When I got pregnant at age 31 for the first time, it was considered a ‘late’ pregnancy by many. I’d been married 6 years, and we’d not tried to conceive because we knew we were not equipped emotionally to be grounded parents to a new life. After our separate yet interweaving inner healing journey, we knew we were ready, and in two months had conceived. I actually ‘knew’ when I conceived – it’s difficult to explain how, but I did. As the pregnancy progressed, the only thought in my mind was that I wanted to experience a process similar to what my grandmother would have – with no medications or fear – more in the vibe of accepting it as a natural process that my body is inherently designed to handle extremely well. I used to go for monthly checkups where weight and BP were monitored – no scans, and no internal checkups. During my 4th month of pregnancy I came across the term ‘Lotus Birth’ and knew immediately that this was part of what I wanted to experience, this was how I wanted to welcome my child into the world. (whether a lotus birth, or delayed cord lamping, there is much evidence to show that it is very beneficial for the baby not to be cut off from the placenta immediately after birth – the placenta still holds a lot of nutrient-rich blood that the baby’s body needs in the first few hours after birth.)
Unfortunately the pediatrician in the hospital I was going to was not very supportive – and grudgingly agreed to heed my wishes, on the condition that he could intervene at any point if he considered it necessary. Now, the closer I got to month 9, the more uncomfortable I was getting – this didn’t seem right to me – to sign over my rights and wishes about how I wanted to experience this magical space, to a man who got to decide everything about it. My decision was to be shaped through a personal tragedy.
My mother who was a relatively healthy 59 year old, contracted a hospital acquired infection of MRSA and through hospital negligence was misdiagnosed, largely untreated, and through unnecessary interventions developed septicemia, and died. That happened 3 weeks before my baby was born. Deep in a grief that I would not allow to wash over me, because I did not want my baby to be affected by it – I realized that a hospital is not necessarily a safe place. Hospitals have a 52% chance of infections whereas home births have about 2-5%.
I tried to find a midwife – to no avail. But instead of panicking, I felt a deep trust growing inside me. Then 10 days before I gave birth I came across a website on unassisted birth by Laura Shanley, who had 6 of her babies at home, unassisted. I read the many stories that other women had shared about their unassisted birth experiences. Throughout my pregnancy I was deeply engaged with my meditation and was really enjoying a phase of deep communion with my spirit. I knew instinctively that for me, this was the way to go. It was very easy for my husband to decide to support me – ‘we’re not planning to cut anything, are we?” he said. “No…” I replied – “ then what do we have to worry about?” Somehow, it was an easy decision that was flowing out of us to meet all of the information and guidance that was flowing to us.
My appetite completely shut down by the 8th or 9th – I craved only fruit juice and that was the only thing I had for almost 3 days. My contractions began very gently on February 10th…very few and far between…they resumed on and off throughout the 11th – and began to get more intense on 11 night around 8.00 p.m. I only had one doubt – “ how will I know when to push?” – but finally just reminded myself that if my body knew how to do everything else, I would just have to trust that I would know what to do when that moment came upon me.
Contractions intensified slowly and steadily – I felt like having hot baths, and in the absence of a tub, resorted to pouring very hot water over myself…finally, around 4.15 a.m. I felt like with the next contraction my body would give way – something was going to burst. Out of nowhere I felt myself falling to my knees and crying with a kind of exhilaration that I was not forming inside myself “Thank you for this baby” I was babbling this faster than my mouth could form the words, and simultaneously my woozy brain was trying to figure out why I was doing this…
Now, till this point I knew how things were going to be – my husband and I had both studied carefully the stages of labour, what to expect, how the whole process progresses etc. But nothing I had read up on in my avid and wholehearted research mentioned any thing similar to what happened next.
I felt a rush of wind – like a giant fist pumping through my head, and stopping at my sternum, where the baby began in my body. The first time it happened, I realized something strange had happened only after the whoosh was over – when Paul was asking “ What is it? What is it? And I was hearing my voice say “I don’t know” and just as I finished saying that, another whoosh happened – and I began to notice the space within the whoosh – I did not exist as ‘I’ – I had no perspective or point of view – there was no I or anything else – t was just a perception of everything being integrated into one energy, inside which nothing separate existed. But just as I was attempting to ‘see’ this the whoosh ended, and I was back here, in the body, kneeling on my hands and knees, looking into the eyes of a very confused man. All I could grasp at that moment was how powerful these rushes were as they surged through my body, pushing the baby out – I felt like if another one came, I would not be able to withstand the force of it – and asked my husband to grip my hands tight to help make sure I wouldn’t fall over. The next whoosh came and I could sense that 6ft tall husband was pulling with every ounce of strength he had to make sure he was counterbalancing this force that was flowing through my body.
This repeated for about 12 times. When Eva came out she was spotless, like she had just been freshly bathed. I held her, in a daze, still woozy from the crazy out of body back and forths…about a minute later, I had another contraction, and the placenta came out. When I held Eva again, she started to nuzzle to feed, and started to nurse. In some time, I rinsed the placenta gently and put it into a bowl – this newborn actually stiffened up and had a ‘wary’ reaction when I bathed the placenta! It was a very quiet, peaceful, time. Placenta was placed in a bowl, on a stool that was higher than the bed where the baby and I lay. Baby was peaceful, making sounds, never crying even once…
And a few hours later, I cried for losing my mother and for her not being there to see her first grandchild.
There are so many things that changed inside me through this experience. I transcended into a larger, sharper, keener version of me, fearless – kind of like this more wondrous version of me always existed, but the birthing transitioned me from one level to the next…this was the most unexpected result, and also the one I am most grateful for.
Since this experience, I have continued to be led in this journey – to deepen my understanding and perceiving many layers of natural birth, the spirituality of it, foods for infants, traditional therapies and the wisdom of traditional foods, parenting with mindfulness and awareness – my intuition for body reading and healing began after this experience, and I
work in the field of spiritual science journalism and research to understand the layers that are involved in living with awareness, peace, joy and vitality – and attempt to transmit what I learn and experience through talks and my writing.
About the author: Reba Daniel advises mothers about birth healing, information about foods and healing, vaccine alternatives, loves to share her experience of being a non vaccinating parent, natural detox protocols, self-inquiry processes and allied areas.