A year ago today, I woke up to a warm gush. They say it usually is a trickle and that the gush isn't the norm. Mine was a flood. A life-giving flood that would bring a new being in to this world. It was two weeks before my due date, so I could not believe this was the real thing. This was what we had been dreaming of for 9 months. We finally were going to bring our child into this world. Were we ready?
We labored at home for about 7 hours. My doula, Christy, was there to support us throughout this journey. We walked and danced, I moaned through contractions. It was a guttural moan that came deep from within. This was a sound I did not think could come from little ol' me. At times, it sounded more like a roar. As the contractions grew more intense and closer together, we made our way to the hospital. Susan, our midwife, checked me out and gave the prediction of a quick, easy birth (never tell a laboring Mother this – it is bound to go awry). We were so excited to meet our baby; a child we had created together and could not wait to hold and love.
Things slowed down, which is normal after arriving at the hospital. I look forward to the possibility of a homebirth next time, so not to interrupt the space you get into. We continued to walk, dance…I moaned and roared. Time did not exist, though I felt it had been a long time. I could see it on Benjamin's face. He was amazing. He never left me, and was my rock. Sounds cheesy, but it's the only way I can describe it. Christy was my gentle wind. She was always in the background whispering encouraging words, massaging, and working acupressure points. Lavender and soft music filled the room. Susan let me labor, as if she and the rest of the medicalized world weren't there. An occasional check…baby was fine.
It was night and things weren't progressing as predicted. Esther was upside down, "sunny-side up", her first defying act. After about 14 hours of laboring, it was time to really push and to finally meet our child. I continued to dance, walk, and squat. I did not want to be confined to the bed. I felt this life, moving down towards this world. She was stuck, but we were determined to bring her to this world without outside help. I could do it. I was exhausted, but knew the end was near. And when we got there, our whole lives would be forever changed.
It was time. We had to get this baby out. I roared. The fire burned. So close…
Susan said this was it. Ben came around to catch our baby. Christy prayed us through it. A push – a head full of dark hair. A final push – it's a girl! Born at 12:56am on December 13, 2006. The spirit I had felt all along. Her name, Esther Alma. Esther, named after the strength of a woman who stood up to save her people. Esther also means "star" to which we have always felt a connection. Alma means "spirit" and was Ben's great-grandmother. I never had the chance to meet her, but have heard of her gentle, kind spirit. This was our daughter – Esther Alma Fleming.
We brought her to my breast and cried and thanked God for this gift. She was finally here. Now we were three, a family.