara Essman was the lead instructor and author/founder/midwife Sunni Karll was very instrumental in delivering the training. There were about 10 women in the class and I learned so much from each one. Many had had their own babies and others were preparing for motherhood or healing from their own births and childhood experiences. I wasn’t sure if I’d follow through and complete the certification requirements, but once I attended my first birth I was sure I wanted to serve the community as a doula.
I had conversations with two different expectant moms before finding my first doula client. I learned in the training that it’s important that a doula be a good fit for the couple who she’ll be assisting. Although I was disappointed that those first two nibbles did not pan out, I was really happy when I found someone who definitely wanted to work with me and invited me to her birth.
My client, Joanna, was relatively new on Kauai, had 2 grown children and was about 7 months pregnant when we first met. She moved here from Denver, where she says 65% of births are attended by doulas. Doulas are not very common yet on Kauai and we’re having to educate the community about what a doula is and how having a doula can really help ease the birth process. Joanna was very sure that she wanted a doula at her birth and was planning to give birth at the Waimea Family Birth Center at KVMH. She and her husband would be attending childbirth classes at KVMH and they invited me to join them which I did.
Joanna was very clear that she wanted a natural birth without drugs. Her first 2 were natural – one at a birth center and one in a hospital – and while she knew she was able to give birth on her own, one labor went very long and she was concerned that might happen again.
As Joanna’s due date approached, we talked on the phone once a week just to check in about how close it might be and how she was feeling. Then one morning at 4:15am I got a phone call from Joanna’s husband. They were at the hospital and labor had begun. It was time for me to join them.
I showered and dressed and before getting in the car I turned on my computer and sent an email to a list of Joanna’s friends to let them know that baby Leila was on her way. I asked them to please keep the family in their thoughts. On the way to the hospital I called in all my guides and helpers, and asked spirit to surround the birth team with support.
When I arrived at KVMH, the hospital staff was expecting me and the nurses, doctor and especially Joanna and her husband, Michael, were happy to see me. Joanna was tired. She’d been up all night and was walking to keep her labor progressing. At last check she was 5 centimeters dilated and 60% effaced. Her contractions were a few minutes apart. I gave her lots of encouragement as she and her husband and I walked the halls stopping for every contraction. While she leaned on Michael, I gave her some back relief by pushing her hip bones together allowing more rooms for baby’s head to move down. We spent most of the next several hours this way. I gave Joanna water to drink after each contraction as they made her very thirsty. Periodically the doctor checked her progress. She stayed at 6 centimeters dilated for a while as she became more effaced. Her waters were broken to help keep things moving along. When she was hooked up to a monitor for a few minutes we could all hear the baby’s heart beat – the first time I’d heard that sound. No signs of distress at all.
Contractions were getting stronger and Joanna was getting more uncomfortable and more tired. She labored on a birthing ball for awhile, resting between contractions. I saw ‘bloody show’ for the first time and finally understood what that was. I suggested she try laboring in the shower for a while to see if the hot water would help her relax a bit. After her shower she labored in bed for a bit, actually sleeping between contractions as she was thoroughly exhausted. She was now almost fully effaced. Within an hour she went from 6 to 9 centimeters dilated, then things started happening pretty fast.
Joanna started feeling the urge to push and she seemed a little scared. Her contractions were becoming more painful and she said she didn’t want to do this any more. She wanted drugs. This was our clue that the baby would be here really soon.
In the doula class I learned that often as women progress through labor they start saying “oh God, please help me”. Then they start asking for drugs. Then they push and the baby is born and they are totally in love with their child. Well, in this case that’s exactly what happened.
So the urge to push set the hospital staff in motion. The bed was readied. The doctor’s instruments were laid out. The lights were turned on and the doctor was in position to catch Leila as she entered the world. Joanna was sitting up at about a 45 degree angle, and Michael and I stayed on either side of the bed and told her what a great job she was doing. One of the nurses coached her through the pushing – chin to her chest, hands behind her knees. I let one of the nurses know that they’d been doing perineal massage to stretch her tissues and no episiotomy was performed. Within 3-5 pushes the baby was out and Leila was on her mom’s chest.
The actual birth was the most intense time for me. I didn’t want to look between Joanna’s legs at all. I just wanted to stay right at her shoulder encouraging and supporting her. The pushing was a bit uncomfortable for Joanna and the nurses were so great in the way they coached her to push into the burning sensation that was making her hesitate. She did great and I was really happy for her that things had gone so well. Leila was born at 11:26 am September 13.
Then came the really cool part. Joanna and Michael met their daughter for the first time in the light of day and they loved her. Meanwhile, the doctor prepared the cord for cutting (which dad was invited to do), then he put some gentle pressure on the umbilical cord and placed a pan at the end of the bed to catch the placenta. Within about 20 minutes after the birth, a placenta the size of a very large grapefruit was expelled along with more fluid from the uterus. Wow! Fascinating!
The hospital staff cleaned up in a flash and mom, dad and baby got acquainted. Mom was encouraged to breast feed which would start the uterus contracting to stop any bleeding from the placenta detaching from the uterine wall. Baby latched on right away – a successful beginning to a new relationship.
At this point I made myself scarce so that very important initial bonding could take place. Before leaving the room, doc gave me a ‘thumbs up’ which brought tears to my eyes. Everything went really smoothly.
I felt really welcomed by the hospital staff and very high from the whole experience. Some of the staff had met Barbara and Ronda when they visited the Family Birth Center a few weeks before. This really made me feel good, being associated with a group that intended to work together with a hospital to ease baby’s transitions and support mom, dad and hospital staff through the birth process. It felt like a good beginning for all of us.
11/2/09 Tonight Ginger noticed a lot more moisture coming from her vagina, wetting her pants. After needing to change her clothes twice, she put on a pad. On the toilet, she saw some tan-ish mucous. She also felt some new discomfort in her lower back and pelvis. It didn’t take us too long to clue into that either her water had broken or her mucous plug had released or both.
Full Moon 11/3/09, 12:30am Ginger came to tell me her labor had begun. I moved into Lily’s room to be closer while Ginger experienced the acceleration of her surges. Partner Colin slept but there was not sleep for Ginger or me. Midwife Ruth told Ginger to meet her at 5am based on Ginger’s surge timing and intensity.
5am: Colin, Ginger and I go to the Birth Center. Ginger’s step-dad Steve was there to meet us. Midwife Ruth checked and found Ginger only 80% effaced with nearly no dilation. Her cervix was still facing more towards her back and baby was posterior. Ruth sent us all home (30 minutes away) Ginger was somewhat disappointed but meeting it.
8:25 am Surges were approximately 1 minute 15 seconds in duration and 4 ¾ minutes apart. Midwife Ruth was called, a message was left. She called back shortly and said we could come to the center if we wanted. The Center’s Clinic was opening around then so Ruth would be there. The ride was really hard for Ginger. She started the ride lying in my lap but the Honda was small and she couldn’t stretch out so soon she was sitting up.
We arrived at the Birth Center around 9am. Upon checking Ging’, Ruth told her she was only 3cm and that she couldn’t officially admit her. She said that since the clinic was now open, Ginger could choose to stay but at the close of clinic at 2 pm, she would have to leave if she wasn’t progressed enough. Ginger chose to stay but Steve went and got a hotel room in case Ging’ would need to leave and so she wouldn’t have to travel far again.
Ginger chose to get into the shower first. When she got out and a surge would come on, she got onto her hands and knees. She then labored on the bed for a while in the lateral or side position. She had chosen to bring some music that I gave to her when she was a baby and that she listened to at bedtime all through her growing up. “Fairy Ring” was the background music for this beautiful birthing. Jackie came in after a while and told Ginger she should get up and walk. I had said the same thing but I could see that coming from Jackie had more clout. Ginger went outside on that beautiful Fall day and walked the rolling lawns around the birth center. It was a lovely area with lots of trees. One huge Oak that overhung the Center was the perfect guardian as it looked to me like the “tree of life” image of the placenta. Ginger and Colin went outside and walked and labored together. Ginger either hung on Colin or went to her knees when a surge came on. They were outside for about a half hour. They were so beautiful to watch! Steve and I held back taking pictures.
Back inside, Ginger had on one of Colin’s COD shirts (all the men on his father’s side of the family had initials COD). She lay on the bed again and labored for a couple of hours. At some point during this time, Ginger required someone; Colin or me, to lay a hand on a particular spot on her lower back as soon as she felt a surge coming on. She could have no pressure but needed the hand on a very specific spot, just lightly but perfectly placed. Ginger’s labor was hard and pretty painful but she kept her focus and labored really well. She toned through many surges and when tensing, was responsive to mine or Colin’s light touchmassage and reminders to relax.
Grandpa Steve was on camera duty throughout the labor; both video and stills.
Around 12:45pm. I looked at Ginger and saw her energy flattening out, the skin below her eyes turning dark and something in me spoke loud and clear “if Ginger isn’t going to have to leave, she’s got to rally and put all her power, body and intention into bringing Lily into position, opening her cervix and moving Lily down. I had suggested she change positions several time before, but Ginger had not been responsive to my suggestions. I felt a familiar inhibition in speaking with authority to Ginger; a life-time dynamic between us. This time, I stepped over that pattern and put clarity and power behind my words; telling her exactly what I was seeing and what she needed to do. Ginger heard me and responded. She got up, went into the other room and tried numerous positions for turning Lily, creating space and using gravity so that Lily could move down.
About 30 minutes into this, Ruth came in to check on Ginger. She asked Ginger what she was experiencing and from Ruth’s words, it seemed that she thought Ginger was not progressing that much. Ruth spoke again about the possibility of needing to leave. She watched Ginger through several surges and at one point asked Ginger if she was feeling some bearing down sensation in her surges. Ginger wasn’t sure.
Ruth left, going back into the clinic portion of the center. Ginger continued to labor. The position that worked best for her through most of this time was on her hands and knees; still with a hand needed on her lower back.
Just before 2pm, Ginger told me she felt Lily was coming and asked me to go get Ruth. I went into the center where Ruth was standing talking with Jackie. When she saw me, she said she’d be there in a moment. When she came in, she checked Ginger and was surprised to find Ginger over 8 cm. open.
Things started to happen fast then. Jackie came and joined us. When a surge came on then, they looked like huge waves; Ginger’s eyes got really big. Ruth instructed her to take a deep breath and exhale by blowing slowly out. It was clear; Ruth wanted to slow things down. She asked Ginger whether she still wanted a water birth as the tub would need to be filled, the water pressure was low and it would take a good half hour for the tub to be filled enough for her to get in. Ginger said yes, she wanted the tub. As they filled the tub, Ginger’s surges got bigger and she began to vomit with most of them. It was a very intense time! A couple of times, the bigness of the waves swept her up and she’d yell. Ruth and Jackie brought her back to blowing and she kept her focus. Amazing to watch her!
Finally the tub was ready and when Ginger got in, she felt more comfortable. (How nice it would have been for her to have gotten into the water a couple of hours earlier!) The next couple of surges went as they had on the bed; deep breath in with blowing exhale. Then Ruth gave Ginger the cue to go for it and push Lily out; to push only when she felt a surge and then push hard. Colin got into the water with Ginger and sat behind holding her for this time of pushing. Ginger followed her midwife and doula’s lead to push rather than the HypnoBirthing way of breathing her baby down and out. She pushed well.
We watched Lily crown in the step fashion; a little forward and than moving back; each time moving forward and out a little more. Ginger reached down twice and felt Lily’s head. That brought on such a wonderful smile to her face. This pushing phase only lasted about 15 minutes before Lily was born. We saw she had a good head of light colored hair. She had some cord around her neck that she rolled out of in the water. She was pretty quickly put onto Ginger’s chest and her nose and throat were suctioned with a bulb syringe. Ruth didn’t want the placenta to be born in the water and got Ginger out of the water pretty quickly; less that 5 minutes after the birth. Ginger was compliant and got out and back onto the bed. Mommy and Daddy and all of us were so very happy! And Lily was doing really well. She did squawk with the suctioning but settled down well. She was very present and quiet; taking in her new world, especially her Mom and Dad. She had a lot of thick vernix on her skin and a little bit of merconium had been seen at the birth but no problems arose. She has beautiful red hair!
Ruth waited what I would consider an extremely minimal time before having Colin cut the cord. She said the pulsing had stopped and Lily showed no reaction to the cutting. She breathed well right from the start.
With the help of Colin stimulating Ginger’s nipple, the placenta was birthed shortly after the cord was cut (maybe 10 minutes after) and was in perfect shape.
Lily latched on well after about a half hour of birth. Nurse Bethany helped Ginger with the latching and positioning.
Everyone was high and happy and Lily was alert and peaceful.
Ginger and partner Colin with newborn Lilly Dawn
We left the Birth Center around 5:15 pm. The car seat we had was not set up right and really was imperfect for a newborn. Colin did his best to secure the seat which satisfied the Birth Center Folks. Our plan had always been to leave the Birth Center with Lily in the seat for the sake of the birth center folks and then take Lily out of it around the corner so Ginger could hold her for the ride home. This is what we did.
My brother Doug just happened to be in Sacramento that day. In fact, before the birth, we had scheduled to get together with him the following day. He called while we were still at the Birth Center to tell us he wouldn’t be able to see us the next day and it needed to be that day. I informed him that Lily had just been born. He was astounded at the timing and so happy! He is one of Ginger’s favorite people and so he was privileged to be invited to meet us at the house to meet Lily Dawn.
At the house, Colin’s Brother Cliff and Dad Cliff Senior were waiting to meet Lily. Uncle Doug came shortly thereafter and everyone was high in the birth bubble energy. The Cliffs went out to dinner and a movie and Doug stayed for a nice long visit. He and I then went out for dinner and to bring food home to the new Mom and Dad. The new little family was all sound asleep by the time we returned.
NOTE: It was clearly the best option to birth at the Birth Center; all things considered. Though Ginger would have liked to have had a home birth, Colin was not familiar or comfortable with that idea. Also, The Birth Center took MediCal, so that was a great plus. All went well. The main thing we would have liked different is the midwife being more connected to the labor. Her judgment about Ginger not progressing wasn’t accurate and if it weren’t for me and Steve and Colin being there to hold the energy, it would have been much more challenging for Ginger. It certainly reflects how important and beneficial it is to have a doula and a loving and attuned birth companion present at a birth. Bottom line ~ it was a wonderful birth! Thanks to all. Well done new Momma!