The nearly free birth of Forest (part 2)

The facet of freebirthing that was most compelling to me was not being “checked” to see how dilated I was, or being told when to push, or any other externalized reference points along the Journey of Laboring.  Instead, the birthing woman is totally undisturbed and able to experience from the INside-out.  (I’m imagining that some readers will find this perspective audacious.  Like “WHAT??? YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW HOW TO GIVE BIRTH WITHOUT A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO AND WHEN.”)

Well guess what?  You CAN.

Except here’s where I lost connection with my inner authority:

Expectations…. I imagined that the second baby would be easier.  It was taking waaaay too long.  I was in waaaaaaay too much pain.  When would I feel the fucking urge to PUSH???

Night had swallowed day, candles danced wiggly, golden light about the dim ambiance of my pink bedroom.  I finally felt a mild urge to push.  I guess I texted my doula friend Karen in California… and asked her…. something.  She video called me on fb messenger.  As Grace would have it, she was about to give a chiropractic adjustment to three mamas (two of which I had known for over a decade).  Suddenly I was being supported by FOUR women from across the world.

Mostly this was soothing and helpful.  But in retrospect, the call lingered beyond its expiration date.  I lost touch with the inner authority that had been the coveted treasure of my freebirthing quest.  I was lost in the wilderness of pain… Vulnerable and reaching outside for salvation.

The call sprawled on for over an hour.  Contractions.  Pushing.  Lioness roars.

I asked Karen if breaking my own bag of waters (which was still intact) would accelarate the process (I had heard this in other birth stories…) She said go for it. When I reached inside, I could feel the bulging bag… At first I was tentative about breaking it with my nails. But after three or four tries, it burst. Gusssssssh….

Nothing changed, save the manky bedspread, which was now cold and wet.

I felt inside to see if Forest’s head was at the door yet. I felt SOMEthing…. But it was not very “head-ish”… It felt like two squishy peaks, with a valley in between. WHAAAAAT??? Not a foot. Not a head. Too small for a butt…. Was there REALLY a normal baby-shaped person inside me??? Or just some random, alien scraps, all smashed together….

When my waters broke, Karen said “He’ll be out in two pushes.”

My inner authority flew out the window and I placed the weight of my salvation in this statement. Time bled on…. My concern mounted as my endurance dwindled.

Now, please allow me to pause and comment.

My writing style is especially feminine. Rooted in and informed by feeeeeling. Decorated with poetic metaphors. Striking, abstract imagery. Frivolous, philosophical meanderings. Bursts of unapologetic raw-ness…

And then there is Athena Grace writing about BIRTH.  Exponentially feminine. I notice a voice inside who is critical of my “failure” to walk a straight line of “chronology”. Well, I am going to grab my ovaries and overtly affirm– FUCK THAT SHIT. I am a WOMAN.  I have a woman’s (heartful) mind, and I am sharing my Woman’s Voice. I never really identified as a “feminist”… because I’m not into raging against the machine. But it turns out that at heart, I AM. The world held hostage by our severely crippled systems NEEDS women’s’ voices to resound boldly through the Collective, heal the heart of ALL, and purify the waters.

This story is a wild, bucking spiral montage of images, mOMents, feelings… and of course a juicy climax (or three). By the Power Vested in Me, I declare that this is RIGHT and BEAUTIFUL and perfectly natural. Not to negate straight lines. I reserve the right to ride those tamed beasts as I please.

At the start of this account I forgot to mention that as during my labor with Serena, it was increasingly impossible to pee. I was hoping this condition would not recur with Forest. Frown.  I had to squat or sit on the toilet for a million years of discomfort before a pathetic trickle would dribble out. Not being able to release deterred me from drinking too much. I was hot and sweaty. I needed fluid. I drank sips and tangoed with the terror of bursting my bladder.

I also forgot to mention an essential, terrible (and retrospectively comical) thing about Giordano’s role during my labor. If I had a nickel for every time the man asked me “WHY”…. I’d be one rich bitch.  MEN— Listen. When a laboring woman makes a request, DO NOT ask her WHY.  Fucking never. Each time he did, I told him this. But obviously, it didn’t go IN. Because his WHYs fired off like a machine gun, driving holes in my peace and sanity.  WOMEN— if your man asks you WHY while you are laboring, send him to me and I will personally rip his over-active head off. And for anyone who finds themself asking “WHY not ask WHY?…”

I’ll tell you.

BECAUSE. It engages a part of the brain that should NOT be active while a woman is in such an intense, intuitive, altered state.

And NOW, back to our riveting story.

I didn’t feel that I was progressing. (I WAS… but not in an outwardly measurable way, like I WANTED to be…)  Karen said if Forest wasn’t out in another half an hour, I “should” go to the hospital.  Eeeeeeeeeek. This would be a major MESS. It was after eleven pm. Would they cut me open? Give me a hodge-podge of horrific interventions? Give my baby antibiotics and injections? Burn me at the stake for birthing outside The System? There was nothing bright about this proposed path.

Except the survival of my child and myself.

Giordano became anxious. Ugh. Just what I needed. He did NOT want to go to the hospital…. Which was actually a surprise to me. I thought he would be the first to subscribe to conventional protocols.  But at this point, he was scared of all the same shit as me. Only more so… because dude tends to expect the worst. But actually, I was impressed by his ability to stay grounded and “calm-ish”… given where the current was carrying us.  In the end, he didn’t lose it.

Through brutal contractions and involuntary baring down, I made a phone call to Manuela, who was holding energetic space for us… and told her that I thought we should go to the hospital. She said “Be wise.”

I forgot this part, but apparently I had also texted Benedetta– “HELP”, at some point.  (She reminded me of this a few days ago, and I had a good laugh about it.) She said she awoke to my text and freaked out. She had become a contact point for a slew of people who were eager to be updated about our progress and wellbeing. She said she called me. I vaguely recall trying to speak to her through excruciating contractions and pushing. Haha. It sure is funny now!

Then I pulled on my beloved, well-worn Berkeley Police sweatpants and a WHITE TANK TOP (what was I thinking???) and attempted to walk. I had to stop every couple steps and breathe and puuuuush.

I HAD TO.

How in Fuck’s holy name would I survive a twenty minute car ride???

 

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Initiations. Undone, Reshaped… Yay.

I’d better put on lipstick, if I expect to write anything profound and life-changing.  Ok, there. Purple Haze, generously, sensuously slathered. Time to rock and roll.

This morning I peed into a cup and a vial… and then delivered it to the lab, where they would also suck four vials of blood from me.  Right as our little family of three point three, three, three walked through the door, there came a B movie scream, from one of the exam rooms.  At first, it was startling… and then hilarious. I guess the Universe wants me to lighten up.

I struggle with the Italian medical system.  I’m really not a western medicine enthusiast to begin with… but trying to navigate the shit in a foreign language spoken by a generally superstitious crowd makes me uneasy.  But hey, it’s free.

They want to test my blood every forty days.  Pregnancy protocol. To me this is obsessive. While pregnant with Serena, in my forsaken and fabulous California, they tested my blood twice.  Which was plenty. But they fed Giordano a bunch of crap about how “vulnerable” the second trimester is. Ummm okaaaaaay…. They said I am vulnerable to toxoplasmosis (because I have never had it).   Maaaaaybe I’ve never had it not just because I’m “lucky”, but because my body is strong and luminous and knows how to efficiently process what I put into it. I have eaten plenty of raw, dirty, organic vegetables in my life.  And whatever else can cause it.

Almost everything that is said at my doctor visit, I rely on Giordano to translate and regurgitate to me.  This is a pain in his ass, and since communication is not his forte… some things get “lost in translation”.  Sigh. It’s a delicate balance, surrendering to my circumstances, appreciating what is given, AND maintaining the ovaries not to get swept away on other people’s agendas and trips.

On Friday, I’m going to Gubio for an epic ultrasound, where they will look at all my sweet boy’s organs and whatever else they can see with their magic wand.  I’m excited to see my tiny man again! He sure is an active guy. Gulp. Totally different than Serene Serena…. I hope I have it in me to keep up with him.

My badass spiritually connected counselor, Manuela said not to just slap a cool name on him… but to make sure that it is the name he prefers.  With a vibration that matches his essence and life mission. I was gonna name him “Cosmo”, because it was decent as far as generally boring boy names go.  And Giordano and I agreed on it. But upon reflection, I don’t think “Cosmo” is magnificent enough to fit this guy. (No offense to all you Cosmos out there!)

I have this theory that during pregnancy, the soul of the child whom a woman is growing a body for, actively invokes very specific initiations for its mother… Which will cultivate the qualities and strengths this BEing needs, in order to be supported on his/her life journey.  I experienced this with Serena, and I am experiencing it again with “Tiny Man”.

Life is sucking me through the eye of the needle.  I am living mostly on my raw, bloody knees, incessantly digging DEEP, getting still, breathing through my “molten core”, straight into the center of the planet.  I am fierce to realize and awaken the Mighty and Delicate Divinity within me. I am becoming more patient and non-reactive than I ever imagined possible, and surrendering like a Boss.  I am getting right with not being able to fathom WHY.

I’m actually quite proud of myself.  Can you tell?

Mamas out there– Have you experienced this phenomenon of initiation, of which I speak?  

The latest installment of my, ahem, “initiation”, was a minor car accident last week.  Giordano insisted that we needed some “fun”, and wanted to take us to sushi in Perugia.  This aroused elusive fear in my system, but I dismissed it, and submitted to his sweet invitation.  It was the day after Valentine’s Day. We had had a messy fight, followed by a life-giving healing, the night before.  Then right before our ill-fated lunch, a man came to our house to install satellite internet, so that I will be able to reignite my online women’s circles, generate income, passionately serve humanity and build community rooted in authenticity, empowerment and full self expression!  Spring sunlight poured down like benevolent nectar upon the earth. Life felt deliciously “right”.

Until…

Giordano was exiting the motorway in Perugia.  He gazed over at me with visceral devotion, which I eagerly drank.  We both looked back at the road and shared a wave of “oh fuck”, as we realized the cars ahead of us were stopped.  Brake. Smash. Fuck. Haha that’s today’s novella knock-off of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

We were all okay.  Actually, Giordano said his back hurt.  But he says that every day… and with the expanding, unwieldy financial burden he is carrying, it’s no surprise.  To me it felt like a mere bumper car ride. Meets demolition derby. Our car looked ruined. Totally smashed front end.  The mercedes we hit looked pristine. A striking blond woman got out and cursed in Italian. Actually, she turned out to be quite angelic.  I wish I had asked her name. I’m sure it was significant.

 

She did all the requisite photography and stuff.  Giordano made phone calls, and I climbed the little grassy hill above the off-ramp with Serena.  She discovered legions of sun-bleached, vacated snail shells, which we collected and organized by size.  I marveled at the perfect spiral they each contained, and imagined that this was a timely though cryptic message from Above.  I prayed hard. To feel God’s perfection in this situation. To stay open and TRUST the Journey. I sent a grounding cord from my root, to the center of the planet.  I held a space of calmness and presence, so that Serena would feel safe. She must’ve, because she shone with innoecent delight and wonder. I felt happy to be alive, and even happier to be her mom.

Turns out our car is salvageable!  All we need is to hand over about nine hundred dollars to the mechanic.  (Who’s name happens to be “Mauricio”… which is the same name as the mechanic my Ma took our little shocking green Fiat to, back in 1984!  Ha!) This sounds all peach-dandy on paper… but in practice, it’s quite a searing situation. Giordano was already pulverized by myriad financial obligations “we” are facing.  This was The Straw….

NO!  We will not break!  God is GOOD. We will triumph.  I started a crowdfunding campaign.  Begging for money basically. Part of me feels shame for this.  But a stronger part of me says it doesn’t hurt to ask. Nor to receive.  So far, I have gathered about three hundred and fifty dollars from my sphere of Earth Angels.  I am so grateful.

If YOU are moved to help us resurrect “Penis Ray-Ray” (our car), you can send a PayPal donation to us at:

athenaheavenlybody@gmail.com

Public transportation in our area is nearly non-existent.  I can only bum rides to and from school for so long… My network of connections here is still minimal.  But rich… I cherish the modest bouquet of souls I call “Friend” over here!

 

My glass is hella full today.  I believe in and invoke the unbounded Goodness that is Godness that is ALLness.  I am savoring the feeling of whispered auspiciousness, awakening and co-creation yet to come.

From my heart to yours… May your faith be great and your love be infinite.

~Athena Grace