This week, this week has been filled with nostalgia as this time last year (2019), every single day I anxiously waited for the day my water would break, my contractions would start and our little love would join this world. We thought she was coming July 27th, her estimated due date was July 2nd, she joined the world on July 11th at 12:22am.
As soon as we found out I was pregnant, I very mindfully, intentionally, cautiously began creating this connection, this space, this wholeness with the soul growing inside my womb. After she was born, I laughed at myself as I had spent so much energy on creating this serene space for her to grow in my womb that when she arrived, we literally didn’t know what to do with her or ourselves. The energy came from the deep understanding that beyond her DNA, her environment, oh is her environment so critical and that, that started the moment we found out I was pregnant. Here are some of the ways I prepared for this little love, our daughter Orion to be joining our world.
The photos and words are linked so be sure to check them out for additional details.
#1: I BOUGHT THIS BOOK AND RECEIVED THIS PREGNANCY JOURNAL.
The Book :
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful - a beautifully written book with breathing practices, yoga poses and some deeply loving insight into being a mindful pregnancy mama. Having a deep connection to yoga this book was truly one of the most beautiful resources with calming yoga poses, affirmations and very encouraging passages. It is light. It is supportive. It is gracious. It was everything my soul needed, especially in the early stages of my pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Journal :
I cannot tell you how immensely grateful I am for this journal as it was gifted to me by a dear friend. I documented in it constantly, sharing all that was happening in our world. I coupled this journal with an HP Sprocket photo printer - a little handheld printer that connects to your phone printing 2x3 photos and used them throughout my pregnancy to print photos and write, write all that was happening. Both myself and my daughter now have this extensive journal and photos of intimate accounts of my pregnancy. Document friend, please document. You will not be disappointed. I promise you that.
#2 : BEST DECISION EVER - TO WORK WITH MY DEAR FRIEND AND SISTER, ERIN AS OUR DOULA.
Ah, my body breathes so beautifully every time I think about and share our Doula experience.
We connected with and made the best decision ever to work with my dear friend and sister Erin as our DOULA. Oh my goodness, I cannot sing her praises enough. To have the honor, to be guided by a soul, a mama herself who is so present, so educated, so sincere, so calm. She was everything we needed in our lives, on this journey.
We met multiple times throughout my pregnancy where she would share such insightful information about birth, our options with wanting to have a natural birth in a hospital and just so much about the process as a whole. As birth became closer, she really helped navigate us through our options with being given an induction date in knowing that everything is an option, not a mandate. Most people feel as if it’s a mandate and with her help and support - we felt so empowered.
And then, then she got the message that my water had broken. She coached my husband and myself through the whole early labor and when it was time to head to the hospital, she met us there, right as we pulled up. To be wheeled into the hospital, with both my husband and my sister friend DOULA inspiration - everything, was truly one of the greatest feelings. At one point, Dan ran me into a wall and the laughter, oh the laughter - it moved the earth.
Throughout every stage of my labor, she was there. In the early stages, she offered props, poses, support, massages, oils. As my labor progressed, she kept me in the most supportive positions, cold washcloths on my head, she was just there, encouraging me every second of the way. As my labor really intensified and I was ready to give up on this planned natural birth and get an epidural, she encouraged me to get through one more hour, “one more hour” she said- which in turn got me through my labor, naturally.
Her words, “the only way out is through” sang in my head that whole day and even still as one of my greatest teachers. When my labor had progressed and it was time to push and all the things were happening - she wiped my butt, changed my gown and held me close. As I began pushing, she sat right by my side, the entire time. Calmly, encouragingly, gently guiding me to push.
As if that wasn’t glorious enough, throughout the process, she so graciously documented monumental moments. When my daughter was put in my arms for the first time, she took a video that is quite frankly my favorite piece of media in this whole world. After my daughter was born, she ensured I got food in me and we were immensely taken care of before she left.
She was with us - during 24 hours of an all natural labor.
She encouraged me - to believe in myself, to be fully present and bring to life this birth, this birth I had dreamed of.
It, it became a reality thanks to my incredible sister friend, Doula Erin!
#3 : I READ ALL THE BOOKS, I MEAN ALL THE BOOKS.
By nature, I am a researcher. I just love learning, I love reading, I love “preparing” myself as much as I possibly can. With this, I did a lot of research on pregnancy books, were gifted and recommended a few and before I knew it, I had and read a new book almost every month throughout my pregnancy.
Although there are nine books in this photo (and are listed out below - bottom to top), there are a few that I would highly recommend, in this order.
In order from this photo (bottom to top) :
# 4 : MONTHLY AND EVENTUALLY BI-WEEKLY PREGNANCY MASSAGES IN MY THIRD TRIMESTER
Even just typing that headline, I feel this immense feeling of being SO blessed to have had the time and resources to invest in monthly and eventually bi-weekly pregnancy massages. This was really important to me as I was really committed to having a natural birth. I had been doing yoga throughout most of my pregnancy, walked nearly everyday, AND I wanted to be sure my body was relaxed and open. Pregnancy massage enabled this.
What was so beautiful about this very experience is that Reenie came right to my home, in my living room. I scheduled it for when my husband was still at work, just the right time to where after, I could just be in the bliss without having work, photoshoots, etc. It was beautiful.
The last massage I had was the day I had lost my mucus plug. Although it would be another week before my daughter would arrive, it was so special to have Reenie here, guiding me along. I remember her even saying, “it will still be some time, she’s not ready yet.” That was the truth.
#5: I WROTE A LETTER TO MYSELF, MY BIOLOGICAL FATHER AND CREATED A NEW MOM SPREAD
This was very intimate, very intimate. It was really important that I connected with, honored myself for this transition from being everything I was to everything I would become - now being a mother. I sat in bed one day and wrote a letter to myself. There was so much love. There was so much grace. There was so much acknowledgment. There was so much honor. There was so much life. Please, take the time to do this.
Next, not on the same day, but around the same time period - I wrote a letter to my biological father. Without going into it all here - he left us just before I turned two, to never return and eventually take his own life. There has always been a lot of anger, a lot of resentment, a lot of questions - that he would never be able to answer. I wrote to him. I expressed myself. I forgave him. I opened the space for him to be present. It was hard. It was really hard. Yet, it was exactly what was needed. The next reading I had with my all time favorite medium, he was there. Front and center. He was there. And I believe, each day, he is here. I have invited him in.
Finally, I took some time to really connect to my oracle and tarot cards and did a new mom spread. What beautiful insight this was. I pulled seven cards, from three different decks.
Here is the spread.
These are the decks I used. It was beautiful.
#6 : ENCAPSULATED MY PLACENTA
Ah, am I so immensely grateful for this decision. The placenta is this magical organ. My body grew this organ to supply my growing daughter with all the proper nutrients to ensure her health and growth. My body then gave birth to it after my daughter was born. This still blows my mind. The human body is truly extraordinary.
I decided to encapsulate my placenta as when the body births it, so many of the mom's nutrients, iron being a huge one becomes depleted. This can be seen as a huge contributor to postpartum depression. It was really important to me, to consume all of these nutrients my body had been creating and living off for the last nine months. Thankfully, our Doula is a super human and had the resources to do this very process. I took these for the following weeks and months after her birth and feel it helped with my mental state and energy immensely.
#7 : IN ADDITION, TO THE ABOVE, I ALSO :