The birth of Luca Alistar Sage (“little raven”) >:<

The birth of Luca Alistar Sage (“little raven”)

>>:October 12, 2011:<<

11:45 pm

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29 - 30 weeks with tree

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It was my third pregnancy & this time I was taking back my power as Woman. I was about to discover and claim my rite of passage. My last births were perfect in their own way, because they have inspired me too look deeper. To not only look deeper within myself and where I needed healing, but also where society as a whole must now seriously look to heal a whole planet of people crying out for it. We need to firmly believe that birth is safe again and experience it, but to do that we must first change our beliefs about what our bodies innately already know how to do and to learn to allow this force of nature through us. We may not be able to control this unfolding as we wish it to happen, but we can surrender to it and try to remain calm within the center of the storm. I’m not sure if anyone can control any force of nature? It takes trust.

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That is what my first 2 births taught me. When my daughter Lili was born I was ecstatic. My pregnancy was a joy and trouble free. I believed in the mind/body connection and holistic medicine. I just graduated from a course as a Holistic health practitioner, learning about whole food nutrition, acupressure and energy medicine. I read Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin again (which I first came across at about 18 and it changed my understanding of childbirth and conditioned view of it) and filled my thoughts with positive images of childbirth. Despite all that we hit a few road bumps. A wave of fear hit me when I realized labour was really beginning because I became afraid of going to the hospital.  I already had a mistrust of the medical system and never liked hospitals. Hospitals were for sick people. NOT where babies should be born. But I had no other options where I lived .My  doctor I had been seeing happened to be out of town for that weekend and the doctor that was on staff at the hospital decided to make a 1 minute assessment of the diameters of my pelvis and sent us off to the next town 3 hours away (in the winter and we never made it there!) for a C-section.  This was going to be my first ambulance ride ever and at first they were in such a hurry to send of us they didn’t even want to wait for my doula to arrive. I wasn’t having that. When she arrived I burst into tears, never really imagining such an ordeal when this was supposed to be joyous time. She calmed me and gently reminded me that everything happens for a reason. This was about the baby’s lessons as well as mine. She chanted a beautiful Sioux chant in the ambulance and even the attendants were surprised at my calm. Because they had prepped me for a C-section – I was not allowed to have food or water! AH! The number one thing that ensures a healthy labor is a well fed and most of all well hydrated mama! I had some water anyways. Ha. But probably not as much as i could have, and certainly the extra energy from some snacks would have kept my energy levels more even.

Things progressed quickly and we had to stop in a smaller community along the way. It was a small and quiet hospital and the staff and doctor all women. They were surprised by my wishes to have a natural birth for someone my age (I was 22 at the time) but really respected that. When things appeared to slow down after reaching full dilation my membranes were ruptured in hopes of speeding things along and when things still didn’t pick up 2 hours later a vaccume was used to get my baby around the bend. I was on my back at this time and remember the vaccume feeling agonizing and the ring of fire itself brought a relief. A natural birth was in my birth plan so no anaesthetic was used to insert it. The lady doctor did the best she could to be gentle and only used the assistance of the ventouse for a few contractions. Then she removed it and I birthed my baby the rest of the way. Lili was lifted unto my chest right away. Her cord was cut quickly and I was given a shot of oxytocin immediately to deliver the placenta. She was weighed and so forth while I had a couple of stitches. Still a minor tear. Then we moved from the delivery room to our room to rest, bond, breastfeed. A few hours later we went home.

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At the time the interventions seemed harmless. It could have been worse. At least I proved to myself not to be influenced by someone else’s opinion. I didn’t have a c-section and my pelvis size seemed sufficient. A baby came through it! Yet there was this underlying feeling I was somehow robbed of something. I wish I had done it all by myself.

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I became unexpectantly pregnant with my son Sequoia only 7 months after having Lili. My partner and I had been experiencing some ups and downs shortly after Lili was born. The past caught up to us. I guess that’s what is supposed to happen when you experience transformation. Healing comes up and wants to be addressed. We came close to going our own ways but something wanted us to stay together. This pregnancy sealed the deal and became the glue that kept us together. I really didn’t feel ready to already have another baby. I was just getting the hang of having this one. Fear and uncertainty flooded my being. I had contemplated abortion but that kind of thinking just didn’t resonate with who I am. When I searched deeper I found another feeling. That of trust in the Universe and its divine flow and that everything happens for a reason. If I didn’t accept this gift now who knows what could happen? I had this intuition that if I didn’t go through with the pregnancy now it would only complicate things later. The presence of this child (I thought may be a boy) was pretty serious about coming. He wasn’t going to budge. An older friend of mine who is very gifted psychically was able to tune into the spirit of my unborn children. The reading revealed him indeed to be a boy and a boystrous and big spirit (which he is).

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It was a really awesome way to connect to them long before they were born. (regardless what your stance is one psychic phenomena, the readings always proved to be very accurate. I had met Lili 4 years before she was even conceived, due to a dream I had of her playing with this little boy! I found out 6 years later who that boy was!)

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I still ended up going through waves of resistence and acceptance despite my life mantra of “everything happens for a reason” and trust. Perhaps due to personal challenges and life circumstances. A major move in the last trimester was tiring and then my partner ended up in a job he disliked and rolled his ankle at work, putting him on crutches a month before the awaited arrival of our baby. The main step forward I felt was the fact I found out midwifery was covered by medical and I was seeing one although she was 3 hours away. She wasn’t the one I initially wanted to see, but I had waited way too long to make a move and by the time I did, the one I wanted had her hands were full. The midwife I was seeing was fairly young and just had a baby 6 months earlier. Her 3rd child and the only natural birth. The others were born by c-section. I briefly shared my last birth experience hoping to avoid another vaccume assisted birth. She figured my second baby would come much quicker.

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My pregnancy unfolded with ease once again, besides some added fatigue from caring for a toddler as well. I got a whole lot bigger though and so did the baby. An extra 2 lbs. bigger.

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The day I realized I was in labour I was scheduled to see my midwife for our appointment. I was also going to finally look into motel options for birth and get my supplies in order. Very last minute! I was in denial I was in labour. The night before I had a pretty restless sleep with on and off contractions. Here we were though. About 5 cm. dialated when we got to her place. So she sent us off to gather our things. I wished she would have helped me a bit more at this point to take some stress off of my hands, but at the same time it was my fault to leave things till the last minute even though baby was coming 2 weeks before the “guess date”. I ran around Value Village (a giant thrift store) looking for old sheets, little blankets and baby clothes. Then the medical supply place for some disposable sheets for on the bed and some other things on the list. Finally we go to the motel my midwife had mentioned that was ok with out- of- towners coming to have babies outside of the hospital and they turned us away because it was now under new management. Contractions were a bit more intense at this point and I just wanted to go rest somewhere. Michael, my partner still on crutches became good at hobbling fast. We finally found a motel but it wasn’t the nicest.

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My midwife and her nurse assistant arrive. She does more paperwork than hands on. Her nurse assistant actually became more of a support than her. She even complained of being tired. I’m sure she was. She had a baby at home. Unfortunately the focus and dedication wasn’t quite on me. Full dilation was reached and things began to lull again. I tried lots of standing, the toilet and the shower. The toilet being about the best place. I had to pee frequently and at least I could relieve myself without moving. After a couple of hours of this I was again asked to have my membranes ruptured, and although I wanted to avoid that this time I really hoped that perhaps this time it could work. It took her a few tries to pop it. It was healthy and strong and didn’t want to be popped! And it didn’t speed things up. Pushing only tired me out and I never really felt a strong urge to push. I was just hoping it was making a difference. Then the decision was made to transport me to the hospital and I really felt a loss of control. I didn’t want to do this again and this time my doula wasn’t there for this birth to be a strong presence by my side, due to circumstances. I was handed over to the Doctor that night. A female doctor again, but this time the nurses and doctor were not as supportive as the last time. The energy in this hospital so frantic and yet my babies vitals calm and steady. A decision to use vaccume assistance was made. I really had to surrender at this point. The eye of the storm. I had to find that center. When it finally came to crowning and she still had not removed the vaccume, I remember visualizing a great opening. I was quickly taken out of this meditative state as I felt her giving a good pull on my son. This time I had 2nd degree tears. The cord was cut immediately which resulted in his lungs being a bit raspy. I was given a shot of oxytocin again, stitched up and then moved to a room to bond with my baby. This time I was more exhausted than elated. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and had to sleep. When I woke up I nursed my baby.

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I felt somehow I wasn’t made to give birth. When I asked my midwife what would have happened in ancient times she just replied that some of the women died giving birth to “stuck” babies. That was really hard to hear because I never believed Nature would create such flaws within her perfection. Again I felt robbed but its presence much stronger this time. I was depressed about it. It played over and over in my mind and this deep yearning gnawing at me again wishing I could have been adequate enough to give birth on my own.

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It was this birth especially that made me more curious to understand birth better. There was so much more to birth than a mere physical mechanism. I would learn of the importance of the limbic imprint, our beliefs about birth and the cellular memory of our own birth. I learned about waterbirth and how the relationship to our partner affects birth outcomes as well as the birth environment itself. I connected some pieces. Intimate relationships and birthing energy are linked to the same chakra (energy center in the body around the navel) the sacral chakra and its primary essence that of ‘letting go’ and flowing emotions. Letting go has always been a repeating lesson for me and not an easy one.

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Pregnancy in my understanding became a vehicle for transformation. I felt it. Its sacredeness and opportunity, but now I understood a bit better. To say one completely understands it would be a lie because it’s such a beautiful mystery. If we are open, we can be shown where healing is needed. Where we are still stuck or blocked. Pregnancy is the study of oneself and birth the final test.

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It has been 5 years since my son was born and I found myself pregnant again. Another unexpected gift. I didn’t see it coming at the time because I thought my path was taking me in a different direction, but this wave of joy soon washed all over me. I couldn’t help but feel this powerful presence of peace and calm. The spirit of this child felt like it was reassuring me that all would be well. At least in the bigger picture. Since I do not like repeating past mistakes, I really focused on allowing and acceptance. I had moments of worry and fear about the timing but would bring my awareness back to “everything happens for a reason”. Everything worked out beautifully the last time even though I didn’t feel ready. It was indeed a challenge but I grew so much. I believe we are given only that which we can handle, even if we don’t believe we can handle that something. It is still a joy to see my daughter and son having bonded so closely. Not something I would have planned on purpose, but it was rather allowed and rather perfect that way.

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In those 5 years another midwife moved to a community West of us. Much closer then the other midwife I was seeing previously. I had heard she even trained on “the farm” in Tennessee (from Ina May’s book Spiritual Midwifery, which influenced me so long ago).I had a good feeling. I also liked the community. This time I contacted her immediately without wasting much time. My first appointment was at 8 weeks unlike the other pregnancy where I waited until the 5th month!

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I shared my history with her right away and she immediately gave me a starting point. She thought perhaps my babies may have been born Occiput Posterior or sunny side up, quite often making labour harder and longer. She explained it had to do with fetal presentation and how they must rotate to make their way through the pelvis. (all 4 babies of hers were OP). The easiest and most common position is Occiput Anterior, when their face, faces the bum instead of the pubes. The softer part of the head, the Occiput then has an easier time moulding. Aha. I started researching this diligently and came across a fantastic website called Spinning Babies (easier childbirth through fetal positioning). I had a lot of fun learning and interacting with women on their Facebook page. I wasn’t the only one and finally found more birth stories more similar to mine.  I did the exercises they recommended and watched my posture and began a gentle daily Yoga practice. I also saw a physiotherapist a couple of times because I knew I had a slight rotation in my pelvis that needed to be addressed. I then kept up with those exercises to keep it in place.

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I really became inspired and somewhat of a birth junky. Maybe my prior experiences really were for a reason and not fruitless. Perhaps my experience could someday help other women who are going through similar things, but I really needed this upcoming birth to go smoothly. I mean, how can I teach women that birth is safe and they can do it if I couldn’t?

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I really wanted a water birth. I felt that according to my prior experience I needed to conserve energy and everything I had read about a water birth mentioned being able to relax easier and maintain endurance, as well as serving as a natural epidural due to the pain relieving properties of water. This became a bit of a stumbling block only because the hospital in this community was old and outdated and not set up for water birth. At that point the only option again was a motel, but I wasn’t too excited at that proposition only because of my last experienceWhat I really wanted was to have my baby in my own home! But I knew that wasn’t going to be an option. My midwife was the ONLY midwife in that community and had about 8 expectant mothers for the month of October. Either way, our local hospital had decided they didn’t want to deliver babies anymore because they feared complications and had no full time doctor surgeon around nor a well working OR. This really needs to change. What is wrong with our society, really. Sending expectant mothers hours away from their own homes. Anything could happen.

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Now, my only other concern was another woman going into labour as me, because Bobbie mentioned she couldn’t be in two places at the same time and that would be the only reason I may have to deliver in the hospital. I tried not to think about it too much and trust that everything would work out. She also mentioned in her experience births have a way of working themselves out without 2 ladies needing her at the same time. Ok. She would later prove to be right about that.

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I set myself a date to have everything in order. 3 weeks before my due date. I had this feeling the whole time my baby would come at least a week or two earlier. (he did, due date was October 25 and he came on October 12, I knew he’d be a Libra for sure! Astrology nerd here). I had all my birth supplies gathered by the 1st of October and I also had a backup birth place, a motel, but this time I spoke with the owners ahead of time who were open and even excited to have women come there and birth. Especially a water birth. I spoke a lot to my partner Michael about birth and my hopes. He gently kept reminding me to not get attached to ONE way of having this baby, or rather the details of it. What mattered most was the general energy of the birth and to focus on setting intentions on that. My intentions were a powerful healing birth. I needed to heal and regain confidence in my abilities, but I also wanted it to be gentle and calm. Whether the baby would be born in water or not.

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I also had to see an OB as a backup, someone Bobbie trusted. I honestly but kindly told him that although he was nice I hoped not to see him again! He didn’t mind. He said he got that a lot from Bobbie’s clients.

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Throughout pregnancy I asked my baby to make sure I’d get a good heads up as to when to leave and hoped it wouldn’t happen in the middle of the night. I also dreamed a lot about birth and meditated on birth. Visualizing good engagement and rotation through my pelvis. I knew there were at least 3 different types of pelvic shapes. Some, more difficult to pass a baby through. I had no idea which one was like mine, but I remember the doctors saying something about the shape of my pelvis when I had Lili. Bobbie would just remind me that perhaps my longer 2nd stage had something to do with my pelvic shape but the babies did make it through! Yes they did.

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The day came. I had a good nights sleep (which became pretty rare because I had to pee a few times a night) and a big nourishing family dinner the night before. Michael and I had also just done my belly cast that day as well. I certainly had been feeling more pressure and Braxton hicks were getting more steady. I was 38 weeks.

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That morning I started timing contractions and asked for more of a sign if this was it. By noon some bloody show. I had been trying to reach Nathalie (the lady with the birth room) to confirm our arrangement for the last week but hadn’t got through. I tried to phone her that morning, not certain this was it yet, but left a message. I phoned Bobbie and told her what was happening and that I hadn’t got through to Nathalie to confirm. She said she was at a home visit and one of the residents of the property was with her and she said by the time I got there someone would be there to open up for me. Good enough for me.

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I started gathering my things. Made arrangements for the kids to go to grandma’s house and waited for Michael to come home from work. I felt I had lots of time.

I even finished a painting I had began working on, that became my visual mantra – my creation to focus my intention.

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Empowered Birth

Empowered Birth

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I wasn’t looking forward to driving in labour again but it went by quicker than I thought and the contractions, although steady, were fairly gentle and passed quickly.It was beautiful outside for a fall day. It was late afternoon by now and fog was hanging in the hills, speckled with some remaining golden leaves. The drive a soothing meditation of valleys and hills and mountains. A good focus. The moon was full this night and darkness was slowly sweeping over the land, only the glow of the moon lighting the way. We arrive at the property. Mike stops in at Nathalie’s home, who isnt’ home. He speaks to her husband who claims he was not informed or aware of any confirmation for this. Oh dear. I stay unexpectantly calm considering being turned away. He said to come back in an hour when Nathalie is home. An hour. We drive back down the road to get cell phone reception and I phone Bobbie, who then cleared it all up. There was no room to get negative. Perhaps a test of trust. This place had just always felt so right and I couldn’t see it not working out now. So we head back and finally get set up.

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Candles. Incense to clear the space. Music. Birth tub. Ready. An impromptu birth alter!

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I spent the night in the warm water. Timelessness took over. Only the passing of the moon in the night’s sky an indication of time passing. My focus was on relaxing into the waves that would keep gently washing over me and sometimes crashing into shore. I was left to fall deep into myself, Michael only coming every once in awhile to share a gentle touch of comfort. The night slipped by and was swallowed up by morning light.

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It was time to call Bobbie. Things were picking up. She came, observed, and got her things ready. We had talked about checking progress in our visits and she agreed to only check me if necessary or if I asked her to. I was curious and she checked me. Almost there, but it was going to take a bit more time yet. A few more hills left to climb. Some moving around was required and change in position to get my baby to move down. The toilet proved to be a great place for that (I really like the birth chair with Lili & toilet with Sequoia also). I went back and forth between toilet and birth tub for awhile. My water broke about 2hrs. after reaching full openness. All on its own this time. It was quite a pop. I went back to the birth tub hoping this meant baby was coming very soon, but upon checking me another time Bobbie felt the baby still a ways up there. I was beginning to feel a bit discouraged. Perhaps a good sign of transition. I tried to put my mind at ease but really felt like running from some of the rushes. They were strong, intense and lasted much longer. I was encouraged to use the rushes, to not tense up and bear down with focus. It was a supportive environment to be. Nestling my face into Bobbie’s big chest also felt very centering. The energy was peaceful and calm.

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My attention roused by a beautiful raven perched just outside the window. As I lay in the tub and admired this gift (I believe in animal messengers) I just had this feeling my babe would be coming within the next hour. He/She was having a great time announcing to the world a baby was about to be born, just cawing away (an interesting note is that in native medicine astrology the raven is equivalent to the western sign of Libra and why I call him ‘my little raven’).

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After a go at some pushing on the bed on either side, I slowly made my way back to the toilet once again. This time it was the last time. After a good soul searching eye gaze from Bobbie and her checking in with me to see if I was holding any fear. I wanted to meet my baby but I was a bit afraid I couldn’t do it. Then everything shifted. A power took over I had no control over. Pushing wasn’t something I had to focus on now. It had to happen. My body made it happen. I felt a descent and the nurse attendant Carmen (who was a sweet soul I felt instantly connected to) basically had to push me off the toilet onto all fours. The birth tub was now way too far away, the baby was coming now. Michael, who was standing over me (the bathroom space was very small and cramped) was saying babies coming. Tears filling his eyes. The baby was crowning and it felt more intense than I could recall the last two times. Carmen applied a warm cloth to my perineum. What a blessing. I never got to feel that before. As the baby’s head was coming, expecting to see a face right away it was the top of his head. As the head came out he rotated looking up at daddy, his eyes wide open and ready to cry. Carmen checked for a cord around the neck at was greeted by a hand. Well, this is why baby took awhile to descend. His head coming down sideways with his hand compounding ( what a silly baby, after all those visualizes he still had his own plan). Then out slipped the rest of him (at this point I didn’t know it was indeed a him). As I gazed down between my legs expecting to see a little girl (I was almost certain he was a she) I was surprised to see his parts. A boy! I have to say I was a bit in shock. I was reminded of a very lucid dream of seeing the baby in my belly and looking for parts and then this little boy was projected outside of me and speaking to me. I should have listened to that dream more closely. I believe now, my intuition was picking up on his gentle and peaceful nature and I guess I always had a feeling my last baby would be a girl! Maybe this isn’t the last?! His little blue body quickly turned to pink with an almost perfect apgar score.

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As I stood up my placenta delivered very quickly, also on its own, but I began to bleed a little more than Bobbie was comfortable with so she gave me a shot of oxytocin. (Looking back this part I really wasn’t so fond of, I understand the 3rd stage of labor so much clearer now). The bleeding stopped quickly and we slowly made our way to the bed. I was exhausted but happy. I lay there in a surreal state with my new son trying to nurse, but he was content just laying with me for awhile. Unlike the hospital routine, Bobbie and Carmen left us for awhile doing their parts. They waited until a bit later to weigh and measure. An ounce shy of being 7 lbs. right in between the birth weight of Lili and Sequoia.

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Raven was indeed right. My baby was born within that hour of him/her cawing it out to the world. I really did it! It was going to take me awhile to let it all sink in. His cord was cut about 2 hrs. after he was born by his dad. Not a full lotus birth but a half lotus.

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My kids still laugh when I tell them their brother was almost born in the toilet! So I didn’t get my water birth but I came close. The most important thing for me was accomplished despite that. I gave birth to my baby all by myself. Outside of hospital walls and with no interventions whatsoever and my intuition guided me to this place in full accuracy. Even though the fine details escaped me, I am humble in knowing I don’t know everything and to leave some room for the Universe to surprise me. Thank you for my baby boy!

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little star

Very alert & aware >:<

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