(Painting by Evelyne Axell- 'La femme au serpent,' 1966)
I grasped his arm as another thrusting wave gripped my legs and began to ripple up my body. My upper thighs tingled. Warmth spread throughout my vagina until every inch of me throbbed. From the surface of my naked skin to the very depths of my soft core and I couldn't feel one body part as distinct from another. As the power of the surging waves grew I fell into a state of otherworldliness of raging pleasure and piercing intensity until, at the very peak, I gasped.
Pulsing. Tensing. Opening.
Until finally, with one incredible body shaking, thigh wobbling, orgasmic breath I opened fully and released. I felt a familiar wave of ecstatic relief and utter exhaustion that only follows a climax of incredible sensual magnitude. Except this time it was different. I looked up at my husband...but he wasn't there.
He was below me, his hands between my legs, lifting our baby up to me.
Rewind several months and you would have seen me sitting at my computer reading the entire internet's offerings on birth. I stumbled across an article on 'Ecstatic birth' and I distinctly remember chuckling out loud in disbelief. I think I even muttered something like 'freak ass women!' to the screen. Then as my basic understanding of the birthing hormone oxytocin grew, the notion of a pleasurable birth seemed less ridiculous. But to be honest, it still seemed something more likely experienced by the woo brigade or some sort of masturbating champion who can flick their bean to high heaven in any situation.
Kudos. Then it happened to me.
My first labour was simple. I woke up with mild contractions, then my waters went. By lunchtime I was at the hospital and in the birth pool. After 2hrs and a half hours of 'active' labour I got out to go to the loo and instead of having the massive wee I was fully expecting, a tiny human head began to pop out. Throughout labour my contractions had been tiring but I had felt no pain and no discomfort. Just a full body ripple that took over and shook me deep inside, not too dissimilar to the sensations of an intense orgasm rising, and then suddenly disappearing before climax. But it was the moment my son travelled through my vagina and into the world that the full surging climax came.
Two years and five days after my first birth, I was standing in the nursery in our home. Again I was holding onto my husband and again, I was feeling those same intense pleasurable sensations as my rocket baby was arriving. I guess my deepest confession is that I didn't want it to end, so I drew him back up again inside me just for a moment, to prolong the climax. Both times there had been no bean flicking, no nipple tweaking, nothing. Actually, there hadn't been for a while; in the latter stages of both pregnancies my body frankly felt plenty full enough thank you very much. I was far from a sexual being.
It's incredibly hard to clearly describe the sensations of my ecstatic births. They had all the trademarks of an orgasm and the language I use is sexual in nature but they're the only words I have. I am well aware that my first paragraph reads like a cheap erotic novel (minus the last sentence!). In reality, it wasn't sexual or erotic. The same sensations and pleasure minus the sensuality. It is as if I were travelling some sort of invisible sensory road between piercing, shattering intensity and a roaring ocean of surging non sexual pleasure. I didn't feel sexy, I felt gloriously functional. I didn't do any of my normal erotic reflexes like arching my neck or flicking my hair as I might during erotic climax, instead my body bore down and pushed a baby out. Same same but different.
So giving birth to my baby made me cum. Sounds seriously weird doesn't it?
That is why I rarely talk about it (not exactly a story to wheel out at my son's 18th either). I do feel like a freak. What kind of perverse fetishist orgasms whilst doing this thing that so many people fervently describe to be the most horrific moment of a woman's life? It's not exactly something I could chat about with my antenatal girlfriends. As we sat around rocking our newborns like automative robots, our faces draculian white through lack of sleep, I had the rosy post sex tinge still on my cheeks. How can I share that not only do I love giving birth, I had an orgasm to rival the best shag of my life! I was acutely aware of not wanting to upset any one with my story. I didn't want to boast, I just wanted to share my truth. I also remember how judgemental and dismissive I was when I read those ecstatic birth stories and now I cringe at how cruel and disrespectful I had been to those women.
Since my joyful births, my sex life has had a serious promotion. My orgasms are frankly blinding. I am more sensitive, more aware of every vibration and more erotically connected than ever before. Every erogenous zone has been awoken and now they work in harmonising glory. My poor neighbours.
I can't tell you how to have an ecstatic birth because frankly, I haven't a clue. But what I can say is that it isn't just reserved for the spiritually connected or the sexually confident. It can happen to anyone.
And I wish with every fibre of my being that it happens for you.