It all began with a vision I had four years ago. A girl was to be born in the sunlight on a peaceful day of blue skies and no wind (a rarity for us in Nebraska). Even her name was told to me. After a couple of years of wondering about this vision, I became pregnant. I thought that this was to be my vision coming into being, only to be met by our new SON Killian. We were instantly in love; however, he and his birth were not the vision. After a while, I began to believe the vision wasn’t a literal birth, but a metaphor.
Around the time we celebrated Killian’s 1st birthday, I became pregnant again. This pregnancy wasn’t easy, by far. I dealt with extreme fatigue and weakness during most of my pregnancy and the reasons were many and mostly unresolvable. I was dealing with some health issues that were exacerbated during my pregnancy. I also had issues arise during pregnancy. Then there was the extreme stress of two court battles and the mourning over those situations. All these weighed heavily in all aspects of my life. However, at the end I was feeling better than I had throughout most of the pregnancy. Though the stress was the same, health issues were resolving resulting in more energy. I really couldn’t connect to this baby in utero though. It appeared the baby didn’t want to be known. Even with a doppler, which I only used twice, it was difficult to get a good listen. A fetoscope was, of course, more difficult. When I did hear the baby’s heart is was solid and healthy, also baby was very active. I knew in my spirit baby was growing perfectly, yet baby just wanted to be left alone. This matched my demeaner as I was more drawn inward as well.
Early labor started Thursday with light bloody show. I went through my day knowing birth would be soon(ish). That night I went to bed thinking it could be that night. I was surprised when I woke up Friday morning to my alarm rather than to active intense contractions. Contractions were still happening regularly; however, they were not in a pattern or strong. I woke two of my kids to get them ready for their chiropractor appointments, which I was SO sure the night before that I would need to cancel (insert laugh). At the Chiropractor’s office contractions were getting slightly stronger, but nothing urgent. Afterwards, we picked of some donuts to bring home so I could “drown out” my disappointment, (insert laugh again). This was a rare treat for us, as we don’t have much processed sugar in the house. During the rest of the morning I was distressed. My oldest two children were supposed to go to their dad’s that weekend. I really wanted all the kids here when the baby came and had a “feeling” that I wouldn’t last the weekend still pregnant. BUT what if I was wrong? I didn’t want to keep them home and then have NOTHING happen, yet I didn’t want them to go, me have the baby and they miss those early moments and cord ceremony. Finally, around noon I made the difficult decision to keep the older kids home. Within minutes of making arrangements for a make-up weekend, my contraction pattern had changed. I didn’t really notice much in the following hour, as I was helping Kyron clean out his closet. It was while I sitting on his bed buying some new clothes for him online that contractions became so intense they required my attention to breath through them. I knew in my heart these were the real deal, but my mind didn’t believe it. I went downstairs to lay on the sofa in the theater room to watch some TV. I turned on MeTV to find the Rifleman on. I laughed because during my labor with Aizleann, a Rifleman Marathon was on TV and I watched almost seven hours of it during her labor. However, that would not be the case this time. As I watched the Rifleman, I started drifting to sleep between contractions which were 7-8 minutes apart, but growing stronger in intensity. I needed to sit up with the intensity. It was about 3pm, I decided to call Tracy and my photographer, Lauren, to tell them it was time. Knowing my history of a quick labor with Killian, neither of them wasted time, both arriving at 3:30. Contractions were picking up, 3-4 minutes; however, I still had doubts in my mind that this was “it”. When they arrived, Tracy and I relaxed and talked for a while, then I decided to step outside. The weather was just as my vision, clear blue skies, sunlight, no wind, only an occasional light breeze. I decided to attempt to birth outside. Tracy, Lauren, and I prepped a birth space outside, including one of the birth pools. Our youngest three children were running around playing inside and outside.
Labor was getting more very intense, I was grateful to step in the newly poured pool water. The intensity quieted for a little while and I was grateful for the rest. Shortly after though, the intensity grew stronger and my mindset turned dark. The intensity was almost more than I could bear. My confidence began to shake, I start a series of emotional breakdowns, sobbing uncontrollably. As I sobbed through my contractions, the pain so intense in my hips and thighs, I felt as though I couldn’t take it. I prayed so fervently. I felt emotionally and physically trapped in fire with the only option to go through it. It took me by surprise, never before has my confidence been shaken in my labors, never had I doubted myself. I was confused and frustrated with being emotional and uncontrollable. I was releasing something bigger than a baby and I could feel it spiritually. Maybe all the negativities, ridicule, and hate from the outside ignorant world was unknowingly trapped inside me waiting to be released. Maybe since my house had been unnecessarily violated by law enforcement back in June 2019, that my safe haven was no longer my safe haven. Or maybe it was because for the last year I have heard the words “you can’t………” more times than I have in my life. Could it be those cursed words penetrated my energy field and seeped into my body and soul, only to manifest in the most intense pain and suffered of birthing something new and fresh? Maybe it was nature’s way on making me stronger more resilient.
For the next couple hours, I alternated getting in and out of the tub, standing, swaying, on all fours, sitting on the birth ball, using the bathroom, anything to get comfortable. It became obvious that comfort was not an option. This would not be another easy labor, as with the others. It was early evening, frustrated and confused I stood up abruptly from the water during contraction and sat on a birthing ball, another agonizing contraction came. Being on the birth ball would not do at all. I got on all fours, that would not do. Desperately, I roared as I squatted with Tracy behind me and Aizlee, our 3rd child, beside me. In desperation for relief, and angry, I decided to push to see what happens. The moment I decided that I felt an energy shift. At that moment our neighbor’s wolf-dogs began to howl. Their howls have always been a great comfort to me and were especially a comfort to me at that moment. Maybe I resonate with them so much, because I am often misunderstood and hunted by society much like a wolf. I smiled because I instantly realized the neighboring wolf-dogs had been with me, listening to my groans and roars and now they were calling our sweet baby out into the sunlight, also I knew instantly what I needed to do. With the next contraction I pushed and my waters released. For a moment it was a huge relief. I looked down, saw the amniotic fluid was clear. Then I felt the baby enter through my pelvis like a bowling ball. I pushed with the next contraction. The baby’s head birthed halfway, unable to see half of the face, I reached down to feel for only a millisecond and in one continuance push the head came and shoulders rotated as the rest of the body was born. The baby was a bit stunned at the quickness of birth. I pulled the baby up to my chest. We sat as I held the baby for a few moments. Kyron, our fourth child, came out to peek at the baby and then went inside. Baby was completely fine, though still a bit stunned and trying to take full breath. I gave two little helper breathes and that did the trick. We decided to see what the sex of the baby was. A GIRL!!!! Just as my vision. Shortly after I felt a gushed of blood, I sat up to see if the placenta released. It was obvious the placenta wasn’t fully detached. I sat back and relaxed with our baby girl in my arms, since the bleeding didn’t continue. I held our baby girl close to my chest. We sat enjoying our baby for several minutes. The placenta released and birthed. I laid our baby down, picked up the placenta and placed it in the bowl, as I checked it for completeness. I looked at it and I noticed not one but TWO true knots in her cord! It’s rare enough to see one, but two is amazing just like her. With those knots, I began to understand why I choose to directly and continuingly push, birthing her in two pushes, and less than two minutes from the waters’ opening to complete birth of our baby girl. Next, I picked up our baby girl and placenta bowl and Tracy helped me stand, so we all could walk inside to the bed. We spent the next hour loving and bonding. Tracy asked if this was our Avalon Shalom, from my vision. Looking down at her, I replied, “yes”. Our Avalon Shalom joined our family. The kids came in later to meet their new sister. After everyone had settled down, my postpartum doula, Ivy, came and made a bowl of Atole for me, as Tracy and Lauren cleaned the birth space. I looked over our beautiful baby, Avalon. We separated Avalon from her placenta through a sacred cord burning ceremony. Each family member held a candle and those who felt called to bless Avalon, said their blessing as we burned the cord. We did finish the process by cutting the cord, as it was taking a long time to burn completely through. Officially detached from the organ that she thrived on for months, she now looks to me for comfort, warmth, and regulation. Avalon and I snuggled down in bed, as Tracy put all the kids to bed. Lauren and Ivy finished cleaning, made postpartum tea, and made my placenta print. After all was done they took their leave and we all fell fast asleep.
Many people have commented on Avalon’s beautiful name. I would like share more about Avalon’s name and the powerful meaning behind it. Avalon Shalom translates of Isle of Paradise and Peace. At the time of the vision, I thought “that’s cool”. I wouldn’t know the depth of this name and what it would stand for until now. Recently I learned in the legendary King Arthur tale that Avalon Island was where Excalibur was forged. In the stories, Excalibur was a symbol of strength, freedom, justice, and equality yet individuality. Avalon Island was also the place where King Arthur healed from his injuries after battle, making this a place of healing and refuge. Shalom is well known for the Hebrew greeting of peace. It also has a much deeper meanings of harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. Shalom is a life-giving blessing spoken over people bringing about the deepest and richest parts of a peaceful life with God. Never could I have imagined that our Isle of paradise and peace would emerge in the midst of a sea of such chaos. I speak of the chaos in the world around us, which we are all aware, and the chaos within our personal lives. I am currently fighting for midwifery freedoms, facing possible prison time, and standing on edge in an international birthing revolution. Everyday Tracy and I choose to lay it ALL DOWN at the cross to follow what God has called us to do. The uncertainty is overwhelming, yet God goes before us showing us grace and favor in unimaginable ways. One of these blessings is our Avalon Shalom, chosen by God as an Isle of Paradise and Peace, a presence of strength, freedom, justice, and equality, a healer and refuge with life-giving richness and harmony for those who know her. Once again, I am brought to my knees at the awe of God, who knew the exact timing of what the world would need and what we would need.
It has taking a while to process all the dynamics of Avalon’s birth, especially the spiritual components. The intensity of the labor released something that I still don’t fully understand and may not for many years to come. Even so, I knew what I needed to do at the time I needed to do it. I birthed my sweet baby, Avalon, with power, strength, and freedom with God’s creation surrounding us.
Photo Credit by Ardyce Blooms