Lotus Birth~ A Path to Healing
I gave birth on my knees wrapped in a blanket. Shrouded in the darkness of my candle lit kitchen, my third daughter flew through the door like lightning into a nest of blankets. There was no time to catch her. I heard the wailing in the blackness and turned around to scoop her up, slippery and still connected to me. It was only at that moment that we realized the baby was really coming that night…
The placenta came out easily, about thirty minutes after her birth. We placed it in a strainer inside a bowl next to us. Also, she had a rare, true knot in her cord. Later that morning I sat by the fire and washed the placenta with warm water. My tiny new daughter lay on sheepskins next to me and my three small children sat around us. I inspected both sides and removed any clots. Ready with my jars of alcohol, I asked her if I could take two small pieces to make medicine. I waited a moment and felt around the edges for some that would come off easily. To my surprise, when I pulled those two chunks with my fingers I noticed she startled a bit and began to cry. Though the cord had been white and limp and many hours had passed since the point when most people choose to sever, she was absolutely still aware of her placenta and felt me take those pieces. I thanked her and her placenta and dropped them into alcohol.
I packed the placenta front and back with Himalayan pink salt, ground lavender, ground cedar and dried calendula flowers from the garden. I wrapped it up in a cotton diaper and placed it in a little basket next to her. She seemed to enjoy it and the kids were taking it all in as well. Her dad was uncomfortable with the idea, and chose not to be present. He brought in the buckets of warm water and went outside to gather wood.
Over the next several days, we kept the house hot. I repacked the placenta in salt and herbs and new dry cloth diaper twice a day. I let the sun streaming in the windows shine on it and the cord as we lay in front of the fire. As the placenta got smaller, I began adding crystals, shells and feathers to her basket around the placenta. It was quite beautiful. I really enjoyed making these tiny alters that were connected to my baby. I spent those initial days nursing and watching over her. At night I wrapped her placenta in a cotton diaper and it slept in the basket next to her in our bed.
By the third day, the cord was completely dry except for the knot. I coated it with dried ground cedar in the morning and by sunset the knot had dried out and turned brown like the rest of the cord. At this point it was hard and stiff like raw hide. The placenta was roughly half the size it was to start and was much lighter and drier.
The fourth day was challenging for me. The cord became extremely stiff but was still very much attached. It was difficult to move her around, and at that point I felt ready to move a little more. I had to be much more careful diapering and nursing and move her as little as possible. A real lesson in patience. After contemplating severing the connection, I began asking myself why I felt the need to rush this or move it along at my pace? This was hers. This beautiful brand new birth space will never come again. I asked my medicine cards what was happening with her, her cord and her placenta. I drew the Deer. Regeneration and renewal. Finding your calling. The picture speaks volumes… To me it looks like the tree of life transferring all that you will become, through the ring of your own eternal history unto a child with open arms… All overlaid on the head of a deer.
I had a dream on the fifth night that she let go of her cord. The sixth day I saw that it was hanging on by a thread. I sat watching her most of the day as she slept peacefully. She grabbed her cord several times and I wondered each time if that would be the moment, but each time she let go. Part of me was ready to be able to pick her up easily and carry her around. But part of me felt sad knowing that these sacred days of sitting by the fire, building alters to the wholeness and beauty of creation, were coming to an end. Everything woven in this new beginning is woven within us and will live through each new dawn…… As the sun set, I wrapped her and her placenta in a blanket together, still connected, and went to sleep.
That night as she slept soundly for the first time since her birth, I sat watching her. The energy around her felt different. Only the center threads of her umbilical cord remained attached and all at once I could almost see the rapid energy exchange taking place between her and her placenta. Everything she was to do and become in this life, everywhere she had ever been, all of her medicine, her guides, her lessons… Her soul’s entire journey, backwards and forwards, was being laid out and relaying through those remaining strands. This may have been the most important part of her lotus birth. Once again, I was in awe to be witnessing something so sacred. Tears streaming down my face as I realized how incredible this is and how so many people come in each day without this crucial piece of becoming. Myself inluded…
The garden was full of giant white calla lillies that had just bloomed when I went outside in the morning. Baby seemed much more awake and alert as she took in her surroundings. I had a feeling she would let go soon. I burned some cedar and copal and lit a candle. We moved through our morning routine, nursing, diapering, wood on the fire… She woke up from a long sleep and it was again time for a diaper. She was watching me intently. As soon as I unwrapped her blanket, she pulled her leg back and kicked off her cord. She shivered, let out a little squeek, and smiled. Lotus born on the seventh day.
I had no idea how powerful that moment would be. Her lotus birth was as potent as the actual birth itself. It was like the whole universe opened up for a moment and all of the mysteries were revealed. I saw her claim her power and come through the hoop whole. That was the moment she came in completely. As if all of the days since her birth, she was still between worlds, and I was in there with her, watching over her and anchoring her to this reality. I felt different immediately, much more present and in my body. I laughed outloud and scooped her up and kissed her. I looked into her eyes and said her name, Onatah Tecolote. She smiled again. I gave her the amber necklace I had waiting for her and all at once she felt like a real, present and aware little person. It was absolutely worth waiting for.
They say that anyone who witnesses a lotus birth is healed. I believe that this is true. Valentin was against the idea and asked me several times in the first few days to cut the cord. Then one day, while she was laying there with her placenta unwrapped in the basket, with flowers and crystals and shells, and the morning sun streaming in… I saw him stop to watch her. I could see that it touched him deeply and saw something shift and soften within him. Not that he was less masculine, but that the masculine element had taken in a deep healing. The wound of sepertion was no longer active and needing to prove itself. I could see this new reality manifesting in many subtle ways over the next several days. This is our fourth child together and he has never held the space for us like this. The difference is profound. With our three previous hospital births, he had been the one to sever the cord for each child. He had taken on part of that wound each time, deepening his own sense of seperation. He remained disconnected and unavailable for various reasons after those births. There has always been a vast expanse between us, preventing us from recognizing or accepting eachother fully. Though we have many years and kids together we have never deeply connected on a soul level. This was our first freebirth and first lotus birth. Something clicked this time for both of us.
Once she and her placenta were no longer connected, I filled the basket with pink rose petals from the garden and set it on the seat in front of the fireplace. I was sitting on the nest of sheepskins next to it and Ona was sleeping on the bed. Valentin came in and we sat there together. As we held eachother, in front of the final rose covered alter to our baby’s placenta, I felt the layers of the years fall away and for the first time there was a sense of understanding between us. An unrestrained, soul deep recognition. Total forgiveness. Connection. Completion. Trust. Everything that had ever happened up until that moment had been erased and rewired. This was clearly an ending as well as a beginning. This was healing the wound of seperation…. Our seperation. I had no idea that THIS is what was coming with the lotus birth.
My children were also touched by this experience. Each day they would gather around her placenta and say how beautiful it is. My four year old even told me that he loves it. The day that she released it, my six year old daughter commented that we no longer have to watch over the placenta. They all seem very aware that the placenta is a part of her, and that it is completely normal to have it attached. This birth has been a blessing for our whole family.
On the eighth day, I twisted the cord off at the base, seperating it from the placenta. I soaked it in water until it was soft and laid it out in a circle to dry. The placenta continues to dry by the fire, and will eventually be planted with a fruit tree once rainy season begins. The umbilical cord became the hoop of a dream catcher.
These words barely skim the surface of the healing we all received through Ona’s lotus birth. This experience has shifted my perspective and opened yet another new level of awareness. It blasted through layers of trauma and cleared lifetimes of memory. I hope my experience inspires someone else to consider lotus birth… I can only imagine what the world would be like if this was how birth looked for everyone.
A personal comment: This is a beautiful lotus birth story, I felt compelled to share with my friends, many who often wonder about Lotus Birth hopefully can get a better understanding through this lovely story. Thank You.