September 28, 2006
How you blessed me, our little “goddess of the dawn”, goddess of “our Dawn” – your Mama. You indeed were born into our realm on the dawning of a brand new day, before the new light. At 12:33 am you arrived in your magical caul, your translucent watery world. You spoke oh so softly of enchanting things, sharing them with your goddess Mama.
At 5:45 pm on Wednesday, September 27, I was shopping and got a “text-message” from your Mama. It said “Starting to seem steady, might call soon. Timing now, maybe 7 min apart”. My heart leapt knowing we’d be meeting you soon. I had caught up on sleep the prior night in anticipation of your arrival, so I felt renewed and invigorated. I decided I’d head home to grab a bite to eat so I could be strong and ready to support your Mama along her birth journey.
Your Daddy called me around 7:40 pm and said “Well, Dawn is done with the ‘Nice and Happy’ contractions and is on to the ‘Now it hurts’ contractions.” I think it would be a good time for you to come”. The excitement and tenderness in his voice was genuine and moving and I told him I’d be there soon. Suddenly, the nervous energy began to build up in me. As I stumbled for some storage containers, I knocked a handful off of my shelves. They tumbled to the floor and I knew I’d have to gain gentle control of my nerves. It’s just that I wanted to be the perfect doula for your Mama and Daddy. Oh, dear Aurora, know that truly we are all perfect. We are born that way, just like you. As we get older, we tend to forget that our perfection has all kinds of different looks and sounds and thoughts. Perfect doesn’t look the same to everyone, so always embrace even those quirky, silly, sensitive parts that may emerge in your soul.
Fifteen minutes later, I was on the road. The air was sweet and warm, the night sky still. The moon was a perfect crescent and its golden haze was glowing with brilliance. As I drove down the highway, I stuck my hand out the window. I felt the force of the air and listened to the soothing sound of whooshing wind. I imagined what you were experiencing in the world you would soon be departing from. Breathing deeply, I relaxed into the seat of my car as it passed the desert mountains.
I arrived on your VW-lined street at 8:45 pm. The porch-light was on and I quietly entered through the front door. I was surprised to witness what seemed to be a bit of a party! Your Mama and your brother Robert were happily floating in the birthing tub. Your Daddy, and friends and midwife were lounging around the living room, laughing and chatting and smiling. What a splendid sight, a celebration of birth and life and love. And, just as it should be, without an ounce of fear in the air. I hugged your Daddy, who was brimming with joy and then hugged your Mama. And, Aurora, your Mama was so beautiful. Her long hair was pinned up atop head and she smiled at me with her piercing eyes. She moved and floated and swayed in the water and grinned at the jokes being shared. I think one day you will suddenly notice how you resemble her; in the way you sit, or glance, or ponder life’s mysteries while in a little, wooded tree house.
I found a place on a nearby sofa and absorbed the incredible the energy of the room. I watched your Mama as she breathed without sound through surges. Your Daddy and Robert were working as a team to time the surges and took their job very seriously. I wanted to avoid invading the space your Mama had created and decided it was important to let her feel me out first. At one point, I noticed your Mama looks a little warm and offer her an ice-cold washcloth, “It’s cold”, I warn her as I press it gently against her head. With wide eyes, she jerks away from the cloth and says “Oh no, too cold!” Slightly embarrassed, I apologize and immediately dunk it in the warm pool water to dull the shock. As I place it onto her forehead this time, she says it feels good. Your brother requested to light some incense and soon its full, sacred, sweet scent is wafting through the air. It smells of hope and healing.
Within an hour, your Mama’s surges begin to pick up in intensity. You must have been doing some very tough work together. Crouching on her knees in the pool, she now leans her forehead on her arms that are resting on the side of the tub. In the middle of conversation, she instinctively waves her hand away to hush any talking. She concentrates and goes within. Her breathing becomes more audible, but still relaxed and calm and she is working beautifully through each surge. I tell her she is doing perfect and ask if she’s feeling any discomfort in her back during surges. When she confirms that she is, I offer to provide some pressure on her lower back during her next surge and she agrees. On the next surge, I lean over in the water and press firmly on your Mama’s lower back. While small-framed, your mama’s body was so strong and proud and confident. We begin to flow together and I feel nothing but gratitude for being part of these moments, each surge bringing you closer to your Mama and Daddy.
The birthing tub becomes your Mama’s trusted friend, helping to ease and relax her between the surges. She floats, and occasionally glances around the room. I know she is aware of every detail. She is in birth land, a lovely place to be. After a light snack, your brother Robert finally gives in to sleep and sinks deep into the comfort of the patchwork couch. We know to awaken him upon your arrival. Soon, your Daddy is sitting in the golden rocking chair and holding your Mama’s small hands. He waits, patiently and quietly, completely matching her mood. His kindness exudes.
Marinah periodically checks your heart rate and always declares you a “happy baby”. It is now around 11:00 pm and the room is hushed. The flicker of candles and the glow of a few lights illuminate your birth space. The incense has long since burned but the peaceful atmosphere remains. Your Mama was such a birth warrior, so intense yet contained that her surges often took me by surprise. She beckons the pressure of my hands upon her back with a “NOW” directive as the surge approaches and I steady myself between the tub and her swaying body. Sometimes she says “Higher, lower, more, less” and I try to quickly follow her lead. Her body is doing exactly what it needs to do as it works with you to move your body through her ripe vessel. When your Mama begins to moan, Marinah and I congratulate her and encourage her deep sounds of love. She is shifting, opening to welcome you, and I am in awe of her strength and grace during this weary, lovely journey. Your Mama rests, perhaps naps, between surges and I am so thankful that she has these moments of respite. Her eyelids and mouth are soft and relaxed and I imagine she is dreaming of you, conversing with you in a language of goddesses. I think you shared secrets during these times, Aurora, and only you and your Mama will ever know what was said. How magical.
As your Mama’s birth door opens completely she lets out primitive, awesome bellows. Your Daddy knows it’s time to get in the pool with her. He removes his shirt and gently steps into the water. He sits behind your Mama and wraps his arms around her, encasing her in the same love that created you. His long hair entangles with your Mama’s hair, now down and touching the water softly. Now, her eyes are tired and signaling she is not quite in our realm anymore. She is, though, where she needs to be. She is with you, surrendering to a magnificent force of nature. She trusts it wholly. She cries out but a few times as Marinah and I work together to support her and apply counter pressure to your Mama’s back and knees. Sometimes, she roars and we assure her you are traveling down in her birth canal and she will be meeting you soon. You are so close. The energy is palatable and we try to awaken Robert. His tired body is so heavy as I lift him over to the birth pool to watch your Mama work. His little legs dangle in the warm water, but he is not fully awake. Soon, we let him retire back to bed and know that he is dreaming of you and sending you wonderful, little person wishes.
Your Mama begins to vocalize “Go, Go, Goooooo” as she gives in to the overwhelming urge to push with her body, to help move you down, to open big and wide for your long-awaited welcome. Aurora, may you have even a shred of your Mama’s quiet courage and resilience. Her intuitive nature burst forth from her soul as she did the most awesome work of all, making it seem so easy…birthing you, with you. Her love for you, in those moments, was transformed physically into her warrior-like moans and lioness growls. Her confidence never wavered and her ability to come back into herself, regain her strength, was a sight to behold. Marinah gently reminds her that she can flow with her body’s requests to push and your Mama begins this transformative, powerful journey in an instant. All the while, your Daddy peacefully supports her, closing his eyes and vibing his energy through your Mama’s body, through the water, and through to you. It ripples. You are all connected now.
Your Mama’s friends are standing on the couch next to the birth pool, videotaping and photographing this amazing experience and it unfolds. Marinah kneels beside the tub, shining a tiny flashlight in the water. Your Mama reaches down to feel her perfectly stretching center and says “I can feel her head”. I smile as Marinah explains that you are being born “in the caul”, in your bag of waters. This is so unique, so truly breathtaking. Marinah says we will get “a peek inside your world” this way and that babies born in the caul are considered magical, blessed with the gift of a sixth sense. I shudder with excitement at the honor of being a witness to your sacred entry. We hold a mirror up so that your Mama and Daddy can watch this entry, and I adjust according to their directions. We begin to see your head, encased in your lovely membranes, and oh how specatular as the energy in the room transforms into utter relief and delight. At one point, your Mama lays her head back on your Daddy’s shoulder, eyes closed, and quietly repeats “I’m not ready, I’m not ready…” We encourage her and listen to her and I understand…perhaps she wasn’t ready to relinquish the indelible, sweet bond of pregnancy. And soon, your Mama is grunting and gritting and pushing with the force of a beautiful, thirsty storm, raining upon her beautiful flower…her daughter…you.
In a bittersweet moment, the next surge brings your head almost fully into our world. The surge releases and your Mama melts into a few minutes of rest. I will never forget those moments, seeing your Mama hold you half within her self and half outside of herself, seeing her quietly and painlessly rest in the arms of your Daddy, unhurried and serene. I’m quite sure that the letters of love swirled in the water during those moments.
And like that, your head was born and seconds later your entire beautiful body. I cannot explain then wonderment of watching you slide into the water, so tenderly and slowly. Marinah floated you to the top of the water and laid you immediately upon your Mama’s belly. “Baby, my baby”, your Mama cried with joy as she scooped you up and gently rubbed your face. You let out your first real cry and I knew you were perfect, like the earthly dawn. Your Mama almost immediately noticed your cord was wrapped around your neck and Marinah swiftly and lightly unwrapped it.
You spent the first almost hour of your new life warm and close to your Mama’s skin as she lounged with your Daddy in the water. I watched her immediately fall in love with the little goddess girl she knew within her belly. You wanted to nurse and knew exactly what do to, receiving that loving and glorious nourishment and bonding. May that bond continue forever. Your Mama’s spirit was glowing and calm, your Daddy proud. When your Mama announced “This is Aurora”, the room resounded with “Welcome, Aurora”. We had waited so long for you. Thank you, sweet one, for granting us the pleasure, and the honor, of letting us greet you in our world.
As your Mama rested that evening, the glorious air of birth spiraled around her and I could do nothing but sit humbled and deliciously powerless. My job was done, and I barely had to do any work. I knew your Mama would rock our world. I joked with her that she could do this alone. I even had a dream the night before your birth that she indeed birthed you without any assistance. I feel even more confident now that she could. She was made to birth. Your Mama birthed you with succulence. And, lucky for you, you will inherit this incredible energy.
As your Mama was later moved to her comfy bed, I was lucky enough to hold you. With reverence, I cuddled your tiny body to mine and looked into your bright eyes. I wondered if I was seeing your boundless soul. I said “Welcome, Aurora. I’m so glad to finally meet you.” And, I hummed an “OM” to you, the universal primal sound of life. You knew! Of course you knew. You gazed right back at me, as if to affirm what we all know deep within.
Aurora, peace to you. From your birth, I learned how to better serve women like your Mama, goddesses who at once birth their babies and new hope into this world. From your birth, I relearn the lesson of resilience and simplicity. Thank you for guiding me deeper.
Your mystical birth is imprinted in my heart, little Libra.