I hope my story shows you just one example of what birth can be like. While we all walk different paths, I truly believe that one of the most important things we can do as women is advocate for our ideal birth and hear the stories that remind us and our daughters of what’s truly possible.
I was 39 weeks pregnant and entering my busiest week of work and the most clients I’ve had since before Grace was born. Being my second pregnancy, and since Grace was born on her due date, I was understandably nervous that I could go into labour early, and still chose to work right up until days before my due date, as 1) work is far more restful than a full day with a toddler and 2) I wanted to take more time off after the birth.
I signed off from clients at 4.30pm on 21/05 however still had to review their consult notes, which we completed by 5.30pm on 22/05. I had mostly already transformed my office with birth pool, candles, mantras and reminders of my power by this stage and as I packed up my laptop and put the last signs of work away, I put the finishing touches on what now had become my birth room.
Earlier in the day I had taken a trip to BabyLand for the baby’s gift and car seats for each of our cars. From when I got home at 1.30pm, until 8.30pm I was experiencing waves of early labour however was busy preparing slow cooked lamb shanks, breast feeding muffins and a new meal for Grace. My midwife Annie had told me the previous day that she thought I still had a week to go and although I was determined to prove her wrong, parts of me were convinced that I was experiencing Braxton Hicks and didn’t want to get my hopes up or sound any alarm bells too early.
I tried to go to sleep at 8.30pm but the sensations were much stronger and just like what I had experienced with Grace. Jan Ireland’s words ran through my mind – “you know you’re doing it the hard way, don’t you?” – so I got up and in search of an “easier” position. I also changed out of my daggy pjs, as every girl needs a birth outfit, right?! I text Annie to let her know of my progress and it quickly became game on. Ian arrived home shortly after, quite surprised that baby was on the way and regretting the 4 or 5 whiskeys he had consumed over the last two hours!
Grace was already at her grandparents house having a sleepover with her cousins and while I initially visualized that she would be at the birth, we made the call not to interrupt her, especially as it was already past her bed time.
By this time I had made my way into my birth room and was perched on the edge of the couch with one leg in a seated butterfly position. This allowed my pelvis to be in a neutral position and for me to focus on breathing baby down. Between 9pm and 11.15pm the sensations were intense. Longer than during my labour with Grace and similar in that I went deeply inwards, almost speechless, focusing on each breath, my birth mantras and moving to the music I had chosen for my birth playlist. Even though I am entirely present for every moment, this is what I imagine an out-of-body experience to be. I knew the birth pool was being filled and that Ian, Annie and our second midwife Jaimee were in the room, but it really felt like a dance between just baby and I. It’s like watching yourself in the most incredible movie, and one I replay in my mind whenever I need reminding of my strength.
The urge to push is instinctive to me and I knew baby was close when Annie firmly indicated that if I wanted my water birth that now was the time to get in the pool. I can see myself walking towards the water, in an almost trance-like state, hearing instructions and knowing there were others in the room but again, feeling like it was just baby and I, getting ready to meet for the first time.
The water was heavenly. A warm, supportive, private sanctuary in a dimly lit room is the perfect birth environment. It took just two more rounds of expansions, some animalistic noises and one f-bomb and Rose Judith Northeast arrived earthside, three days early at 11.16pm, en caul and straight into her mumma’s arms. By the time she was in my arms her membranes had burst, so I could see and hear my baby girl for the first time. She cried instinctively almost immediately and I knew she was safe and well.
There is no greater feeling than the relief that washes over you, that labour is [mostly] over and that your baby is safe and breathing with you. While I knew in my heart that it was my darling girl, I had a quick check to confirm that my girl gang did in fact have their newest member. May I always remember the look of amazement on Ian’s face [“you didn’t mess about” he said] and the feeling of holding my baby girl for the first time.
What followed was hours of skin-to-skin, nursing and bonding with the newest little love of our life. I birthed the placenta and Rose got all of her cord blood and all the time she needed to settle in to her new home. She was weighed and measured after this time, and always right beside me in the dark and supportive birth room we had created. Ian, Rose and I went to bed exhausted, elated and bursting with love at 3am.
The next morning, we called Grace on FaceTime to introduce her to her little sister and she rushed in the door a couple of hours later and hasn’t stopped saying “Hi Rose” and “I wanna see Rose” since. She’s already the best big sister ever.
My darling Rose, may I be everything you need in a mother and more. Not a day goes by that I don’t stare at you in awe and rejoice in the amazement of it all 🌹💗