As powerful as lightening, and gentle as the night
I knew this time my baby would come early. In this second pregnancy, I always felt I was further along than my dates. I felt it not from any external physical signs but from deep in my womb, in the changes of my pelvis, and in my heart. This was one of the distinct differences I felt with my second pregnancy and maybe this is a reality for many mamas, I just knew. We were planning to have this baby at home as we did with our first in water. There was no questioning, I could sense and trusted those senses. Maybe as a result of having experienced it once before or maybe just because I was in a different time and space. This baba, our baba, came right on time, in his own sweet time.
Early Bird - Signs of labour.
I would say I felt the beginnings of this labour brewing at 38 weeks. My energy changed, I felt more introspective, I was less keen to make plans or meet friends, and where ever possible relished in spending time with me, Myself and I. My daily constitutionals consisted of yoga, breathwork, visualisation, relaxation and swimming twice a week. Swimming and yoga were my absolute tonic and sanctuary in this pregnancy, where my sickness and low energy lasted much longer into the second trimester. I had a huge emotional release the week before my labour. Feeling overwhelmed by love, excitement, joy and apprehension about how our lives and hearts could open any more, guilt at the prospect of my son having to share my love and affections with his new sibling and how this next chapter would unfold. So, I turned to my trusty saviour in times like this where multiple and simultaneous changes can feel totally overwhelming, I looked deep into nature. We had a huge wild and windy walk on the Saturday by water. I was surprised by the little voice telling me baby was coming. Surely not, not quite yet. On the one hand I couldn’t imagine or see myself being pregnant another 2 weeks, but I also wondered if that voice was wishful thinking. My doula was going to be away around my due date and there was a part of me that thought that voice was actually just what I hoped would happen.
That afternoon I took myself off to bed, I couldn’t do anything else. On sunday we went swimming as usual, as a family. Well I say we, I swam and robin threw a delighted leo round the pool. I swam feeling so light and weightless that 40 lengths felt effortless. Afterwards I went off to do a few jobs and have some time on my own. This was not a usual occurrence, but I felt compelled to be on my own.
High As a Kite - Nature weaving its birthing magic
I knew I was flooded with hormones by this point as my senses had gone on hyper alert. I got out of the car and the edging of leaves in the tree opposite where crystal clear and vibrant. I felt in a total daze all afternoon, high, and giggling to myself.
That evening i made time for a bath and hung out with robin – something which was far less common in this pregnancy. The reality of being parents and realising just how much ‘free time’ we had before a gorgeous small human occupied on average 90% of our energy day to day. We put on face masks, Robin rubbed my feet and legs and we did a birth meditation together. I woke at 12am alert. My usual frustration at the pregnancy insomnia had been replaced by a calm feeling, I sat in the silence of night and made lists (hilarity!!). - Shit we need to do for the birth. - Shit we need to put away (aka throw in the attic) before the birth. - Lovely things to do with Leo and Bobby!!!! I got into bed at 4am and falling asleep, I thought I had wet myself. Then realised, due to the Niagara Falls style flooding that was occurring, that in fact, my waters had broke. This was exactly the same as my first pregnancy. Weirdly I am that 4% statistic and my waters were my first sign that baby was coming. I was flooded with excitement and joy and then utter shock. Shit we have so much to do, and this was supposed to be our day to do it. Robin had taken the Monday off, so we could basically do all the stuff we hadn’t had time to do in prep for the birth. The livingroom (aka the birth cave) was full of boxes from the attic. The birth pool was in a bag in the corner yet to be set up for a test run. I hadn’t finished my playlist. We didn’t have spare towels, the freezer wasn’t stocked… I sat and mentally ordered the lists I had just made, chuckling to myself about the power of intuition and magical universal order… The night before I had made birth chocolates, my recipe I had used in the last 3 births I had attended. Great for a high energy boost and for helping with the 3rd stage…. fluke perhaps. I instantly wanted to tell robin but resisted and let him sleep. I got up with leo at 5am and by 6am could wait no longer. I woke robin, who sat bolt upright and said ‘FUCK! Amazing… shit we better get on it!’. I left him with a cup of tea told him to chill and read through the list. I also got him to read something I had spontaneously written 2 nights before. My birth visualisation, which had just come to me, so I scribbled it down. Not a birth plan but a journey through this birth, how I felt in each phase, what I would be doing, how robin was supporting me. At 7am I messaged Nicola our doula and told her I felt this birth was going to be fast. She reminded me of last time and said it might not all start for another 12hours or so like the first time. The oracle (aka Nicola) was of course right!
The Birth Cave - Getting Ready for a homebirth
We had a morning of doing, Robin dropped leo at nursery and did the practical shit, chucking stuff into the attic, setting up the pool, an essentials trip to the shop. I had a quick nesting session, cleaning and tidying and getting a small collection of essentials for me - birth face spritz, birth oils, face towels, rescue Remedy, lip balm, bobbles, head torch. I then set about preparing the birth cave while taking little rests to do some yoga or talk to baby. I made the space dark, sorted lightening, padded the floor with mats and towels and hung my birth affirmations up around the pool and the wee shrine I had made a week before. As I hung the affirmations I repeated them to myself and baby trying to breath and seal them in. I finished my playlist then lay down and listened to a birth visualisation. I slept until robin got back. We had a beautiful day pottering, listening to music and talking excitedly about the birth and meeting our baby. I continued to feel tightening’s, but they were honestly enjoyable and totally manageable as I either rolled on the birth ball, swayed and circled my hips or rocked back and forth in a lunge.
Friends had kindly picked up our son, so we could have abit more time on our own. I knew I wanted to go outside even though it was raining. So, at 5pm we went for what I call the ‘birth walk’ through the woods and park. I was let’s just say high as a kite. I looked like my former 20 something self-coming back from an all-night rave. Wearing Sunglasses and a snow jacket and honestly feeling like I was slightly removed from my physical body. I floated along next to robin, smiling and giggling and totally no clue of what he was talking about.
ME HIGH AS A KITE READY FOR THE LABOUR WALK TO BRING BABY HOME!
The Dream Team - honouring, Loving and supporting the birthing mama
At 6.30pm we were just coming home, and I had my first sensation that stopped me in my tracks. I turned and leaned against my neighbour’s wall and breathed through an intense aching deep in my lower belly and back. I then felt a distinct change, I got robin to help me back to the house and had another on the stairs. I got in and went straight to ‘the birth cave’. I knew leo would be home soon and I wanted to see him before he went to bed so he would know what was happening. He came back and bounced on the ball with me, happy and cuddling. I felt I could manage the sensations until robin had finished putting him to bed but they suddenly they were coming thick and fast. Robin called Nicola so I wouldn’t be on my own for too long. Nicola, (aka mama moon, oracle, nicapedia) arrived at 7.45pm and robin followed soon after. I remember Nicola floated in as she had for my first sons birth, nestling herself in like she’d always been there. For a labouring woman I can’t explain the impact of having a birthing mama there with you, holding space, it’s like the ultimate exhale, the body softens, the heart rate drops, the release is felt like a comforting hug. That’s how I felt when robin and Nicola where both there. I was ready. I remember telling her I was off my face and feeling amazing! She nodded and smiled and I can’t remember what she said but it was probably something like – ‘good love, that’s perfect’. The rest was quick and I can only describe as an intense, spellbinding, mesmerising trip. And just like that, like a switch had been flipped to say – baby in bed, awesome birth team assembled, let’s do this! My uterus responded, baby responded, and the oxytocin flooded in and the next hour and 20 minutes was like a hazy, crazy dream. I spent the next 3 contractions standing in a wide legged goddess stance feeling my baby as it moved deeper into the widest part of my pelvis, and then moving to the floor, lunging back and forth until the peak of the sensation passed and resting my head to the ground bum in the air relishing in the sweet calm before the next one came.