Happy 1st Birthday Lyla!
The Courage to Create a Family
~ Alexandria Barker
The lights were low. Classical music with nature sounds played softly in the background. A gentle summer breeze wafted through the open window, over the crystals on the windowsill, dispersing their energy throughout the air.
A birthing tub dominated the dining room; waiting. Fresh towels sat neatly stacked on the table beside a large bowl in preparation. The air was pregnant with hushed anticipation.
Renee braced against the couch, a soft moan escaping as she rocked rhythmically back and forth. “C’mon baby, work with Mama,” she breathed, leaning forward to ease the child into the birth canal. Her water broke 12 hours ago. And though the contractions were intense and had been 2 minutes apart for hours, she knew it was too soon to call the midwives.
She focused on using J Breath, breathing with the intention of being open and peaceful, directing the exhalation down through her body rather than out.
She braced for the rising contraction – then savored sweet relief as it subsided. She thought of all the things in her favor – and was especially grateful that her son was sleeping peacefully in his bed in the next room.
A smile passed her lips unbidden as she thought of her beautiful boy.
Drake was her miracle baby – the one they told her she could never have.
Years before, a GP and two fertility doctors told Renee and her husband Kevin she wouldn’t be unable to conceive naturally. The PCOS had resulted in ovarian cysts and prevented her from ovulating. They were
advised to start saving money, because in-vitro fertilization was very expensive.
Though crushed by the doctors’ predictions, Renee and Kevin never quite gave up on their dream of a baby that would make them a family.
Soon her younger sisters, living hours away, began announcing their pregnancies, showing off swollen bellies, and having babies. Though longing for one of her own, the couple reasoned being a favorite aunt and uncle was a close second, so they gave up their home and jobs to move closer to the babies.
It may be that spending so much time with her beautiful nephews made Renee a vibrational match to having her own. Or perhaps it was the wisdom of her Inner Being that drove her to consult a naturopath, who gave them hope with a holistic course of action. But in either case it wasn’t long before she and Kevin were able to share the thrilling news that they, too, were expecting.
Instead of a doctor, Renee decided to have skilled midwives who would give her personalized care throughout her pregnancy, labour, birth, and the following six weeks.
She was impressed with midwives’ specialized knowledge, that they complete a four-year university degree before mentoring with an experienced midwife for a year. Knowing they would transfer her care to a doctor if a complication arose gave her peace of mind.
In the midwife philosophy, women are active decision-makers in the care they receive; midwives give information to help them make informed decisions, including whether to give birth safely at home or in hospital.
Renee opted for a home birth, and spent long hours rocking, relishing her swelling belly, dreaming of his peaceful gentle welcome to the world.
She glanced at the tub next to her. It was identical to the birthing tub she’d rented to labor in for her first birth.
That time, everything had gone according to plan until she felt the urge to push. That was when her water broke and the midwives discovered Meconium (baby’s thick, sticky first poop) in the amniotic fluid, presenting the risk of respiratory problems if her baby inhaled it.
Heartbroken, she agreed that the safest course of action would be to go to the hospital, where her care was transferred to the doctors and nurses.
A shadow crossed Renee’s face as she gazed at the tub with far away eyes.
“This time will be different,” I reminded her, willing her to block the memory of how quickly everything quickly went downhill once she arrived at the hospital. Her son, who’d been well into the birth canal, went back up inside. The drugs they gave her to accelerate and intensify contractions led to an epidural, fetal distress, and ultimately an emergency caesarean.
The result was a perfect, beautiful 9 lb. 11 oz. baby boy, but the 36 hour labor was very traumatic for all concerned – and was a far cry from the empowering experience she’d envisioned, scaring her emotionally as well as physically.
Eighteen months later they decided to expand their family, but conceiving was still very difficult. This time, however, Renee was even more familiar with the effect subtle energies have on our bodies. She’d read Shiva Lingam stones would balance her male and female energy and promote conception, so she began carrying one constantly. She also resumed taking Chaste Tree to balance her hormones.
That Christmas, they made the happy announcement they were expecting again.
By now, Renee was quite proficient at deliberate creating. She was mastering working with the Law of Attraction and applied everything she learned.
She practiced Scripting; a process where you write and talk about an event as if it’s already occurred exactly the way you want, providing a sort of blueprint for the Universe.
Knowing the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, she set aside time to mentally rehearse the birth as she wanted it to occur, a process called Visualization. But there was something standing in her way.
Becoming pregnant was challenging in itself, but she was still passionate about having the peaceful homebirth of her dreams, the one she’d wished for her son. But because of her caesarean, there were new complications, and she had some personal demons to confront.
Now she was looking at having a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean section). With a VBAC, there is a risk that the scar from a previous caesarean can tear, called a uterine rupture.
Though midwives typically recommend a hospital birth for VBACs, they will help a woman having a VBAC at home as long as they fully understand the risks involved.
During their consultation, the midwives made it clear that should there be a uterine rupture, there would be no time to get her safely to the hospital. Renee or the baby could potentially die. Kevin was presented with the worst case scenario, that he may find himself the single parent of their son. He decided he would support Renee’s final decision.
Despite the risk, she could not give up on her vision of a quiet, gentle homebirth. After she consulted experts and conducted her own research, her midwife reminded Renee there was something in her favor – the fact that Drake had been in the birth canal meant her body had already experienced much of a vaginal birth and would have memory of the process.
Renee researched still further, finally concluding the risk of a uterine rupture was small in her case. There are risks inherent in any birth, she rationalized, deciding to proceed with her plans for a home birth.
But first, she had some fears to face. With her knowledge of the Law of Attraction she realized denying her fears wouldn’t work – she would have to confront and neutralize them in order to avoid attracting something similar.
Determined to face her fears head on, Renee gathered as much information as possible, both positive and negative. She joined an online VBAC support group where success stories were posted regularly, and spoke to people about their VBACs. The majority of women she spoke to had hospital VBACs, but this didn’t discourage her dream of a home water birth.
By now Renee was fully convinced of the validity of the Law of Attraction, and confident of her ability to master her thoughts and emotions to create the life circumstance she most wanted. After all, she already had miracle baby #1
Knowing our lives are created by the story we tell, she began to practice telling the story the way she wanted it to unfold. For example, as her
belly grew she explained to her young son that the baby growing inside her would come out of her vagina, not her tummy. She mentally rehearsed a peaceful home birth repeatedly, making her visualization as real as possible.
Realizing her fears of a repeat caesarean had deep roots, she dug deep to root them out. She practiced hypno-birthing relaxation exercises. She encouraged her feelings to surface with birth art, a process where you enter into a meditative state of mind, then doodle or paint, creating art that reveals how you feel about the birth.
The art Renee created made her realize she still had lingering grief over the home birth she’d been denied with Drake. She still felt betrayed; by her body, by the doctors, by her own lack of conviction that she could birth him successfully at home. Knowing these stale old feelings had no place in the birth she was planning, she continued to draw them out through art, repeating the process until she was only drawing positive images.
She also worked extensively with Reiki throughout this period; a gentle but effective ‘laying on of hands’ form holistic healing. Reiki is a powerful stress and pain reliever that flows to whatever part of the body needs it most. The beauty of this therapy is it can be done without actually touching the person receiving it – meaning it could be administered to her during the stages of the birth when she didn’t want physical contact.
Renee had the wisdom to keep quiet about her birth plan and not discuss it with anyone unless she knew they’d be supportive. She knew the cardinal rule of the Law of Attraction – that you get what you think about whether you want it or not, and that what we focus on gets bigger. Discussing negative possibilities only contributes to their becoming probabilities
She refused to entertain negative fearful thoughts that would frighten her away from what her heart knew was possible. Instead, she trusted in her own inner wisdom and that of her midwifes.
As the big day drew near, Renee chose to augment her experience with crystals, because she’d worked with them for years and had faith in the power of their energy. She chose Moonstone, Orange Calcite, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Moss Agate, Peridot and Black Onyx for the birth, stones that would be given to the baby.
I was honored to personally buy each specific crystal, which I cleansed with Reiki energy. Renee created a circle with them surrounding a Rose Quartz, because circles represent unbroken, loving energy; the circle of life. An Amethyst was placed directly in the birthing tub.
That warm August evening as I watched Renee labour, I was in awe of her strength and grace under pressure, but I honestly wasn’t concerned for her safety. As her labour coach and Law of Attraction Coach, I knew the danger of letting negative thoughts take hold. I was there to support my girl, and was thrilled to be part of this momentous occasion. I was also very grateful for my knowledge of energy work and my ability to assist her in such a valuable way.
I knew how important as it was to Renee to be successful in her vision of the perfect birth, and watching her I realized it was important for me personally as well. I’d always wanted this kind of birth for myself too.
Water births were new then, over 30 years ago, and I didn’t have the kind of support Renee did, or the strength to proceed without that support. I had three long difficult hospital births that produced beautiful healthy children, but were nowhere near the kind of experience I’d hoped for – or the kind I wished for my daughter now.
Shortly after midnight the action heated up. The midwives arrived.
Renee got into the tub, where the warm water eased her discomfort and helped her ride the waves of increasingly intense contractions. Kevin sat vigil at her side, I stood by the tub directing Reiki healing to her.
Things began to move fast, and both midwives were closely monitoring her progress, regularly checking mother and baby’s heart rates.
At one point the baby had moved further down than anyone realized, and when the midwife checked its heart rate she accidently got Renee’s much slower one instead.
It was only a moment before she made that realization, but that was enough to make Renee to briefly flashback to her first birth nearly three years earlier.
She focused on her breath to control the pain and try to block the movie unfolding on the screen of her mind.
The images came flooding back – the terrified look on her husband’s face as she was wheeled away from him for an emergency caesarian; exhausted, powerless after 36 hours of unfruitful labor. The feeling of having all choice, all personal power taken from her.
As Renee’s contractions grew in frequency and intensity, so did her determination to avoid a repeat of that experience.
“Not this time,” she vowed, “you’re coming out here.” She made each push count.
At last, it was time. With one push, the baby crowned. Another push, the head was out. Then the shoulders. Finally, the midwife invited her to reach under and help her baby to the surface. Renee lovingly claimed her prize.
I’ll never forget how those little bright eyes sought out Renee’s face like little heat-seeking missiles, locking onto mama’s eyes in a magical mother/child reunion.
Renee, the first to identify the baby’s gender, cradled her infant in her arms, counting fingers and toes as Kevin cut the cord. She had birthed a beautiful 7lb baby girl, and has never looked as beautiful to me as she did in that moment.
Moments later, completely spent, Renee relaxed on the couch suckling her new baby; exhausted, sore, and perfectly at peace.
Never again would she doubt her own power, for not only had she brought new life into the world, she’d succeeded in creating a brand new birth story for herself, a fabulously victorious VBAC A completely drug-free birth, aided only by Reiki, crystals, and lots of positive thinking
Holding my exquisite little grand-daughter in my arms mere moments after her birth, I realized Renee had created a new birth-story for me as well, by honoring me with a ringside seat to the birthing experience I always wanted too.
Hours later the three of us, mother, daughter and grand-daughter phoned my mother at the other end of the country to share the wonderful news. Renee had a special surprise – they’d decided to name the baby Rosalye, after her great Nana, Lyla for short.
And as we announced it, I swear little Lyla smiled her approval.
Now, with Lyla only 1 month old, Renee has already began public speaking, sharing her success story, paving the way for countless other women who share her dream of having a victorious VBAC.
These are the crystals Renee choose to assist her birth:
Rose Quartz; because it represents unconditional love and infinite peace, and is the #1 stone for the heart and the heart chakra. Its calming, reassuring energy makes it ideal to set the stage for a peaceful birth.
Moonstone; because it helps to relieve stress, fear, and tension during childbirth, to promote a smooth delivery.
Amethyst; a very powerful, protective stone with a high spiritual vibration. A natural tranquilizer with strong healing powers, it makes you feel more in control and promotes focus. A piece I had mined personally was placed directly in the birthing tub with Renee.
Orange Calcite; because it balances emotions and removes fear, and is highly energizing for the lower chakras (vibrational energy centers associated with specific bodily organs and functions). Just having one in the room clears it of negative energy and heightens personal energy.
Lapis Lazuli; because it stimulates personal power, releases stress, relieves pain and reduces blood pressure and brings deep peace.
Malachite; known as the midwife stone because it resonates with a woman’s sexual organs. It eases cramps and absorbs negative energy.
Moss Agate; considered to be a birthing crystal assisting midwives because it lessens pain and ensures a good delivery. It is a stone of new beginnings.
Black Onyx; because it supports you with strength during times of extreme mental or physical stress. It is very grounding, brings self-confidence, and balances the yin and yang energies in the body.
Peridot; a valuable stone to have at a birth because it acts as a tonic, strengthening contractions while lessening pain.