The Star Gazer: A Home Birth Story

Growing up, I never once heard any woman retell the story of her birthing in a way that made me feel excited about the experience.

At worst, it sounded absolutely dehumanizing; a lot of suffering, pain and trauma.

At best, a very tedious ordeal; something to simply be endured, but not looked forward to or enjoyed in the slightest.

This is not that story.

My water released around 4:45pm while I was in the middle of my maternity photo shoot. We were in the back yard and I lumbered up from the cross legged position I had been in when I felt a warm trickle of fluid escape from between my legs. I reached down to investigate. “I think my waters just released!” I said, smiling. Jenn clicked away, capturing the moment. Jenn is my photographer and also my friend. We get shots of the little river running down my leg. “Do you want to go tell Art?” she asks. I said: “Nah, let’s get some more pics first.” We’d been postponing this photo shoot forever and I tend to labor pretty quickly. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get pictures of me pregnant with this baby. I felt soft, big, juicy, curvy. 

I’m giddy, knowing I’ll be going on another birthing journey sometime soon. I can’t believe I’m finally going to meet this baby. We didn’t know the sex and hadn’t even settled on a name yet. I wanted to sit with my sweet secret and tell Art a bit later. 

After our photo shoot we go inside and I tell Art the good news. He looks so happy, but also stunned. Deer in the headlights. His face is a mixture of fear and pure joy that is amusing and endearing. I ask Jenn if she can get some pics of Me, Art and Austin. I figured it’d be cool to document our little fam before it expands into a party of four!

 9PM: It’s been 4 hours since my waters released and still no surges, AKA contractions. The question enters my mind: What if labor doesn’t start and I have to be transferred to the hospital? My dream birth was to have this baby at home, in the water. I start walking up and down the stairs, walking into every bedroom and doing lunges on every bed, squatting, etc. I’ve got one foot up on the bed and Art asks me why I’m doing Captain Morgans pose. “No way am I going to the fucking hospital”, I tell him. I need contractions to start. Austin, my first son, was born in the water at a free standing birth center. It was a sweet, quick, unmedicated water birth. I really wanted to do it like that again.

 

11:45pm: Epic masterbation sesh, because Art is asleep upstairs. I get myself off as many times as I can. My belly gets hard as a rock when I come. Orgasms release oxytocin that help get labor started and I need to relax, any way. I'm downstairs where the birth pool is. Light my candles. Make my alter. Time to get my head right. I rub my belly with sweet almond oil mixed with a few drops of frankincense and tell baby: you are welcome, you are wanted, you are deeply loved. It’s safe out here. You can come join us anytime. We can't wait to meet you. Come on out, now. I’d really like you to be born at home, my love. Thank you.

I then make a conscious decision to release any expectation of how I want this birth proceed and just surrender to however my baby wants to come. Just let it all go. I’m at peace and trust that the divine plan will unfold as it should. My body and mind relax. "Ah, fuck it", I whisper to myself. I put on my headphones and fall asleep listening to the HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation and Birthing Affirmations meditations.

 

4am: I wake up to pee, hydrate. Baby is moving, all is well. Constant low back ache. Which is a good sign and means progress but might also mean baby is posterior. Oh well. I go back to sleep.

 

7am: Art comes downstairs. Crawls in bed beside me. Spoons me. Puts his arms around me. I love his big, warm body close to mine. I love this man and our baby. Surges start immediately. YESSS!! Oxytocin is a helluva drug. The journey begins so I call to ask Jenn and my Midwife, Hope to come over. Labor starts like a hurricane. I love storms though, so it's all good. Jenn arrives first and then Hope gets there around 8:30am.

Art is filling up the birth pool. I’m naked on hands and knees beside the pool and Jenn rubs my back. “Harder’, I say. She gets some massage oil, digs into my sacrum and lower back with her thumbs. “Ahhh yessss, thank you” I moan. Eyes closed, I do the birth groan, deep and low. 

I’m in the birthing pool. Submerged in hot water, I release, sink down, melt. The warmth of the water, it turns the volume down on the sensations real nice. So, so good. Art is bringing hot water off the stove and pouring it in. Lawd, yessss.

Eyes closed, a huge wave of energy rolls forth coming from some other place. It consumes me totally. Nothing exists except this wave and I’m just along for the ride. It wasn’t a sensation that hurt, just a BIG feeling, a powerful thing in my center, pulling me down like gravity... truly, labor surges can’t be compared to anything else, because they don’t feel similar to anything else. They only feel like labor surges. The powerful energy comes again, this time with a roar that shatters all the masks I’ve worn, until I remember who I am. I am back to myself. What a gift to be truly present in a moment. I can't think of anything else, just the birth sensations. I am at the center of the center of myself. Perfect focus. Fully present in my own body, filling space. Only breath, only me, experiencing this sensation. Birth brain is primal animal brain. Lizard brain. We so rarely get to be this Free and Wild.

I put my middle finger inside me to feel where baby is. I feel a head with the very tip of my finger. “Down and out” I tell baby. “ I tell my pussy “open” and command uterus: “soft”. I have the sensation of my uterus being hard as steel during the surges, I don't dig it so much, so I visualize all my uterus being composed of these soft, blue, stretchy satin ribbons. I see in my mind's eye the ribbons opening, unraveling, releasing my baby. It helps so much. I found my magic. I feel softer and more comfortable. I choose and create every moment of my reality. I choose to have a body that does whatever I tell it to. Every cell, muscle, hormone responds to my direction. 

I try to fully, deeply rest and melt into the space between each surge and take a little nap. And that’s what I do: roar, rest. Roar, rest. Art is there, squatting with me, but outside the tub. We’re face to face but i still can’t open my eyes. Birth is big, heavy magic. 

I’ve gone into the void. I am suddenly just so grateful for everything and tell Art “I love you”. I tell my midwife and doula: thank you for being here. They are the perfect birth team; quiet and lovingly present, unobtrusive, holding space. Letting me navigate. Trusting me. The perfect birthing companions. 

I’m squatting in my big tub of warm water. Frog pose. Eyes closed. The buoyancy and warmth of the water are so comforting. My hips, knees, pelvis and yoni are so wide open. I feel the moment of completion; as cervix and lower uterine segment totally disappear, I suddenly experience the sensation of being completely and totally open; my pussy is HUGE. Everything about birth is just so interesting. It’s a series of singular, profoundly interesting sensations. My cunt is cosmic, a super nova. My asshole is turning inside out. The vortex is open. I can feel him moving down. Powerful surges. 

My yoni blooms wider open still and now his head is crowning. The pressure and the tightness; I relax into it, accept it. Surrender = best course of action. I stroke his head. My sweet baby. The powers are what’s bringing him down, not me. The pushing is involuntary, spontaneous. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. I’ve been looking forward to this since I gave birth to Austin. I’ve been looking forward to this since before I was born. The powers come again and now the head is fully out and there’s a sensation of relief. Our baby is in between two worlds.

Shoulders emerge. I am so wide open. The body of my baby just slides out into the world, into Papa’s big, gentle hands. 

“It’s a boy!” Art says. I look over my shoulder to see because I’m still on hands and knees. I see Art holding our baby. Baby cries out, reaches out.

One of the most beautiful things in the world is the face of your lover when he sees his first born.

NOTE: “Stargazer” is a term to describe a baby was is born facing up, or occiput posterior. Also called “sunny side up” or “OP”.

Exploring Your Birth Beliefs: Essential Inner Work For The Mother-To-Be

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

Preparing for a fulfilling birthing journey

is an exercise in self discovery and requires deep soul excavation. What you believe to be true about birth will profoundly influence how your birth proceeds; I would venture to say it is even the determining factor. The story you tell yourself about how women are “supposed” to give birth and what a "normal" birth looks like... will impact every facet of your own birthing. Your thought and beliefs create every moment of your reality, so exploring your Birth Beliefs is essential inner work.

Do you perceive birth as a sacred, holy occasion? A profound rite of passage? Do you believe birth to be a healthy, normal biological function? Do you fully expect birth to go well? Do you see The Male Doctor as the authority figure who will dictate the process and "deliver" the baby, or do you see yourself trusting your womb wisdom to guide you on your birthing journey as YOU give birth to your baby? Do you believe birth to be safe or dangerous? Is birth "supposed" to hurt?

And why is that?

Why do you see birth as such? Are these perceptions accurate? Isn't it a curious thing that we can have very strong beliefs about something we've never experienced firsthand? I want us to look at birth in a completely new light. With, fresh, clear eyes and a beginners mind, let us re-examine birth and explore the potentialities that birth holds!

What's most detrimental to women isn't that they lack childbirth information; it's what they DO know about birth "that just ain't so". 

Case in point. An old Auntie of mine once said that giving birth is like pushing a watermelon through a straw.

And why would you tell a young child that? For one, this is entirely inaccurate, anatomically speaking. Second, it is damaging to spread these kinds of lies and misinformation, as it instills fear and doubt- the true enemies of birth (and self). The truth is- your yoni, or vagina, is a strong elastic structure, capable of expanding exponentially to easily accommodate baby. Your yoni, that sacred portal through which life emerges, is composed of rugae, an accordion like feature; MUCH different than a "straw", which is a fixed, non expanding, hard structure. A watermelon is also a fixed, non yielding structure, completely unlike a human baby, which is mostly squishy fat, and very slippery at that. And did you know that the plates of baby's skull aren't fused together yet; allowing baby's head to easily mold and conform to the birth path? Baby and yoni were intelligently, specifically and perfectly designed to work together in perfect harmony. They are juicy, organic, yielding and soft.

Birth is not your enemy.

But about the fear part. These falsehoods that are so prevalent are what's most damaging to women. It sends the message: Your body will break. Birth is traumatic. Birth is abnormal.

The accumulation of these messages imprint on the young person's mind until she fully EXPECTS birth to hurt, become dysfunctional, and be scary. So, before birth even begins, she is already looking for someone to save her. She already views her Male Doctor as the hero, her knight in shining armour. She views The Doctor as the Enlightened One, the one possessing the birthing wisdom and knowledge (particularly ironic if the Doctor is male). So, she lays there, helpless, a victim of her own mind. Her fears release adrenaline, which stop contractions, make her body tense. Her yoni won't open under these conditions. Her labor does, in effect, become dysfunctional. The Doctor does, then, become The Hero.

The entire scenario, a self fulfilling prophecy.

This is why we must learn to separate fact from fiction, and myth from reality. In regards to childbirth, myth and misinformation ABOUND; much to the detriment of the birthing woman. 

Your body is not the enemy. Birth is not the enemy. You baby is not the enemy. 

Body, birth and baby will work together in perfect harmony if given the opportunity.

This is why I think it is helpful to invoke or embody the Dark Goddess Kali. A Hindu Goddess, also called Black Mother, Kali is the Supreme, Primordial Feminine; the Universal Mother. She goes to war against ignorance. She is the destroyer of maya (illusion)... and if called upon, will burn away all that no longer serves you. She cuts through the bullshit so you can see the Truth. She liberates. "The death of the old makes way for creation of the new", she reminds us.

Kali is the bright fire of truth.

So, what do you need to destroy? Your old, outdated, ignorant views of birth (or something else)? 

What do you need to let go of? 

What do you need to shed, heal, release, resolve? 

What shadow parts of yourself do you need examine, explore, shine a light on?

Let us reclaim, remember and reconnect with our ourselves, our womb wisdom, the sacred and spiritual aspects of birthing.

You are a powerful Creator.

Blessed Be!