I suppose I should be focusing on finding a name for her.
But her birth is still so real, so vivid, so amazing that I want to make sure I get it all down before it becomes a beautiful memory.
Her due date was December 7.
I am not sure why but I had it in my mind that she was going to come early…in late November.
Those last few weeks of pregnancy seemed long with anticipation.
I tried to fill the days with errands, projects, appointments, and cups of coffee with friends but it was hard to disguise the fact that I was really just waiting for my baby.
Around December 6 I started having what felt like productive contractions every evening.
They would start around 7:30 but by the time I was climbing into bed around 9:30, they would cease.
I would fall asleep wondering if I would wake up and find that I was in labour…if the next day would bring a baby.
While I had been doing almost everything I could to entice this baby out…dates, raspberry leaf tea, clary sage oil, acupuncture…because of the heat and humidity, I hadn’t been walking.
On December 10 I decided that I would go to the air conditioned shops and try to walk the baby out.
I waddled all morning, came home for lunch and a rest, and then floated in my sister-in-law’s pool all afternoon.
While I was in the pool, I had a stern conversation with myself. I had done a few fear releases but I once again told myself that I was ready, that my baby was ready, that my midwives and my husband would help me bring this baby into the world, that we would be safe, that there would be love.
I picked C up from school, we performed our usual evening routine, and, as I had come to expect, after I had tucked him into bed, I started having contractions.
As these contractions felt stronger than those I had experienced over the previous evenings, I decided that, in an effort to try to maintain them, I should use some clary sage and walk some more.
At around 9:30 I went to bed.
Some strong contractions woke me at about 12:30…I seriously thought about ignoring them, rolling over, and going back to sleep but I told myself that I wanted this baby to come and that I was ready for this baby to come so I got up, used some more clary sage, and wandered around the dark and silent house waiting to see if the contractions would start to increase in intensity and frequency.
Knowing that I was still only half heartedly trying to get this labour started, I sat myself down and put on a hypnobirthing relaxation track to focus my mind and open up my body.
I could feel myself being transported and when I opened my eyes, I went and told my sleeping husband that I was in labour and sent a text to my midwife saying that I was fairly certain the journey towards my baby had begun.
That was around 1:00.
After listening to another hypnobirthing relaxation track, I thought I would pace up and down the hallway again but I soon found that I could no longer walk through a contraction.
I woke my husband and asked him to start setting up the birthing pool.
As he was doing that, I began to feel nauseous and started vomiting.
I sent another text to my midwife telling her how I was coping.
She said she was coming over.
That was around 3:00.
She arrived at 3:15.
At this point I was on the back verandah.
I described to her how I had been feeling, wondered out loud if I should call the birth photographer, said I felt a bit off and that it seemed like I had to either pee or poo…and then my waters broke.
As soon as they broke, I had a contraction and at the end of it, I definitely pushed.
Kelli, my midwife, asked if I was feeling the urge to push.
I was expecting to labour for much longer and hadn’t recognised the signs of transition or the fact that I had pushed.
Kelli asked me to try to get off the chair.
All I could do was drop down onto all fours on the floor.
When the next contraction came, the urge to push was unmistakable.
I remember thinking all at once that this was it and that I was not ready!
In fact I kept repeating to Kelli, “I’m not ready. I’m not ready.”
And I didn’t feel mentally ready…I hadn’t envisaged pushing so soon after my labour had started, there was no water in the tub, and I hadn’t gotten myself into that birthing head space yet.
I could feel myself fighting against myself.
My body was ready and my baby was ready and so I had to ready my mind.
By this time it was about 3:40 and Maet, my other midwife, had arrived.
As R had begun filling the birthing pool, Kelli suggested I try to get into the water.
I wasn’t sure that I could make it from the back verandah into the living room, but with encouragement and support from the three of them, I somehow managed to get into the tub.
While I was trying to step into the pool, I was leaning on Maet. Just feeling her, her warmth and her love, made me feel so much better. That human touch was so grounding and reassuring. It made what was seeming like an unreal situation become real. I think I will remember that moment and its emotional impact on me for the rest of my life.
The warm water helped me relax even further.
I still wasn’t mentally where I thought I would be, but I was able to collect myself and tell myself that my baby was coming and I just had to work with my body and soon I would have my baby.
Sure enough, a few pushes later, she was there…in my arms.
She was born at 3:58.
Ten pounds of perfection.
My head is honestly still spinning.
I can’t believe that after making me wait for what seemed like ages, she decided to arrive in such a hurry.
I can’t believe that I had such an amazing home birth.
I wasn’t at all what I expected…I had been envisioning something very Red Tent with cups of tea and chats with the midwives between contractions.
Instead it was short and intense.
But it was still beautiful.
I keep replaying the time line and the sensations in my mind.
And I keep looking at her and thinking that we did it!
Afterwards, as she I and floated in the tub, R and the midwives drank coffees and together we watched the sun rise, chatted about the birth, and wondered when C would wake up and what his reaction to his sister would be.
After about an hour of being in the water, I cut the cord, I passed our gorgeous girl to her father, I delivered the placenta, and I got cleaned up.
Shortly after that C woke up, and we began our life as a family of four.
If you are interested in having a home birth, I cannot recommend it enough.
I did hypnobirthing with my first birth but I delivered C with a private OB in the hospital.
While his birth was what I hoped it would be, this time around I wanted more from the pre and post partum care.
I am in awe of the midwives who supported me…they do amazing work and I cannot thank them enough.
If you are in Brisbane my midwives were Kelli Zakharoff and Maet Pearson from The Midwife Clinic.
And quite frankly I am in awe of myself.
No matter how it happens, birth and becoming a mother is an incredible achievement.
I am sure I will have more to say about this birth once the immediate emotions settle.
I simply wanted to get the details down…while I am still in those newborn glory days of nothing but sleeping and eating and changing a few nappies!
And any good girls names that you want to pass on?
C has been calling her Baby Olaf Star…so we have kind of all been calling her that…and obviously that needs to change!