so….welcome back! i obviously overestimate my ability to write blog posts in the midst of being a mother, wife, yogini, friend, daughter etc. etc. etc. they will be written, maybe not as timely as i hope.
nonetheless, the birth story concludes. yet, what i am most interested in is how my/our story ties in to the bigger picture. the larger story – the mythical and symbolic journeys that we all share in our lifetimes – the stories of love and loss, of joy and pain, of struggle and surrender. we all have stories. this is the end of one of mine…..
my vital signs were good, but i was weak, dazed. sasha laid on my breast and nursed well. the placenta was not yet delivered. 15, 20, 30, 45, minutes….an hour went by. the placenta was not yet delivered. the midwifes were keeping a close eye on my blood loss. quite a bit had been lost, but it was not enough to warrant emergency actions.
my parents brought isabel home to us. when brett told isabel that she had a new baby sister. isabel became defiant. “no daddy. the baby is not a girl. it’s a boy.” as much as we tried to convince her otherwise – she stood her ground….until the first diaper change. my parents had just enough time to hold sasha for five minutes, give her a kiss, then race to the airport to catch their flight. my friend, celia came over to pick up isabel for the day to play and swim with her sons. i was grateful. now, we could concentrate on this final stage of labor.
we waited and watched. i continued to nurse sasha all the while having intense contractions just like the ones i had during labor. it was tense. the midwives gathered and prepared all sorts of herbal, homeopathic, nutritional tonics and remedies specifically to aid delivery of the placenta. they gave me all of them. we waited some more. two hours went by. then three. same story. sasha is nursing. i’m contracting. midwives are watchful.
finally, creeping up on 4 hours post baby delivery. i head to the bathroom with sharon’s help. she squats next to the toilet while i sit on it. she feeds me spoonfulls of yogurt while telling me what a wonderful place the toilet is to delivery a placenta. she reassures me. she describes what i might start feeling as the placenta detaches from my uterine wall and slides down the birth canal. she describes in great detail and with deep compassion while still feeding me. a few minutes later, i start to feel it happening. sharon is right….but i am scared. sasha’s birth had traumatized me. i felt like i had been to war. like i had been hit by a truck. i cry out. “sharon! it feels like another head, another baby.” she said, “no, lisa! it’s the placenta. let it go.” i did. plop! it fell into the toilet. i leaned forward, relieved. sharon put a glove on her hand and fished it out. not surprisingly, the placenta was huge.
done. as sharon guided me, i stumbled into bed, rolled on to my side, and put my breast in sasha’s mouth.
relieved, yes. yet, i was beginning to feel like i would be facing a long recovery process. and i was….and i did.
oh yes – there is a question that i know any woman who has ever given birth wants to ask me after reading this….i know this because my sister asked me this question the other night. did you tear? and the answer is simply….no. i didn’t, not really – there was a small tear, but the midwives decided that it did not require stitches. it would heal on its own; and it did.
my tailbone was so sore that i could not sit up in bed. i could barely walk – luckily my toilet and bathroom were about 6 feet away from my bed. my only options were to lay on my left side, or lay on my right side…..for 13 days. i laid in my bed, with sasha at my side the entire time. i did not have a tv in my bedroom. we did not own a computer. so, i filled my days with thoughts and meditations. i watched how the sun filled my bedroom at certain times of day. i watched how the blinds partially covering my windows caused shadows to shift. i would follow one shadow’s subtle movement for hours. i nursed my newborn. i changed her diaper. i had help from brett and friends. they took care of isabel and i.
during this two week bed-ridden recovery, i had horrible nightmares. my body had been practically devestated by the birth. i dreamed of being attacked by carnivorous dinosaurs. i dreamed of being held hostage….forced to watch as brett was assaulted. i would awaken suddenly, drenched in cold sweat.
slowly, i began to feel more “normal.” two weeks post- partum, i could finally sit up. i started to walk gently around my small home. by three weeks post-partum, i was walking around my yard. finally, near mid july, i began to feel much better. i stopped having those disturbing dreams. i could run a few errands with the kids. i could do chores around the house. i took sasha to receive treatment from a cranial-sacral practitioner. isabel, sasha, brett and myself….we started to find our rhythm, our flow…..now a family of four.
as i reflect on this experience, i wonder…..what do trauma and suffering teach us about our place in this world? do these types of difficult experiences infuse us with a sense of personal strength and power? might they also humble us? what types of meaning can we extract from experiences that shake us to our very core? who are we beyond this body and mind? are we always being shown ways (sometimes discreetly, sometimes more obviously) to get at the essence of our connections to our true Self – that which may remain hidden amidst the day to day busyness of our lives? what do intense experiences in your life lead you to think about?
thank you for being a part of this experience with me – by reading this and then reflecting upon how hardships in your life may have shaped the person you have become.
many blessings. namaste.