To our darling boy
To my darling boy,
One day, when you are older, I will tell you all about the day we held you for the first time, I will tell you every little detail, because your mummy and daddy believe that birth is one incredibly powerful and sacred journey, one that is not to be feared. So far, it has been the most empowering journey the three of us have been on together. I hope that one day you get to witness labour in all her glory, it is truly a life changing experience.
Your mumma has so much gratitude in her heart for the women that went before us, for the women that shed light and information about home births, about channeling into one’s intuition and the impact of fear on birth. These were just a few of the things that aligned that gave us the strength and knowledge to know that this is how we wanted to support you to come into this world
During early pregnancy, your mumma read a book that talked about the fact that often unresolved emotions come up in pregnancy that need to be dealt with before birth and then it came like an unexpected wave. The grief, round two, six years later, only this time as your mumma unpacked the emotions around her sisters passing, she realised she was fearing losing you and when she gave words to it, the waves calmed.
Next we found the most kind hearted and knowledgable midwife, your mumma was beaming ear to ear the first time we met her and embraced, haha as soon as we walked out your dad took one look at me and was like “well you have clearly chosen”, she was magic, we never looked back. About half way through our pregnancy on a calm winter afternoon we got the call that we had been waiting for and we headed over to one of your mummas oldest friends house and supported her as she birthed her beautiful little girl in the safety and calm of her own home. As she lifted her little girl out of the pool and onto her chest, you danced inside of me, we were all crying and every last ounce of fear melted from me. It was the most incredible gift.
Lastly, in preparation for motherhood, the ladies from our village wove stories of love, support and inspiration at our blessing-way. Never have I felt so loved and ready for what lay ahead as I did that windy afternoon, sitting in circle in our backyard, valuing my connection to these women. Something shifted in our relationship to these ladies that afternoon, something deepened and made the vulnerability that I would need to expose in the coming months feel safe.
Our midwife will tell the story of a very uneventful, textbook pregnancy, one in which she often marvelled at our health, that was until the end. As with all aspects of life, there were many lessons to be learnt in the final weeks of our pregnancy, patience, surrender and a deep unwavering trust in the intuition that connected us together.
However, at the end of 43 weeks we were still pregnant. The struggle here came from this deep intuitive feeling that I had that you were doing great, far out you were certainly still kicking your mumma’s rib cage but I was starting to feel conflicted about our planned homebirth, especially since at this point I had been pregnant longer than any women my midwife had worked with.
One side of me felt so strongly that interfering in your birth when you were so happy and healthy was outrageous while the other side of me started thinking, but what if something goes wrong, that's on me and although this was merely fear having a voice, it started getting louder with other people's fear.
On the Sunday we decided to hike the Mt Cootha Summit, determined to convince you forth and when I woke up on Monday still pregnant on the very last day of 43 weeks I cried, ok I sobbed. I was so unsure about what to do next. After speaking to my midwife, we decided to book in to a hospital on Wednesday to get your waters released. I spent Monday grieving all that I had envisioned, I cried most of the day and talked through my sea of feelings with your dad.
The next day I awoke thinking that I would have to pack for hospital and what would that look like, though within 5mins of being out of bed the intensity hit and I was swaying and leaning over one of our counter tops. Within an hour the surges were rushing, every 2mins. Your daddy and I listened to music, a playlist I have kept playing for you since birth and we sung and hugged and imagined your arrival for as long as I could bear. It wasn't long before I was in the shower, recoiling inside of myself, into my primal self, my birthing self, a women I had not yet met but somehow trusted that she existed. I lost all concept of time, my cerebral cortex taking leave, I was barely able to talk and I certainly could not reason, all of myself was devoted to birthing you, our child. The sounds that begun to echo from deep inside of me and would permeate our existence from that moment, until you were born. They were so ancient in vibration, yet also so new to my ears, this was our birth song, haha and needless to say, all our wonderful neighbours knew that you were arriving earthside that day.
Your dad was our warrior that day, he never once left our side, not to eat, drink (your nan even laughs that she didn't even notice your dad go to the toilet that day). Through every surge, he helped anchor us to the Earth, whispering into my ear that I was the most powerful thing he had ever seen. I could barely whisper back but I felt the power in his presence and felt that we had never been so intrinsically bound to one another. By midday (not to my knowledge) our midwives were readying the house for your arrival, we were in the pool with your daddy anchoring us during the intense surges that lapped over one another. Though you my boy had other plans for us, possibly due to that little hand that hasn't left your chin since birth. Those lapping surges went on for hours apparently. Although your position was not ideal, our bodies worked together and moulded your little head to fit down the canal on a different angle. It is so crazy what we are capable of when we allow space for it to eventuate.
As anyone who knows anything about birth will tell you, you cannot predict exactly what direction she will take, though I believe you are guaranteed to take life lessons away. At 5pm our midwife cased us in love and gently broke the news that you had been through a really intense period and that if you weren't born very shortly that she would suggest transfer to hospital for closer monitoring. We just could not get you down past a slight anterior lip, despite all we did. Our trust in her judgement was absolute, our relationship had flourished over the past 9 months, so an ambulance arrived and we transferred.
This next part of your story, I suspect will always be the hardest for me to tell. Even in the ambulance there was no stress, no lights on. I was in another world, bearing down on the stretcher, sure that you may just make your entrance there, closely monitored by our midwife and your dad. When we got to hospital however, it was a whole other story. The room all of a sudden was fuelled by fear. Don't get me wrong, I understand why hospitals need to work like this when things are wrong but to be so disconnected from a normal birth seemed heartbreaking to me. Having people yell things at me, demand information while I was surging and clearly unable to talk or think, having people push on my abdomen and tell me when I was surging, despite the loud guttural sounds that came from within clearly indicating to the whole hospital when I was surging, being prepped for an emergency caesarean despite us both being healthy, that's where we drew the line and became very blunt. OK well your dad and midwife became very blunt and fought for us, to be honest, your mumma was feeling so defeated at this point. "No gas", I couldn't even count how many times I had to keep saying that, no epidural, give us a chance. Although the two hours that we were on that hospital bed were two of the hardest hours of my life, and although we had to fight for it, we birthed the way I knew was best for you.
The hardest part however, the part that I have had to give myself time to heal from, is the part that none of us could control. The part where the doctor said that as soon as you were born that you would have to be taken to the other side of the room to be checked because of the meconium that came into the waters late in birth. I said no, that if you came out crying, came out breathing, came out healthy, that you needed to be with me. It didn’t go that way. The doctor was kind though and the next day apologised and stated that she was sure you'd need resuscitation (you didn't) and had to make a clinical decision, I still do not understand why they thought it important to weight and measure you before bringing you back to me or why on the other side of the room no one thought to feed back to me what was happening.
I think part of my brain disconnected when they took you so fast from coming out of me to out of my vision, maybe as a protection to myself. I'll be honest that it took almost a week for me to connect to you the way that I have seen my best friends connect to their children at birth. I have read about birth trauma, I have had beautiful friends share their most vulnerable moments of birth trauma with me and I knew that the connection would come, I knew that it wouldn't take long for me to love you more than I could imagine but I also knew that I needed to heal and god I could not be any more grateful for your dad. The moment they took you, he went to be by your side. When he brought you to me, I saw it all over his face, he was on the birth high, your souls were deeply connected and he was in love. I don't know if I have ever been more grateful for another human being as I was for your daddy that day.
Birth...wow. I will say that I never knew that kind of strength existed inside of me and I feel in many ways that birth has empowered me to be a mother. I know that I will be able to tap into that resource of strength to support you in whatever way you need.
What a journey we have already been on, the lessons that you have taught us about trust, intuition, strength and patience and the lessons that we will continue to learn from one another will shape our lives full of magic.
All our love, love your mum and dad xx