Marissa's note: Today I have the honor of sharing with you Ember's birth story. When I was pregnant with my first, positive birth stories were a huge part of my birth preparation. Ember also read many positive birth stories during their pregnancy and now they want to share theirs with you. Enjoy!
I went for a walk with Usnea and talked with my mom on the phone. She reminded me that my body knows exactly what to do. The air was cold and dry and refreshing, the moon a waxing crescent. I had experienced a couple contractions throughout the day, but they were so gentle I wasn't sure exactly what they were.
I made some dinner and then Ari came home from work. As soon as I saw him I felt full of overwhelming desire, our bodies melted together all at once. For most of my pregnancy, sex felt awkward and uncomfortable. I was usually in too much discomfort to feel completely present. But that night I was able to surrender to our bodies and just be present to all of our love and desire for each other. I could feel that our lives were about to change forever.
We went to Rachel's office, she did some tests on how baby was reacting to contractions and checked my cervix. I was only 1 cm dilated so she put her finger on my cervix and it opened to 3 cm. Mullein and Evelyn came over and brought some food and we all ate together. Ari and I tried to nap and get rest but it was pretty difficult to get any sleep. We started watching the Lion King and crying about our dads and how difficult parent relationships can be and then contractions really started getting more intense.
Marissa came over, at this point, it was probably around 4 or 5. I lit candles and put on a playlist of all my favorite songs. Ari and Marissa started to fill the horse trough, which took hours of boiling water on the stove, running the pots back and forth. They would take turns squeezing my hips, massaging my back. Marissa kept reminding me to make horse lips exhalations which was so helpful for staying grounded in my breath. I thought for sure we were going to meet Demitri that night. I was starting to get really tired. Marissa collected a bowl full of dirt for me to smell, and she put on a lavender diffuser. I felt very comforted and safe, so grateful for the presence of Ari and Marissa. I felt so comfortable with them that it was hard to think about anyone else entering the space we had created.
Even though Marissa had reminded me not to focus on numbers, I felt so disappointed because of how tired I was getting, I didn't know how much more I would be able to handle.
Rachael offered a tincture to help speed up labor and I decided to take it. The tincture didn't seem to have an effect, and around 3 or 4 in the morning, everyone was getting really tired and they suggested I try to get some sleep. I was feeling frustrated because in my head I was like, how am I supposed to get any sleep??
I just thought the contractions were still too intense to allow for rest. But I curled up on the couch, Ari on the floor next to me, and by some miracle, the contractions subsided enough for us to get about 3 or 4 hours of sleep.
In the morning, contractions started hard and fast. I drank a little bit of a smoothie but felt like I could barely eat anything. Marissa came over and suggested we take a walk. I hadn't wanted to because of my knee still hurting, but a short walk seemed important. When a contraction came on, I would hold on to Ari and Marissa would squeeze my hips.
I knew it was time to start pushing before anyone told me, I could just feel it in my body. My legs were shaking and I pushed them into Ari's hands. Soon after I started pushing, a thick snow began to fall outside. It was so beautiful and filled me with hope, confidence, and a sense of calmness, even though I still didn't understand how a baby was going to fit coming out of me.
“Soon after I started pushing, a thick snow began to fall outside. It was so beautiful and filled me with hope, confidence, and a sense of calmness, even though I still didn't understand how a baby was going to fit coming out of me.”
Suddenly Demitri's heart rate started to drop dramatically, I could see the fear in Rachael's eyes although she remained confident and supportive the entire time. She told me I really had to push them out now. I gave it everything I had but they still weren't making it past a certain point. Then everything got very fast and urgent, Rachael told me to get on my hands and knees, I pushed so hard it felt like every hole was tearing open, I roared like a beautiful animal, and out they came, and Rachael said, "reach down and catch your baby, Ember," I held them to my chest and they immediately opened their eyes and stared at me. I felt like everything suddenly made sense, here was someone I had been searching for my whole life. Our perfect baby Demitri, born with the first snow, on Christmas Eve.