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Empowered by Child Birth!

My family home is in the cottage country of Muskoka on 1.5 acre property surrounded by forest, Lakes and wildlife. It is mid January, being a more quiet time of year and our property is surrounded by snow and stillness. Myself, my husband Brian and my son Jackson live in a small home of about 800 Square feet. I am now 38 weeks pregnant with our soon to be second boy Patrick. 

My Pregnancy with Patrick has been a roller coaster of emotions from grief to growth to love. I kept faith that my journey through yoga, through navigating my childhood traumas and my previous pregnancy has prepared me for this while grieving the loss of my mother who recently died from cancer.

After my mom’s death, I knew I needed more support than ever before. So I got my friend Olympia to become my doula for this journey to hold, carry me and empower me. I didn’t have a doula with Jackson, however I had my mom and my husband which was a great support system but with my mom’s loss it tore me apart she was not going to be here for this birth.

I met Olympia at the yoga studio I started teaching at few months before I found out I was pregnant. Olympia is a beautiful soul, she has such a grounding loving energy and was so passionate about how she supported women with their partners through this transforming pregnancy and birth she brought everything, she didn’t hold back. Her passion gave me a safe space to trust her even more. She was also a yoga teacher, reiki practitioner and so much more, she spoke my language when it came to energy around pregnancy, Personal growth and all the fun divine woo woo things.  

With Jackson I had a hospital birth and I planned the same for Patrick. Until Olympia shared her story of her home birth and how she explained the possibilities of what a home birth can create. After letting go of what others in my life were thinking that I was insane to even think about having a home birth and what could go wrong. The only thing I could think of the amazing things that could happen, like I would not have to go to the hospital. I could take things in a way at my own pace. I won’t have to be attached to monitors so I can move around as I please, I could go on and the hospital was there if I needed to go. I know and trust my body more than I ever did before.  Deep down I knew this is what I wanted. It was not a time to listen to others who just wanted the best for me with what they knew. 

When I was in labour with Jackson I felt like I was so alone in pain resisting my body to birth and change, everyone around me was just staring waiting. I was holding on to fear, I didn’t know what I knew now about surrender and faith. Jacksons labour was long and I was induced, some pain relief and he came into this world with the doctor using the vacuum. He was a healthy baby boy. Jackson’s  pregnancy and birth made me see how much I resisted and how I  avoided emotions, support. This was a gift to empower me to see Patrick’s journey with a new perspective.

One of the most important things we need to do to prepare for birth and parenthood is to expand our capacity to be in discomfort. In childbirth pain has a purpose, rather than banishing it we have to find tools to work with it.

-Dr. Britta Bushnell

A few days before Patrick was born a flood of emotions was coming up. First thoughts was to find my distractions to avoid it. Something inside me needed to let go of the control and allow everything to rise inside me to become aware and release. I needed to stop focusing on getting over the birth process rather focus on the present moment. I kept focusing on the top of the mountain and what I think it will look like, while losing the present moment and the journey to get there. This tends to come up a lot for me in many areas because the need to control and my expectations I create  overwhelm to move forward and lack trust. 

I started to be more honest with my husband in how I was feeling instead of pushing him away. I told him I needed him now more than ever, I wanted to trust him to be there fully for the pregnancy. My relationship with my husband can trigger me,  thoughts of abandonment come up for me and I begin to lack trust in him to be there for me or to hear me so I can easily just avoid the whole situation. In this moment I chose to respond by sharing how I was feeling. I was afraid he was going to leave me alone on this journey even though he has been supporting me every step of the way, he was not all for home birth, however he was watching all the birthing videos, being involved in any questions that needed to be answered bringing me home dark chocolate when I had all those cravings. All I wanted was to be vulnerable with my husband and we were about to go on a very vulnerable experience.

I was also very sad that my mom wasn’t here to call me everyday to check in and make sure I am ok and have what I needed. I cried a whole morning on the couch grieving my mom and grieving control of outcomes. I knew I was not going to be the same person after the birth of Patrick and this also scared me. Because you can be attached to that energy that no longer serves you. Control was not helping me move forward until I strengthened it with love and gratitude. Having more compassion for what I was processing and being grateful for my journey so far that has brought me to this moment.

On January 31, 2020 12:00am I was awakened by contractions with some low back pain. At first you think you need to go to the bathroom, once I realized nope this is happening. That big word FEAR came over me and anxiety sunk in my heart began to race, chest feeling heavy. During my pregnancy my biggest tool was taking a shower, I had showers every evening to wash my day. It was like a meditation to rinse anything I was holding on to that I no longer needed. I would bless the water and be thankful for the water and how it supported me. After getting out of the shower I felt a little lighter, contractions were coming and going not too intense just enough that I needed to focus on my breath.

Time to wake Brian now about 2:00am, He got up so easily and was ready for whatever I needed. I told him I was scared and he held me and I allowed him into my energy my space I needed to trust him and so I did. He let me know everything was fine. I could not get back to sleep so I called Olympia and she came over a couple hours later around 4:30 am. It’s great having a doula in this time to allow  Brian to go to sleep and get some rest.

Olympia began to massage my feet with some essential oils. Every Time a contraction came she would talk me through it in a way to allow my body to open, when a part of me just wanted to close everything up and run. Just like with Brian I opened myself  up for her support as well. We had some conversation for a few hours and decided I should try to sleep not knowing how long labour was going to be. The sun was up and the contractions were still there but they were  not as strong. Me and Olympia took a walk around my property, I would take this time to help things move along but also connect to mother earth and the divine. By connecting to the land to feel more grounded and supported. In the forest with all the trees we are not far from the road but it felt like we were much further away from the noise of the world and we were just here in a sacred place.

Things began to slow down. I played some cards with Jackson and then decided it was best for him to go to my twin sister’s house.  He was excited for his brother to arrive but agreed to go and come back tomorrow.  I was really hoping this was not going to go into the evening. I wanted the energy of the sun and the day to help with only a few hours of sleep. 

Things began to progress and I could no longer curl up in a ball. I knew this was not helping the flow of the energy in my body to help moving things along, I began to move around the house trying different things like sitting on a stool and kneeling on the floor. It is now about 2pm and things are progressing contractions getting closer together. Every contraction I asked my mom and all the women before me to be here now and support me. I wanted to be present with every contraction and that’s what I did. I began to even use my voice and OM through each contraction to help release the tension in my jaw. During this pregnancy I learned and was so aware of how our Jaw is connected to the structure and energy of our hips. I see it as how are hips can hold emotions but also help us release and move forward in life and our jaw being a place of expression, communication also releasing. I would use mudras to bring me to the present moment with my breath. Surprising Olympia said, I looked at peace during some contraction surrendering to the pain and pressure. She called me the buddha birther.  Her saying this gave me more confidence.

Me and my husband took a shower together to enjoy the warmth as he held me through each contraction and then I never thought this would happen and we began OMing together. He wasn’t going anywhere and like me he was ready to be here 120 %.  We were in active labour now and the midwife has not arrived yet but was on her way, at this time I was not worried because I had an incredible support system. I also didn’t have time to worry as the contractions were so close together,  I am now kneeling over the ball on my knees. Olympia is giving me supportive energy  and  touch and Brian is still OMing and being with me at my side. 

I felt the need to push, again it feels like you need to go to the bathroom so that’s where we all went. My midwife was running in the door with her things. My bathroom is so very small just enough for all the things you need in the bathroom to fit. I am over the toilet. Brian is in front of me, Olympia next to him, my midwife sneaking in and out I don’t even know how and all my guides, angels, ancestors and my mom were there surrounding us. 

I couldn’t sit. I had to stand the next contraction there was a big pop it scared me. My water had not broken yet and it just did, Patrick’s head was right there. I was like holy Sh*t it’s happening it scared me to the point I lost focus and presence for a moment and it became more painful, I began to have doubt saying I am not sure I can do this. With everyone OMing with me holding the space I eventually came back and worked with the pain and the contractions.

A couple pushes at 3:09pm Brian and the midwife caught Patrick entering this world. I felt so much relief that I was visioning months ago. We did it. Emotions of joyful tears as I sat in all places on the throne, the toilet with my husband across from me and having skin to skin with Patrick.  Another moment I would never forget. 

As I make it to my bed, YES my bed! And everyone is cleaning things up and my midwives are doing the things they need to for my recovery. Brian was holding Patrick, he was so happy and so present, I said to Olympia I love seeing him like this. 

After giving birth it’s like your energy and body go through shock with feeling cold and have the shakes. The midwife was down there, stitching and making sure everything was good. This was the last place I wanted them to be after this experience so I began to get over whelmed of what just happened with my body.  Then I notice all the Shania Twain songs coming on the playlist I made a few weeks ago. Patrick came out to the song  blackbird by Alanis Morsette. I had added Shania Twain to my list because I have many memories from my childhood singing and dancing to Shania Twain with my mom. I said to my mom when I need you the most during my labor these songs will come on to let me know you’re here. Well they all came on just in time to celebrate with us the arrival of Patrick .

  1. How beautiful! Rhonda, thank you so much for sharing your journey! What an amazing capture of one of life’s most…