It is the eve of my daughter's second birthday.
The story of her conception and birth are filled with so many treasures, moments of surrender, moments of resistence and moments of healing.
I dreamt of this child years before. I have always been one to have vivid dreams, sometimes prophetic, and I had one of her.
A dark haired, blue eyed child who would be named Elda Fae, who would come after Elijah.
In some magical way, he knew of her too. He started asking me about his sister when he was 3 years old. He would say "Where is my sister? I want to play with her."
At the time, I had no idea when she would come or how. My boyfriend at the time had no desire to have children, content to be present and involved with my one darling son.
All things change, however, and my romantic partnership with this fellow ended and I returned to a life of solo parenting.
I returned to school to become a massage therapist. I attended my first birth (before I had decided to become a doula!) and I started feeling like I maybe could consider having a second child someday.
I have always been an impressive manifestor and within a matter of months of having spoken the words aloud "I could have another child. Elijah wants a sister.", the stars aligned.
Despite being mindful of my cycles, and being cautious when with my lover, I became pregnant.
There was a whirlwind few hours upon discovery. I laughed. I cried. I panicked. I told him. He was scared. He was angry.
I considered all my options. I sent him for herbs that could possibly terminate the pregnancy. I called the clinic in Halifax. I cried more.
And then I knew. I felt the spark of life inside of me. I knew. It was her. It was my daughter.
There was not one single ounce of uncertainty. Not one single ounce of fear.
That there was no way I would do anything to end this pregnancy.
I told my lover the following morning that I would be allowing the pregnancy to continue.
I have never seen him again.
Despite seemingly impossible odds (single mother, in my second and final year of school, in doula training, a life already so full), I knew that it would all be okay.
It would all be exactly what it needed to be.
I completed my school year. I graduated (with honours!).
I attended all my certifying births.
I raised my son, cared for our pets, worked, prepared, nested.
The day of Elda's birth was hot, so hot. It was the day before my birthday and I was grumpy.
I didn't want to be pregnant on my birthday. I didn't want to share my birthday (I already have a twin! )
I saw my doctor that afternoon around 3:15 pm. She did a cervical check. I was around 2 cms dilated but nothing was happening. She told me to make an appointment for the following week.
I was 40 weeks pregnant and tired of it.
I called my best friend and grumped about still being pregnant. I went home. I picked up Elijah from daycare.
I fed him supper and continued in my grumpy state, I set him up with some shows so that I could relax and I called my friend to come keep me company in my bed.
She encouraged me to get up and walk her home ( about 3 blocks away). This was probably around 7 pm. As we were walking, I started feeling some mild cramps.
Labour with Elda came on swiftly and intensely! I sat down on my friend's step to eat a popsicle and knew immediately that it was on! I gathered Elijah and left to go home. I wanted my bathtub and the safety and comfort of my space.
Before I made it the 3 blocks home, the contractions were strong and regular.
Elijah recognized my moaning sounds as similar sounds from the copious amount of birthing videos I had watched.
I called my friend to come get Elijah. I called my other friends to come and support me. I wanted a house full of wise, grounded women to bear witness to the labour.
I had envisioned an upbeat gathering, with music and dancing baby down. I had envisioned a long labour (like my first), with a slow and gradual pace to get accustomed to and move with the flow of labour.
It was not at all as I had imagined. I was not calm. I was scared. I was not joyful. I was angry. At the intensity, at the fact that all the coping mechanisms I thought I had, not one of them was "working".
It was happening super fast and I felt like I could barely keep up. I was trying to doula myself (did not work!) and I felt stuck within my own head.
At some point (probably around 9:30 or 10 pm), I stood up from my bed, felt nauseous and overwhelmed and said "Oh, I'm in transition! We are not going to make it to the hospital!".
Somehow, my amazing friends managed to get clothes on my stubborn, naked body and sort out who needed to be in what car and got me into it.
We arrived at the hospital sometime around 10:45 or 11 pm, and I was a growling, raging, momma bear!
I would not sit in the wheelchair. I would not wear a gown and I did not want a cervical check. I did not want the bed.
I wanted gas and to be left alone.
I scared a young nurse with the intensity of my state.
I was relieved when one of my favorite nurses to work with as a doula came into my room and greeted me. I felt a sense of ease, like I could let go of the burden of resistance and just continue on.
My doctor was called right away. I was between 8-9 cms dilated and things were moving fast!
I remember looking at the clock at 11:50, when I was 10 cms dilated and thought to myself (or said out loud), "Oh, I guess we will share a birthday."
Elda came out at 11:54 pm on August. 2nd. 6 minutes before my birthday.
4 minutes of pushing.
She was exactly who I had dreamt of. I knew her spirit, I knew her face. I knew she was meant to be with our family and would be another of my greatest teachers.
Since she has come along, I have learned how love can grow and spread to encompass a larger family.
I have been shown the ways in which I still have so much work to do, and the ways in which I have already grown.
She teaches me kindness and compassion. She shows me what it means to be easygoing but assertive. To be relaxed but present.
She delights us daily with her expressive nature, her joyful ways and her loving, loving, loving way of being.
I have no doubt that our children come along at the perfect times.
Happiest of Birthdays, to the sweetest Elda Fae*!
(*Who is named for the spirit of the Elderberry tree and a tribute to both the faeries and one of my favorite childhood babysitters, who quilted and made homemade doughnuts. Everytime I say her name, I am also reminded of a sweet baby Faye, who passed on but will always be in my thoughts.)