Although oblivious to time, by about 10:00 am my doula S and two of the midwives, D and T had arrived. My husband sat in the living room reciting Tehillim (psalms) and laying his Rabeinu Tam Tefillin (phylacteries). All the actors were in their place for the continuation of my twin breech homebirth fantasy tour.

Mother's hands holding a newborn baby.

Three partners in creation: Mother, Father and G-d.

All the people around me and the words they said faded out into the background. I was tuned in only to the words of my meditation CD, my inner voice and the presence of the Shechina (divine presence of G-d).

During the beginning of the birthing process I laid in a sort of a cinnamon-roll position concentrating on my HypnoBirthing ® surge breathing. I must have looked like I was sleeping because I overheard my midwife T, sure that I was just at the beginning of a long process, tell my doula that: “at the beginning of the next surge we should…”

 

She looked at her, then looked at me, and then said: “She is in the middle of a surge…”

My midwife was perplexed.

The surges were just starting to intensify when I remembered the concept of hydrotherapy. In most European countries, it is considered unethical to offer a woman an epidural without first offering her either a bath or shower.

I jumped into a steaming hot shower and let the pressure massage my back. The edge was off and I was able to bring my mind back in.

I saw clearly that there were two paths. On the one side, I was being pulled by the power of fear, negative suggestions and tension. On the other side, I had the powers of life, birth and relaxation.

If I gave into the demons of tension and fear I would feel pain. If I gave into the deep relaxation, I could allow myself to be in the moment and sense birth.

A knock on the door and a voice, “If you need me, I’m right here. But, If you want to be by yourself, that’s okay too.” my doula said.

I felt secure with those words but wanted my space a bit longer.

When I finally came out of the shower, my midwife T wanted me to try a few positions that worked with gravity. I moved from leaning on the ball, to being on all fours, to polar bear position.

My doula used her wooden massage tool to put counter pressure on my back and my midwife D applied lavender aromatherapy.

I counted down my body from 1 to 5. 1, relax your head and your shoulders. 2, allow your arms and hands to melt away. 3, release the tension in your abdomen and lower back. 4, feel your thighs and knees floating. 5, allow the tension to exit through your toes. I felt my body making room for my baby.

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Strong Woman

D repeated rhythmically : “You are strong woman.”

I am strong woman—created perfectly and completely.

I am strong woman—mother of all living creatures.

I was not dying, I was not sick, and there was nothing wrong with me.

I was simply birthing my babies.

Like hundreds of thousands of women across the world at that very moment. Like billions of mothers before me and billions that would come after me.

The battle between fear and relaxation continued. When my body tensed up D would touch my shoulder and softly remind me to relax.

When my face tensed up I would be reminded to smile. There is a neural connection between the jaw/mouth and the pelvic floor. Relaxing one, relaxes the other.

Since things had really just begun, I was surprised that the next time I tried to sit on my birth ball I was shot back up by intense pressure.

The side of fear was trying to wiggle its way back in. It was just the beginning and I was sure I had a long way to go. Would it be this intense forever?

Needing to regroup I headed for the shower once more. I turned up the heat and let the water do its job. Though there was some relief for a moment it was short-lived. ‘Oh no’, I thought ‘What other tools could I use to refocus now?’

And then I remembered. It is the secret weapon all birthing women (heck, all women) should know—clitoral stimulation.

This ‘hugs before drugs’ technique was introduced to me by my birth teacher Debra Pascali-Bonaro, author of Orgasmic Birth. Debra, pointing to a study by Thierry Postel of Blainville-sur-Mer, purports that not only is pleasure during childbirth possible but its more common than people think.

While I didn’t have an all-out orgasm I did feel extreme pleasure at this point. It was like I left the demons of fear and ran right into the arms of the angel of life and birth once and for all. I suddenly remembered what I was doing. I was in the process of creating in a way only G-d can. I became the kabbalistic concept of ‘tzimtzum’, contracting myself to make room for ‘other’.

Birth Godess

Birth Godess

At that very moment, I caught a glimpse of myself through the mirror. Beyond the streaks of water running down the shower door, a beautiful woman looked back at me.

I wore no make-up and my ‘hair’ was covered with an awkward green turban. My stomach protruded overshadowing the feet I hadn’t seen for months. Yet, despite my apparent disheveled state, no moment had contributed more to my self-esteem than the image of that birthing mother conquering self.

No, it wasn’t an orgasm, but it was pure crystal clear ecstasy.

And then.

From the deepest chasms of my being, I belted out a mix between an Alto saxophone and an Amazonian war cry.

This grunt was the beginning of the beginning.

I was ten centimeters dilated and it was only noon.

 

[To Be Continued]