Note : This birth story contains uncensored birth imagery. If that’s not your cup of tea, then skip this story. For more information about why I’ve chosen to share the complete raw version of this story - see this excellent blog post by Kayla Grey on Imperative Nudity.
And now I turn the post over to Jessie - telling the story of Asher’s birth.
Asher grew, and grew and soon we were approaching his due date. As my birthday came around (January 6) we arrived at a New Moon and Solar Eclipse. I spent the day receiving a prenatal massage, eating delicious food and vegan chocolate cake from PCC. I made a wish to bring balance into my life and to embrace Motherhood full-heartedly. I also created an intention to breathe deeper than ever before. I view this as the beginning of the birth portal. I continued serving tables at No Bones Beach Club for another week, and then shifted into an intense nesting urge to cleanse our home + space. The week before Ash arrived I sorted through every drawer and closet, organizing and clearing them. Releasing a lot and opening up space to receive.
As the week went on, I could feel the birth drawing closer but throughout my pregnancy really imagined Asher coming on or very close to his due date so I didn’t carry much anticipation of an “early” birth. As I grew more ripe, I continued to go to yoga classes, connecting with friends and keeping my body well nourished. I enjoyed my large collection of aromatherapy, especially favoring Lavender, Clary Sage, Ylang ylang and Frankincense. Once Saturday (January 19) arrived, I began to feel my stomach tightening. It was hard to tell if it was uterine toning or if I was just reaching my body’s capacity of space. The next day, on my due date, I awoke at 5 AM with a calm yet vibrant energy. I rolled out my yoga mat in front of the fireplace and initiated movement. Each stretch felt necessary and healing. I deepened my breath and filled myself with peace, contentment.
After the yoga session, I climbed back into bed and snuggled up next to Ava and Aro. I relaxed, awake, appreciating these moments on the brink of change. I imagined all three of my children meeting each other soon. Feeling blessed. Abundant.
We all rolled out of bed at an easy hour, maybe 8 or 9 AM. I awoke (again) to my due date ready to initiate the waves of labor. I made a large smoothie filled with berries, greens, bananas, mint, probiotic juice and a tablespoon of castor oil. Then, I opened up my birth tincture: blue and black cohosh, dong quai and ginger root. Two dropper fulls every 2 hours. My belly was still hard and tight, but no waves of contractions. I could feel it preparing, but not actively ebbing and flowing. So, in true Pitta fashion- I sat in front of the fire on my yoga ball gently bouncing up and down, my feet in a shiatsu foot massager (that I got for Kelly for Christmas 😏) I breathed deeply and tapped in. I drank jar after jar of Nettle/Raspberry leaf tea and plenty of coconut water with a good serving of lactation cookies + chia pudding as well. Soon, I felt as though my body was shifting toward an active labor. I decided to go back into my room and lay down to rest, realizing that I may have a long evening ahead of me. I also reached out to my dear friend and doula, Amana, at this time to let her know that my intuition felt like this baby would arrive within the next 24 hours. After connecting, she booked a flight for that evening.
I closed my eyes and after about 20 minutes began to notice that the tightness in my belly had began to ebb and flow in contractions. I smiled with satisfaction and opened the contraction timing app on my phone. They were about 5 minutes apart, and very manageable. I stayed in bed for another half an hour or so, and then felt called to get up and move with them. It was about 5 PM at this time.
I got into the shower and I grabbed my Frankincense soap created by my doula/dear friend Amana and lathered it up in my hands praying for Love to cleanse and fill me. I rubbed the soap on my belly and heart, then turned to face the water and stood so that the water poured directly on the center of my chest. It felt calming, nurturing...Ma water vibes.
I then grabbed my toothbrush and scrubbed my mouth, praying that this cleansing would open the pathway of my breath and allow me to deliver vital oxygen to myself and Asher as we progressed. Simple hygiene rituals felt nourishing, through pregnancy and now in labor. Power in cleansing. Tapping into that.
After getting out of the shower, I lathered up with coconut oil and put on my labor garments: a nursing bra, Calvin Klein briefs and a flowy floor length kimono. The contractions were regular now, but still the pain was very light...I felt in the flow with them. At 6 PM I asked Kelly to call the midwives and let them know that I was in active labor as I reached out to Whitney, our birth photographer.
Whitney lives just a few blocks away so she arrived in what felt like 15 minutes, and I was still very talkative + excited so we were able to socialize about how sweet it was to be near the birthing portal during the Full Moon Eclipse. I set up some tea + snacks for the birth team, and continued to move with the flow of my contractions.
Just before 7 PM the midwives arrived and the birth started to feel tangible.
I lit a charcoal and set up my incense burner outside the back door. I chose to keep it outside to send the smoke all the way up the the sky, and to avoid filling the house with too much smoke for when Ash arrived to protect his precious lungs. I loaded the coal with Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal resin. I kept the back door cracked and the smoke would blow in with the breeze. Across the living room our fireplace was burning, and the temperature in the house was kept around 76-78 degrees. Through my contractions I was pacing from the fire to the cool breeze of incense. When the pressure would arrive, I would breath deeply + slowly + audibly. As I walked back and forth from the fire to the breeze, I intentionally drew my awareness to the soles of my feet and imagined drawing up strength from our wood floors. I could feel each step touching and connecting to the ground. Earth energy. Ma energy. Rootsy. Connecting to the breath, Spirit energy.
Just before 9 PM, Amana arrived. I was so happy to see her- even amidst my intense contractions, I beckoned her in for a hug as soon as she walked in. I spent a few more rounds on my yoga mat, now on hands and knees and pressing my yoni down onto the Earth with each contraction, grateful for my open hips. The pressure of the Earth on my perineum felt relieving. At about 9:30 I decided to go back to my bedroom and start bearing down/pushing.
I worked with a few contractions standing up in a squat (like Aro was born) but was not feeling progress. Then, I transitioned to the birthing throne (stool) and with Amana’s support behind me, I pushed for nearly 45 minutes there.
I reached down to feel the sack emerging with each push but could not feel his head and was beginning to feel tired. I looked up at my cozy bed, with a mountain of pillows and after pushing for nearly an hour said, “I think I’d like to move to the bed.” 😂 So, I climbed up and reclined back on a throne of pillows, grabbing behind each of my legs I continued to push with each contraction. Soon, I could feel his head draw nearer. I was so relieved. If I’m being honest, I was exhausted from pushing at this point and I wanted the intense final chapter of labor to be over so that I could meet our son.
When I pushed and saw his little crown come out I felt a wave a ecstatic joy wash over me. I started laughing. And in between that contraction and the next, I did not relaxed- I stayed engaged so that his head would not retreat. And then, with the next surge of pressure I pushed his head out, with my waters still intact. One more contraction and the rest of his body emerged, his left hand up by his face just as he had been in the 37 week ultrasound and as he continues to be as a newborn, hands up— breaking the waters as his shoulders passed through. It was 10:43 PM when he emerged.
We did it.
The midwife unwrapped the cord from his neck and peeled back the veil from his face, then handed him to me. I gazed lovingly at his face and we made solid eye contact. After his first cry, I immediately drew him to my breast to offer him milk- but he was not ready for it. So, I held him close and soaked in the glory of making it to this moment.
Editor’s note: to assist in the delivery of the placenta, Jessie moved back to the birth stool for a few minutes. I love the helping hands and the reverence of this moment as the birthing process is brought to a close. Also, how incredible was her second child - right THERE with the gloves - ready to midwife his little brother into the world!
The midwives and photographer stayed around for an hour or so, delighting in the mystical experience we had all just shared and taking in Asher in all of his beauty. They measured and weighed him, checked his vitals and mine. After all was checked, they congratulated me and headed home. It was now the middle of the night and I was buzzing with adrenaline. I relaxed in bed, which now held a precious memory, and gazed at Asher wholeheartedly. My dear Amana stayed in bed with us that night, and like school girls we stayed up for hours chatting about it all.
At one point, I said, “Alright, we should get some rest...good night.” And then almost instantly began reminiscing with her again...unable to control my excitement. We finally dozed off, only to awaken in the morning still filled with birth energy.
Thank you to Jessie and her entire family for sharing this incredibly beautiful birth with us. It truly was a magical experience. My first time witnessing an en caul birth (when the baby emerges still enclosed in the amniotic sac) and my first birth during a lunar eclipse. Every family should birth in the manner that feels right for them. And when you hire me to document your birth story - it should look like YOUR STORY. For this family that looked like yoga and essential oils and very active participation by the older siblings. In your birth, it may look a lot different. There is no “right way” to birth. As long as you are birthing in your power - whatever that looks like - it is all beautiful.
Much love and blessings,