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Heather Spivey's birth
"See the color of your baby's wet hair, the movement of its head, its first expression. As its body is being born, notice the amniotic fluid pouring from its nose and mouth (naturally clearing the airways for its first breath). When your baby sees for the first time, with eyes both empty and full, indescribably beautiful, Listen to the mother's primal scream of birth... and the baby's first cry. Feel the baby's warm, wet body, the pulsating cord, and the unspeakable feelings pulsing within you as you witness your baby's birth into the great unknown." -- Pam England, in "Birthing From Within"
It was 6:30pm on Friday evening, August 29th, after a long week of waiting, and Anne's Mom had just served up a fabulous meal of salmon, asparagus, and rice. Yum! And I could see that Anne was feeling something "different" going on. Things seemed to be shifting. At 8:40pm her first contraction hit, and we didn't know if it was the real thing or another teaser, but she looked at me and said, "I think this baby's coming." Life became very surreal at that moment. We all walked around staring at each other, not knowing and yet somehow Knowing everything. Not sure what to do but to give nature its space, we all went to bed at about 10:30pm, as the contractions were coming every 12 minutes or so, and Anne looked so ready and so solid and so sure of herself.
As her night unfolded, here were some of her words from her midnight journaling:
"The contractions got painful near midnight (just had a doozy!). I got out of bed around 2, because I couldn't bear laying there anymore. It hurts and is very annoying. Since being up, they seem to be harder and more frequent (big OUCH!). My hand is tingling, and I just can't sit in this chair. So, I'm just wandering around, listening to Chicago's Greatest Hits. ...
A 2:30am she woke me and said, "I don't want to be alone anymore; I want your company now." So away we went, into a whole other dimension of consciousness - that place that enables you to deal with things that are so much bigger than you. I tried to move Jake into another room, but he was insistent that he wanted to remain a part of the action. Who was I to deny him this? He had every right to be included in all of it. Grandma woke up and joined us, and Anne (her youngest of six) was on a roll now. We took orders, entertained Jake, looked into each other's eyes for comfort and support. We all (the three of us fully vested supporters) had immense stake in this. Grandma was watching her baby go into heavy labor. I was seeing my wife in greater pain than I could ever imagine (and it was going to get much worse). And Jake was hearing his Mother "roar like a lion" (an expression we learned in the sibling's class our midwife gave for existing children of the pregnant moms to keep the little ones calm and yet fully engaged). We called our Doula, Tweed Courtney, and she was there in a flash. Anne was now on all fours on our kitchen floor, and I felt so helpless, and yet so in awe of my wife's immense power of concentration and focus. We started to see blood. We didn't initially think we were going to have to wake our midwife, Pat Jones, until 5 or so, but the time was now. Contractions were regular, 3 minutes apart and 40 seconds in duration, getting much stronger by the minute, so we made the call, and our incredible midwife, the woman who made this entire pregnancy experience so precious and sacred for us, was on her way. The call also went out to Anne's friend Meggans, the honorary sister who was just meant to be here for this, a woman who is connected to and therefore fully understands my wife's soul.
When Pat arrived she was all business, and we knew an experienced hand was at work, to match Anne's perfect wisdom of her own body and the work it was being called to do. Our home became a most mystical place, one so comfortable and familiar, but that will never be the same after this night. It was time to get in the bed and to really push, and Pat noticed a lowering of the baby's heartbeat, and her face signaled her concern, and I was afraid. After encouraging Anne to push harder, and with the slow progress, Pat asked us one of us to call the ambulance. We needed to be ready for any emergency. My heart was racing as my baby's heart struggled to endure the passage. Meggans arrived in the heat of things, and her presence calmed Anne. All worked like the most beautiful team. I felt surrounded by such powerful female forces (goddess energy), and it left me humbled and crying like a baby. Then the most amazing thing happened. My baby's head popped out, and there was this face of an angel, turning and looking straight up at me. The ambulance had arrived, but Pat told them they didn't have to stay. The worst was over, and all was well. As I held my baby's head, with Anne reaching down to touch it, the body slid out into all four of our hands and together we hoisted it onto her chest. It was an unspeakably pure moment of love, one I will cherish forever. It was 4:27am on August 30, 2003. I was at a bad angle when Meggans yelled, "it's a boy!", and I thought, "Oh my God, I felt so sure it was a little girl and so was everyone else, and then Anne said with a giggle, "I don't see any penis here.", and our dream experience was complete. We had our little girl, our little Heather Anne, and she was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen - 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and 20 inches of perfection.
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