In June 2011 I experienced my most heart-opening journey. I said yes to my dream of birthing with the dolphins on the Big Island of Hawaii. I had never heard of such a thing until I was 6 months pregnant with my 2nd child. It was so clear this is where Naiya wanted to be born.
Without knowing one person on the Big Island, I packed a suitcase and with my son we were off on a life changing adventure. We arrived June 2, 2011, and on June 3, 2011, my son’s birthday, we went down to Two Step beach where the dolphins greeted us with a warm aloha.
I instantly knew I was in the right place to bring this soul into the world.
The magic of our experience truly initiated when I said yes to follow my intuition. Everything fell into place divinely, a friend took care of my dog and car, I was able to sublet my cottage all within a week and instantly I was connected with an amazing brother in Hawaii who had a room available for rent on the famous Napoopoo Rd, the road that leads down to Kealakekua Bay, one of the homes of the wild Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. He also connected me with a friend who rented his car to me. It all happened in a flash. I was so surprised and grateful of how fluid life can flow and how supported I felt by the universe and people whom I had never met.
To fund this trip, as a single pregnant mom…who wanted to completely take time away from the go go go world…I sold the Rolex watch my parents had gifted me at my college graduation 9 years prior.
Arriving at 32 weeks pregnant gave me 2 months to connect with the dolphins and build relationships. I would swim everyday in the deep blue ocean between 3 different bays, Kealakekua, Two Step, and Hookena. More than half of the of swimming I was blessed with the peaceful, joyful, playful dolphins…my life was forever changed.
The dolphins were not the only conscious expanding, heart-opening experiences, I had never felt so at home as I did the moment I arrived on the island. Simply walking off the plane and feeling the energy was so comforting and nurturing. The abundance of nature, the plants, trees, flowers, the aliveness of the volcanic land, the wild chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, the frogs, mongoose, the majestic ocean, coral, fish, turtles, the Dolphins…wow I was in heaven.
Instantly, I felt all worries, all fears, wash away and there I was living in bliss.
Two amazing midwives entered my life and nurtured me more than I could have ever imagined, through song, bodywork, ceremony, dolphin swims, and the simplicity of prenatal care. I felt nourished and supported in my choice to have a dolphin assisted birth.
Around 8 am, August 7, 2011, I went down to Kealakekua Bay where I was greeted by 4 sweet dolphins. They swam straight toward me, separated into pairs as they approached, swam around me, and then asked me to follow them. I felt so excited and honored that these dolphins were escorting me to the unknown, I felt trust and joy.
Within a few minutes I was surrounded by dolphins, lots of dolphins, like 100…weaving and circling all around me. It was like every dolphin I had ever encountered in the past 2 months were there with me. I couldn’t believe it, when a few minutes later I started to have contractions in the water. It was surreal…really, am I really having contractions in the water with all of these dolphins? YES!
After a couple hours of swimming with these magnificent beings I swam back to shore, sat on the sea wall and drank a fresh coconut as I continued to watch them play…still in awe that I was in labor.
A quick ride up Napoopoo rd to the house where I felt so relaxed, so blissed out, I simply dozed into a nice nap. My body felt so comfortable, so natural, free of fear, tension, and pain. As the late afternoon approached I felt called to be down by the water for sunset, so we gathered in the car and drove down to Manini beach, another little beach at Kealakekua Bay.
At Manini, I labored holding a coconut tree, watching the sun slowly set, illuminating the sky with beautiful pinks, oranges, and reds while my son played with his father in the ocean and my midwife held space, quietly chanting and offering prayers.
After the sun set, my contractions intensified and I knew it was time to get into some warm water. The 4-mile drive up the windy road was definitely an adventure as we pulled over every minute for a contraction, I felt I could not ride through the contractions while the car was moving.
The only thing I could think of as we pulled into the driveway was climbing into the warm bath. I wobbled my way up the stairs and climbed straight in. Wow, labor became extremely intense there…for about 30 minutes I was moaning, moving my hips, and recognizing how different this birth was from my first. These moments felt so much more heightened than my son’s birth. I remember a thought passing, during this 12th hour of labor, wow I don’t know if I will be able to experience this for another 12 hours, because my son’s labor was 24 hours.
A few minutes later, Naiya’s head was crowing without a push. It was like my body innately expelled her…and all I could do was breathe. It was incredible and happened so fast, I knew the head was out, I actually felt the head with my hand, and then asked the midwives if the head was out.
On the next contraction, at 8:17 pm, her body rushed out into the warm Plumeria filled bath and she was gently placed on my chest. I felt so blessed that my son and his father were there to be part of this incredible birth journey. I remember hearing Kaden’s voice … “baby”… and then asked if he could climb into the bathtub with us.
It was so incredibly magical being there in that moment and recognizing, wow, that was so fast and so intense, so drastically different than my previous birth.
That night we all silently slept through the entire night in peace, in love, in joy knowing that everything was divinely orchestrated and that a dolphin assisted birth was truly the essence of the dolphins being there with me during my pregnancy, during my labor and that I brought all that energy with me as I birthed her.
Four weeks later as I was preparing for our voyage back to Miami I wrote my final last blog post including this paragraph:
I know I will be back to the big island! I have never felt so at home as I have here! I hope to aid and guide women through an experience I was able to have. The beautiful journey was truly life changing. I would really like to set up a retreat center that pregnant families can come to and stay for a few months before their birth, have wonderful foods prepared, yoga and other forms of prenatal exercise, community, swimming with the dolphins, and access to wonderful midwives for a natural birth. Only if every family could take off a few months and dedicate the time to each other and their growing baby. The family connection and bonding that can occur to prepare the family for their new addition and then another couple of months to be fully present with their new family member! What a beautiful experience it has been for me and such a learning opportunity.
As I left the island, I was extremely grateful I documented our experience and created a 35-minute film named Naiya: Journey Into Life, which can be viewed on YouTube. This filmed has touched the lives of thousands and it has been a catalyst of women saying YES to their intuition, to be more in nature, to birth more naturally.
A year and a half later, after a near death experience, I journeyed back home to Hawaii where I knew I could fully live my life purpose, and fulfill my dreams of creating a place for others to experience the great love and joy I experienced.
Again, my life magically flowed with ease and grace. Pregnant women, living at a retreat center where the owner supported my vision and assisting in dolphin supported pregnancies and births, surrounded me.
I couldn’t imagine how my life could get better, or more magical and yet with each new woman arriving, each dolphin encounter, each birth, my heart, my joy, my bliss continues to expand.
My life purpose was clear: I am here to support and nurture women through pregnancy and birth, in every way.
There were times that I questioned my purpose. I had to truly surrender and trust my heart, trust my intuition, that yes I am here for this, and I do support all choices women make when it comes to their births.
The first birth after arriving back on the island was with a woman who had recently found out her baby was missing a limb and every doctor refused to support her in a vaginal birth. She felt extremely uncomfortable and challenged at this time because it was a shock to her that her baby was missing a limb and she felt she could no longer birth the way she innately knew … a natural vaginal birth.
When she reached out to me after viewing the documentary, I experienced an instant YES, yes please come here and birth with us. Spend time with the dolphins, in nature, feel loved and supported, that all is divine, whole and complete, including her baby. It was amazing because I said yes before I even had a chance to think about it…
I received a few questions from others on why I was taking this “risk”, what if something else was wrong with the baby and lots of other fearful doubts…but I followed my gut and she had a beautiful life altering water birth to a healthy baby boy. And wow, what an amazing experience to witness and be part of her birth.
The other birth that jumps out to me is holding space for a 22-year-old mom pregnant with her second child. Her baby was sitting breach and the doctors on the mainland wanted to either induce her or perform a c-section. After previously having a disempowering hospital birth, she knew in her heart that this is not the way she wanted to birth this baby nor was it the way her son wanted to be born.
Again the documentary was our connection and she flew to the Big Island at 37 weeks pregnant. During this time she and her 2-year-old son lived with me along with another mom due just a couple weeks after her.
At first she was interested in using a midwife who was willing to assist her and support her in her birth plan yet something inside her didn’t feel right with that. She felt too much pressure from the midwife that she needed to try to turn the baby and this is not what the mother wanted to do. She felt comfortable that this was the position the baby wanted.
The mom asked me if I would accompany her in an unassisted birth. Wow, this question really opened up my heart and mind…with yes I want to, yes it would be an honor to, and also wow, if something were to happen to her or the baby, how would I be viewed? It is already a little out there that I assist women to connect with the dolphins and invite them into their births, and now supporting a woman in an unassisted breach birth was really stretching me.
Without saying yes or no, we organically went with the flow, she was having this breach birth unassisted whether I was going to be there or not! We swam with the dolphins, picked fresh avocados and mangos from the land and just allowed nature to take its course. In the meantime I continued to receive doubts and questions around supporting her in this manner. I just kept being in the flow and in my heart.
In mid August, as I was preparing Kaden for school, the mother shared that she was in labor…”Ok…what would you like to do?” I asked. “Do you want to come with me to drop off Kaden and head down to the water?” She said “Yes, I don’t want to be up here alone.” We lived up a very bumpy long road, and she didn’t have a car!
So, we were off. She labored in the car as I dropped my son off at school and we headed down to Kealakekua Bay with Naiya and her 2 year old. The dolphins were there, playing out in the bay. We entered the water and she labored there for about an hour floating on a life jacket. During this time I felt extremely comfortable, yet my mind was racing a little…the what ifs started to repeat themselves…
Suddenly, she said, “the baby is coming soon, I feel him, and can we go”? Instinct took over and the mind chatter disappeared. We drove up Napoopoo rd to the retreat center where she entered a warm shower and labored for about 30 minutes before the first foot dropped from her vaginal canal. At that instant my heart dropped a little, as I knew from my midwifery school days, that a footling breach birth, in theory, is the most difficult/dangerous breach birth.
But as I watched this mom, she was so in tune, massaging the baby’s foot, talking to her baby, listening to her baby, moving with easing, I felt her confidence, I felt her trust, I felt her knowing everything is perfect, and again all fears washed away.
During this time, I was filming her experience, and silently observing the most incredible birth I had ever witnessed. The other foot dropped through the canal and then slowly the butt and body emerged. Now the baby was hanging out of the canal with its head in. Again she was massaging her baby gently and moving her body intuitively until the head emerged. Those 7 minutes from first foot to head felt like an eternity. And then waiting for the first breathe and sounds from the baby felt like another eternity. With a little rubbing on the baby and mother talking to him, he gasped his first breath and nuzzled in peace to his mother.
Wow, if I thought my heart had expanded in the past…well this experience blew it wide open and I knew that YES this is my life purpose, I do support all women in their birth choices. I honor and acknowledge all of us, all of our truths.
It has now been almost 2 years living full time in Hawaii and I am currently working on another documentary, following the women who have said yes to their dreams, to their intuition, and coming here to be with the dolphins, to be in nature, and to birth with trust and support.