Knowing: The Birth of Henry Rike

It started when I was pregnant. I had had an ectopic pregnancy in my early 20s and the chances of having a healthy pregnancy were pretty much slim to none. So, this is the story of my miracle baby. And, in so many ways, the story of me really tapping into my own inner knowing.


I was a single woman living in California who had been told she couldn’t get pregnant, but one day when I was thirty years old, I went to the dentist and they wanted to do an x-ray, and I said they couldn’t because I was pregnant. I hadn’t done a test or anything, but I just knew. I didn’t even really know until I said it out loud at the dentist.


Then I went to make sure everything was in the right place since I had had that ectopic pregnancy. They told me i was most likely going to not have a viable pregnancy, but I just knew that was not true. I knew this little baby was going to come through just fine. Being a single woman, some might have thought it would be a relief to not have a baby by myself, but I wanted this baby and knew that everything would be fine and I and my baby were gong to be fully taken care of.


I chose to work with midwives and I did see doctors along the way for a few things that felt like i needed that, but I built it my own way. Not all one way or the other. I didn’t find out the baby’s gender or do ultrasounds. I just did what felt like I needed it, and didn’t do the rest.


I labored at home, but I chose to have my baby at the birth center. I was renting a duplex with close neighbors on all sides, so I thought I would be more comfortable having my baby at the birth center. I was self-conscious about my neighbors hearing me in labor, but I was also thinking about my family and how they would feel about me having my baby at home. They are all believers in western medicine and/or doctors, so I thought they would judge me or be worried about me. So I convinced myself it would all be better if I just went to the birth center. But I realized right after my baby was born, that I just was letting fear get in the way of what I really wanted, which was just to have my baby right there in my own home.


I felt very connected to my baby throughout my birth and told my baby who would be there on what dates and that s/he should decide who they wanted present at their birth by choosing the date that was right for them. And that baby chose perfectly.


I sensed early in the day that I was going into labor on April 11th, so I went down to Mesa Lane Beach and walked the wooden stairs that lead down to the beachfront two at a time to help open up my hips. That evening, around 8:00pm, it was obvious I was in labor. I tried to stay calm and when things got intense, I got in the shower. My shower was huge and had big black and white subway tiles. I sat down for periods of time on that cool tile and closed my eyes. I felt like I was in a park I had visited in Oahu where there are these ancient birthing stones. I had sat on those stones and felt the energy of all those birthing women. The tiles started to warm up under my body and I felt there was another woman sitting behind me, supporting me. And back of her there was another woman supporting her, and behind her, another... and on and on with all the women who had given birth clear back to the beginning of time.


I felt the power of all those birthing women all around me, lifting me up. There was no room for fear anymore. I labored there until my doula and midwife told me it was time to go to the birth center. There was no way I could think of how to get in that car. I finally did get in, but basically had to do hands and knees on the back seat the whole way there to survive it. It was the worst car ride ever.


I was eight centimeters when I got in that car, and I was five centimeters when I got checked at the hospital. I think, looking back, that I would have had my baby really soon if I had just stayed home. I had everything I needed... I just didn’t know it.


I wanted to do a water birth, so they had the tub ready for me when I got there. But it was hard for me to labor in there because every time I had a contraction, the water felt way too hot. So I would climb the three stairs to get out during the contraction, and climb back down into the water in between. This probably was really good actually for opening up my pelvis even more.


I remember at some point, the midwives wanted to give me an antibiotic because the labs weren’t back telling them whether I was Group B Strep positive or not. I could tell they were worried, but just wasn’t concerned at all - I knew I was not positive. So I said, “I know you’re worried, but I am not going to do that.” After the baby was born, the results came back negative which didn’t surprise me at all.


Then I knew it was finally time. I got all the way out of the tub, squatted down in a full squat and felt the baby coming through. My friend just kept saying what I good job I was doing. Then the midwife told me I needed to slow down and not push because she could see a cord around the baby’s neck, but I checked in with the baby and knew everything was okay. And besides, there was no way I could stop pushing - it wasn’t even me pushing, it was my body just expelling that baby.


So out that baby came, with the cord around the neck and everything was ok. As the head was crowning, I called out, “It’s a boy. I know he’s a boy!” And then, there he was, and he was a boy, and I knew he was Henry.


I still didn’t feel any fear. Everything felt real and complete and I had my sweet baby boy on my belly and watched him crawl his way up to my breast. He was beautiful and strong and I was totally in love. And I have been in love with him ever since.