2018: Wildfire, Unassisted Homebirth, and the Most Beautiful Garden We’ve Ever Grown. Part 2: Wildfire. By Karla Avila
Part 2: Wildfire
While I knew that having a child due in the late summer meant planning a homebirth in the middle of fire season, I did not imagine the chances very likely that a wildfire would strike so close to home just as I hit my birth window.
It was the very day I entered into my due date birth window that the Kerlin Fire broke out just a couple miles up the watershed and only one ridge over from our home. Strong winds pushed it from just a few to nearly 1000 acres overnight. A mandatory evacuation forced me to leave, bringing the animals, our musical instruments, our genetics, and our 5 year old with me to the nearby ranch of a generous friend, who also happened to be my doula. Jacob stayed home to continue doing fire protection. The fire was a safe distance away and for the last couple days, it had been helicopter after helicopter drawing water from our neighbor’s pond. The locals had stayed up 24-7 holding and strengthening the line. It was every chainsaw, every man, and every machine for miles, by their own accord, compelled to the front lines. When you live this far out it’s pretty much the Wild West. We don’t wait for help to arrive.
We formulated a back-up plan, which involved Jacob stealthily hiking across the river if need be, to come birth the child with me and then be able to get back across the mandatory evacuation line. (Once you leave, you aren’t allowed back, which would leave nobody there to defend our home from wildfire.)
And so, for one week we all waited in suspense of what the winds would do, and whether the baby would come in the midst of it.
I am so grateful to our friends who helped us care for the animals and Inyo and gave us all a peaceful and lovely home that week. And though I was mostly feeling optimistic and healthy, it was definitely stressful to experience. I imagine that the baby somehow knew that it wasn’t quite time yet. My due date came and went, and I knew that I was still not having signs of early labor.
We were blessed. The fire was contained, the mandatory evacuation was lifted, and a week later, we were bringing everything and everyone back home.
The house was a huge mess. Literally everything we owned was spread out across the entire living room floor, but that allowed me the chance to nest and deep clean before putting everything away. It had to be done ASAP if I didn’t want to have to squat down and birth literally in the middle of all our stuff, so, giant belly and all, I immediately buckled down to cleaning. Jacob and our dear friend and doula extraordinaire helped us load and unload the instruments and heavier boxes. The animals all had been in a very nice and peaceful environment and so thankfully there was very little drama involved for them other than a short trailer ride, and they were settling back in without too much trouble.
And so life became normal again. We were so happy to be together, to have made it through unscathed.
Flowerdaze Farm is the 3-acre family homestead and award-winning regenerative farm of a slightly reclusive, enigmatic pair of philosopher counter-culturalist, award-winning artists and diehard stoners who are happily married and live in the woods, farm and make beautiful music, babies and flowers together; Specializing in artisanal one-of-a-kind connoisseur full season cannabis flower meticulously cultivated from the land by our own hands from start to finish, reflecting the distinctive flavors, characteristics and true Terroir of the land in one of the most special cannabis appellations and premier micro-regions for cannabis cultivation in the world.