I am 38 weeks pregnant now!!! 2 weeks until the due date, but the baby really could come anytime now.
As my attention turns to nesting and getting everything ready for the birth, I thought I would share what I am doing here to get ready. There are spiritual, prenatal-body, and logistical labor preparations to be made.
First, there is the intention of the birth. The best preparation is made in the mind. When I was working as a volunteer midwife in a Jamaican hospital, I stayed in this little magical cottage attached to a Montessori school/hostel/bar/ restaurant/ general center of activity for this little village. The woman who ran it, Dominica, was sweet and mystical, and had painted murals through out the rooms. In my room there was a large goddess-y warrior on the wall, her arm raised high with a crystal of some kind in hand, and the words
"Your thoughts are powerful.
They create your reality.
These words have always stuck, as in the latitudes of Jamaica, in the intensity of birth, it felt then that the time between having a thought and it becoming a reality was freakishly short. It was as though whatever went through my mind was soon manifest in front of me, almost before the thought was fully formed. This can be a real bad thing when you have people that can bleed out and you are far from advanced medical care. You learn to be pretty careful with your thoughts....
It made me appreciate the cultures rich with spells and protective talismans, because whether it was the latitude, the heat, or the distance from decent plumbing and infrastructure, there was something a bit spooky about how true it was that thoughts and reality were intermixed in Jamaica. It was in one of those birth rooms a midwife named Funkee pronounced "You are NOW A MIDWIFE" as though I had just married my own future. It was there I had to master my power to hold a positive space for birth, or to give into fear, and deal with the fall out.
For this upcoming birth, I first have to acknowledge I am standing on a foundation that comes from years of helping others birth, and my own experience of giving birth to my daughter, which was traumatic and crappy. Overall, I received little authentic support, was subject to lots of misguided judgment, and had a really horrible hospital transfer that ended in a c-section for no medical reason. I have done lots of work on many levels to clear that experience, and on most days, I am sure I am standing strong and clear ready for a new experience of birth. I am looking forward to doing it this time, stronger in myself, clearer about what I need, more able to find the support I find really nurturing.
I hate to even mention that time, as part of visioning this birth. But part of this birth really is about healing that birth, so I think I can mention it with out conjuring the negativity too much. I think I can refer to it, in terms of how much different I feel this time. But just these last few days, haunted by negative dreams, I was getting a bit worried that some how I would 'mess up' this birth. So I really want to use this post to share the positive visions of birth I have been cultivating.
After the home visit from the midwife, I had an unsettled feeling I could not name, an uncertainty. I laid down for a nap to integrate, and when I woke, my husband had reassembled this gift tile my best friend made for me as a going away present when I moved to Sweden. When I first went to unpack it after moving this summer, it crashed to the floor and broke in a million pieces before I could even unwrap it. It was too painful to look at, and I forgot about it. It was great to find it alive and well after our birth team meeting. All the uncertainties I have about this birth are washed away with this simple phrase....It reminds me, that as long as I am centered, I will know what to do. It is also the same words that hang over the toilet in my old birth center, so it connects me to that energy.
Each step of the way in our move to Sweden, in the creation of this baby, in so much that has gone on in my life and in this last year in particular has been an unexpected unfolding of events, that all was very different than I planned. But in each moment, I seemed to have the information I needed to proceed. Not the information to make the big picture make sense exactly, but enough to ask me to trust the process, even though I can not see around the next bend. I am trusting that I will have all the information I will need to birth this baby. And all will be well.
My work is to stay clear and focused on the good.
I was sick last night with pregnancy related indigestion and got really crabby. I was dreaming bad dreams of family relationship struggles. I was relating to my body discomfort as pain. I could feel my overall vibration was low, and I got a sense that to go into labor in that state would be really, really bad. It was a good reminder to keep it all on the up and up, to remember the good, breathe the good, live the good. That my state of mind effects my body experience dramatically.
At this stage in pregnancy, my main two books are "Sacred Birth: Birthing a New Humanity" by Sunni Karll, and "Ideal Birth" by Sondra Ray. They both are full of wonderful uplifting thoughts, and visions of gentle births that are transformative and sacred.
I keep referring to birth as "transformative" and "sacred" and in order to clarify what I am mean by this, let me take an excerpt from the Sacred Birthing book (you can also click on the cover and link to the first whole chapter).
"The act of giving birth is the culmination of the act creation. Creation is matter, tissue and skin wrapped around consciousness, the energy of love. Giving birth anoints the parents by increasing their vibration, and invites them into a level of awareness to which they have rarely been privy. To enter fully into this sacred space, recover the love as you felt it as you ignited your seed with your love at the time of conception. Add to it the respect you have for each other and the desire to travel more deeply into your relationship. This brings you to the heart of birthing. It is here you start when labor begins.
To birth with love is to lubricate the heart. Surrounded in love, mother feels safe, her heart opens, and her cervix follows. A cervix does not open easily without the heart feeling safety and love in the immediate environment and leading the way. Love creates a high vibration at birth to support the synchronization of body and soul. This synchronization orders the body's energy field to enable divine rapport with in and offer the baby a life of coherence. When we offer our highest, nature and spirit respond and match our action, and the baby starts it's life at his highest scenario. "
"Every birth has a field of birth, even if it is unconsciously created. Knowing that the field of birth exists gives us a choice in it's creation. What has previously been unknown and therefore unconscious process, can become a conscious process and a great opportunity in order to support the birth you want and your baby needs. This energetic field is made of either trust or fear. Whatever vibration is predominant attracts more of the same to it, and so develops that path toward birth. "
"To create the kind of birth you wish, the field needs to be made of a higher vibration. Love, kindness, and caring create a higher vibration and an environment for more trust. Then, the mother and father's energies vibrate a at higher level and they create their field at this level. "
"Peacefulness and sanctity are the qualities that most parents say they want at birth. Mothers wish to know they are safe and can trust and relax into the hands that are present. They need to have the freedom to do whatever supports their process of giving birth. Eliminating many typical occurrences in birth helps birth be held at a purer vibration. Imagine simply taking away haste, strangers, and chatter and interruptions. Then after reducing birth to it's purest elements, see what you can add to it to raise it to the highest vibration of love.
The ultimate field of birth is to be full of love, and empty of interruption. With each member of the birth circle, the midwife, the invited guests as well as the parents enter the birth as many spiritual practices say 'in the fullness of emptiness' then nothing distracts from love itself. When each offers themselves to the place of birth with no ego, no interference, no personal agenda, then we are awake to the uniqueness of this baby. Without preconceived ideas or our own limiting beliefs, we receive what is happening now, without interfering with this baby's script."
"Welcome labor, not as a test for endurance, but as your most treasured opportunity and you will have the courage to go to a state where you have never gone before. This transformation is about turning all that you hold to be true inside out, and seeing that truth is different at each vibration. Go where pain is naught. Find the state where pain is the breath of god moving through you. Open to it and allow yourself to be breathed. It is simply the energy of a different vibration. Discover this vibration. Feel it's deliciousness as it sweeps through you. Keep asking to raise your vibration and release all that stands in your way. In this work of birth, you can release far more than your baby. A lifetime of clearing can happen as you give birth. Dive into the early rushes by going into and through the pain in order to be where pain is not. Don't pull away from the pain, but welcome them and dive into each one. You are bigger than the pain. Watch as your attention and your request for help melts the constriction. With your next rush, use the point of most intensity as your focal point. At each place of most intensity, there is a constriction from emotional holding patterns of belief systems you worked with in pregnancy. Whatever comes up forgive, forgive, forgive and let it go. Move into the next rush. Whatever thought comes, release it with your forgiveness of self and other. One rush at a time is all you are given. Stay in the present moment, without clocks or thought about time. By working with each rush in this way and melting each old thought and outdated belief, allow your consciousness to go where pain is simply energy. "
Sondra Ray's book 'Ideal Birth' is another one that appeals to me because it comes from the same place of asking for the parents to hold a clear field of birth, so that the baby can have a sweet passage the easiest entry into life. Sondra Ray is a rebirther, someone who uses breathe to clear old patterns. My husband is also a rebirther, and he went to India with Sondra Ray some years ago. This book reflects her version, and his background, of how to clear the path to birth. She was also a student of "The Course in Miracles" at the time she was writing it, which is another source my husband and I both draw from and relate well to.
She has few really simple positive affirmations for birth..
-I am completely safe
-I am completely safe in childbirth
-Childbirth is a safe, natural happening
-The more I give up my fear, the more relaxed I am and the less pain I have
-Everything is happening quickly, which lets me let go of my fear
-I am safe in God
-I am safe and immortal right now
-I can easily allow these symptoms to be absorbed by the energy that makes my body feel good
-I can feel good through all of labor and delivery
-I let god manage all of the pregnancy, labor, and birth
-I surrender completely to God
-I allow this to be pleasurable because I am free of guilt and do not need to punish myself
-I am innocent and my baby is Innocent
-My contractions are pleasant as long as I do not resit
-I no longer resist
-I do not resist God
-I breathe fully and let go
-I am strong enough for this
-I can transmute everything into love and pleasure
-Childbirth brings more aliveness to me
And one used by a woman who relays her story of one of the first waterbirths in the book, that is drawn from the Course in Miracles: "My mind is God's mind, my body is God's body, my spirit is God's spirit."
Sometimes when I read the extensive preparation recommended in these books, it catapults me into insecurity that I have not done enough, am not pure enough. Soooo catholic of me. I got into fear this week over fetal postions, as well, wondering if my bay was positerior and if i should be doing a million special excercise a day to insure 'optimal fetal positioning' and feeling bad for slacking off on my preanatal yoga and perineal massage. But then I remember all the babies I have helped come out, come out, come out....Babies come out. And each moment is new, each moment offers new chance for a miracle, a new moment of freedom.
It brings me back to the mantra I had over my desk for years, still hanging up at my old birth center. It was culled from a SARK calendar:
I use birth to remember.
I use birth to remember.
May I remember.
May I use birth to remember.
May I use birth to remember.