Rune's story is more than a birth story, really. I think that he would agree that this is true. Plus, what birth story doesn't include random thoughts about life or death, reflections on how life is or how we want it to be? Pregnancy and birth is so all encompassing that there is no way I can separate all that this time. With each birth I rebirth—I become “rewired” and change so dramatically that I can no longer imagine writing a simple birth story! Plus, as I lay here 3 days postpartum I have a lot of releasing to do, a lot of needing to feel and think and cry and laugh and seeing it all on paper will give me some sort of closure. At least that is the goal!
I knew Rune would come over a year ago. I felt him in the “sidelines” of my life and once, at the full moon ceremony, I actually got to feel the love and bond with him that I have had in other lifetimes. I knew he was a he, that I have known and loved him before, and that he would soon be with me in this lifetime. At the time, I cried with the intensity of not having him yet and knowing I needed to be patient. When I did get pregnant I was not surprised, even though we weren't “trying” and I also had never gotten a postpartum cycle after Lula. My pregnancy was really healthy without issues. I did my own prenatal care and just tried to use my intuition. Whether it was what to eat, or intuitively knowing that everything was “OK” (without ultrasound of course), I think I experienced a new level of taking care of myself. It wasn't always easy, not having that midwife to cry to or vent to, but I learned a ton and was reminded of how important the emotional state really is and how it changes in pregnancy. I was able to relate to this pregnancy in a very spiritual way and my spiritual practice deepened and strengthened with Rune inside of me. I was able to access a power and strength feeling him in my body. But I also experienced his spirit as well—and he was unlike my others in that I did not feel him completely present in his new body. Probably not until right now, and even now I watch him sleep and dream and I think he is still working on being Rune. There was just a feeling that he was off and away, playing in fields and being a happy soul, not wanting to settle into his body just yet. I struggled with this in many “practical” ways—why wasn't he moving “as much”, should I get an ultrasound? Was something “wrong”? Even in utero, Rune taught us several lessons about all that. What is “wrong”? What were my issues regarding perfection? Did I have an expectation for this child to be a certain way or would I allow him to be perfect being him? These conflicts within me were many, and it was only checking in spiritually that I was able to handle it and come out feeling like no matter what, everything IS ok. I like to think that the overriding lesson of Rune's presence in my life so far comes down to this:
Something like—the way things “should be”.....versus the way things are.....
Whatever they are is what is. There is no judgement unless we make one, there is no disappointment or relief or sadness of anger if we do not have the expectation of things being one way or the other. I say this with meaning and emotion as it is only 3 days after his birth. And what a birth it was---
Odin was and is Rune's protector. I will have to see if he remains in my spiritual life, although I think he will. I was told many times that Rune is special, a magical child and that he would be brought here and protected by Odin. I was told that in exchange his name needed to reflect that.
So, the pregnancy was uneventful in a good way and I continued to follow my instincts. I did feel in a way that he was not ready to come-I have not felt that way before and it was a little unsettling. Not a lot of physical signs and just hearing from my guides “not yet”. For the first time, I did an herbal regimen to prepare, as well as homeopathics. I continued with weekly massage and chiropractic and did the Webster technique several times at term. Rune liked to hang out on my left side for pretty much the whole pregnancy, but was always turned a bit posterior. I continued to eat way too many eggs (I'd wake up starving in the middle of the nite) and walk daily. I was not as active as other pregnancies but it was OK somehow. I enjoyed being pregnant yet did finally get to the point where I was ready to be done and meet this baby!
I had some practice contractions on Christmas (week before birth) and then nothing! Until 5 days later when it began strongly...and then stopped at 3 am. I remember waking up and thinking darn it! I was sleeping and not laboring!! I had bloody show on and off these next 2 days with an occasional contraction that felt real. It was low and achy and REAL. But not changing or going anywhere. I got to experience the frustration that so many women do and I have to agree that prodromal labor can be really hard! I made sure to sleep a lot and eat and just keep telling myself “you are not in labor yet”. It did help as the real “danger” is wearing yourself out, and I did not do that. I also had some mental stuff to clear as I didn't want anyone family here and mom and Amanda were here the nite of the 30th.
On New Year's eve, still nothing too exciting. An occasional contraction. I thought maybe he was struggling with position a bit, and so decided to take 3 doses of pulsatilla, 15 min. apart. I didn't know, but learned that pulsatilla is good in general for prodromal labor. Which makes sense in relation to position...anyway. Soon after, around 9 pm, contractions began coming more regularly, like every 20 minutes. Still not too exciting. Brewed up some of Diane's Labor tea. More regular but off to bed---not really painful but hard to sleep, and I was so hungry! Kind of wandered around house by myself all nite, on and off computer, with a bunch of long bathroom breaks as the bowel thing had definitely kicked in. By 1:30 am on the 1st (!) I was having regular 5 minute aparts but not lasting too long. At 3:30 I had 3 in a row that were different and longer, and so I called the midwife and Sunny. I told them not to rush but that things were starting. I had Jason get up and start the pool process. Things were getting harder but still not amazingly consistent. I remember getting worried—my last 2 labors were just so easy and pretty predictable. I never thought about contractions not being strong enough or long enough. What if this went on forever and I called everybody here for nothing?? I checked myself at about 6 pm and found I was about 4 centimeters. I was fine with that as it seemed appropriate but I was praying the rest wouldn't be so willy nilly. Midwife arrived at 6:30 and I felt things slow for a bit—she realized I wasn't imminent and went to bed. I put on some music and tried to shut off my midwife brain. My babies know how to come out, my body knows how to do this. There is no rush. This baby is not in a rush and that is OK. I was reminded of how typical it was for a fourth baby—nothing, nothing, nothing then SOMETHING. I labored in the bathroom, on the ball, taking big funny stomping steps.....on my side, swinging hips. I did it all and hoped baby would find his way. I couldn't feel too much more about my dilation but the baby was still really high, I knew that. I'd say after 8 am sometime it started to get hard. I felt that desire to push but I wanted to ignore it for as long as possible and gently bring the baby down. My legs started to ache badly, I cried about being so happy and lucky and knew I was “transitioning”. I took some gelsemium too. I got in the pool (for pretty much the first time)--it hadn't felt good before because I needed to MOVE! And it didn't feel great now but I urged myself to calm down, try it and relax. I wanted to push but just did little ones and mainly tried to not push but relax thru the contractions. I had Jason sit with me and stroke my arm in hopes it would help (and it did) and then had Sunny come in and do the same. I wanted to completely let go of the tension and just sink into the pool. I wanted to feel the sensation of this other life moving through me. All was well and calm for a few more minutes. But suddenly I couldn't stand the pool anymore—I had to push SO bad but yet when I did it still kind of hurt. The intensity increased 100 fold. I could not sit still and I found that I had to both push and relax at different parts of the contraction. The intensity—like a brick wall moving fast thru my body—was somewhat new. It was powerful and I struggled to deal with it. I let out a few good screams and moved to the 3rd push or so in the bathroom—tried to get to toilet but couldn't and so groaned and moaned and pushed. Came out in to bedroom for push #4 and got on my hands and knees on a blue pad. I felt Rune twitch and reached down to protect my peri. I felt the pressure and release as my water broke and a little bit of clear fluid landed on the pad. I felt the sac coming out too, and felt his head coming. I lost focus for a moment and screamed, but it was the primal, instinctual almost “Mating call” of birth. My baby is coming!!! I felt like a fish out of water and yearned for the water's warmth and support to bring this baby out.
I literally dove into the pool, splashing water everywhere. I kept my hands on my peri and felt the familiar feelings. I told Sunny the head's out, get Jason and the kids. I felt his head descend and the relief of the numbing stretch on my labia. It felt so amazing to feel his head emerge and I felt so in control of that process for the first time. My instincts were right on, of course. Then I felt his little head suck back in a bit, and his shoulder hit my bone as he tried to restitute. I remember feeling down and feeling half of his ear out. I realized he had not completely crowned and was a little stuck. I felt it in my body, physically and psychically that he needed help. The midwife was there at that point and I saw her roll up her pants. I though I should get this baby out—so I went into runner's pose. Nothing. A contraction but no rotation. Went to hands and knees and then went in there and got his anterior shoulder off my bone myself, as he sought to release himself as well with the contractions. No huge deal and really all an instinctual process. I pushed him into the water and saw the bag come out too. I pulled him up and that is when the fun began. Birth time: 9:01 am. A whole hour or two of active labor and about 10 minutes of pushing. Wow.
I can only say what I saw now in context of retelling it, and replaying it. It may all be quite innacurate, who knows. But Rune was not here—his body was but he spirit was not yet. He was blue and limp and lifeless. We talked and stimulated and sucked fluids out of his mouth. I remember switching to midwife brain and ordering everyone. Jason get the phone. Talk to the baby. Rub him. Sunny get the motherwort as I am starting to feel like I could lose focus and in the back of my mind.....don't bleed too, get placenta out. REALLY short cord, plans for lotus birth down the drain as midwife clamps the cord before placenta is even out. Get out of pool bring baby to bedside and continue working on him---bulb syringe, bag and mask, slapping, etc. I deliver my placenta effortlessly and within about 4 minutes of birth but my baby is not looking great. We hear a whimper come from him, but he will not open his eyes or respond and I am getting scared. I start to lose midwife mind and become mama again and beg my baby, beg the forces in this room, beg the midwife to save my baby. I tell Jason to call 911,and we just go around and around in the circle. His heart rate comes up ( at birth it was 40?? But we didn't have a stethoscope of for that matter anything helpful...) He whimpers and by the time EMT gets here he is better, they get him on O2 and he is pinking up...but no one is really doing anything super helpful and I am naked and bleeding---kids watching, terrified?? A real scene but yet not completely chaotic. He is doing better and all is OK—but the pulse oximeter (maybe broken) is freaking everyone out as supposedly his O2 saturation is low and they are all over his heart rate too which is normal, and knowing they know so little is hard but yet WE called THEM. Not wanting to transport him at all, wanting more time and then hearing THE reason that makes me reconsider—I don't want to go thru this 2 hours from now if he crashed—does he have some heart problem, I don't know.....he's “OK” but not crying or responding or gripping me at all. So we err on the “Safe side” which occasionally I do and I am trying not to regret---the worst is over anyway and so we choose to have him seen. Which makes no sense to do here locally if he does need help so we get med-vac'd up north----
Drama that might be funny, I hope one day to me and this little one. I can almost see it—it was kind of his choice after all not to come in right away and what parent would stand by and just wait? I am trying to see it as a continuation of the spiritual journey he has put me one---there is no medical, logical explanation except he just wasn't here with his body yet. Of course the helicopter ride is when he “came in” and gripped my finger—so maybe he is just a little boy with a passion for the dramatic or with a love of helicopters? Egan was envious and asked me if that was Rune's Christmas present!! If I am positive it was a strange and altogether crazy and beautiful experience. What gets me is the post-would have should have could haves. But this is Rune's story!! It could have been different—but that is not Rune's story. This is his, and mine, but he has already started down his path. Lilly did some work at the time of his birth and confirmed—he was indeed fishing somewhere, unaware that he had been born and needed to join his body.
So why is it anything to me? My wonderful friend and now son is here and he is beautiful and perfect. My labor and birth were healing for me and exhilirating for me in that I needed to do it all alone and did. I was instinctual woman, through and through. And this has been the easiest postpartum transition—I have never had such a great nurser, and my body has never felt better or snapped back more quickly. I wanted to remain open to the experience and now am struggling for it being “less than perfect” or any of the above that comes from me—partly ego and learning that what I do has no bearing on what I get---that I am not “entitled” nor should I feel like I am better or different that any woman in birthing. I feel my pride in there and that is not good---I say it to release it, knowing that deep down I am OK. My life is lessons, Rune is a teacher of mine and that there isn't too much that matters. I can wallow in my humanness of “the way things should be”--or I can connect with my deeper self that knows, that feels, that like is the way things are. And that they are absolutely perfect the way they. I try to console and rationalize with myself—I wouldn't change any of it for the world, I would make te same choices—but I hear little voices that need to go---”what if”?? What if I had not gotten back into the pool, would it have mattered?? But “what if” Rune had not come around, ever? Those are crazy what ifs and so I need to not go there.
Some healing for me—and how much healing is needed—another thing I struggle with as at various times my “feelings” are so hormonal and out of whack with reality—this is not disaster, folks. No big deal, really. Right? A transport, big deal, you can transport. You did not fail, no one failed, this is what IS. You didn't “ruin” your beautiful homebirth because it was still a beautiful homebirth by a powerful mama and baby and how does anything have to do with anything? Do we make comparisons, is that completely unfair and inappropriate? I don't know. My experience is mine but how far do I go with the healing or not and the issues or not....am I making issues because I should have issues? Is it because I know birth trauma is a thing? Or is it a thing? What matters? If this is trauma what is that? And if this is anything at all that meant anything at all then why do I have a beautiful baby boy who is my heaven on earth? I am SO HUMAN.....may this all help me negotiate my path and may I see where this leads. That is the most I can hope. And yet it is a big deal---I am a MIDWIFE; birth is my life and right now I want a break—want to go into the cookie business and not have this be such a big deal. So maybe I shouldn't make it a big deal----
Oh right my healing—feeling, touching my (his) placenta and crying over it. Because it is beautiful and it fed him and housed him and there is a spiritual thing about touching it—crying over the lotus birth that wasn't , but who cares. Make a placenta print that is nice and maybe even more special to me and for him. Feeling content on some level in this way, feeling happy that I did not allow anyone to touch this part of my birth. But it is all choices you know?
Rune, you are a beautiful and special boy. Any feelings I have that are less than wise are so superficial and ego based---I am thrilled and content and happy with your choice to come into our lives here. I honor you not as a baby but a fully capable spirit that is able to make choices. I honor your path in life and may this be the first lesson in me not trying to alter whatever that is for you. Birth and life and death happen exactly as they should. There are no alternate scenarios or regrets or judgements. I ask my guides and spirits to release me from the negative feelings and to bathe myself in the beauty and glory of what is. I know, I KNOW that each experience brings us closer to who we really are—especially with birth, I know this is the experience we were meant to have. For what reason yet I do not know, but I HAVE to trust that there is a reason. Whether it is to make me a better midwife, or a better mom, or who knows what else. I know that there are no mistakes, that all I have to do is give into realizing that whatever happens is perfect.
And that with time the hurt will ease and I can choose to be left with the amazing memories and all the “good parts”--this FANTASTIC postpartum that, knock on wood, hasn't involved any jaundice or issues or breastfeeding problems. This postpartum that has me loved and surrounded by positive energy. The amazing pregnancy and truly the amazing, strong birth that Rune and I created together. I wouldn't trade any of that for the world, and truly, I am so lucky. I realized that the birth (even of the placenta!) was exactly as I pictured it to be! Of course, I did not picture the other stuff but I did not NOT picture it either. I did “get” what I created in most ways, and I trust that I was given what I needed. I realize that sometimes the lessons we get are not what we want. But I do believe they are what we need.