Blaze Marley was my sixth son. He was born August of 2012 after an exceptionally humid (read:miserable) summer. Although in retrospect it probably wasn’t really THAT hot…..but when you are growing a person in your uterus you tend to feel a tad like a hman incubator. So, I spent much of my last trimester in one of two places. In my faithful pink recliner about 3 inches from the air conditioner or sitting in my son’s 2 foot deep pool, a bloated hippo afloat in an oasis of coolness. (Oasis meaning I had kicked all the children OUT so I could soak without getting splashed.)
In the last two weeks of my pregnancy I had become very focused on one goal. To do this birth on my terms. I had birthed 5 sons before him. The first I had not known WHAT to expect, having been only a 20 year old girl without any experience to reflect on. BUt then my first son had been born in the midst of a thousand interventions, 5 weeks premature with a follow-up stay in the NICU. Utter sense of loss of control. Spiralled into Post Partum Depression. Then my third child slipped away in a miscarriage. Then a doctor advised me to abort my next child in case I miscarried THIS one as well. THAT was the final ball dropping. That was when I took my life into my own hands. I began to research obsessively. And I feel completely in love with the idea of a home birth. An unassisted home birth.
I won’t go into all of the statistics or data or reasons why I desire this sort of birth. Only to say that it speaks very eloquently and deeply to the primal core of myself. There is no fear or doubt in this decision. None at all. Not for a moment.
BUt circumstances always seem to hinder my desire. This time was no exception. Lets just say, when making a choice to do something that requires 100% of your soul and physical strength and focus…..do NOT allow a person into your presence who has doubts of their own that they may portray onto you.
And though a part of me sometimes mentally kicks me in the butt, wishing I had followed through, I cant say I regret too much. Because I labored and birthed pretty damn close to where I wanted it all to fall into place.
Those two weeks before, I would tuck my other sons into bed and then walk circles around our huge backyard. Dressed in one of my ever-trusty sundresses, a cat or two and all three dogs trotting along behind me as a waddled in rhythm while talking to my baby, looking to be for all the world, like some teeter-tottering Dr. Dolittle, I’m sure. I told my son within me about my dreams for his life, about my concerns, about my hopes. I asked him to come soon. I sent him vibes of love and life and health. I sang to him. I walked and walked hours upon hours under clear summer skies and stars.
I told my husband exactly the day Blaze would come. Because Blaze had told me. That exact morning I awoke early to a gush of fluid beneath me. NOt a huge torrent, but enough to awaken me and leave me with no doubt this was my water breaking. I was giddy. Gleeful that my communication with my unborn child had worked so well. I rubbed my tummy in eager anticipation and told my son I was looking forward to meeting him. I got up and went about my day, took care of the household duties and child care stuffs while changing the pad in my panties every half hour or so as it got soaked. I wasn’t concerned about time. I knew my body and this baby would come together to get this all accomplished at the perfect time. I trusted instinct and urge. I went out to the pool to empty it and refill it, scrubbing it out, stopping every so often to squat to the side and allow the amniotic fluid to leak onto the grass. (Removed the panties to avoid the hassle of going through a million pads.)
After the pool was complete I got changed, loaded the kids into the van and we all headed off to church. I enjoyed the fellowship and worship time. But after only 20 minutes I realized I was leaking fluid far faster than I had earlier that day. So, I explained to our beloved Pastor what was up and he brought my husband and I to the front so the church could lay hands on us and pray over us. I felt so much tangible love and empowerment in those moments.
It was literally the MOMENT we pulled into the driveway at home that the first REAL contraction hit. I held the car door handle and breathed through it. Slow and easy. From then on it was all about listening to my body. I tread a path through the yard, pacing and squatting as need be. I took a hot shower. I spent time leaning over my recliner. Back to the shower. Down on the rug on my hands and knees. Back outside. I felt amazing surges of energy, almost electric in quality. When the contractions grew in intensity I got loud. I closed my eyes and moaned primally. I cussed in a deep throaty voice that rumbled downward. I clutched my husbands hand. He tucked chux pads beneath my bottom as I squatted in our bedroom. He locked eyes with my gaze of love and intense fear in moments when it hurt so much I was nothing but waves upon waves of light and life and tearing and squeezing. The tv was on in the background but it was muted. The lighting was dim. Dave tried to wake the kids up but they wouldn’t wake. The world had taken on a grainy, unreal tint to it, much like a dream.
Then he was here. So fast was the pushing. Intense is the only word to describe it. I pushed when I wanted, stopped when I needed to take breaks. But I didn’t desire many breaks. I was spurred on in my excitement at meeting my son. I felt his head stretch out my insides as he passed up and over and through and then he was out, slick and beautiful and silent for the first moment. Dave cried. I couldn’t have quit smiling if you held a gun to my head and demanded it. All in all, from start to finish, labor itself (from first contraction) was only 6 hours long. From the time I first set foot into the hospital til he was born was about 15 minutes. Not too shabby.
I nursed him. He was a pro. He was marvelous. I undressed him and stared in utter awe at every single inch of his perfection. I was head over heel sin love. I wouldn’t put him down. Just held him as I ate the meals the hospital brought me. Held him as I signed papers. Held him as I watched tv. Held him as they took my blood pressure. I set him in his little isolette so I could pee and he felt a million miles away. When he was only 24 hours old they showed the documentary of Bob Marley on tv. I sat in the hospital bed nursing him and snuggling him and explained all about his namesake. I explained why he carried with him the name Marley as a middle name. Along with his second middle name Honor. I sat and watched the story of Bob Marleys life and pondered the journey of seeking peace, of blessing others, of living an honorable life. And here I held this fragile, unblemished little soul in my arms, fed him from my breasts. I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the gift of this moment.
Blaze Marley-Honor. My beautiful boy.
My cup runneth over. ❤