The following story was told by Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo in response to repeated requests by her students:
Well, this is the story that my mother told me about the time of my birth. And I feel certain that it is true because she didn’t know what any of it meant and was reporting it like a person who didn’t understand. She told me that it actually took three days for me to be born, which is kind of interesting. I’m sure it set off the groundwork for a great mother-daughter relationship, but she told me that it took three days for me to be born. Whenever it seemed as though the contractions were getting stronger, I would go back up again, and they had a hard time delivering me.
It turns out that I was in a breach position, which is common for tulkus; but uniquely when I was delivered, what was delivered first was my bottom with crossed legs. My mother said it was really crazy because my feet were locked up. From what I am able to understand, I was born in a lotus position. So it was very difficult to deliver the bottom part with the legs. The total mass would have been bigger than the head. I think that is why the delivery was so difficult. But I was born in that position and my hands were in an interesting position as well. My mother said they thought I had a pulled nerve in my left arm because my hand was like this (Tara mudra) and they couldn’t move it. They couldn’t budge it at all. And my other hand was like this (Tara mudra), which they thought was normal. But they could not move my hands, and they could not get me out of that position for some time. I think my hands stayed up for three days.
They thought I was a very sickly baby, and I think I was because I was hard to rouse—I think I was meditating. I was hard to rouse and difficult to get into another position. It was kind of unusual. I was born in the lotus position with the hands in Tara’s posture, and I had a zen [the upper robe worn by monks and nuns]. I was delivered with the caul or afterbirth partially on my body, and it was under my right arm and thrown up over my left arm. It was exactly like a zen.
What else? When I was born, my mother said that after the birth took place, the whole room filled up with the scent of flowers. And all the nurses and the doctor were just, “Where’s it coming from? Where’s it coming from?” And for some reason, everyone in the room cried, and they didn’t really know why they cried. They just cried. So, it was kind of amazing.