Sharing our birth story
For a month now, I have been wondering how to write my birth story. How do you sum up the emotional hugeness of a 1 ½ hour labour and 7 mins of pushing without sounding smug?
Well, I guess the answer is I’m allowed to sound smug! Every mum in the world should be allowed to feel smug, proud and happy. No matter what journey you took to get there.
My body has performed a miracle. In a time full of doubt, fear and anxiety, I was privileged to feel the utter joy of birth!
My friends and I have shared birth stories in the past. Some glorious, some traumatic & many in-between. The important thing here is, we share those stories & we have the deepest respect for one another! No matter how a baby arrives in this world, mummy had to turn her body and soul into a whole new universe for that little being! We give up who we were & enter unchartered territory. We say yes to a journey, the destination unknown. Some of us suffer losses & we are willing to live through those in order to give life! We are warriors and we will be forever changed by the miracle that is giving life.
I never had an opinion of childbirth. I was neither scared, nor particularly passionate about a specific way of welcoming babies into this world. My own mum had always portrayed it as a magical event, describing me and my 2 siblings arriving in the same style, we would then live our lives. I was a quick and easy birth & seem to have passed that gift on to my babies.
When it came to me welcoming our first son into this world, a series of divine encounters led to me choosing a homebirth. A strong dislike for hospitals (unless you need them of course, in which case they are amazing), meeting a home birthing goddess who lent us her lucky pool, being worshipped by one of my husband’s friends who has single-handedly assisted his own babies into the world in the Australian outback, a midwife & cousin sharing her wisdom by telling me: you always have a choice, a birth prep course by a doula, focussing on empowering mum & dad to be!
All these empowered me to take charge of my first son’s birth!
Each meeting and event, fitting like the next puzzle piece to create a beautiful picture of birth, I never knew existed.
I didn’t have to dig deep, a feeling of trust and ancient power filled me, the knowledge that we are here to do this. It is the most natural event on earth, if we just give it the opportunity to be just that!
I birthed our son Mako, who was back to back in 8 hours in the safety of our home. He was born in a pool in the kitchen, next to the spot where my husband proposed to me only a year earlier. I didn’t need pain relief, I didn’t need stitches. We shared a courgette cake with the midwives, which I had only baked the day before. I had my husband & my mum by my side, my husband being the first person in the world to ever touch our son & handing him to me.
The experience was amazing & though my body felt battered, I was filled with pride! This pride has lasted for 4 ½ years & I recently gave birth to baby No 2, which takes it to a whole other level.
Phoenix was born at 9:30 am on the kitchen floor. Right in front of the oven. No midwife, no doula, no ambulance. No one on the phone to talk us through it.
The mystical phoenix bird, a symbol of rebirth & change, delivering our baby boy all by ourselves has changed us forever.
The pride we feel for having welcomed him in this way, is too great to put into words.
After a good night’s sleep with not as much as a twinge, my contractions were coming on quite strong by 8 am. I insisted on family breakfast & let our doula know of the surges. I was going to shower & get myself ready. I was hoping to capture our baby’s arrival on video, so putting on a bit of mascara and blow drying my hair seemed like the logical thing to do. I spent my pregnancy telling everyone how this time it would be even quicker, I could just feel it in my belly. I had to keep turning the hairdryer off, with the surges coming in so strong. I started to question how I had previously managed this for several hours… That’s when it dawned on me my prediction of a super quick birth may be becoming reality.
My husband was getting the birth pool ready, then getting our 4-year old dressed and prepped to go out. We had been in lockdown due to Covid-19 for months & he was going to be allowed to see his godparents whilst we delivered his baby brother. Needless to say we were all pretty excited!
Thanks to technology, we have a pretty good log of the calls we made that morning. Else I might not believe the timing myself. Hubby returned from dropping our son off and called our doula Terri and midwife on the walk (or run) back, letting them know it was time to hit the road. At 9:23 our lovely midwife Amy returned his call and was on her way. At that point, I had taken to kneeling on the bathroom floor. When he arrived and found me in the tight upstairs bathroom and immediately realized how far I had progressed. He gently asked if I might be able to move. Our bathroom is tiny, with stone floors and he was aware he could not get behind me to catch our baby. I waited for the next break between surges & dashed down the stairs. When I got to the bottom my body started to push & my waters broke. The pool was nearly in sight, but in my heart I knew a Phoenix would not be born in water.
As he had learned in our birth prep workshop, my husband ran to fetch some blankets and pillows. He knew exactly what to do, stayed so calm and focussed!
‘Try and get to the pool’ he said and I responded saying I couldn’t make it and he was coming ‘No he isn’t.’ Yes he is’ ‘No he isn’t, oh, yes, he is’ I had managed to crawl out of the tight hallway into the kitchen and what happened next will be engraved into our souls forever:
‘Oh my god, I can see his little head… I can see his eyes. There is his nose. There are his little lips.’
Hearing his reassuring words was incredible. I knew exactly what was happening & it gave me so much confidence. A little break in surges before the shoulders and a rather purple little boy slid right into his daddy’s arms. ‘He is all slippery and warm’ Daddy had been watching the little purple head & what turned out to be his tiny hand by his neck. He was a bit concerned it could have been be the cord, so when he held him, he turned him on his front, rubbed his back and we soon heard his first cry. He passed our beautiful little boy to me, very slippy and warm indeed.
‘Hello baby! We did it’
I said with tears in my eyes. My husband and I exchanged the deepest, most emotional look. Tears of joy run down his face. I will never forget this moment. We were in disbelief and overjoyed, slightly shocked and closer than we ever had been. Delivering our baby with no one else present feels like the most powerful thing we will ever achieve!
Phoenix was born at 9:30 am, 7 mins after my husband returned home.
He single-handedly guided our little boy into this world.
I was calm, strong & let my body take over. I was fearless, not for a second doubting that we would deliver our baby safely. It did not even cross my mind that I needed anyone or anything else there with me. I had everything I needed.
Our doula Terri and Amy the midwife, with her colleague Lizzy arrived 10 minutes later. All of them had flown like the wind & could barely believe when they found me on the sofa, cuddling Phoenix. It was wonderful to see familiar (masked up) faces. Both of these incredible women had supported me through this pregnancy.
Being cared for, listened to & feeling valued gave me the mental strength to face pregnancy during this global pandemic.
It gave me the strength to believe in myself and no doubt played a part in this successful and magical birth story. They continued their incredible care for me. Terri massaging Jasmine oil into my tummy and massaging my feet and ankles whilst waiting for the placenta. Never has a massage felt so soothing! After successfully delivering the placenta, I even got to enjoy the pool, taking Phoenix for a soothing float in the warm water.
Mums to be: Indulge
You don’t need sparkling new baby equipment costing a fortune. What you need is the right people to support you! Starting with a birth partner who is empowered and not scared to deliver your baby on the kitchen floor, followed by anyone or anything that makes your body and mind feel at ease.
Every action you take to help you feel empowered, strong and well, will play an important part in your birth story, no matter where, how and how long you are going to be in labour.
And no matter if it a glorious, terrifying or in-between birth story, it is yours & you should treasure it as the single moment that turned you into a Mumma warrior!
My friends & family!
Though we couldn’t be physically together, your presence was so strong & your doorstep deliveries, virtual and real-life surprises, messages, phone calls and simply your love made all the difference.
It truly does take a village, thank you for being mine!!!
Though Terri from Cornwall hypnobirthing did not make it to the birth (due to no one other than Phoenix himself), it was the best choice to take you on! Your support gave me so much mental strength and during a totally bonkers time like this, I am not sure how I would have coped without knowing you were there! The hypnotherapy I received was life-changing! No doubt being a major factor in this successful birth. You have continued to support me and my husband after the birth, bearing not just the most thoughtful gifts, but your invaluable wisdom and love! Thank you Terri, you are an amazing woman & will forever be part of our story and hearts!
Amy, you have single-handedly re-painted the picture I had of the maternity services. You are the embodiment of who a midwife should be. You have been so professional, kind, caring, reassuring & made me feel listened to, at ease and supported. You went above and beyond! Thank you! Thanks to Lizzie too who respected all my wishes and quietly attended with a lovely, calming presence.
Special thanks also go to Maryellen at Westcountry family chiropractic, for supporting me during this crazy time. You continued your care during lockdown & enabled my body to perform at it’s best. You gave me immense physical relief, but it was so important for my mental wellbeing too. I suffered from Pelvic girdle pain in my first pregnancy and was unable to walk for the last couple of months. Being able to receive your support so I could still care for my firstborn son and enjoy pregnancy was such a precious piece to this wonderful puzzle. You have continued to care for us, from straight after the birth & enabled my body to birth like a goddess & recover and heal at lightning speed. I now know that suffering during and after pregnancy is not necessary! Thank you so much!
Thank you also to Gilly from Gillybabies. You empowered not just me, but almost more importantly my husband. Doing your birth preparation course (again) filled us with confidence & gave us the knowledge to feel safe & in charge. Knowing we expected a quick birth, your words were something like this: ‘and if the baby comes when no one is there, you know what to do. You just catch it & wrap mum & baby in a blanket until the midwife arrives. You will be absolutely fine’ you must have been looking at a crystal ball.
Written by: A fairy raised by vikings