Giulia & Kiel: Elleion Noah 9.18.2017

We were in an ashram in Rishikesh, India, when we found out officially that we were expecting. We had been directed in the spirit together, months before, in meditation, to go to the Indian Himalayas for an indefinite amount of time. It was in the evening of the day that we moved out of the old house and put everything in storage, which happened to be New Year’s Eve of 2016, that we conceived. That was only a few days before we were meant to go on our great adventure. Since the second day we got together, Kiel and I knew we would soon be accompanied by our child, yet we were not “trying” at all. If anything, I was slightly intimidated and resistant at the speed with which this was meant to be happening.
The moment we conceived we literally saw and felt a light shoot into this dimension, into my womb. It was a profound, emotionally charged moment. I heard a voice say: “You just conceived.” It was an undeniable truth.
So, fast forward to three weeks later when we got our confirmation at the foot hills of the Himalayas. This incredible news obviously shortened our trip time. I can wholeheartedly say that it was the frequency of the child in my womb, which I had to start matching, that made for a whole lot of intense spiritual transformation during pregnancy. And that started in my first trimester. My three months in India were challenging, where I had none of the comforts I was so craving. We slept in a tent most of the time: on the white sands of the turquoise Mother Ganga river, on top of a 13,000 foot snow-capped mountain which – yes – I climbed in my second month of pregnancy, on the green hills of the oldest tiger reserve in India, and in the jungle right outside of Rishikesh where waterfalls and streams served as our showers for weeks and where we did yoga, hiked, meditated, wrote and simply enjoyed nature. I think one of the times where I felt my child’s soul most powerfully was at the top of that 13,000 foot mountain, on the border of Tibet, where it was so quiet that you heard the ringing, ‘aum’-ing vibration of the breathing being that is this planet Earth, and where all you saw was a blue celestial sky and snow-capped mountains which gave off a whole white light of their own. I wrote a special poem here to the growing being inside of me.
After three months in India, we headed to Amsterdam in the Netherlands for a month (where I grew up) before returning to the States. Here, I also had a beautiful moment when we went floating in a sense-deprivation tank. Deprived of all sensory inputs, I didn’t just hear my own heartbeat but also my little one’s. It was a very tender, grateful moment. I was deeply moved.
When we finally made it back to the States, I was already almost halfway through my pregnancy and we still had to find a midwife. We were both set on doing everything the natural way and this now included pregnancy, birth and child-rearing. When we came across Karen, something felt really right. I had my heart set on her even before meeting her. And when we did, I enjoyed my time with her, Samm and Monika (her assistants) so much that I would consider getting pregnant again now just to have an excuse to spend that much time with them again. Pregnancy and the amazing people that witnessed my journey are truly precious to me.
It was during a breath-taking deep pink sunset in my 5th month of pregnancy, stuck in traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge when the name “Elleion” came to Kiel. We had never heard of it before, but we figured it conveyed the essence of the soul about to accompany us best. It was the only name we had for a boy. And “Noah” had always been the archetype name for either boy or girl. For 8 years, I had been dreaming about this child. It would take on different forms, but “Noah” was always the name.
When I was 7,5 months pregnant, we had a Blessingway on a green field with our spiritual “tribe” surrounding us. Each person was asked to bring their blessings written down for both parents, for labor and birth, and for the baby, as well as some small home-made gifts and a flower which reminded them of the mother. From these flowers, which were energized with loving intentions, Kiel made a flower crown for me. The Blessingway is a Native American ritual intended to surround the mother (although we personally made it about both parents) with love and good intentions in this transformative period of her life; it is to bless her transition into motherhood. We eventually made a baby mobile out of the flower crown and other natural objects, and I often glanced at it during labor.
Overall, I had an amazing, healthy pregnancy full of internal growth (literally and metaphorically) – I loved every bit of it. I remember having many dreams of our little one, and I was very much looking forward to natural childbirth. At times the hormones went a little bit mad on me, but it was by far the most fulfilling experience of my life. And then came… birth.
It was on the 17th of September 2017, which happened to be Kiel’s 35th birthday, when I went into labor. We had already had a strong feeling it would be that day, and I was definitely sure our baby would be born “early” (according to Western due date ideas). The night before I was lying in bed and had felt a shift inside of me; it was as if the soul was both in and out of me already. I was directed in meditation to write Kiel a birthday/transitioning-into-our-next-phase letter that night, as there would be no more time after then. So I did. The next morning I started having regular contractions, one every two minutes for a minute. However, they were very light and manageable and so I focused on spending the day celebrating Kiel. On our way to go for a small hike, we both felt very goofy and giddy. I shared the letter I wrote to him on a bench overlooking the water. On our hike, I had to stop every few minutes for a little contraction but I was set to keep on going. We came across a family, of which the mother asked me, full of excitement, when I was due. “I think… now”, I told her. She laughed, gave me one good look and advised us to go home and call the midwife. On the way back, I had the strangest impulse to go to the health food store and get a ton of sweet and salty snacks (which I never got to eat). When we got home around 3 pm, we finally called Karen, who told us to wait a few hours to see how it would progress. At the time, we lived with two good friends of ours, who packed their bags and went to stay elsewhere. I cancelled Kiel’s surprise birthday party and our family and friends were informed, who all lit a candle. However, my water hadn’t broken… I hadn’t experienced any “bloody show”… and my regular contractions had seemed to have disappeared. Kiel had prepared the whole room and was looking at me full of excitement. And I suddenly felt some self-imposed performance pressure. I even considered putting Kiel’s surprise party back on, but was – fortunately – talked out of that silly idea. I went to lie down on the sofa for a short while of rest, utterly unaware of what the next 24 hours would have in store for us. The contractions started to come back on, and soon, I couldn’t get through one without making sound. Around 9 pm, Monika (Karen’s assistant) arrived and helped me into the birth tub with Kiel. The next few hours, Kiel and I breathed through the contractions in the birthing pool together, me leaning on his arms, and he helped my nausea by letting me smell a cloth of peppermint oil. Around midnight, Karen (who had now arrived) suggested that I move to the bed to “get some rest” (which, considering what I was feeling, seemed like an absolutely impossible idea). She told me that she “didn’t normally do this” but that, since my water hadn’t broken and I wasn’t bleeding, she would check if I was dilated. She didn’t tell me where I was at, but I could tell from her expression that I was hardly dilated. (Turns out, I wasn’t even at 2 cm, after a full day of contractions!) “You have a really long, long way to go still. You need your energy, so you should try to rest,” she said. Great, I thought. It was already very painful and I wasn’t even dilated?! She gave me a herbal tincture for relaxation and her and Monika went back home. The tincture relaxed my muscles but definitely didn’t put me to sleep. I would doze off for a few minutes and would then be awoken by a contraction again. Kiel kept a heating pad on my lower back, where almost all my pain was, and would do some energy work on me. For about 4 hours, I focused on my breathing and was very mindful of feeling myself dilate and shed blood. I also contacted my baby and promised to honor his/her chosen way of entry, and that I wanted to serve as a portal for their soul to come through into this world at the exact cosmic, astrological, energetic point in space and time that they had chosen. I intended to relax as much as possible, to ride the waves, to get out of my own way, and to just let my body and baby do what they needed to do.
Around 4 am, Kiel helped me to the bathroom, where I suddenly lost an enormous amount of blood. I told Kiel to call Karen and that she “had to come” as now my contractions were getting more and more painful and my lower back was in an excruciating amount of pain. From here, my memory gets blurry (in fact, most of the experience quickly blurs in the memory and especially the pain you completely forget). I just remember feeling very between both worlds – the physical and the spiritual. Kiel kept seeing blue and violet lights all over my spine and around me. We had some Native American prayer songs playing (in fact, this was my wonderful playlist which helped me through birth: YouTube link) and I felt delirious and almost fully unaware of what else was happening in the room. We happened to have an extra midwife (for New Jersey paperwork), who lived closer to us and she came over. A week later she told me that she walked into the bedroom to find “a birth goddess in full labor”. She checked and I was fully dilated! And she could feel the baby’s head! It was about 7 am and Kiel looked at each other full of excitement and emotion. The look we exchanged can really not be expressed in words. It was absolute magic. I remember catching Kiel’s expressions once in a while, who was fully with me every second of this journey. I would catch him crying; just trying to help me in any way possible but feeling so helpless as I moved through an incredible amount of pain. I moved onto all four’s, resting my elbows and head on a pillow, and pushing. Now, Karen and Monika arrived too. The many hours following are a blur to me now. I just remember moving from position to position and a torturous amount of lower back pain. By now, the heating pad and everything else was useless. I tried the birth tub again, then the bed, then being on all four’s, then the birth chair, then yogi squat, but it was now about 11 am and I was losing a lot of energy. Throughout this process, it was mainly just Kiel and I (and the baby). We had asked for minimal interference and Karen and Monika came in to check occasionally and monitor our baby’s position and heart rate (which was steady and calm all the way through), but mainly just let us and nature do its thing. I was getting very tired, but couldn’t eat anything, of course. Kiel just helped me to take sips of water and a smoothie he had made for me. I asked for Karen to come back in and, with eyes full of tears, asked her if “this was normal”. Although I never considered the hospital or any pain medication, I was at a loss. I didn’t know what else to do, what my next move would be. I felt exhausted. Emotional. In a lot of pain. I wanted to meet my baby now. Karen, in her wonderfully cheerful, supportive and to-the-point-way simply said: “Yes, this is completely normal. This is your first baby. It can take some time. Aaaand… babies come out.” And then smiled. Her plan of action was to take some rest for a little while and to then really go for it and “get this baby out”. Rest was a miserable failure. I was in so much pain, I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My screams of pain got so high into my throat, Karen kept reminding me to take them lower – to channel the sound into my pelvic floor. “Ooohhh” instead of “aaaahh”. Everything I tried seemed useless. Then, Karen came back in and suggested to eat three teaspoons of raw honey. This had an absolutely miraculous effect. I felt ridiculously energized suddenly. I also had a few sips of smoothie and two homeopathic remedies – black and blue cohosh. An incredible calm determination came over me. I looked at Kiel who witnessed the change in me. We were going to meet our child soon, and we were happy. We went to sit on the toilet (which was ironic, as I had had a dream months earlier I would give birth on the toilet, although, in this dream, the baby came out with 3 easy pushes). Kiel sat on a small stool in front of me. We were cramped in a tiny bathroom and had no room to spare. Monika would come at the doorway every 5 minutes with another homeopathic dose. Kiel and I were so beautifully connected at this point and it was one of the highlights of the most intense and amazing experience of our lives, leading up to the climax. With every push, I screamed and put my full weight on Kiel’s shoulders and arms. We would sway and sing and laugh and cry. Karen, from the other room shouted words of encouragement to me (“That’s a good one!”). She told me to now only push on those contractions that were the strongest, and that advice was of enormous help. I tuned into my baby and would feel when the soul was urging me to push (telepathic teamwork!). Kiel and I both saw/visualized the move down. We were moving together, almost dancing, connecting our foreheads, breathing together. It was a transcendent, profound experience of intimacy between us. I ended up actively pushing for 3 hours, but this period seems much shorter in my memory. I kept asking Kiel if the head was there. “No, not yet,” he would say. I would push a few more times, and finally, the head appeared but quickly got sucked back in. Crowning wasn’t that painful, although the expansion of my yoni felt indescribably strange. Kiel witnessed this whole amazing biological miracle of the yoni extending and expanding and opening up for the baby to come through. He kept his hands out, eagerly anticipating the baby’s coming out. He kept reaching for the head as it came out further and further. I saw his expression of amazement: he was in awe, deeply moved, excited. Karen magically appeared at the doorway at the right time and instructed me to stand up on my next push. I did. I felt him slide out of me and I looked down, following the amazing blueish umbilical cord, as he slid into Kiel’s arms. I saw a milky blue-white film over an elongated head and no baby. And then – the sac broke and fluids that smelled like birth and fertility went everywhere all over Kiel and there I saw our baby. Karen quickly pulled the veil off his face. And… this moment was truly super slow, like a moment in a movie. I felt like I zoomed in on his face and then – BAM! His eyes opened. I instantly saw an incredibly old soul. Karen was taken aback, as were we all. “Whoa… He is wise,” she said. He screamed. Went quiet. Screamed again. Went quiet again. And stayed quiet. They say babies are born blind, but I don’t believe he was. He looked at Kiel, then at Monika, then at Karen, then at me, with the most piercing intense gaze. This is when I saw he was a boy. “Hand him to Giulia,” I heard Karen say. Kiel, mesmerized, awoke and passed him over to me. This moment was one of the most incredible moments of my life for an array of reasons. A less obvious one was that I felt I was witnessing an intense moment of reincarnation here; I felt like he just dropped into this body from a different dimension and was completely bewildered. I soothed him with sweet words of comfort, praising his courage to come down here. I told him how safe and loved he was and always would be. Karen suggested a homeopathic remedy for fear for him. Kiel and I looked at each other and both agreed. “Let’s give him a moment.” I kept talking to him, and he calmed down. Now he just stared at me with an intense gaze of love, recognition, curiosity, wisdom. Then he looked at my breast and – out of nowhere – latched on and started nursing. I was very surprised. But it was beautiful. He knew what to do. Within a few minutes, the placenta followed and we were ready to move to the bed for a few hours of skin-on-skin bonding. And here, our adventure would start with our new soul companion…

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Karen Webster

WomanWise Midwifery: homebirth & women's health, 257 East Main Street, Elkton, MD, 21921

daughter, sister, friend, mother, midwife, nana, teacher.