she was born on March 30th, 2013. unlike anything we had planned, she was born at a friends house, on a big comfy bed, with crystals on bedside tables, photos of our friends love through the years, owl wings on dresser tops, and poetry on walls.
after 2 nights, 1 day of pre labor and 7 hours of active labor, and 2 hours of pushing, Olin Sage Coyote was born. i touched her head as she came out, breathed a huge sigh of relief and gratitude and gave my last hard long push so she can come out completely.
i had the most amazing team by my side. 2 doula’s, d, and 2 beautiful mid-wives who let me guide my labor until it was time for them to lead me to the correct position and length of pushing (about 15 to 20 seconds straight of hard pushing at a time). her heart pressure slowed down right before birth, not a lot but enough for me to pray to all the gods and goddesses, spirits, universes, anything and everyone to give me the strength to push long enough for her to be able to come out. (pushing for 20 seconds straight is a long time!) we (baby and i) both wanted it so bad, she worked so hard and in tune with me the whole time. a little warrior, she helped me get through all of it.
i wouldn’t be telling the whole story if i didn’t also share that when we were sent home at 6am because i was only 3 centimeters dilated, the thought of giving in and going to a hospital crossed my mind. 2 nights and a day of pre labor had me tired, frustrated that i wasn’t further along in the process, and a bit scared that i may not be able to make it through active labor if pre labor was already intense enough.
in my frustration i was able to get a moment of clarity, reminding myself that i was going to get through this. that baby and i were a team and that we both signed up for this together. i decided to ask my friends, also Elders in our full moon ceremony community) J and K (a couple for over 9 years) if i could labor at their home, only a few blocks away from the birth center. they gladly said, YES! i was relieved. the last thing i wanted to do was drive 25 minutes home to long beach.
when we got there i took a nap, not sure how long, maybe just a few minutes but it felt like hours. upon awakening i felt a new surge of energy. i took a warm bath, contractions became much more consistent very quickly and next thing i knew i was sitting in the toilet, crying, throwing up, and my body was pushing down as if i was in the middle of a bowel movement that never ended.
i told d to call my doula and ask her to come over. i was in pain and i needed her to support us both emotionally and physically. i was scared, why was i pushing with out wanting to? and why was i throwing up? in all the reading i had done, i never once read anything about throwing up being part of the laboring process. this worried me. doula came over within 20 minutes, assured me that throwing up was a good sign, my body was clearing me out, getting ready for baby to make their move down the birth canal.
all the images, meditations, and mantras i had prepared had been exhausted at this point and i was ready for baby to come out. doula who was in communication with the midwives asked me if i wanted to go back to the birthing center or if i wanted them to come to me. there was no way i was going to get in a car for 3 blocks to give birth to baby. someone asked my friends if it was okay we stay there, they gladly said yes (will save details of that story for a later post), my midwife showed up around noon, and the pushing started.
i’m not sure at what point but maybe an hour into the pushing, i heard drums, snack rattles, and other instruments being played in the living room of the home i was in. my community had arrived to welcome the baby. i remember my midwife saying, “what a beautiful welcoming, i think it’s time for this baby to come out.” i smiled in agreement and tried to get lost in/find strength in the sound of the ancestor drums and the rattle of the snake (in honor of baby being born in the Chinese year of the water snake).
i remember pushing the last hard pushes while imagining that baby was a dolphin swimming down the birth canal, that both my body and she knew exactly what to do. finally- five different laboring positions, countless sips of water, 2 hours, 13 minutes later, baby Sage was born…with out a penis! (i had to double check because i had convinced myself the creature inside me was going to have one!) Sage was 6.2 pounds, a tiny little thing, body red almost brown looking from her hard work. her eyes, big staring out into her new world. midwives cleared her lungs out, said maybe she was going to need oxygen (which they were prepared with) but soon decided she was fine. she felt perfect on me, slimy, vulnerable, alive, quiet. her ears and heart found the sound of my heart beat on my chest, she calmed and i was thrilled to finally meet her.
the hour after birth is kind of a blur to me. i just remember one of my midwives showing folks my placenta, telling stories of how it looked like a beautiful tree, my sister and her husband showing up moments after Sage was born, hugs all around, my Elder Q crying as she met baby, lots of folks from ceremony coming in to the room momentarily to meet the baby, lots of i love you’s shared, and an overall feeling of healing, love, forgiveness, and joy filling the room.
baby latched on to feed good from the start. i was grateful for this as well. eventually a plate of yummy food came to me, i ate it all up…everything just experienced, folks presence, the food, and all the love that had birthed with coyote. the unity, playfulness, and joy she brought with her as her welcoming gifts to us.