Fewer Brain Cells, Bigger Boobs

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After giving birth to Pi two years ago, I wrote a blog post about “the yoga of giving birth” and it was good to go through it all and think about the birthing process and using yoga as a tool to figure out what had happened. Conclusion was that at one point, all the breathing and controlled thoughts went out the window and I literally lost all control, and Pi exited my body so fast it left us all in a state of shock. The three of us, mummy, daddy Noam, and Pi, were just staring at each other for 45 minutes while I was being stitched back up.

It’s already been a month since Noy was born, but having two children is just a different game. One child is EASY, man! You just don’t know what you’re in for… until you’re there and there’s no time to even take a breath. It’s just plain… CRAZY. Madness. Two of them within two years. Wow.

This time the birth was such a different experience. I was in total control and nothing was a surprise at all. As my water broke movie style, gushing out of me, I didn’t even tell my husband, I just went back to bed and lay there next to my Pi, enjoying the last moments of being just us. He was asleep as it was past midnight and soon Noam slept, too.

As the contractions started around 3 am, I was ready with the timer of my iPhone. In bed, in between my sleeping boys, I was timing the contractions and just resting in between, listening to the breaths of my family. As the contractions started getting closer and stronger, I woke Noam up, who told me, “No, not now,” and turned his back to me, and continued sleeping. I decided to give him another half hour. He’s just a man, after all.

Half an hour later I did wake him up and he finally understood that I was in labour.

He made us a fire, he took a shower, while I was still timing contractions.

As they got closer and closer, I knew exactly when I was starting to open quickly. I told Noam at one point, with strange certainty: “It’s time to go.” I knew from last time, that when I started making deep sounds from within me, I was very, very open and almost there. He was somewhat frozen on the spot and just stood there, looking around, and seemed to think about what to do next. I started collecting all of my stuff, I brought my bags to the car, and then put a warm cardigan on, and went to the car, ready to go give birth. Noam was waking up our housemate to go to be with Pi, and it took a very long time. I shouted at him from the car several times, and I just could not believe that I had to WAIT for him while in labour in the car, and getting very close, too.

I couldn’t talk by then (other than shouting at my husband!) and was on all fours in the back of the car, making weird cavewoman sounds, listening to my own voice rumbling from deep within.

As we entered the hospital, I had to cover my eyes from the strong lights. I listened to Noam talk to the person at the reception of the emergency room as they asked him for my documentation, him looking in my wallet and not finding it, me thinking “I should go help him” but not really being able to carry it out on a practical level because of the strong pain.

People were talking to me, but I didn’t answer. If I had something to say, I said it to Noam.  They asked me to go in “the chair” and I heard them say she’s 8 cm dilated. I was not surprised; I knew this already. They took me to a room and I kept covering my eyes on the way there, I did not want the light on me.  Anything they asked me, I either did not answer, or I just said NO. I wanted to be left alone, as I felt crystal clear and completely in control. I did not need anyone. They let me do whatever I wanted. They were amazing; just helped and supported in soft voices.

Actually, this was a state of mind that I have only experienced this one time in my life. It has a name in the eight limbs of yoga, but after having two children in two years and breastfeeding nonstop with only a three month break in between babies, I have to admit that most of my Sanskrit has gone into hiding. [Ed. note: This would be pratyahara.]

I was in a state so completely crystal clear, but with all connection to the outside totally withdrawn. I did not, nor did I want to, use any of my communication abilities (except the word NO). I did not, nor did I want to, see or hear what was going on around me. It registered, but it did not move me or engage me in any way. I was fully inside my own being. All senses withdrawn.

Now, exactly five weeks afterwards, I can even say that it was an absolutely amazing experience. This threshold, five weeks, is what they recommend, at least here in Spain, to use as your official healing-time. And I guess that I feel pretty much healed. There’s no scars or pain anymore, and I’m a fully functional person (although I have fewer brain cells and much bigger boobs, of course!)

The pushing part was very different for me this time. As Pi had entered so fast, through external help, I had not experienced this part before. I felt it took very long, I think it took a whole hour to push him out. And I didn’t have very strong pushing contractions, I had to do most of the physical effort myself. My whole being was fully engaged, all my muscles and all my willpower.

And this is where I had to really force myself to use all my spiritual willpower.

As I pushed down, I felt that I broke. Literally. Broke. So I stopped, instinctively. I was discussing within myself, that maybe if I allow it to be slow, it will open more softly, and I won’t have to tear. But I realised that this was my fear speaking.

So I told myself, that if I don’t do this, he won’t come out. I want him to come out, I want this pain to be over, I want to meet my son.

So in between the contractions, I went to my mind, and had a word with it. A serious chat. I said to my mind: go beyond the body, beyond this physical sensation of pain. Just break it, rip it, tear it open ‒ just do it. You are NOT this pain. This pain is transient. The body will heal.

I looked through all the files in my brain, I downloaded all the information I found there regarding non-attachment to the physical body. “You are NOT this body.”

And with the next contraction, I pushed. And I broke. In four different places. They told me afterwards that it was  “significant tearing,” and the rips went deep, wide, and up and down. I literally felt myself breaking myself and I focused completely on allowing it to happen. Such a strange sensation, to break yourself, but such a freeing sensation! And to WATCH YOURSELF DO IT- from a non-attached perspective. Of course I FELT the pain, but I was determined to not stop because of it.

And when he finally landed on this planet, it was such a different feeling. It was more like “finally” and, “Hello, there you are!” He looked like a little grandpa, just like Pi did.

Five minutes after the birth I said “I’m starving!” and they all looked at me in surprise. “That’s a very good sign!” they said.

One and a half hours later I ate one of the biggest meals ever from the best health food restaurant in Ibiza, called Passion. I drank a huge green juice and I ate a huge chunky gluten free brownie for dessert. Another 10 hours later we were all home. And then the madness begun.

And she lived crazily ever after with two small children.

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