Womb Notes; 37 Weeks

Mystery Baby,

You: always known and unknown, all at once.   You, familiar even in your newness; the same sense I get when I meander down a dirt road between Mesquites or Cedars or Pines.   Like the experience of overlooking all of Paris from the Eiffel Tower and knowing somehow this moment has always existed in my bones.

photo 1I actually house few words for you, your energy and presence.  How to transcend the feelings into words is a bit of sorcery that I can’t muster at this point.  Feelings that arise in my soul as my hands feel your feet beneath my skin, and as my cervix responds to the gravity of you with a striking pinching sensation.   We are together as one for but a short time longer and I am both ready and not ready for this next transition.  This is one of the many gifts of breastfeeding;  a bodily connection that remains for as long as it needs to.  Nursing becomes an instant gateway back to the portal of pregnancy, birth, and primal nourishment.  It is a release and transfer of all the cosmos and milky stars from the pitch black of night to you.

At 37 weeks, I am grieving the end.   This is simply my truth.   Growing my children is something I do well and cherish deeply and savor (like that very last push in which you’ll emerge from me).   It is impossible to imagine that my womb will be empty of life for the rest of mine.   But you will be alive and well in the womb of mother earth, thriving and loving and adventuring to the very ends of it.  My continual gestation will be my unconditional love for you and your siblings, even in the chaos of it all.

photo 1These are the thoughts that slush within me as I sink into a deep, salty bath every night.   And then I am brought back and begin to think of logistics of your birth:  what if I go into labor before my birth tub is delivered…could I birth here, in this tub? Is it deep enough?  Will the girls be at school? How quickly could I retrieve them?  Will my request of at least a six-hour labor be agreed upon by you? Will I breathe you out like the softest of desert rain or let a deep scream curl around my body as you leave one world for another? Will your siblings be asleep? And if so, will I be able to summon the nerve to wake them as they have diligently requested?  Will I have the wherewithal to pull you up to me as you emerge, your slippery body fresh as untouched snow?  Will you choose to born in the water, or near my bed, or in the bathroom (so many homebirths happen there)?

laundry 36 weeksAnd so, like a hotel maid service, I’ve been cleaning and laundering and washing dishes and sweeping every single day.   You could arrive any day or as late as five weeks or so from now.   My nesting mama brain wants to at least have our bedroom – my birth sanctuary – tidy for that impending day.   And so my birth altar has been arranged, every supply is at the ready, bathroom counters are wiped down each night, the toilet is clean, and (very soft) toilet paper is continually stocked in a basket on top of it.   The floors are swept and carpet vac’d, the rugs have been washed, my drawers have been organized, and my nightstand stocked with the essentials.

A few nights ago, after explaining to the kids that I’d like their help keeping our room clean and that mama was nesting like many mammals do, I also showed them my birth altar.  I told them about the special tokens and the meaning they hold.

photo 3

And Kaia asked if she could place things on it too. “Of course, love.  That would be so wonderful to have your energy there”, I remarked from the bathtub.   And she came to me, three times, with the most heart-melting notes and drawings.   And she taped two of her plastic horses together, the little colt standing beside her mother covered in fresh, rust-red paint.  “Mama, I made this.   It’s a mama after just giving birth to her baby.  See? The blood?  And now the baby is nursing”.   And sometimes it is the corniest of gifts that hold the most sacred meaning.

photo 4 photo 2 photo 4 photo 2 photo 3

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Last weekend, a few of my closest friends gathered in the desert to honor this birth in a Blessingway ritual.   It was the most perfect blend of holy and ordinary and bittersweetness.   We began on the land that we recently purchased and that will someday anchor a home we will build.  It overlooks mountains and a valley and the Palo Verdes are lush and verdant.    Together, my friends presented me with a handmade dreamcatcher, and gave me the gift of healing touch with a massage.   We sipped hot cocoa and I shared my visions and thoughts for the final weeks of my pregnancy and for my fourth birth.  We laughed and watched my best friend’s son smile and nurse in her lap, all as the sun curtsied behind the mountain.   I exhaled and whispered a few secrets to the land and to my baby as I offered bits of Lyric’s placenta powder – as well as placenta powder from the babe of my adoring soul-sister from Ireland – to the desert. I can think of fewer more powerful and protective offerings than the placental life-force.

We moved to my friend’s home and were joined by a few other lovely wise-women, who sat around the roaring fire and spoke their  truths and wishes to me.  Each added a ribbon to the dreamcatcher that hangs now in my birth space.   Between bites of sea-salt encrusted cookies and warm quiche, we circled together and made a communal container of fragrant bath salts.   We added essential oils and aromatic herbs like rosemary, chamomile, calendula, rose powder, hibiscus, and the most divine Creosote oil that my Sarah had infused for over a year.  The end result was that each of us filled muslin bags and mason jars with this dreamy concoction and now get to virtually share in healing oil + salt baths.   My car smelled like heaven on the drive home.

Speaking of the drive home…I saw, for the first time in my life, a huge magnificent meteor streaking behind a mountain.  Neon green, glowing with a clarity of a diamond, it’s fireball grew in intensity.  I gasped, and grabbing my steering wheel said to my friends (who missed it): “Holy shit did you see that?!!”.  I honestly thought I’d perhaps seen a UFO crashing to earth.   After I got home that evening, I did some research and found that I was witness to the Geminid Meteor Shower.    The next evening, Jason and I saw another one as we drove down through the mountains.   Jason could barely speak, slowing managing to squeak out “Leigh, it’s so beautiful!!”.

But really? It was you, baby.   I felt you so strongly in those moments. communicating in a way that I couldn’t possibly miss.   Reminding me of the way we all come into this world; comets barreling through ancient stardust. You are The Light.  Your Way has been blessed.

xmas tree1I dreamed last week that your siblings were begging me to find out if you are a boy or a girl.  I pleaded with them, telling them I wanted nothing more than to find out myself on that very day you are born to us.   But they were demanding and a Seer presented them with a sock of a certain colored-stripe.  I saw her place it in their hands and my heart sank to know we’d be Knowing before we Knew.   It was a pink stripe.   And I was devastated (not that you were a girl in the dream!)…through my tears I told them I’d waited 36 weeks, savoring the mystery, and had not wanted to find out.   It felt like something hallowed had been taken from me.

I have no “feelings” about whether you are a boy or a girl.  Except that when you move a lot, twisting and undulating inside of me, you exude a feminine energy.  It is something I cannot even truly explain.  But then you sleep, grow quiet, and I am left to know you simply as my child.

When I awoke, I thought how lucky I am that this is one of the only “fears” I’d been holding.  How I’ve given away Fear, surrendered it long ago with my first birth.  How I’ve realized Fear will come when it is needed and only when it will serve me.  And how because I haven’t allowed it residence, I will be attuned to its tone and voice if I hear it.  Otherwise, it hibernates and I am left to live in the Now, the Here, the Only Time There Is. photo 4

I am open.  I know you will choose your most perfect and precise time to open ME.

I love the you that you are, the you that you will continue to grow into.  I am blessed to stand as witness to the journey of you.

Always,

Mama

Womb Notes: Week 35

womb notes Dearest Little Light of the Cosmos,

Today, we danced together in the shower.  My hands around the place you’ve occupied for almost 8 moons, a swollen moon herself.   I swayed and   rocked and sang “Angel Eyes” and I thought about our first gaze…that powerful moment where Mother now has two swirling universes called eyes and where Baby has the same.   And together we travel them and get lost and come back around to one another.

And I stood and marveled at a body within a body; little nesting dolls we are.   The beaded water sitting on the slope of my belly, the way I can’t see my feet unless I lean forward, the sore ligaments of my lower uterus easing up with every drop of hot water against my skin.

This, body and heart connected as one, for the last time ever.   You, our little strong caboose, the last bud to bloom on our tree of life.   I am cognizant of the fact that, try as I may, I will never quite be able to recall exactly what it was like to grow you.  I’ll remember these words, and the photos, and how my heart seemed to beat in time with yours the very first time I heard yours echo “whoosha whoosha whoosha”.  Perhaps I will remember how, every morning, you switch positions depending on the side I am lying on.  Or how you kick Daddy in the back as I snuggle against him.  Or how your movements are so powerful at times they cause me to grunt and moan.  Daily, I give thanks for the honor of this journey and for the primal way it connects me to every one of my female ancestors.  I am grateful for the Braxton Hicks and how, when I breathe down deep into them, I am practicing for your Earth Birth Day.

1451403_10152065309712604_407613234_nTogether, we’ve managed to put 40 lbs. on this mama frame of mine (I think my face houses at least 5 of those lbs).  Every muscle and cell and inch of my skin has given way to you;  like the rolling out of the red carpet.   This body, a temple we have built together, week by week.

There has been ice cream and herb salads with apples, lounging in bed and mowing the lawn, an inhale of desert air that burns and an exhale of cool winter chill.  You’ve been inundated with the squeals and screams and songs of your siblings and lots of Christmas music.   I’ve cleaned the living room while sitting down, mopped the floors in boots, and perfected a modified “Cat-Cow” position while unloading laundry from the front-loader washing machines (so much more work – when pregnant – than top loading machines).

And now is the time when my nesting gets serious.   And getting serious with four other people in the house feels like trying to unravel the tightest of strings.   The work is never done, and even for the moments it feels done there is the impending knowledge that the undoing will begin in moments.  I can tidy the house up into a neat little pinata and you betcha the kids will quickly beat it until its guts spill out on the floor again.   That’s just the way it goes.   This life cannot be contained.

But still, I am working to re-engineer the laundry process and have my birth kit organized and at the ready.   My calendar is filling up with little scribbles, signs of a busy yet mellow life.  I am donating toys and grown-out-of clothing and trying to mop the floors more often.  I will be scheduling my pre-baby haircut and eyebrow wax (my tradition) and am working on my
“What You Can Do to Help” List that I’ll post on my fridge.  The birth tub will be delivered after Christmas and I am getting ready to drop off fabrics (gifted to me by dear friends) to a seamstress who will craft me a silky robe for my postpartum babymoon.   Newborn clothes and towels for the birth have been freshly laundered and folded for months and my Moby wrap is at the ready to snuggle baby close to my heart.

I have so many love-infused tokens gifted to me by my tribe that I have collected on a shelf in my closet;  these are being carefully arranged on my birth altar, framed in thrifted frames, and placed in just the right spots.    I don’t have a nursery to decorate or a crib to put together but you betcha I’m on the hunt for the perfect sheet set that will grace our bed the day you are born…the sheets we will slide into together, my belly still distended and jiggly and some of our limbs likely dotted in your birth blood.   Already I have tucked “Chux” pads and some newborn diapers into my night stand.

1468673_10152065310027604_124912648_nA few nights ago, as I lay on my side in bed and cradled my belly and felt you moving, I was hit with the realization that soon we will both be in very similar position.  Except you will nuzzle beneath my armpit and nurse the night away;  a milky elixir in your belly.  But YOU.  You will be beside me, curled around me, your sweet sighs and coos and grunts my nighttime symphony.   Your brother likely on my other side, kicking off the covers as he always does.    And I will know that “it was always you”. 

And this, for you, in true Stephen Sondheim style.  From “Merrily We Roll Along”:

“Something is stirring,
Shifting ground…
It’s just begun.
Edges are blurring
All around,
And yesterday is done.

Feel the flow,
Hear what’s happening:
We’re what’s happening.
Don’t you know?
We’re the movers and we’re the shapers.
We’re the names in tomorrow’s papers.
Up to us now to show ‘em…

It’s our time, breathe it in:
Worlds to change and worlds to win.
Our turn coming through,
Me and you, pal,
Me and you!

Feel how it quivers
On the brink
What?
Everything
Gives you the shivers
Makes you think
There’s so much stuff to sing
And you and me
We’ll be singing it like the birds
Me with music and you the words
Tell ‘em things they don’t know”

I love you.  And yes, of course, it has always been You.
Mama

PS The Christmas tree is up.  It will stay up until after you are born, until you are another little light on our tree.

 

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