As I was falling asleep the other night, I had the distinct feeling that 4 am would be my call time. And, so it was…I was called to be in my ‘doula-duties’ at 4am. My dear friend had started her strong contractions and labor was on the way. I kept my phone on, so when I got the call, I threw my clothes on and got over there as quick as I could. At that time of night, it only took 10 minutes to get to her house from mine (love LA without traffic). I prayed on the way…asking the angels to guide me to be of service in the best way for her and the new baby. I had to let go of my anxieties of being in this role (responsibility) in this situation. I am used to holding space for women, yes, but never in this environment, and I felt nervous. ‘Offering’ is the way to get over anxieties – I got to be of service to my friend and her family – a beautiful moment was about to happen…
The action started before I arrived, hearing my friends voice howl and growl as I had never before. I didn’t know if she was in the middle of a contraction, or heavily in labor, so I made sure it felt okay to enter their master bedroom. I knocked lightly, and heard her and her husband tell me “come in Hema”. They knew it was me, who else would knock on their bedroom door at 4 am? Well, it could have been their 5 year old daughter, who was very excited that day to know her sister was arriving soon. At this point she was still sleeping sweetly while her baby sister was making her way to their lives.
The setting was the dimly lit master bedroom with soft yogi music playing. On one side of the king size bed there were white pads covering and some laid on the floor, the kinds you use for training dogs. My friend in some white cotton panties with a caramel colored t-shirt loosely hugging her belly. She was standing, leaning on her husband with her arms roped around his neck, making deep sounds from her womb. Her husband sweetly encouraging her to “open”, and telling her “you’re doing great.” I was quiet, listening to ‘the woman’, my friend, have her voice, be heard throughout her whole body as she contracted and felt the decent of new “baby” (without name still today). I immediately went to work, placing my hands on her lower back. The contractions were rolling one after the other every few minutes.
I realized in this moment, the woman having the baby is in charge. The past few months, I had been so worried that I may not know what to do and feeling afraid that the role of doula was not suited for me. I was so afraid of “showing up” that my mind fantasized about my friend deciding last minute she didn’t need me for the birth. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited about the idea that I would experience this birth up close and personal, but very frightened that I may do something(s) wrong. I mean, who am I? Not a “real” doula, just merely a friend (who loves her friend). I feared that I may be in the way – that’s one of those beliefs about myself that gets in my way of enjoying every experience.
But there I was at 4 am, ready to serve in the best way possible; didn’t know what that was when I left my house, but when I entered the room, I was guided – by the woman in labor! She told us all what to do. The communication was not normal. She was primal – the sounds, the way she controlled the space, she knew exactly what to do. It was incredible to see how she communicated with her hands gestures, sounds and words. The words were very few, as her intuitive self took over and we were all mesmerized. In a husky voice, she asked the Midwife if she should take a bath. The Midwife replied with “Do you want to take a bath? We can do that, if you want to…”
Hubby started running the water, and I pressed on her back during and between her contractions. I felt so honored to touch the star of this show. She commanded the room with her deep orgasmic sounding screams and beautiful body language as she doubled over in exhilarating pain.
The bath filled, and we guided the woman-in-charge into it. I was pressing on her back with a wet warm wash cloth (something I learned from the Korean spa treatments). I have to just say that I love the Korean spa’s with only $15 drop-in fee, you can dip in hot pools, hot rooms with an atmosphere of relaxation, and if you feel like more, the services are really reasonably priced. Good place to rejuvenate. That’s exactly where I was the night before, to be ready for the call, plus I’ve had a very busy month with filming new videos for My Yoga Online (www.myyogaonline.com), and lot’s of teaching this month: online, subbing classes, and a couple of big workshops. I needed to rejuvenate before holding space for a woman and her baby to come into this world.
You never know where your life experience will take you if you are open and say yes to the universe, you’re sure to be filled in the right ways. Here I was in the large master bathroom with one of my best friends, her husband, the midwife and her assistant. The space became very still as we reached the final moments of pushing and releasing the baby into the arms of this love. Who walks in? Her sweet mother and her grand daughter, 5 year old big sis was up. I immediately felt shy for everyone, but my friend and her family were absolutely welcoming of this moment being witnessed and we all felt comfortable. I guess why not invite the immediate family in, including child, into the magical moment. Life would have been very different for most of us had we experienced this first hand with the family. So natural!
And then it happened, we saw the head coming out, mamma screamed deeply filling the room, and the midwife realized the baby’s head was coming out with her little hand (on cheek) at the same time, so she pulled the hand out first. Some strong pushes led to the head and body to follow. Momma had baby in arms with umbilical cord still attached.
Baby was not breathing right away, mama’s instinct were in full force, she didn’t think – she just shook her baby (gently yet firmly), and then put a finger in her mouth to make her breathe. It was such a fast moment, and the horror stories all came flooding into my mind, but – thank the angels, we all heard a little cough, and sigh of relief flooded the room. We all laughed and were giddy with exhaustion and the miracle of this moment.
The experience was not as gory as I thought, well, until the second birth happened – the placenta. The baby lives in an amniotic sac within the uterus for the 9 months, and feeds off of the placenta. The placenta and sac came out of her body as we walked her to the bed to place her and her baby down to be with each other. It fell to the floor beside the bed. The midwife was able to put it into a bowl right away. We got to examine it later…and she told us that is was a like a tree of life, with the veins and way it fed the baby. It is going to be made into pills and dried to then be used in replenishing the mother. That may be TMI for those of you who are vegetarians, but a natural beautiful process none the less.
It was like a horror movie now with all the blood on the ground and down her legs. Later I sponge bathed her with hydrogen peroxide and water to get some of the gore out of the room and her body. Never having seen a ‘Va jay-jay’ after birth I was compassionate to what a woman goes through for this miracle to occur.
Now, that I have seen creation in the making, I vow to do what it takes to make space for me to give birth to all the babies in me…the poems, books, creative juices flowing, conceiving and birthing often. This same gusto I got up at 4 am for my friend to birth, I’m remembering for the creative endeavors in me…Give birth to your ideas, visions and goals. Birth birth birth….