It was right around the sixth month of pregnancy that I started worrying about the imminent pain ahead of me. I used to call my mom in a panic and she always said the same thing:
“Well, it’s in; it’s gotta get out somehow.”
Thanks Mom! I appreciate the words of wisdom! (Not!!!)
Allow me to explain. The belief that my body was a temple was instilled in me from early on. With the exception of antibiotics, which for some reason, my mom seemed to believe in (don’t ask me why!), everything in our household was treated holistically. It seemed like there was nothing that garlic, lavender, chamomile, peppermint and a few other plants couldn’t cure. When someone was really sick, we had the more dramatic course of action, the “ventuze”, glass cups lit on fire and applied to one’s back. Consequently, my parents never had to worry about me taking drugs when I was a teenager. No need for any coaxing; I wouldn’t even take two aspirins.
In light of my background, one should not be surprised by my decision to give birth naturally and at home; for me there was never any other choice. My son’s birth took about 30 hours. Almost ten years later (they say you forget the pain; they’re lying!) I was doing it again. This time I wanted to try something new, something to expedite the delivery process. I chose acupuncture.
Seventeen years ago today, I was laboring at home assisted by two midwives, one of them also an acupuncturist. I had needles all over my body. I can tell you with certainty: Acupuncture works! There was a needle in the middle of my left palm that corresponded with my uterus. Whenever Pei Fen motioned toward that needle, I cringed, for I knew only too well what the repercussions of that would be: every time she turned that needle, I had a major contraction. “Oh, no, not THAT needle”, I would urge, as she mercilessly disregarded my pleas and turned it anyway, immediately triggering the next contraction.
So it was that Amanda was born a mere five hours into the labor, a sixth of the time it took to give birth to my son, almost ten years earlier. Like my son, she was born around 7-8 am, which is typically the time I like waking up. To say that it was Love at first sight is no exaggeration, although until you have your very own child, it’s difficult to imagine the breadth of that Love.
There was no blood and no crying. As soon as she entered the World, she was laid on my tummy, her pretty little head resting on my chest, as I counted all her toes and fingers and pronounced her “Perfect!” Both of us covered by a blanked, basking in the morning sun, so brightly shining thorough the vast bedroom windows and skylights, that glorious morning is etched in my memory.
We laid like that for almost an hour, still entwined by the umbilical chord and placenta, the last remnants of our physical union. After that, the father ceremoniously cut the umbilical chord and gave her a “LeBoyer” Bath, as she pensively gazed at him, unfurling her tiny body in the warm water, held firmly and gently by his strong, loving hands. It is during moments like these, that you know God exists. The spiritual exaltation is so high and the realization of the bond that exists between people, their spirits and that which goes beyond is undeniable. In that regard, every birth is an awakening and a connection to that which is, that which has been and that which will be.
Seventeen years ago today, my beautiful Amanda was born. Last year, also in April, five days ago to the day, my beautiful Grandmother passed away. The chain of Life uninterrupted, the passage of souls and the continuation of the Spirit becomes evident to me as I write these words right now. With tears in my eyes and a smile on my face; with pain and joy in my heart, I celebrate not only my Daughter’s Birthday today, but also, I celebrate Life.
Rest in peace my beloved Mama Tily!
May you have a blessed and beautiful Life, my lovely Amanda!
I love you both with all my heart!