This is the story of the birth of my son, Zona Skye. To really start this story off let me begin by introducing a little bit about my “why” for choosing to homebirth instead of choosing the path of a culturally traditional hospital birth. The “why” that launched my life in a direction larger than motherhood and right into my divine calling of midwifery. Lets rewind to May of 2017… (i’ll keep this brief) I was experiencing symptoms that to me felt like possible appendicitis and after a very expensive trip to the emergency room void of insurance, I was told that I was 4 weeks into my journey of motherhood. Let me quote “holy s***, holy s***. holy s***”. After the shock wore off for my partner Skye and I, we knew we needed to make some big decisions for my pre-natal care and our birth plan. We live in a very holistic minded community where prior to becoming a mother I remembered hearing a strange term tossed around called homebirth!
When I started to envision the process of traveling to the hospital I also imagined the sounds I would hear in the delivery room, the idea that my baby would be touched by many others first before me, the germs that myself and my baby might be exposed to, Pitocin, c-section, vaccinations, the strangers in the room staring at my yoni, the idea of pooping in front of people period all made me extremely uncomfortable. I then began to envision the ideal birth that I would want for my son and I knew I needed quiet, dark, private and familiar. There was also an important element for us to remain in Sedona in our home which was built in 1918 and where the story of Skye and I really began.
I was introduced by a mutual friend to a woman that has become my friend, my mentor and someone that changed me with her love, support, trust and life purpose. This woman is Maryn Green, a midwife and the founder of Indie Birth Association. Maryn introduced me to the idea that my body is capable of birthing without the need of others to tell me what to do and that I am powerful and most importantly she believed in me and my ability to birth in my home just the way I envisioned. Maryn and I met every few weeks for pre-natal visits and to talk in depth about what I wanted for my birth and aided me in nutritional counseling, taking my vitals and helped to educate me even deeper into a realm of birth that really was speaking to my soul!
Week by week as my belly grew larger so did my desire to learn more about natural birth and how powerful the choice I was making to birth at home was going to be. Initially, from friends and family I had a lot of pushback surrounded by doubts and fear that something bad might happen to me or my baby and that I needed to be at the hospital to make sure I would be safe and protected… NEVER ONCE, let me emphasize this. Did I doubt that a single thing was going to go wrong, I believed in myself and knew that what I was doing was part of a bigger plan and purpose. Once I made the decision to have a homebirth I did all I could to take care of myself by utilizing all my resources available to me. I had an incredible naturopathic doctor monitoring my thyroid disease and providing me with the best pre-natal supplementation possible. I read tons of books and watched endless hours of natural birth videos, I continued to exercise and kept up my stamina with walking and yoga, I ate nourishing foods and I continued my practice of meditation.
February 4th, 2018 the day that the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, my due date. Anxiously watching the game knowing that at any moment I could go into labor I bounced on an exercise ball while Skye graciously asked me to “wait until after the game”. My body obliged so I went to bed that evening with no signs of Zona near… Around 1:30 a.m. that next morning I woke up and began to feel contractions that were a bit stronger than the Braxton Hicks contractions I felt during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I began to time my contractions on my phone while feeling an unexplainable surge of anxiety rushing through my body. Around 3 a.m. after timing my contractions for over an hour I knew that this was it, I was in labor. I woke Skye up and we stayed in the comforts of our bed talking and going in and out of sleep until the early hours of the morning. By this time we had called our midwife Maryn who was at our home by noon with a fellow midwife Margo on Monday February 5th. My labor progressed slowly through the morning and I made my way to the living room to lie on the couch to snack on some dates while Skye finished the final preparations on the birth pool. I continued to labor and moan while trying to take down spoonfuls of apple sauce and anything else I could stomach between my intensifying contractions.
By 1 p.m. I was laboring on all fours on the floor of my bathroom and at that time, the birth pool was ready for use and I was ready for a break from the pain and to feel some comfort or at least a moment to catch my breath. I jumped in the very large birth pool that took up most of our living room and proceeded to vomit while moaning “I do not want to do this anymore”. My labor pains were primarily in my back and squeezed deep into my abdomen. Maryn and Margo assured me that I was going to be fine and got me to refocus on the end goal and I felt the strength to continue. Unfortunately, due to the cold weather outside and the size of our birth pool the water in the tub would not stay warm for long and made for a very cold plunge in a state of labor that was already not comfortable. Also by this time my contractions were 6-7 minutes apart so I felt the need to get back on all fours outside of the pool and just breathe through each contraction. Maryn suggested that I try laboring in a backwards position sitting on the toilet to put myself in a position where my hips could open up and I could bear down onto a firm surface. This became a preferable laboring place for several hours… During this time, my midwives continued to keep me hydrated with apple juice, water and electrolytes along with spoonfuls of yogurt so I could continue my seemingly impossible uphill climb to meeting my son. 4 p.m. soon approached and by this point past the 12 hour mark feeling light headed I could tell there was a strong shift in the intensity of my contractions, I was tired. The afternoon went on and I went from cold pool to toilet to floor several times while trying to maintain a balance of staying hydrated and energized while vomiting everything I was continuing to ingest as it was a delicate balance.
At 9:25 p.m that same evening I made my way to our bed between contractions to try a new position that I was hoping would open up my body to allow for Zona to progress. As I lied on my back pressing into Skye I tried to push in McRobert’s position which is the commonly seen position of labor. I felt frustrated and extremely exhausted and was willing to do anything to get to the end. I remained in my room going from McRobert’s to a lunging position for about an hour before making my way back to the living room. My contractions at this point in the night were fast, strong and excruciating. Maryn and Margo set me up in a position using a piece of fabric that was hung from a doorway to allow my body to hang in a deep squat while holding on with my arms. I had made sure to tape a birth affirmation to focus in on during my labor on the door a few days prior that said “relax, breathe, open”. This is where I felt the shift and I knew that another change had taken place. The pain I was feeling in my back dropped and I felt a pressure in my hips and at the base of my pelvis. I dropped back into a squatting position on the floor and went from a state of screaming in agony to calm and meditative.
By 10:40 p.m. while squatting on all fours in the living room the amniotic sac began to descend slowly outside of my vagina between breaths. The sac would reveal itself further and further between breaths as I slipped into another dimension literally not in this world. My mental state was calm, I was without pain and I focused my gaze on a hairline crack on the white arced ceiling lined with batten strips and just continued to breathe while time passed slowly. This period of time during my labor was a blur. The sac that contained my most cherished gift, my son continued to reveal itself for about an hour just in and out, in and out. At 11:29 p.m. the waters broke and within seconds Zona fell into the arms of his father and immediately onto my chest.
“I DID IT!”
Zona Skye Joseph Girardin arrived earth side on a cold dark night just days after a Super Moon. the wolf moon on a vortex in our home in Sedona, Arizona. His umbilical cord was long and strong and within 15 minutes of his arrival I sat back against Skye and with one push my placenta appeared and I was free. I made my way into a hot shower to rinse off the fluids from birth and ended my night lying in bed eating scrambled eggs regaining my strength in awe of the being laying on top of me. Maryn took the time to examine my placenta with me for any defects or pieces that might have been retained inside my body and allowed me the space to ask questions and the opportunity to learn, this was a moment I will cherish forever. I left the umbilical cord attached to Zona until there was no longer a pulse of life and his time with the organ was finished.
My labor from start to finish was around 22 hours and I could not have done it without the support of my incredible partner Skye. He remained present, loving, patient and strong for me when I needed him the most. I also could not have done this without the knowledgable care, encouragement and support from the two beautiful women who remained by my side, Maryn and Margo. It is because of independent midwives like them that I was able to rediscover my power, own my birth and find the true meaning of deep self empowerment. This night imprinted a mark on my soul that has led me to become a servant to birth and a future midwife to attend women through the intimate work of this life passage. Since Zona’s birth I have enrolled in the Indie Birth School of Midwifery and feel that in this life I was selected and given the work of attending births as a midwife and I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you all in the future.
Love and light,