The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 2
The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 2
If you missed out on Part 1 of this story please CLICK here to catch-up.
So, we left off at the point where my waters had broken yet labour had still not kicked in. My induction date was set and there was no going back.
At this point I was accepting of the situation. It felt weird to ‘know’ the due date of my baby – the lack of randomness felt odd and overly planned to me, but nevertheless I was ready and this was happening and I’d finally let go of the fears I didn’t even know I had!
On the morning of March 5th my husband and I pottered around the house, packed the car and had a beautiful breakfast together.
Once at the hospital we set about making our room more comfortable. I put on a playlist I had created, started burning some ‘surrender’ oil and hung up the prayer flags my ladies had made me at my blessing way ceremony. We closed off the curtains to all the unnecessary medical equipment and dimmed the lights.
Immediately the room felt calmer with a focused energy holding the space.
Myself, Chris, my midwife and my doula spent time chatting and warming up to each other…warming up to the journey ahead. There was laughter and lightness – exactly what I had hoped for.
At 11:30 I was administered the syntocinin – synthetic oxytocin to jump start the surges and get labour going. I was warned it can sometimes take a while to kick in with new mums… but not this mama!
In less than two hours I was feeling my first ‘real’ surges, although I was still able to crack jokes in between. Within an hour I was plunged into the surreal ‘here and there’ space that comes with the intensity of full-blown labour.
Naked. Swaying. Body rolling.
I stood beneath the shower, feeling the hot water ease the aches and tingles that radiated from head to toe with each contraction. My body and my baby bearing down, earthbound, to open and release. There was no time for airs and graces. This was not the time for self consciousness or insecurity. There I was, out in the open. All woman. Moaning and rocking and breathing through it all, one moment and a time.
Each surge, each contraction felt like a tidal wave rolling through my body… building in intensity and taking me with it. I found myself vocalising the intensity and loudly moaning and ‘omming’ through each wave. I had always imagined I would be very quiet and inward, but in the end I was very vocal – my inner warrior loudly took over.
Now, I don’t want to use the word pain here — after all pain is dependant on how you perceive it – but there were moments when the sensations were so overwhelming, I felt overtaken by them. I found myself quietly repeating ‘it’s not pain, only a new sensation’ in order to stay present and ride the peak of the surge… and as I descended towards the end of each surge, my breathing would slow down, my attention would move deeper inward and my body and mind would move into stillness. I would stay here for what felt like mere moments, but in actual fact were minutes, between each surge.
And then, once again, the wave would rebuild.
My Doula, Lauren Falconer, and my husband were integral in supporting me through each surge… massaging me, hydrating me, wiping my face with a cold cloth, whispering supportive words… I felt held and completely able to surrender to the intensity knowing I had the most loving team backing me.
It also allowed me to do what I feel every woman needs to do – let go of the outside world, of dealing with questions and concerns from the hospital or even worrying about time… I was able to let the beast of birth consume me and take me into it’s deep dark belly.
If I clicked into my analytical, left brain I would start to question my abilty, my resolve or even the possibility that I could cope with this experience. But truthfully, when I stepped away from that headspace and stayed connected to my heart, my feeling space, my own inner wisdom, I knew I could do it.
The most astounding thing that I can now see in retrospect is a birthing mother’s ability to be clear about what she wants and needs with diamond clarity – there was no confusion about what I required nor any fussing about in asking for me.
Hold my hand.
I found myself almost barking orders to my team – something more powerful had taken over ensuring that we (my body, my baby and I) had exactly what we needed to move through each stage. I was also hyper vigilant… if anything happened that I felt unsure about or that sent shivers of insecurity through my body, I was onto it. At one point I saw Chris leave the room and I couldn’t settle until he had returned. I heard myself say on repeat “Where is Chris. Is he coming back?” I later learned that my beautiful mother, who was restlessly waiting for news at home, decided to show up at the delivery suite. Chris had been called out to see her! Probably not the best time to come, eh mum!
Ok…So there I was, deep in established labour and I intuitively had this feeling that my body was opening quickly. I asked my midwife when she was planning on checking my cervix for dilation – I had previously indicated that I wanted minimal interference including cervical checks. At this point it was 4pm and my midwife indicated she wasn’t going to check me until 7pm. Upon hearing that I almost fell apart.
I now realise I was overcome with fear for a moment. Labour had become so intense I was starting to question my resolve to go drug-free… In reality, instinctually, I knew I was quite far along and knew my body was moving faster than my midwife’s timeframe!
I insisted she check me (which involved a slow, excruciating arduous walk from the showers to a mountain of pillows on the floor) and upon doing so she found I was 8cms dialated… with 2cms to go. I had been repeating mantras on my head that all related to my body opening with ease – every time my mind would swing back to reality, into fear and into worry I would reconnect with these mantras.
“I breathe in I open, I breathe out I relax”
“My body opens with ease”
“I’m going to get HUGE!”
“I am flexible, stretchy and open”
And it seemed my body was listening! After that initial cervical check my body confirmed that we were very, very close with a HUGE release – violently throwing up in between howling through surges.
I had reached transition. It was ‘go time’.
I shuffled my way back to the bath as I ‘intended’ to have a water birth. Once there things ramped up even more. If it was possible, the intensity reached fever pitch. Each surge had me bucking and writhing through it. I had the most powerful urge to bear down and push and desperately wanted too, but my midwife wouldn’t allow it until she had confirmed I was 10cms. Which meant another trip out of the bath back onto the bed. Once there it was confirmed, my body had fully opened and it was time to bring our baby into the world. At this point the effort of returning to the bath was too overwhelming so I stayed on the bed, where my baby came into the world.
In the end I pushed and worked desperately for an hour to bring Soleil down and out, earth side. We tried different positions and I tried different ways of breathing and focusing. Soleil was slightly turned and facing the right which made it a little challenging for her to ease down. It wasn’t until an Obstetrician threatened to use the vacuum to bring her out that I truly dug deep and found a hidden reservoir of inner strength.
Pushing felt so purposeful. It was such a dramatically different feeling to use each contraction instead of being used by each contraction. I had a direction, a goal, a focal point. I was learning on the spot with each surge – learning how to use my breathe. When to push, and from where. My team cheered me on. Literally, their words – “Yes Claire. Beautiful. Again, do that again!” – ensured I stayed present, willing, determined. I had envisioned a much quieter and inward experience when it came to push but in the end being held and buoyed by Chris, my Doula and Midwife was exactly what I needed to push past any perceived physical and mental barriers.
It was a surreal experience being told our baby’s head was crowning – even more bizarre was reaching down to touch her little head as she broke through. I remember my midwife giving me clear instructions at this point – “Claire, it’s important you push when I tell you and stop pushing when I tell you too”… I took every instruction on board and followed them to a tee. I had humbly admitted I had no idea how to ‘birth’ and allowed myself to be guided by the people that knew more. That made a HUGE difference in my ability to trust in them but also in myself. It also allowed me (my ego!) to get out of the way.
At this point I remember feeling terrified of tearing… I came back to my mantras and let myself release the fear and focus on the present moment. I remember saying to myself, ‘Claire you HAVE to trust and let go’.
Later I learned that Belinda Davidson – my spiritual mentor, psychic and modern mystic – told me that I had ‘come’ to hear asking for help during labour, and asking for help not to tear. This incredible woman spent an hour flooding me and Soleil with white light and let’s just say my prayer was answered.
I should also mention here that Belinda had sent me white light pre and post labour to help Soleil adjust and come through healthy and happy.
Ok, so back to the birth. Another push and Soleil’s nose and chin came through. I remember my midwife saying, “Ok Claire, let’s get her nose and chin through’… my thoughts were, “Oh SHIT! She’s got a big nose like her Dad!” (Which I knew from the 4D ultrasound).
The final push thankfully brought her out – squeezed through before she was laid immediately onto my bare chest. Tiny, delicate and definitely a little shocked, Soleil was finally earth side and she wasted no time in grounding herself. She latched on and began breastfeeding within 10 mins and stayed there for the next 90mins!
Looking back, I can see how my sensitive little light beam needed to find her centre – coming into the world (perhaps earlier than she wanted) was a shock for the both of us. Her very long breastfeeding session was her equivalent of ‘earthing’.
Whilst she nursed I asked for quiet in the room as we played The Devi Prayer – a chant that recites 108 goddesses in Sanskrit – a song I played for her daily whilst she was in utero. Eventually she was cleaned up, weighed and measured.
Born at 6:43pm, 5th March 2015 on the night of the full moon.
The next few hours are a blur – getting cleaned up and making our way to the ward. Exhausted. Wired. Shocked. Overwhelmed. Confused. Elated. Numb. Insecure.
What really surprises me about this moment is how instantaneously you feel like a ‘mother’… protective instincts kicked in immediately. I knew I had to do for her whatever she needed, then and there and forevermore.
I felt the immediate change in hormones as my body went from pregnant to post-partum in less than 5 hours.
And from this space myself and Chris now had to immediately connect with and care for our baby. That alone was incredibly overwhelming – to be so completely clueless yet so desperately needed.
We spent the next three days at the hospital… learning how to breastfeed, adjusting to sleep deprivation and, most importantly, tenderly caring for Soleil.
We also used this time to gingerly introduce ourselves to her and she to us. We felt we had known her for a lifetime already, yet simultaneously had no idea what she would be like.
And today I still feel this – I know her, she is part of my soul, but everyday she reveals another part of herself. Perhaps she is discovering who she is, moment by moment, too… and is slowly getting to know us, her parents, too.
Her birth was the gateway to my journey as a mother – becoming a warrior, carer, nurturer, giver. I am still adjusting to this journey and I doubt I will feel ‘adjusted’ but everyday I’m grateful for her and this profound, all-powerful, life changing experience.
Cracked open. Changed forever. Soaked in love.
This journey has only just begun. The emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and energetic changes are MAMMOTH… and I’m only just beginning to process them.
What I know for a fact is that Soleil is part of my life’s purpose in discovering my HEART and learning how to live from a feeling space instead of a thinking space. As a naturally intellectually person, easily able to analyse and deduce, construct and consider, ‘FEELING’ or at least living from the heart has always been a challenge. I am connected to emotions and willing to feel vulnerable and raw, but being fully guided by feeling and go with the flow of those feelings is, most definitely, my soul’s (in this lifetime) work.
Stay tuned – I’ll be sharing more of what this incredible journey has taught me already.
love + light,