Re-Birth Ceremony

On January 27, we had a Re-Birth. This was our MW's idea, and I had my doubts because I don't consider myself to be very good at role playing or reenactments. I just don't "pretend" very well. But, I've had such difficulty remembering her birth without crying, that I felt like I had to try. I had been craving an herbal bath for months, so it was very important to me that I take one with my baby. So, once my doctor gave me permission to take a bath, I put aside my fear and started planning.

We invited the MW and the doula (who was originally part of the Birth Team as a care-giver for our older children). An hour before they were supposed to arrive, I got upset with everyone in the house and almost called it off. I had worked myself up into such a need for a "perfect" experience, that I'd forgotten to include my family in my vision. I'd failed to really explain it to the children (9 and almost 5), and now they were thoroughly confused. They didn't understand why I was making a big deal out of things. We had made special lists for each person on the Birth Team while I was pregnant, and I couldn't find them now. And, I had made special birth bead necklaces for the girls, and we could only find one. When my MW called, I was in tears and upset - but she's a brilliant woman, and she used that emotion to my benefit. She turned it into part of the experience - as how most women reach a breaking point right before labor and birth. She asked me to move forward as if I was in labor - and start visualizing contractions.

The baby was sleeping through all of this! The timing was perfect, and she took a very long nap, allowing us to prepare and focus on what the event was supposed to represent.

MW and doula arrived, and I was pattering around the bedroom & bathroom, getting things ready. I lit candles and cleared out the bathtub. MW brought in all of her equipment and a birth ball. She was very serious about making this authentic, and I really appreciate her dedication. My children were asking more questions now. The oldest kept trying to be rational and point out that I already "had" the baby, and she's two weeks old ... but the doula took them away and talked to them patiently every time. They went off to make smoothies, which was one of the things on their "To Do List." Towels and blankets were warming in the oven.

I decided to put on my robe and sit on the birth ball. Suddenly, I started feeling very emotional. I had one hand on my belly, trying to remember what it felt like when it contained a baby. I tried to remember how I felt during DD2's labor and birth, but I could only remember how wonderful I felt when it was over. No matter how hard I tried, I really couldn't remember much about pain and even less about fear. And those two emotions were and still are so present when I think about DD3's birth. So, I unconsciously started having ebbs and flows of emotions. It really began to feel like emotional contractions. 

MW checked my blood pressure and the "baby's heart rate." Not surprisingly, my blood pressure was a bit high. DH sat with me and massaged my neck and hugged me. That was how we sat through contractions with DD2. We hugged and talked quietly. MW was in the background checking on me ... I knew she was there, but she was just in the background. DD2 brought me a smoothie with a straw. mmmmmm. She asked me about the baby, and I said the baby would be born soon. She looked at me with wide eyes and asked where the baby was - was I sitting on her? Someone took her to the bedroom to explain again. DH and MW got the herbal bath ready.

By now, I was really starting to feel emotional, but not quite ready for this to be finished. I was really focused on getting some of the "bad" emotions out, and I could imagine "pushing" them out even. Looking back, I'm surprised that I was so "in the moment," since that is not normal for me. I started thinking about more intense and frequent contractions internally. I was ready for the bath. I remembered now laboring in the tub with my first children, and I wanted that so much now. I squatted next to the tub, and my doula rubbed my neck some. When I got into the tub, MW started coaching me to really push the baby out and vocalize it. To my surprise, I did that. I actually made sounds and cried even more with every one. Then, I tried to "feel" the baby's head. That made me cry even more - to realize that my baby wasn't born from there. DH was next to the tub, and MW was in the background urging me on. "One more really strong push."

Then, I opened my eyes and reached for my baby, drew her straight to my breast and cried with joy as she nursed. MW prodded our older children to tell us if the baby was a boy or girl (another one of their Birth "jobs"). They brought a warm blanket and a newborn hat. I touched every part of her as if I'd never touched her before. She nursed happily and looked at me with those beautiful eyes. Someone asked what her name would be, and I said her name. Everyone cried. And lots of pictures were taken. I lay in the tub for a long time, even after she stopped nursing, just grateful to have that opportunity. The doula took the kids away to play a game. I eventually gave the baby to DH, and they weighed her. MW pampered me just like she does with every new mom, and I was feeling good.

I eventually got dressed because we were going to plant a tree (two-winged silverbell). We buried the placenta from DD2 in honor of all 3 girls, and we read a prayer and a special quotation from Beatrix Potter. "Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest." We also put copies of the prayer and quote into the hole with the tree.  Each of us shoveled dirt onto the tree and said something special. We dedicated the day as "Placenta Day" and hugged.

We are very honored to have special friends with whom we could celebrate this day with, and the fact that it was as special to them as to us is a tribute to their friendship. After it was over, the doula told me that she was holding the baby while I was in the tub. Every time I moaned, she looked around, not afraid, but very aware. She also told me that our oldest daughter realized at that time that she wasn't wearing her beads - and she ran to get them. In spite of protesting the whole time, she did realize "on some level" that it was important to participate. I'm glad of that.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I hope it brought you much healing!