So many people have asked me to share about my birth, and so here it is, my precious birth story - how my baby Gia came into the world.
At 3pm on Wednesday 21st April my waters broke. I’d been at the beach that morning, swimming and stretching and laughing with a friend that maybe the castor oil I took that morning, now that I finally felt ‘ready’, might get things moving (I was 40 weeks + 5).
Later at home I began to feel spaced out and teary so I went for a nap.
As I shut my eyes I heard a pop in my belly. I got up to go to the toilet, felt the trickling of water and realised what was happening. I checked - no meconium - such a relief.
Rob set up cushions and towels outside on the deck in the afternoon sun where we sat and sipped turmeric lattes, feeling excited and a little nervous. We took a selfie - knowing it would be the last one of us while I was still pregnant.
I rang my midwife’s number. A midwife I didn’t know answered the call. She told me that none of the three midwives in my team were working that day.
I thought ‘Ok, this is the first test of my surrender!’
This midwife said she’d come to me now and check my blood pressure etc, and meet me before labour really starts happening.
At this point my contractions were 10 mins apart lasting 45 seconds.
She came and checked my blood pressure, that my waters were clear, and left saying, “I only live five mins away, call me when the contractions are 2 minutes apart”
Later into the evening, they became closer and more intense. My dear friend @ayana_surya swept in, bringing fairy lights, a salt lamp and stocked my freezer with fruit juice ice cubes, cacao & salted caramel treats and perineum padsicles - what a legend!
At around 9pm our divine friend and doula Dom @greenroomhealth arrived with lasagna, stew and her beaming excited smile.
The contractions became more intense and while Ayana and Dom sprinkled their magic in the house to support oxytocin vibes, Rob set up the house exactly as I’d asked weeks beforehand (I was verrry specific and he knew I’d divorce him if he dared ask me ‘where’s the…?’ while I was in labour!)
‘My contractions are not happening to me, they ARE me, and each one is proof of my power.' - Unknown
I began going more inward, challenged by, but in awe of the pain.
Dom offered me coconut water constantly and I drank it each time. I’d heard how hydration was crucial in birth, and how drinking and emptying the bladder frequently could help turn a posterior baby.
I’d done a shamanic drum journey to meet my baby a couple of weeks before birth and she and I made an ‘agreement’ about working together to turn her for transition.
Throughout labour I was on hands and knees, sensing this was how my baby would have the most room to move.
Of course, all that coconut water meant a lot of peeing. Each time I sat on the toilet the contractions ramped up. I was nervous each time I went to pee because I knew they’d get stronger, but, I needed to empty my bladder and of course I had to trust the intensity needed to birth my baby.
I’d set an intention before going into labour to meet the sensations of my body one contraction at a time, to honour the pain as my power, to allow the experience of whatever arises, to ‘take it as it comes’.
I’d wished for my labour to take me on a deep inner journey, and so here I was, meeting levels of intensity I could never have imagined, breathing down into my womb, using apana vayu to ground when the sensations could have sent me screeching and reaching for an escape from my body.
I’d had premonitions about my birth, I trusted birth and I’d done a sh*t load of mental, physical, educational and spiritual preparation.
But, there was a paradox - knowing on the soul plane that I was going to birth smoothly, while needing to acknowledge the unpredictability of the human plane.
Not to mention countless friends who’d had emergency transfers to hospital, and so, in honour of the uncertainty on this plane, I’d packed an extensive hospital bag and assigned it to the spare bedroom - and to the back of my mind - so I could focus on the birth I desired, the at-home, water birth I’d scripted.
The contractions continued to ask more of me, and I was moving through them with everything I had. But as dawn broke, Dom intuitively knew to invite me deeper.
She asked me to feel into whether I wanted to encourage the slowing down of labour and have a rest or whether I was ready to surrender further. She asked whether there was something I was resisting.
It was super confronting, I felt I was already giving my everything and that surely we’d need to call the midwife very soon because it was ON.
There was simply no physical position that gave me any relief so rest wasn't an option. My body wanted to continue, but meeting the pain was no longer enough.
So the only way was to ask my body, and ask my soul, what was needed from me to bring my baby into the world.
My body said ‘open your heart, more oxytocin, skin to skin’
My soul said ‘You don’t feel worthy enough of receiving the love that’s on its way to you.’
I sat on the toilet and went deep on a trip, like a moment in a nauseous aya journey where I needed to just LISTEN to the darkness and then choose my path.
I said to my soul, ‘This unworthiness is too big to heal right now in this very moment, but I’m willing - I’m willing to open my heart to receive the love that’s on its way to me.’
I called Rob and told him ‘I need to open my heart, I need your help’
He held me close and we both felt our baby twist and turn and reposition her body, it was surreal.
Rob took off his shirt and sat with his back against the bedhead. With chest to chest and KICO - knees in, calves out (thanks @thenakeddoula) the contractions went to a whole new level. The entire neighbourhood would have heard me roar.
Rob roared with me, the only thing he could ‘do’! It helped me unleash.
Suddenly I felt my cervix ‘rip’ open as our baby descended. I shouted ‘She’s coming!!’
I called to Dom to come check underneath me, I knew she was crowning but I needed it to be witnessed so we could take quick action.
Dom got on the phone to the midwife and told her to get here.
The midwife said she was on her way but wanted to do some baby heart monitoring before I got in the pool.
There was no way I was waiting, no way my baby was waiting, this was our birth, it was going to happen our way, I said I was getting in the pool - NOW.
Rob and Dom helped me waddle down the hallway, and swiftly lifted me into the water (thankfully it was warm!)
Rob jumped in behind me.
The water allowed my body to fully relax.
I reached down and felt her velvety head emerging.
And like magic, there was no more pain.
I started laughing ‘We’re having a baby! I can feel her head!’
Rob and Dom started laughing too. Oxytocin on steroids!
I felt her head work its way out, nose by lips by chin.
I was on hands and knees in the pool. Dom angled the mirror under the water and Rob got to see her head. She was facing him!
Throughout labour I hadn’t pushed once. My contractions did all the work themselves to move her down.
I knew she’d slip out in the next contraction, and as she did, Rob said ‘I’ve got her!’
Dom was on the phone to the midwife who was stuck in morning traffic. Dom assured her, ‘No, the cord isn’t around the neck’.
Rob brought her up out of the water and held her to his chest while she wailed. The girl has lungs!
I was still on hands and knees facing away, I could sense the cord was short so I looked behind and slowly turned around.
And then my baby was placed in my arms.
As one of my teachers says, the only purpose of our belief in our unworthiness, is to REMEMBER.
Here she was, 18 hours later, and here I was, a mama, laughing, being, loving, remembering.
The midwife stepped into the house quietly minutes later.
We’d somehow freebirthed, not a detail I’d scripted! But an experience we were gifted - because my contractions were never 2 minutes apart.
Labour was exactly as it needed to be and we were granted the time and space for my body to create its own unique rhythm with no pressure.
Soon our baby stopped wailing and soothed herself by sucking on her hands. We laughed at how her fingers were so long and shaped just like mine and how her calves were skinny just like her dad’s.
It’s been 4 weeks since that moment, and I often reflect and ask, Was my birth already written? Or did I create it? Or was it both?
It’s all a perfect mystery.
And I’m infinitely grateful to have birthed in emotional and physical safety, where my choices were honoured, which is heartbreakingly denied to so many women.
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