The story of Loki’s arrival starts way before the day he joined us here on earth. An unexpected surprise- his conception threw myself and Chai massively- to say the least! With our youngest just turned 10- we were celebrating double digits with all the kids and at the beginning of the week planning yoga training’s, overseas travel and retreats- with a sense of control over how our lives may look over the coming years.
Tracking my cycles I was thinking that I may be having a long perimenopausal cycle for the first few weeks, until my body awareness started to tell me something else may be going on!
Sore breasts and then the first taste of dark chocolate (- after being sugar free for a month with our Spring into Summer program)- it tasted chemically different- closely followed by a wave of nausea after attending the market before breakfast, it was then I knew there was a wee life accompanying me inside.
-Chai on the other hand bought the pregnancy test, convinced it would be negative and even so when that blue cross quickly appeared- we were both shocked at the confirmation and both swore a lot that day!!
I always had a sense that this little soul was meant to be with us- for however long it was. With an IUD in place there was an unknown few weeks as we ruled out ectopic pregnancy, the IUD placement, removal and possible miscarriage…a time of great vulnerability and many unknowns- and also 2 days before our massive public studio rebranding. Life was full and intense. I had never had a scan before with any of my previous pregnancies and had already had 3 within the first trimester. This baby was to bring many firsts into my life.
However, this strong and determined wee being was sticking around and we quickly adapted to the idea of parenting another soul and the great reminder of the unknown and unexpected journey of life and what arises.
I have always loved being pregnant and the journey of birth, and after studying it again more recently with pregnancy yoga, quickly relished the opportunity to experience it again myself. My pregnancy was beautiful, my body felt strong and capable and I held a great reverence for the magic of growing life. I loved sharing yoga and dancing Nia until the week of giving birth, especially being pregnant myself and sharing yoga with other pregnant mummas.
Then on Thursday July 16th – I knew that baby would be with us soon(ish).
I had a light show when getting up in the morning and later when at Farmlands, had to check I hadn’t wet myself when buying horse wormer. The rest of the day I finished up jobs and had a growing sense of excitement at meeting this little determined soul soon. That evening I went to bed with mild contractions and got up at 12.30am with regular stronger surges.
Chai and me spent the early hours by the fire, candles lit, music playing, birth pool set up- as labour progressed. At around 3.30am we called our midwife and she arrived an hour later. At this point we all felt that the birth would happen that night…but after hopping into the warm birthing pool, labour slowed down- with contractions happening 5- 8min apart……..the midwife left in the morning on the Friday and we tried to get some rest. For me the birth dance continued, all rolled into a blur now- with consistent contractions, each with waves of nausea, for days!
I was surrounded in support, with Kamala (my 16 year old daughter) and Sharon (my mother in law) relentlessly supplying hot towels to place on my lower abdomen and back, Chai holding space at my head with breath, Veshanti (age 13) coming in and out to help and stroke my hair and Kailash ( our 10 year old son) checking in on me with a hug and kiss regularly too.
Friday day rolled into the night and the midwife returned and stayed the night. At some point we checked the baby’s position and my dilation and was relieved to find I was at 8cm, but the baby’s head and body was presenting in a not so optimal way. From here on with each contraction I moved in ways to support baby shifting and we had the opportunity to give it time to move, as my waters still hadn’t broken.
At some point I revisited the words that came to me in pregnancy for labour, the mantra of “Breathe, Relish, Open”- and decided I had had plenty of time to relish the experience by now- baby out please!
As I tried to rest in between contractions on my left side- I had the instinct to swap to lying on the right side- following babies movements. I was managing to take fluids, but hadn’t eaten anything since Thursday night, as I felt way too nauseous.
Come Saturday morning, I was persuaded to eat and drink to keep my energy up- I managed to keep down a fresh juice and a bliss ball. We decided to check the baby’s head position again and break my waters- with the hope that things would now progress more strongly. Surges became stronger for a short while and at some point I felt the head myself- there was hope!- and I hoped back in the pool.
Time and contractions again slowed.
At some point the midwife and I talked about having to bare down and push baby out- something that I willingly had never had to do before- as my body naturally moved baby down through the birth canal with each contraction….so I put my focus into this, as by this point after 37+ hours I had enough of limbo labour land and we thought my uterus may be over it too!
I was now not experiencing any waves of contractions, just a pressure. After pushing in the pool for sometime I got out and hung off Chai’s neck, feeling like I might push my insides out as I conjured up all of my remaining energy. I moved to the bathroom and even tried squatting on the toilet.
Feeling determined I stuck at it in the bathroom, sweat pouring off me as I hung from Chai’s neck and used all my might …and then the baby moved!…The second midwife arrived just as I felt the intense pressure as baby crowned and at 3.28pm I birthed the head, with Chai behind me ready to catch the baby, our lovely midwife on the floor to support and the kids and Sharon in the doorway. At 3.30pm the little one arrived earthside- and we welcomed Loki Hiwa Deva into our arms!
Loki cleared his lungs and made his presence known, he greeted us with wide blue eyes and lots of dark hair, as I joyfully held him close and we moved into the lounge by the fire. I held Loki close skin on skin and later Chai, Kamala, Veshanti and Kailash did the same, showering him with love.
The placenta was birthed (it was massive) and I lost a fair amount of blood. After what was for me, an epic 39 hour journey ( technically a 17 hour labour on paper- due to its coming and going of “established”) I was feeling elated and light headed. Whilst I was having a few stitches- I fainted whilst lying down. The fantastic midwives looked after me and I soon was on a drip for fluids and had a catheter, but felt very ungrounded and dreamy, aware of my baby on my chest- but not at all present.
This hazy experience culminated with the decision to move me to the bedroom (I couldn’t walk or crawl and Chai was dealing with a meconium explosion from Loki all over him and Sharon) and our midwife and second midwife managed to manoeuvre me through the narrow hallway, by dragging me on a blanket- dodging the cat litter tray, through the bathroom and down a step…..this was hilarious to me at the time and is still now!
Loki and I were then tucked into bed and it was only when I woke in the middle of the night, that I felt clear headed enough to really take in this new beautiful boy, skin to skin we had a chance to connect and gaze at each other.
Although so different from my other births, I am so grateful for the learnings of the experience. Knowing that birth, babies and mumma’s have their own journey- despite any/all the preparation and knowledge that you can do and have I have a deepened reverence for acknowledging the gateway of this rite of passage of birthing the new and the death of the old.
I’m SUPER proud of my body and my own mental and spiritual resilience, so grateful for our amazing midwife and her trust and knowledge and super grateful for all the family’s support in their own ways over the days… and ever so happy to have Loki with us and in my arms.