One year ago today, my body started the process of bringing Genevieve earth-side.
I had spent the previous 3 years learning everything I could about birth. And here I was, about to experience it for the first time myself. Of course I wanted it to be perfect.
We hired an amazing midwife, I assembled an awesome support team, took a prenatal yoga class, we attended a great childbirth class, I went to breastfeeding and baby-wearing workshops, and I had a wonderful videographer ready to film the homebirth. I was ready! ;)
Oh, the things I have learned in one year.
Now that I am a professional doula, I can look back on my birth and reflect on so many different aspects of that intense experience from a different set of eyes. I was certainly empowered in my labor and all the decisions leading up to it. But what I didn't know was what it meant to surrender to birth. I heard people say that there will be a time that you have to 'let go' and surrender to the contractions, to trust your body and your baby. I nodded my head and acted like I knew what that meant. I had no idea.
I had no idea how powerful I truly am.
I had no idea that my mind had the ability to perceive contractions as pain or as pressure.
I had no idea that my 'perfect birth plans' were actually prohibiting me from birthing.
I had no idea that me trying to stay in control was actually my unconscious fears surfacing.
I had no idea that the abuse I experienced as a child would affect my birth (hence, 3 days of labor).
I had no idea that I didn't really believe my body could do it, if I was truly honest.
But there came a moment in labor where I chose to believe these things.
My options were transporting to the hospital for an epidural or a potential c-section,
or to believe that I could relax my body enough, in order to allow my cervix to progress.
Once I believed that I could do it - on day 4 of labor, at 8:08 am on Thursday morning - I gave in to all the sensations, turned my brain off, and simply let my body and baby work. Clothing came off, I started making primal noises, and I didn't care about my peaceful, candle-lit water birth. I had officially entered into birth world - and it was incredible! No one can describe the strength and power a birthing woman experiences when she goes to that birthing place.
Genevieve was born 7 hours later at 3:57 pm.
My birth was transformative.
I truly believe that my body works.
I am stronger and braver than I thought possible.
I am more connected with my husband then I have ever been.
I was empowered as a woman entering into motherhood.
You can read the whole birth story here.
Words cannot describe how grateful I am to Lauren Ellis (and Kappel Cloninger for the interview footage). I am so glad you were there to capture those 4 long days. I will always treasure these images.
I hope you enjoy the video.
Warning: This is a birth video. I edited a lot of the content to be more appropriate for a full range of audiences, however, it is still very intense. Watch at your own discretion.