“We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full.” – Marcel Proust
The medical records from Kaia’s birth arrived.
I settled in my favorite chair and tore open the white envelope. I breathed deeply, audibly, and tried to inhale energy of hope and strength. It felt like I was tearing into a deep chasm of my life, one in which has filled slowly with light and healing over the past 19 months. In this moment, it suddenly became empty and dark again. And terrifying. I was on the edge, peeking down. I had to take the leap.
I knew I had to do it. I had to know what had gone on with my body, and my baby, during those few hours between being admitted into triage, laying numbed upon a table as my baby was cut out of my womb, and trying desperately to stay awake and conscious in recovery. Why did I wait so long to find out?
The stack of papers was thick and sterile, scratched with the photocopied handwriting of notes from the doctor. Tentatively, I began to thumb through the documents. Words jumped off the page at me and I took the time to slowly process them. In an instant, I was back in that triage room, my insides both alive and shocked, trying like mad to trust in the process that was to unfold before me. I was vulnerable and trembling, searching for guidance in the eyes of everyone in this tiny, strange room. Just an hour before, my eyes were relaxed and deep in birth travel with my baby, in my familiar, tiny house. I needed nothing but my own intuition for guidance. On these wings of this intuition, in that sacred and intimate space, I could fly.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Jospeh Campbell
But in that chair, in that instant, I recalled that I was strong again. I have walked the road of surrender and healing, sometimes stalling at the curves and bumps…sometimes lying in the grass – curled close to the Great Mother – to weep and be reborn… and sometimes bellowing like a warrior at the top of the plateau. And the road has been circular, become quite familiar, like my breath when I hold my daughter near my heart.
When I finished reviewing the records, I felt relief cover me like the warmest of blankets. It had not been as scary as I had anticipated. Parts of me want to burn them, offer them up forever to the wind. But other parts of me know they are threaded into my very fibers, like needlework on my heart. I already known or intuited most of the information contained. There were only a few surprises and facts that filled in the blanks, all of which helped to lead me to an even deeper level of acceptance. None of them were anything that I believe we could have predicted, or that could have been prevented otherwise. Slowly, I began to understand that perhaps Kaia’s Cesarean had indeed been warranted. I struggled with this feeling slightly, as I have fought long and hard to recover from an experience that seemed to have been stolen from me without thought or regret. And yet, mixed in with this was an arousal of vindication. For, truly, in those moments while I lay upon the paper sheets of the triage bed, I searched the most divine parts of my being: my baby. I closed my eyes, protected myself from the confines and fright of the hospital, and asked her how she wanted to be born. With tears, I opened my eyes and trusted her response.
She had chosen. She was wise. I knew it then, but didn’t KNOW it…not that way I have come to know how it resides in my bones, strengthening my earthly body, and the way it rises with my breath, flowing with my essence.
I also know the timing of the universe was perfect. Finding this all out early on wouldn’t have helped me. My wounds were still so raw, that the knowledge and information would have seeped right through me. It would have sizzled my sore heart. Believing now even more strongly that she was meant to birth through this tiny, human-made door of my womb doesn’t make me distrust birth or my body or my conviction in natural, unhindered birth. It doesn’t change the fact that Cesareans can be awful, frightful, deeply sad experiences with torrential emotional (and physical) outcomes. It doesn’t change my belief that medicalized birth needs to take a backseat to intuitive birth, in which women are the empowered ones. No, it cements it, convinces me that my path for homebirth and informed birth is exactly where I need to continue walking.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein
Because, ultimately, I trusted in Kaia’s entire birth. I was given a choice and, with the seed of wisdom from my unborn baby, made the decision wholly with my entire being and heart. I never doubted her health or her safety, nor mine. Yes, the decision ripped me from the inside out and I mourned my loss of control. But now, I can know for sure that the ownership of Kaia’s sacred birth has indeed been returned to both of us, like the dove of peace returning to its home. It is ours to cradle and nurture and remember.
And now, on the wings of total insight and illumination of Kaia’s birth, I am prepared to fly again.