by their parents, Kerensa and Jodie
Reiki, My Surrogate Fire Mother
The beautiful thing about Reiki work is that it came to us through the births of our children, Imani and Inanna. When I was pregnant with Imani, I hoped it would help balance us on all levels, including mental, physical, spiritual, and especially the emotional level. I also thought it might help our communication and loosen up the anxieties we felt about becoming parents.
I had my first Reiki session with a MSW friend of my aunt’s. I was very intrigued, sold Jodie on the idea and we both took the Usui system Reiki level I certification. Imani immediately reacted to the Reiki work; when Jodie put his hands on my belly, Imani would flip joyfully towards the energy, then settle down and sleep.
I envisioned Imani’s birth to be beautiful calm event where Jodie and I witnessed an entity wiser than us entering the world. It was to be natural and at the hospital birthing room with midwives. I didn’t want to have a lot of interventions or drugs unless a complication warranted it. I wanted to spend as much time nursing and rooming in with the baby and Jodie after the birth. Being pregnant was very challenging emotionally for us. Both of our mothers had passed away years ago. Though we both had quite a few surrogates, we both mourned not being able to share our and draw on the experience with our respective moms. I felt the Reiki eased this somewhat as we learned to care for each other and ourselves.
I had the loving support and advice of numerous family and friends, many of who were at the birth. I read about birth alternatives and an apprenticing birth doula volunteered to be at the birth. Yet I faced two secret fears; first I didn’t know how my body would actually accomplish the task of birthing a baby and second, I was fearful of having an epidural, which felt very invasive. Fears aside, I sank into the experience of being pregnant and loved it. Jodie and I spent time taking photos, talking, singing and reading to the baby. I loved how we reveled in my roundness and sensuality and how Jodie cared for me first before he did anything for anyone else. I felt that I was learning so much about the baby as we grew.
To our disappointment, I was induced because of a risk of a prolapsed cord. It was tremendously disappointed knowing I couldn’t go into labor on my own, and was scared knowing an induction increased the chances of a c-section. I was induced at midnight. Jodie was anxious, too but showed a sense of surrender to the process that I didn’t feel. By 10 a.m. I was in active labor and breathing rhythmically. My water broke and I took dosages of several herbal tinctures to help pain. I disliked how the contractions pounded away at me. I felt back labor kick in. Jodie used Reiki on my shoulders and chest but it felt like hot, squelching heat and I asked him to stop. By three o’clock I was only at 4 cm and the back labor was overwhelming. I tried Stadol for relief, but found myself only in a drugged sleep in between contractions.
By 6 p.m., I was receiving an epidural to let me rest and dilate. I felt such a strange loss of control, from the driving overkill of the Pitocin to the silent paralysis of the epidural. I felt nothing from the waist down. The nurse checked the readouts and told us our baby was sleeping. Jodie and I asked the baby to turn to help relieve the pressure on my back, and I asked my body to dilate.
Finally I felt the subtle slow motion of the baby turning and the sensation began to return to my body. I felt a counterclockwise spiral of energy spin up me from my thighs to my uterus; I knew it was time and I was excited! I was 9.5 cm, but when I contracted I dilated fully to 10 cm. I went into active labor at 1 a.m., and pain returned in my right hip Just after 2 a.m. the baby slipped right into the birth canal and the pain was over.
I pushed for an hour sitting upright and when I became tired, Jodie sat behind me so I could brace myself. It was the closest he would get to give birth. Sunday morning at 3:11 a.m. Imani was born. He took his first breath and gave a beautiful cry, protesting as if hadn’t wanted to wake up. Jodie and I talked to him while we stroked his back; he nursed for a bit, and then dozed.
Imani is a very special person, in part because of his sensitivity to energy. From the Reiki he received in-utero he was encouraged to stay connected to us energetically besides touch and hearing. I believe that Reiki helped to keep him relaxed during labor. At birth he not only recognized our voices, but also immediately responded to our touch. At almost 6 years of age, Imani still calms down immediately when we use Reiki with him. When he is tired or ill he will sometimes request it. I believe the Reiki built a stronger bond between Jodie, Imani and me during pregnancy onward. Furthermore, it helped us to be more intimately connected to prepare us for Imani’s difficult arrival.
With our second pregnancy our Reiki Master Teacher, Cori taught us how to use the Sacred Childbirth with Reiki Method. Our intention for this pregnancy was very different; we wanted none of the hospital interventions. We used one midwife, planned a home birth and I had experience a postpartum doula myself. I wanted to trust my body to do instinctively what it knew. This was exactly what Cori had experienced in her own birth and helped us to embrace.
Jodie and I went through individual Reiki sessions to clear fears and resolve the body impressions from Imani’s birth. I needed a clean slate where I didn’t expect the experience of the first birth to determine the experience of the second. I wanted nothing to interrupt the connection with my baby or body during labor or birth and I wanted control over my birth choices. During the Reiki session to clear body tension of the birth, I had clear recollection of my own birth. The session revealed many of the anxieties and experiences from my own birth were mirrored in Imani’s birth. It helped to settle and resolve much apprehension and helped me to set the intention for a new and more empowered birth adventure.
The pre-labor occurred sporadically for a month with Inanna, getting me excited and ready to feel my own rhythm and energy. I finally went into labor and retired to the bathtub. Imani played with his grandmother and took photos of us. Jodie hands sent soothing Reiki to me while I did Reiki four-count breathing. The Reiki felt relaxing, balancing, heated but not anything like the burning feeling with Imani’s birth. This time we had a concrete method we used that gave us a means to an end.
I ate while laboring, and I drank much water. It was freeing and pleasurable at first and I sunk into each contraction deeply. I breathed and toned and Jodie joined me. The intimate space between Jodie and I was a cocoon. The pace quickened, I felt back labor beginning so I changed positions often in the tub. Laboring was like holding sheer, raw power; I experienced it fully, letting it travel through me.
Sarah, our midwife, had me labor out of the tub when the contractions seemed to plateau. After trying the stairs and the birthing stool, then walking and dancing, I returned to the soothing tub water. I labored long and hard and had flashes of having to be induced at the hospital again. I stopped myself, regained my focus on my breath and continued to allow the contractions to ride through me. The back labor increased and Jodie furiously rubbing my back. Twice I lost my breathing rhythm and the whole experience became painful. I quickly returned to focus to my breath and toning with the wave of the contraction. I was pain-free except for the back labor—that remained throughout each contraction. Sarah said it was the baby’s head pressing downwards. Jodie’s hands on my back helped me to relax completely between each wave and I felt the Reiki flowing. At 7:30 p.m. Sarah put me in bed to rest and I was at 7 cm.
With Jodie lying on his side right behind me, top half of my torso crunch around my middle and felt such powerful intensity like a volcano erupting and wondered would I make it. I almost growled, found my right knee turning up to the side and Inanna’s head crowned! After only two pushes, Inanna was born at 7:41 p.m., my membrane breaking as she emerged. She cried immediately with emotion, Inanna went to the breast right away noisily sucking and fussily crying all the while. Imani climbed up right next to Jodie, the baby and I with curiosity and pride. I stroked the downy soft skin of her back over and over, feeling it both wrinkled and plump.
After the birth, I lost too much blood. I was taken to the hospital via ambulance. I stayed in ICU healing from serious hemorrhage apparently due to a cervical tear. I had also suffered a sodium/mineral loss called hyponatremia. I was in a stupor for almost ten hours while Jodie gave me Reiki. He said I did the Reiki breathing the entire time.
Inanna’s birth was at times enjoyable, freeing, intense, and dramatic. The Reiki helped me trust my body. It served as an anchor for me during dangerous birth complications as well as for Jodie and me during labor and birth. Reiki precipitated Inanna’s calm demeanor and seamless adjustment to being away from me for the first two days. She latched on immediately as if we had never left off. She’s a very affectionate, observant and strong toddler. She does not often sit still for Reiki. However, when she does, she quickly goes to sleep like she did in-utero. Her attachment, confidence and self-awareness emerged more quickly from her exposure to Reiki. I thank the Source, Jodie and the empowering Reiki energy work for helping to make the births of our children so profound and different.
We decided to co- host a new life in a time that seemed most uncertain. We knew energy influenced our daily reality, and our ability to accept perceived blessings as well as the wealth of fantastic opportunities of which we were just becoming aware. It was then that we found Reiki Healing. Kerensa had an appointment with a Reiki Master and was excited when she returned. The next thing I knew, we were at a training that gave us a preliminary understanding of energy healing. We left that session completely elevated.
Realizing that feeling internally, meant two things; one, there was hope for the future of our family in terms of an entire new way to understand energy; two that there was an incredible darkness all around. Somehow I knew that my soul was determined to prove that if we found the light, we could escape the tunnel.
My enlightenment was the time spent with Kerensa pregnant and the energy that involved us and Imani. As we enjoyed the relaxed into the experience, the hospital atmosphere felt regimented. Their midwives sold us on using them by showing us their natural birthing room. Ultimately, they worried about the amniotic sac being too full, and chose to induce, which meant there was no chance for the holistic room. Though Kerensa did not want to be drugged, there were needles, I.V.s, catheters and monitors. We felt invaded, separated and exhausted to such a degree by that ‘special medical authority’ before we the body ever informed us that it was time to push.
To counterbalance the amount of imperial pressure that we received from professionals and their assistants, we welcomed family and close friends. Their presence at Imani’s birth was tremendously fulfilling and encouraging. It gave me a sense of what my part was in the process when I felt more on the outside looking in. I felt like I had no ability. It seemed to me that anyone else in the room had more knowledge and presence of mind, whereas I was the moldable easily influenced audience. The only time I felt a part of the birth itself was when Kerensa requested that I massage her lower back and also join her in bed to support her entire body.
The energies were finally in perfect alignment for all parties to make way for the birth. He kept his heart rate normal throughout the influence of contraction inducing drugs. He went to sleep until he was ready, then his mother shook loose the effects of the drug and set about the task of labor. She asked me to touch her stomach during the contractions. I felt the sensation of tightening scales, as one would on a snake. We sang out as Imani emerged from the birth canal. From where I sat it appeared as if God handed him to us. Even now his intuitive knowledge of the surroundings continues to leave me in awe, as does his ability to give in to and use a higher power source. There is a lot that he taught and has to teach us in that department.
Conversely, sister Inanna has the will to hold intense power in her hand playfully. She looks down from her high chair now as I suspect that she did from heaven when choosing us. Her birth was miraculous. I helped tone with her and keep her mind focused on the wonderful work that her body was engaged in. She completely engrossed herself in the task at hand. Kerensa put ten hours into laboring that day. At 7:30 p.m. we helped her from the bathtub, where she had been most of the day, to the bed where she could rest. Kerensa let out the most restful sigh that you could imagine, in the same motion, she rolled over and there was the crown of Baby Inanna’s head.
We were so joyous at seeing the baby. We had succeeded in giving birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl at home. I couldn’t be happy enough. But the amount of blood that surrounded us told me that our story was not over with the birth. She was dangerously low in electrolytes, sodium, and blood because of a tear during birth. Eventually there was an ambulance to take Kerensa and me to the Hospital. I consciously pushed notions of loosing her from my mind. I maintained the Reiki cadence that had sustained us the previous day. We worked hard thru the night, but we did not avoid the influence of cat scans, brain scans, and the woman had having lost 4 pints of blood. Kerensa recovered after the third day, and was home by the weekend. There is no doubt that Reiki for Childbirth provided the link that linked me as the root to Kerensa in the ethos as she ‘went on walkabout’. Numerous friends and loved ones thought of her and woke from their sleep not knowing that her spirit took stock of us all, and for its own reasons returned to us. I will forever be thankful to Dr Usui, Takata, all Reiki Masters who are within the Light, Cori, her family and Kerensa, for our family.