It’s getting old, I know. The updates about my nesting, my cleaning, my organizing. And yet, it is all-consuming to me in a way that neither of my other pregnancies were. And so, I honor it. And write about it. And bore anyone reading my recent updates.
It is, in this moment, my Truth.
I cleaned all day yesterday – well, about six hours straight – while the girls were spending time with their Nana.
And wanna know what’s funny? I cleaned like a REAL person. I left my half-ass ways behind. And sometimes, it kinda sucked. Even while I was doing it, I was like:
“Leigh, just stop already. You don’t need to go THAT far.”
But my pregnant brain fizzled and popped and began shooting out flames and it was like:
“Leigh, don’t you dare stop. You must. You must bend over and pick up that clump of dog hair because you JUST vacuumed that rug crouched over with the hand-tool”
It was that kind of maniacal, OCD cleaning where I was wiping off the tops of my husband’s cologne bottles, and carrying tiny little hair barrettes and toys and batteries through the house, room to room, to place them in their proper location (i.e. things that would normally get tossed in our junk drawer).
With the Nag Champa incense burning and the Deva Premal Pandora station playing, I sorted through mail, and laundered the couch pillow covers, and vacuumed the corners and baseboards, and wiped down the top of the washer and dryer. I swept, cleaned the kitchen, took out the trash, and hung laundry. I dusted, emptied the birth pool in preparation to refresh the water, and added Chux pads to my side table (you never know when you’ll need Chux pads. They are the epitome of home birth).
I tidied the guest room and reorganized the closet in there. I cleaned the girls’ room, went through every toy and puzzle piece and organized their storage shelf. From that project, I donated two garbage bags full to Goodwill. When Jason and the girls got home, we hung a mirror and sconces and an organizer thing for our keys/mail/phones. Later that night, in what has become a ritual for me, I bathed in only the light of the full moon and my muscles sighed.
During my cleaning frenzy, in what seemed like 15 minute intervals, I had to get up and go pee. And this task became even more annoying because I wear a sexy maternity support belt and have to un-velcro it every time to go to the bathroom.
More than once in the past week, I have stood in front of my “birth alter” and rearranged the items. Shifting the candle a little to the left and hanging some sentimental jewelry on a frame that includes a photo of each pregnancy.
Today, I reorganized the upper cabinets in our laundry room, which hadn’t been done since we moved in two years ago. I labeled the containers with a Sharpie and laughed out loud at myself as I did.
Yes, I am driving even myself crazy. And my cervix.
Now, I just need to mop the floors and clean the office. And vacuum again (our dog’s summer shedding is out of control, people). Oh, and tidy up the kids’ craft drawers. The fridge isn’t as stocked as I’d like it to be, but I have cheese and crackers and sumptuous Kind brand granola bars and juice and chocolate and bagels and Granny Smith apples. And ice cream in the freezer.
Of course I’ll go into labor the day when the Legos and blocks and coloring books and markers are strewn about the grimy floors. It will be one of those days when Indigo brings the water-spewing garden house into the kitchen for a minute and coats the tile in warm, summer puddles. It will be a morning, like this morning, when the girls get out of bed together and, giggling in secret, hide in their bedroom eating marshmallows and Frosted Flakes and Nilla wafers. It will be one of those evenings when they are up at 10:00 pm, wrestling in naked MMA-style, on our bedroom floor.
It will simply BE.
No matter how many unchecked items are still on my to-do list (which I renamed my “To Enjoy” list).
Last week, Kaia said that baby would be born in 14 days. That puts me at June 7th, my guesstimated due-date.
Everyone, except one or two people, feels it’s a boy.
But a handful of folks have said they’ve had recent dreams about the birth and, in those dreams, it’s always a girl.
I, on the other hand, have had few dreams and no “feelings” about gender. I simply am in stunning, awe-struck love with this Tiny Life.
Tonight, Jason and I lounged in bed and watched my belly shift left and right, up and down, bumpity bump. We can feel little limbs (feet? knees? hands?) and crack up at how much this baby moves compared to the girls. We talked about how we feel so drawn to this baby because it totally chose us, unexpectedly. No “planning” involved. We held hands and snuggled and marveled at how we’ve gone from no family to a FAMILY in a matter of five years.
“Now is the time to reminse”, I tell myself. “We need a date night”, I tell him. It’s a tradition Jason and I have before our babies come. A walk under the moonlight, or settle into a candlelit date, where we smile and laugh and talk about our 15 years together. We both need to indulge in a glass of wine and get a bit glossy-eyed and deepen that sacred connection that will carry us through this experience of birth together.
He is my solid Oak tree during labor, the most authentic holder-of-my-space (and my body). He is my alter-strength, and in the vastness of his eyes I can spiral through surge after surge forever. He cleans up my puke and wipes up my blood and floats my body in the water as I moan and OM my babies down.
No matter how many times we birth, we cross the threshold once again. We are freshly initiated into motherhood, or fatherhood.
This is such important work.
Just two mornings ago, I witnessed my incredibly graceful and deeply wise friend birth her fourth son into this world. She woke up with a powerful surge at 5:50 am. Her husband called me at 6:02 am and I could hear her moaning in the background. It was the moans of a woman in transition, the space between leaving this realm and getting grounded again to meet your baby. I left the house ten minutes later.
When I arrived, I stepped out of my flip-flops, padded down their newly laid bamboo floors and entered her hushed room. I stood there, along with six other people, peeking into the bathroom in which she was floating in her sunken tub, her husband steadying her head just-so in the water.
The morning light poured in through the large window behind her. Her face was angelic but hard at work. Breath low and deeply entrenched in the song of birth. Her eyes remained closed and so I squatted down silently and touched her husband’s shoulder. He smiled in acknowledgement. Her midwife, the dear one who attended Kaia’s birth, whispered “Your doula is here”.
I grabbed her SLR camera and began snapping away, holding down the flash so it would capture natural light photos. Her lips parted and she blew out her breath steadily in the short moments between surges.
“Water”, she commanded, still with eyes gripped closed. I saw her grimace as she sipped on the nearest beverage, some juice. And quickly a bendy straw appeared to her lips with ice water.
Soon, her leg began to search for something to push against and it found the faucet head. Her waters released into the tub.
“Good for you”, resounded her midwife.
“He’s coming…He’s coming”, her voice echoed across the tiles of the room.
“You are so powerful”, I commented quietly.
Her almost-three year old son, who was snoozing peacefully, toddled into the bathroom just in time. He was held by a dear friend and watched introspectively and peacefully as his mama groaned and gave way to his sibling’s arrival.
And she began to reach her hands down below and called her own tender-hearted Father into the bathroom and said he could catch the baby (something very different to most people, but utterly and completely RIGHT for them. Beautiful). Her husband was supporting her from behind and wasn’t able to reach to catch the baby anyways. Her Father started to don gloves and the midwife said “Oh, you don’t have to wear gloves”.
And I stood on the toilet cover, very carefully, and took photos of the surges and pushes that brought her son earthside. Her Father bent over and, voice wavering but gentle, said “The head is out. The cord is around his neck”.
And the midwife helped to easily untangle it. And – less than 45 minutes after I arrived – out slithered her son’s body, and into her arms where she gazed up at her husband with wide eyes and a grin that never stopped and began to laugh and weep at once.
The room remained mostly silent, honoring those first minutes where mother and father meet the life they’ve created together. And in those moments, we also honored the twin sons that she held for just a few minutes, over a year and a half ago, as they left her body way too early to live in this Realm.
In that space, that house, in the silence between her gasps and tears, they were present.
Softly she looked at her Father and announced her son’s name. Named after her Dad’s brother, who died tragically at a young age. The brother he had always mourned. A namesake, born moments ago, from his daughter’s womb, into his hands.
Silence in the room once again as he let tears well up.
Later, he told me “I was there in the room when her older son was born, and that was amazing and so special. But this one…wow, this one was so emotional for me. I barely held it together. I can’t explain it. It was…miraculous”.
“I’m up next”, I kept thinking.
And so I witnessed her birth on a multitude of levels. I wasn’t really there to doula. I was there to hold her space, to honor her grief and her healing, to capture her son’s birth in photos.
I was there to prepare myself for what is coming.
And the universe could not have provided a more powerful message for me that the one I received that morning.
It is mine, tucked away safely, to know and ponder. There is much more to it, which will be revealed as my own birth unfolds in breaths and cresting waves and grunts.
Thank you, Mystery.
It is time to Defy Gravity again.