In our journey as mothers, birth workers and as a collective we have discovered that sharing stories has incredible healing power. Birth stories are not only powerful accounts of a sacred rights of passage. They are also beautiful life lessons that reflect the truth of our reality and a unique experience on Earth.
As an offering to our community, we are proud to announce that we are sharing our blog as a community space where families can share their birth stories and not only enlighten us about their experience but to inspire us to normalize and honor childbirth and all aspects of parenthood and family building.
The following story is shared by Jessica Ortega from San Diego, CA.
We named her story:
"La llegada de la Luna/When the Moon arrived"
I have always feltin my heart that I wanted to be someone's mami. I wanted to be able to do so many of the things that my mami did with me with my own seed one day. I wanted to make avena in the mornings with my seed, have life talks, ride my bike with a baby strapped on, take my seed to Oaxaca, be gypsy with a little person by my side, and just experience everything that comes with motherhood.
The day finally came true during the fall season of 2013. My partner and I rode our bikes with a beautiful full moon guiding us through Barrio Logan and bought two pregnancy tests. Within the next minutes, my whole life changed. I went to bed that night, a few days before my 27th birthday knowing, that I had una semillita de amor y esperanza en mi pansita. I was riding high on my wavelength through the universe knowing that soon enough I would be someone's mami. Estaba bien contenta!!! Y a la vez no lo podia creer!
Thankfully, I had a very fluid and healthy pregnancy. I loved watching my body transform and showing my pansita off. I loved telling people that I was having a little girl and that I was going to name her Luna Pakari. Pakari significa amanecer en kichwa, el idioma de la gente con la cual yo comparti los tres meses mas transformativos de mi vida. Una comunidad que vive bien adentro de la selva en Ecuador. Ellos viven en la mera madre selva.
I knew right away that I wanted nothing to do with hospitals or doctors. I saw a baby being born in the rainforest and the peace that that brave, fearless, wombyn warrior had when she gave birth stuck with me. That night as I watched her birth her second child with such determination and love made me want to become a mom in that instant!!! I couldn't wait to feel what she was feeling. To look down and see life emerging between my legs.
Thanks to my college education, I had a job that DIDN'T offer benefits! So, there I was looking for birth centers that accepted Medical or "alternative" ways of birthing. What I really wanted to do was go to Ecuador, chill my kichwa girls, have one of them be my midwife, and then come back with a jungle baby. But since I was in SD with a partner and whole family saying no I can't do that, I went with a birth center.
Once again, thankfully, I had a very happy and uncomplicated pregnancy. I already knew that the due date meant nothing and that my semillita would come when she wanted but I also didn't know that she would stay in for 42 weeks!! I remember being a little frustrated because I didn't know which natural remedy to try anymore so I could induce labor. My loving and patient mom always told me, " Mija, los ninos vienen cuando ellos quieren. Cuando estan listos." Y yo le decia, "Si mami, ya se, pero.." Jeje um, hello 42 weeks?? jeje
Then on Friday night my waters broke as we we were laying in bed watching a movie. My neighbors were having a tremenda rumba and I was like, "Camilo!!!!" se me rompio la fuente!" I felt so nervous for the unknown! Nervous about how long it would last, would I be able to stay calm, how would I deal with the rushes, just so many thoughts.
My first real rush was around 4:30 am. I said Wow! now this is labor! I called my mom around 7am and told her that I was in labor. She got to our house an hour later and never left my side. The intensity went up as the hours passed and around noon we visited the birth center. My midwife checked me and said I was only 3 centimeters dialated!! After 8 hours of rushes that was it??? I didn't cry or yell. But inside I was on the verge of losing my shit. I allowed myself to have an internal panic attack for about one minute but then I got into my wombyn warrior spirit again and we went home. At this point I was NOT talking. Haha, it's really funny when I think about it now because I'm only quiet if I'm sad or pissed but I was neither!
At home in my tiny cottage of love , my two best friends got there and what I vividly remember of their presence is my friend Karli's outfit. Where was she going all cute?! Haha. I also remember my mom making them egg sanwhiches!! Cause I only had eggs in my fridge! The way i dealt with the rushes that at this point were five to ten minutes apart was by walking around, taking hot showers, not talking, staying inside myself, and having personal conversations with my other me, I and I.
Around seven pm I decided that I needed to see the midwife. I felt deep inside of me that I had dilated more, but I really had no idea. When she checked me she said I was about 6 or 7!!! Yaya, I could stay at the birth center. I got in the birthing tub and immediately felt better and more relaxed because I knew I was closer to pushing and meeting Lunita.
The rushes at this point were beyond this world! I could not believe the intensity. I could literally feel my insides expanding. But I knew that with every contraction came a break. I kept thinking, " Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry."
Eventually day turned to night and with night came a soft rain in August!! I remember hearing the rain and feeling so blessed by Pachamama for giving the world rain on the night my baby moon would be born. I am now in love with summer rain. I loved my midwife because she did exactly what I unconsciously wanted her to do, not intervene. She was present but the whole time she just allowed me to do my thing, flow with my own energy, follow my own direction, and only spoke about three times during the whole birth!
The environment was very fluid and calming. I have never felt so loved and protected as I did that day. I was not afraid and it was thanks to my friends and family who were there. There was just so much love!
The midwife told me that it was time to push and whoa was that a surprise! I thought pushing would be like ten minutes but I pushed for almost an hour. I was really tired. Again I had to get it wombyn warrior spirit and motivate myself to keep going.To not give up. I thought about the kichwa women, how resilient they are, I looked at my mom, I saw my friends, brother, niece, dad, and thought ok, si se puede! I knew that I couldn't give up then, being so close and I knew I was about to meet my magical baby moon.
As the head crowned I remember the sensation of what is called the ring of fire. My vagina felt on fire! I thought, " Jessica if you want this burning to stop you better PUSH!" and then the stars aligned, the world stopped for a second, and out came Luna Pakari Aristizabal-Ortega eight pounds and eleven ounces after seventeen hours of natural, unmedicated labor welcomed into the world by her abuelitos, tio, prima, tias, papi y mami. Seven people saw her enter earthside. I'll never, ever forget those little eyes that met mine as she was being put on my chest. I fell in love instantly!!! she became my number one the second I learned about her existence during that one full moon night in November. My love for her continues to grow and evolve and the more I get to know her each day, the harder in love I fall for her!! I love her spirit,her being, all that she is and every day I thank the great spirit, all that is, our sacred ancestors, and life for giving me the blessing of birthing naturally, without fear, and for allowing me to be her mami.
Muchas gracias por dejarme compartir mi historia. Fue una terapia para mi poder desahogar estos sentimientos y compartirlos.