Beautiful Birth of Pure Trust and Connection
Written by Debbie Sissman
Born on 07.07.22 at 11:54 at home weighing 3.75kg
Before Raya was conceived she was prayed for and called to during a number of ceremonies which included song, blood ritual, ceremonial cacao and lots of prayer. During these ceremonies I asked Mother Earth to support my journey to motherhood. I asked for my ancestors to keep us all protected and I asked to be shown the sacred in every step of this journey.
The day I knew our prayers would be answered, was the day I saw a large bird sitting in the oak tree at the end of the garden. Going outside to investigate, I was amazed to see it was a stalk. I trusted then, that we would fall pregnant when the time was right. Nearly six months later, we found out we were pregnant.
Becoming pregnant a second time after years of prayers felt miraculous. I knew this pregnancy and birth would be led by my intuition and heart. I was lucky, I had the support of my wonderful husband who also saw how complicated our first child’s birth had become unnecessarily. But as we embarked on this pregnancy journey we had no idea how focused we both would become on welcoming our second child into the world in a calm and peaceful way.
At first, this meant a natural birth in hospital. But the further we grew into the pregnancy, the more we became aware that I would not be encouraged or supported by the medical community to birth this way because of my previous csection and high BMI. After much research we both made the decision to opt for a homebirth. As soon we made this decision, we felt peaceful.
But even then, it became challenging to remain focused on our goal when both family and the consultants at the hospital seemed adamant we shouldn’t birth the way we felt was best. We questioned our decision after every appointment, partly due to fear mongering and partly due to being effective by the energy at the hospital. But once I re grounded and prayed. I knew we had made the right decision for us as a family, for the birth I wanted and also the birth baby wanted.
I remember clearly the moments I felt these decisions were right for us and baby. It was the days surrounding Beltane, I had met with Eva our doula on zoom and she guided me on a drum journey into my body to meet and communicate with baby. I remember journeying very deeply and sharing beautiful communication with baby. Coming back from that journey I didn’t remember a thing, but I had a complete sense of peace and understanding. Having already decided once we found out we were pregnant I would birth a drum for baby. I woke up two days after my drum journey with Eva, knowing it was the time to birth a drum for baby. The process of birthing the drum evolved as I was preparing all my materials and tools. The drum went from my original intention of a tool to help baby feel safe to be born to earth. To the exploration of her birth plan. What she needed, and how I could help and support that transition. The drum birthing was an incredible experience, a communication between me, my body and baby. So much of this experience became my reality of birth and looking back on what I wrote about the drum birthing it was incredible to realise how much each action correlated to baby’s labour and her birth.
Following these two amazing experiences, I was invited to participate in a woman’s womb journey. During this experience I travelled into my womb to speak to my wisdom keepers. There in that miraculous space I saw baby again, protected in a pool of water. I spoke to my grandma and many woman on my ancestral line. It was beautiful and after I lay with my newly birthed drum on my stomach and relaxed into a beautiful and gentle sound healing. It was these three experiences, all within days of each other that solidified within my mind and body our decision to have a home water birth supported by Eva.
There were so many other moments that built on my experiences. Such as being supported by Eva to build a birthing labyrinth. Using materials found in my garden. Drinking ceremonial cacao, opening myself to receiving medicine songs, singing, drumming, prayer, meditation and daily rituals like opening the medicine wheel that helped support my pregnancy.
As labour neared I felt peaceful and fully grounded in our choices and calm in the knowledge we would be birthing at home as a family. I woke on the Tuesday morning at 3:33 with contractions. They remained constant and mild until Thursday morning but fluctuated in distance apart. During this time I was so grateful to be at home. We kept our son off school, my husband finished work and Eva joined us. Time really lost all meaning and we enjoyed this space together, feeling into the changing energy.
On Thursday morning the house slept late. But I woke early with a knowing our baby would arrive today. I felt as if we were in a cocoon and the world outside disappeared. Coming downstairs I prayed and sang whilst I opened the medicine wheel and then made a cup of ceremonial cacao. Sitting in the birth space, surrounded by photos of my ancestors, feeling into my body and the energy as it was shifting was beautiful. And still what surrounded me was a blanket of peace. Once the house started waking up, we had a change of pace. My contractions intensified and I walked the kitchen as I breathed. But there was a turning point, I began making prayer ties - small pieces of cloth, filled with tobacco and my prayers and held together in a chain with string. As the contractions again intensified I was only just about able to make one prayer tie between contractions. I have no idea how long I was making prayer ties for or how many prayers I made. But soon there was enough to wrap around the birthing pool.
I have always burnt white sage for ceremony. It’s a ritual I learnt in my younger years as I embraced Lakota ceremonies in America. There is something about the smell that triggers a transition into ceremonial space and that’s exactly how I felt during the labour but especially as I smudged each prayer tie as I made my prayers. My prayers were to my ancestors, to Mother Earth, to father Sky, to the four cardinal directions, to otter medicine, to duck medicine and for all birthing mothers. I prayed and shared my love and gratitude to Mama Cacao for all her love and blessings. And at the same time I welcomed our daughter to earth. I promised to be her support, to allow her spirit to shine and grow, to embrace her and her journey and all she has come to give to the world. And even though the contractions were powerful, I felt at peace. I felt in sacred ceremony.
During this time of prayer, Eva unwrapped a prayer belt friends had gifted me earlier on in my pregnancy. As these prayers floated out and held me, there was again another transition. Very quickly, after a nip to the toilet. I entered the birth pool. Finding a position that felt natural, surrendering to the support of the water and allowing my body and our baby to take over she arrived. Quickly, powerfully and surrounded by prayers and love. Throughout my pregnancy duck medicine has surrounded us. I smile now as her birth was like a duck diving for a fish. Smooth, quick and with precision. She knew she was ready to come and by surrendering to the energy and sacredness of birth she arrived. Holding her, as a family straight away. Singing to her as a family and sharing our love for her, we felt whole. We still do, she has brought us all peace. And I am forever changed by our beautiful birthing story.