Quick Overview of Kaia’s Birth

Kaia Marin Steele Arrived on Her Due Date – July 5, 2005!

Our little dark haired bundle of joy greeted the world with bright eyes and weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz. She was 19 inches long.
Her birth was an incredible journey of love, patience, strength, courage, anticipation, hard work and lots of fun.
Labor began in the wee hours of the morning of Independence Day. I slept throughout the early contractions and finally awoke to realize that our daughter would meet us soon. Jason and I spent the first half of the morning laboring alone in excitement, while my Mom came over later to clean up, mop the floors and finish laundry. We finally summoned the birthing team to our home around 4:45 pm when my water broke (although I later realized it probably broke early in the morning and was just leaking throughout the day. Sorry if TMI!). With our family gathered nearby on campus, Jason and I rode the energy of birth with immense love and support from our birth team, family, and friends. It was hard work…but not painful. Without Jason by my side, I could not have found a way to focus through the intensity and power of the rushes. He looked deep into my eyes as we worked together to help our daughter journey into this realm. Our birthing tub was a blessing!
Around 12:30 am, on July 5th, Kaia decided to surprise us once again…she was “sitting” (i.e. in a breech position, coming bottom first!). Because AZ law doesn’t allow midwives to deliver breech babies at home (please help us change this!), we had to embark on an adventure to a local hospital, where Kaia was delivered via a beautiful and loving C-section birth at 2:35 am. Proud Papa and Marinah my midwife were by my side as our baby girl was lifted grandly from her home in my belly. She gazed at me immediately and I thought she looked just like Jason…My heart expanded 10 times over…
So…some may say “You didn’t get the homebirth you wanted”. True that we didn’t anticipate a ride to the hospital, nor a C-section, but I feel that I still had a homebirth. I would do it all over again. I labored until I was 9 centimeters dilated here in the comfort of my home, surrounded by love and an energy larger and bigger than ourselves…I was empowered as a woman, as a birth goddess, as a human…by being able to labor in any position, eat, drink, sit in a warm birth tub of water with my husband, lay on my bed, get naked, breath and moan and laugh through rushes, carry on conversations with friends and family, kiss my dog as he rested his chin on our birth tub to watch, and have our amazing birth team constantly support and love me with healing touches and murmurs of encouragement…Birth has mysterious ways of teaching us lessons.
Kaia’s birth transpired just a week ago and every day I work through the numerous emotions associated with it..and there are many. I work through the dissapointment of not being able to complete my birth process at home, simply due to a law that seeks to determine what is best for me and our baby without knowing circumstances. I work through the moment of having to decide whether to go through with birthing her vaginally at a hospital, confined to a bed, tied to an IV and fetal monitor with strangers and nurses, knowing a “hospital clock” may have been ticking and I may have ended up with a C-section anyways. Or, on the other hand, I ask myself if I could have chosen to have the incredible strength to do it anyways admist all of these intervetions and challenges? I work through the emotions that come with C-sections and what it means for my future children. I remember having to make this decision in a matter of minutes, while considering so much. Jason held my hand tight and offered only true deep love.
I work through the responses of people, who in kindness say “Well, all that matters in the end is that you have a healthy baby”. How I want them to understand that the process, the journey, matters just as much! We do not learn if we only think about end results. We must learn to honor the process in it’s entirety.

“It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey in the end
that matters.” -Ursela LeGuin.

And I work the the awesome, overwhelming, beautiful memories of being at home…those memories and feelings carry me. As I said on the way to the hospital “I would do it the same way again…and it was so much FUN.” I believe Kaia decided the fate of her birth – she chose. I simply accepted. Jason and I are so very grateful for the path we chose and even for the unexpected bend in the path that we didn’t chose. We know we are tasked with sharing something important with others…lessons, learnings, stories…and those will reveal themselves with time.
From her first moment in our world, Kaia was intensly aware, mellow, and wise. Marinah described her as “grounded, and very much of the Earth”. Well, funny that Kaia’s name means “of the Earth”. What I’ve learned is that this little soul knows so much more than us tenured Earth dwelling humans may ever realize. I’ve experience the power of birth unleashed and it was worth every moment.

Tue Jul 12 2005, 07:59pm PT
From Marinah, our midwife:
Leigh, Jason, Kaia: Kaia, your birth was such an amazing journey! Remember, and JP will concur, that these are the dog days when Sirius, the dog star, is conjunct with the sun and it is the hottest time in the northern hemisphere. What better time to be born in the desert? / Jason, your trust and love for Leigh as an equal partner is such an example – our world would be such a better place if every woman had a partner that truly cared as much as you do about being fully supportive and loving with feminist and women centered issues. It can only make you a better man and father to your daughter./ Leigh, – it is such an honor to see a woman decide for herself how she wants to birth and that her body belongs only to herself and, most of all, that birth is natural and safe. I hope all those around you are in as much awe as I, my sister midwives, and the doctors as we finally encountered a woman who was fully aware of her choices and made them from a place of power and love. Thank you and love, marinah ********************* (a poem) Love set you going like a fat gold watch./ The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry/ Took its place among the elements./ Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue./ In a drafty museum, your nakedness/ Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls./ I’m no more your mother/ Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow/ Effacement at the wind’s hand. All night your moth-breath/ Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:/ A far sea moves in my ear./ One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral/ In my Victorian nightgown./ Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square/ Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try/ Your handful of notes;/ The clear vowels rise like balloons. ************** – Poem by Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song”

Thu Jul 07 2005, 10:50am PT
From Shell, our midwife’s assistant:
Kaia, You are so wise to have picked such a loving family! Your mother is very brave and strong. She labored with you in grace and beauty. I know you will benefit from the amazing way she allowed the miracle of birth to course through her body. It was a blessing to behold the love between your mother and father as they worked toward your arrival. If all babies were born with such honor, what a wonderful world it would be! May your life forever be grounded in the essence of your birth. ~Unity~Love~Grace~ Forever, Shell


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dena says:

    Lovely birth story Leigh. I too ended up with a section for my second birth. I was given a choice to try an induction while on mag for pre E or have a section. There was really no choice as far as I was concerned, I went with the safest option for my babies. I have had to work through the emotions of not having the birth I had wanted but have realized that their birth was special because it was theirs, ours. Every birth is an amazing journey, some simply not the path we had envisioned but the destination remains the same. The thing that bugged me the most was people feeding me the line, “all that matters is a healthy baby”. Of course we all want that but there isn’t just one clear path and the process does make a difference. I hate that the medical establishment disempowers women and uses fear as a tool to sway our decision. If only we could shift it back in our favor.

  2. Mangala says:

    “Jason and I are so very grateful for the path we chose and even for the unexpected bend in the path that we didn’t chose.”

    I’m in awe at your humility and grace in accepting the birth outcome. Most women are angry and bitter about their c-sections…maybe it helped that yours was an empowered decision that you were given the time, space and honour to make?…but whatever, it is an example for the rest of us in feeling more accepting about our “unexpected bend in the path” births. It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that the baby is an equal participant and exercises its own choice based on its own soul journey. A good lesson to take forward into parenting also.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful insights and wisdom with courage and clarity.

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