Sunday January 29, 2023 // 1:38 in the afternoon
I woke up Saturday morning (1/28) feeling overdue and quite exhausted, wondering when our little guy was going to make his transition earth-side. We were so ready. Shortly after getting up I ‘lost my mucus plug’- which has never noticeably happened with my other births. Relief and excitement washed over me! He had to be coming soon. I rested as much as possible, knowing labor could start at any time. We sent Birdy to grandmas house for a sleepover. That evening there was the most beautiful sunset, B & I sat outside admiring the colorful sky. Full of purples and oranges… and Indy. I watched the sky and knew that tonight would be the night.
I went to bed early. Shortly after midnight I was woken up by a pretty strong contraction/birthing wave. These waves stayed consistent, coming every 10 minutes, all night. They were intense enough that I had to breathe and move through them, and they were lasting a minute or more, but the frequency was not increasing so I wasn’t sure I was in active labor. I tried to rest and sleep as much as I could in between my waves. I was listening to my birthing affirmations, my peaceful birthing playlist, praying, talking to Indy and also to Zealand, preparing him and me for the birth journey ahead while feeling so peaceful. Even through the strong waves of both physical contractions and waves of emotion, I felt deep peace. At 6am I realized this was indeed active labor and called my Doula Abby. She arrived at 6:30 and did a foot zone for me to help open my pelvis, and a guided fear release meditation. As she supported me through intense contractions, still only coming 10 minutes apart, she suggested we call my midwife. Meanwhile B had been sleeping this entire time… He didn’t know I was in labor until he came out at 7:30 and saw Abby there with me. I wanted him to rest as much as possible so he could be energized for the birth and that first sleepless night, to help me and Zealand. He showered up and went to work on his masterpiece- a gourmet food spread for me and our birth team. Emotions came pouring in when I walked over to the island and saw his creation, complete with Butterfly napkins from him & Indy Llew. B is really good with thoughtful details. My emotions had been full from the beginning of this labor journey. I felt my angel so near. I knew she was there supporting me and preparing me, and whispering peace upon my heart. I knew she would guide this process and guide her brothers journey into my arms.
My midwife arrived at 8:30 and began setting up the birth supplies and birthing pool. Things remained peaceful and relaxed. We were talking and laughing in between intense birthing waves, and sometimes crying as waves of deep emotion washed over me. My yearning for Indy being felt as intensely as the power of my contractions. B felt it too.
The contractions were still 7-10 minutes apart, but I felt that they were really productive. With each wave I felt my body opening and my baby moving downward. I was waiting for them to pick up frequency as a sign that things were really progressing though. At 10:30 my midwife asked if I wanted a cervical check. I was dilated to a nine!! I think we were all surprised. This gentle, peaceful labor had been doing really strong work. My bag of waters stayed fully intact this entire time, which I think contributed to the ease of my experience. I saw that as a sweet gift from God and my angel. Through this gentle labor I was able to be in a deep state of spiritual awareness, connecting to the spirit of Indy and Zealand, and my body. My birth affirmations ran through my head repeatedly. “My body knows how to birth this baby” “My baby knows when and how to be born” “I breathe in peace and breathe out tension”. I was so relaxed.
About an hour after my cervical check I got in the birthing pool. My contractions slowed a bit, which can happen from the warm water. Once they picked back up again, they really picked up. Suddenly they were coming every 1-2 minutes. In the midst of a powerful wave I felt a huge pop inside my abdomen and body, it rattled my entire frame! Brian felt it through my shoulders as he was doing counter pressure. I panicked not knowing what just happened inside of me, it felt like an explosion. Bubbles came up from under me in the water. My water had finally broke. And it was the wildest sensation I have ever experienced.
This shook me quite a bit and took me out of my focused mental state. From here on out and for the next hour, things felt intense.
My birthing waves became much more intense after my water broke. I began getting the urge to bear down. I could feel his head- it was at my pubic bone. My midwife was checking his heart rate every so often and caught a deceleration. His heart rate recovered quickly but this further shook me. I was in state of fear instead of peace. I was pushing with all the energy I possessed, I wanted to get him here. After each contraction I felt for his head. He was still at my pubic bone, he wasn’t descending at all. He was stuck there. We tried a position change but it made me feel intense pain. The lesson for me here is the power of our minds. Through the entire labor I never felt pain. Intense sensations, absolutely. But not pain. Once I lost my mental strength and fear & doubt took over, I felt pain. And it was strong.
I put my head down on the edge of the birthing pool and I began to pray. “Father, Indy… please help us, help me and my baby to be able to do this. I request divine assistance for me and him. Let him be safe. Please, help him descend. What do we need to do? Indy, help me be brave like you”.
Everyone around me remained beautifully calm. Almost immediately after I finished praying my two midwives and my doula all three felt inspired to get me out of the birthing pool. It seemed impossible for me to be able to stand and walk down the hall to my bed, but I knew we needed to help Zealand be able to descend, so I was willing. I stood up, stepped out of the birthing pool, took two steps and had a contraction, and felt him descending. I squatted down and shouted, “he’s coming!”. My doula caught me from behind and B caught me on the side, they both held me up as my midwife Christine caught Zealand. I had back to back contractions and he was out within seconds.
The inspiration came to all three of my birth providers at the same time to have me get out of the birthing pool. That was all that was needed. My pelvis straightened out, his head realigned, and he was ready. Everything happened so sudden and unexpected, but everyone was present and acted quickly to make sure Zealand got here safely and I was supported + (literally) held up. Christine felt his head crowning and told me to slow down to prevent tearing, but I couldn’t slow him down. He was coming on his own terms and now I see that was part of the divinity of his birth. Ana’s camera stopped rolling for an unknown reason right at the time of his birth. It was just us, and angels, and Indy.
It was a beautiful whirlwind. All the fear washed away, he was here. He was in my arms. And I knew Indy was right by my side. I fell back onto my doula in complete exhaustion. My brain was trying to catch up with what just transpired. I was in a post-birth haze. This has typically been a state a bliss for me, that post-birth haze, but this time I felt all the emotions that I live with daily now- joy, sadness, peace, and the overall overwhelm of experiencing so much emotion at once.
My legs were somewhat numb from being in the same position for so long in the birthing pool. My right foot and toes lingered in the numbness for several days. This is apparently something that can happen and is more common with women of short stature. Being 4’11” has presented me with some challenges in life but this one made me laugh! I had to have help getting to my bed. When Zealand was handed to me again, I felt a deepening of peace. My brain was catching up.
Birdy got home shortly after he was born. She excitedly and shyly came in to meet him. As B carried her in, I saw flashbacks of him carrying Indy in to meet Birdy. It was like I was living the experience over again. Birdy acted the exact same way Indy did. Shy, excited, covering her face in uncertainty but needing to look at her new sibling. It was so sweet and my heart was full. I also longed for Indy to be there too, meeting Zealand in the flesh. But watching Birdy fall in love with her baby brother was pure light and healing to my heart. In that moment, and many moments since, I have felt a reassurance that we are really going to be ok. We CAN heal, and recover, and live a full life, still.
Indy sent her baby brother off instead of welcomed him. It’s the constant bittersweet of our life story- but Zealand knows his sister Indy, there is no question. He finds her pictures all around the house and stares at them and smiles. His eyes track the ceiling often, smiling as they do. We have received many messages from Indy letting us know she is present, like tiny white feathers on her baby brother in very prominent + unusual places. We have been so close to heaven since Indy transitioned, and a deepening of that closeness has been felt these past several weeks since Zealand arrived. It is special to have an angel so close to us on the other side.
Zealand was born 8 pounds and 20 1/4 inches long. He was holding onto his umbilical cord as he was birthed, his little hands tucked right under his chin, grabbing on to his life supply as he descended. My midwife Cathy had some inspired insight after he was born. She said, “he wanted to be born on land. You were in the water representative of the sea, and he came as soon as you stepped on the land.” The sea and the land, our Zealand. Our bridge.
He was born on 1/29 at 1:38. As I have thought back on the details of his birth I wondered about the significance of the numbers. I recently realized a special message in the numbers of the date and time of birth. 1/29 and 1:38.
Welcome Zealand. Thank you for coming to heal our hearts.
This life experience is beautiful and painful and wild… and I am grateful for the ride.