Finley was due on the 19th of June – the full moon of the winter solstice. I was so sure he’d come either on this day, or the 21st, the solstice itself. When I came down with what I thought was a cold, but turned into the flu a week before I was due, I wasn’t worried. I thought I’d fight it of ok and be ready to birth by the 19th. How wrong I was! I was so sick! I had 2 days in bed and a fortnight of misery. Cough, inflamed throat, laryngitis, fever, chills, headache, aching body, the usual and the list goes on. Luckily, Reece was home to take care of both me and Jarrah.
I’d been in pre labour for what felt like weeks and had a couple of times where I thought it might all be happening. Reece had the pool pumped up and ready to go, the midwife’s birth kit was upstairs, but, no go. When I was 5 days over, I decided to help things along a bit with some blue cohosh. I really only did this to try and maximise the time we would have with Reece home, as he was due back on the ship in only 2 more weeks. The cohosh stimulated regular, mild contractions, but didn’t go anywhere. I tried brisk walks, talking to Baby and was contemplating castor oil, which I decided to leave alone. After 2 days of this, I went with my intuition and decided to just let my body do what it wanted. It was obviously going to anyway!
My body knew that I wasn’t well enough to birth, I guess and two weeks later, there was still no baby and I was going crazy. It wasn’t so much that I was late, but that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired - and uncomfortable, and shut up in the house. I’d felt so ready for so long, except for my illness and I’d just about had enough!
On the morning of the 27th, Jarrah was in day care, and Reece and I decided to get out of the house and see a movie. I felt so heavy and full, baby was really low and there was loads of pressure in my bowel and pelvis. I’d given up on the game of thinking I knew when he was going to arrive. So, went to the movie (Get Smart, hoping for some belly laughs - got a few chuckles out of it...) then came home. Jarrah was with my Mum for the night, staying at my sister’s house. Around 6.30pm, I was trying to get comfortable, which just wasn’t happening. I complained to Reece, saying, “I don’t know what I want to do, if I want to lay down, stand up, have a bath, go to bed or what!” I stood up and started pacing, feeling like a tiger in a cage, restless, agitated and over it. I went to the loo, had a wee, leaned over to pull up my knickers and felt a little dribble. “Oh!” realisation dawned. My membranes had ruptured! I was so excited. Finally! Within 30 seconds, I was having a real contraction. I came out and told Reece the happy news. He got busy. I called Jean, my midwife to let her know what was going on. I had to hand the phone to Reece, as I had lost my voice! Because he was so low, I only lost that first initial dribble as his head plugged the hole. From here on in, it all started happening. My waters broke at 7pm, I had my first contraction within 30 seconds. The next was 20 minutes later, then 10 minutes, then 4, then 3. They continued to come regularly.
My initial plan was to have Jarrah present at the birth, but since she was at my sister’s house and just asleep, I decided to leave her there. I’m thankful that I did, as although she would have been fine, I think she would have been a distraction to me, as I really needed peace and calm.
At 8.30, my second midwife, Fiona, who is a friend and a local, arrived. Jean had called her, as we both thought Baby might come very quickly. Not so quickly, as it turned out, but fast enough. Jean arrived around 9, then Mum and Sacha (my sister) about 9.30. By this time I was already in the bath, and loving it. As they arrived, I told them that I had one request, and that was that no one spoke while I was having a contraction. I only needed to remind them once!
I had been feeling the need to poo, so had been heading to the toilet, with no success. Of course, contractions seemed so much stronger while I was sitting there, so I hurried back to the pool each time! Through each rush, I was rocking on all fours, breathing gently and with purpose, eyes closed, going within the sensations as they arose. Music was playing softly, the lights were low, and I was very happy, in control and focussed.
By about 10, the intensity had increased, and by 10.30, I was spaced out on endorphins and I knew it. I felt wonderful! I had decided Baby would be born by midnight. By 11, the birth song had begun. I tried the loo again, but had one rush and couldn’t stay there. I almost ran back to the bath! Things were hotting up! Within 5 minutes, transition had begun. The Birth Song went up a decibel and I knew the work was about to begin. I asked for more ice, and my dopey husband (thought he was doing the right thing…) got up to get some right as a contraction was coming on! I called him back quick smart and growled at him that he wasn’t to leave me during a contraction. I was holding his hand, and he was trying to make me comfortable by positioning me. Of course, that wasn’t on, and I told him he needed to be my pillar and let me move myself around him, using his strength and solidity.
At 11.15, I felt nauseous and asked for a bucket. This was a short lived sensation, and I never needed it. 11.20 and I was singing with a full throat and at 11.25 I knew I wasn’t far off pushing. All this time, my midwives were sitting quietly, observing, letting my body follow its instincts. I was, and remain, grateful for this. At 11.30, I was still feeling pressure in my bottom, and remember saying “I don’t remember it being this hard!” The contractions were at full intensity, crashing through and over and around me, I was pushing as my body needed, my song long, loud and lovely and I was resting completely in between. His head was much bigger than Jarrah’s it turned out, and squatting was not a pleasant feeling. I was on all fours, with one knee lifted in a kind of kneel, squat, all fours position.
11.35 - I felt the sting, pushed, and reached down to feel his beautiful soft head. My boy was coming! Now I rocked back into a squat to avoid bringing him to the surface too soon. My midwife wrote this quote of mine at this time: “Don’t tear, don’t tear! Come on boy, Mum’s waiting for you. Don’t go back in there – oh yeah – push mate – he’s kicking away! Come on come on come on.” At 11.43, his head was out and he was still kicking! It was the strangest feeling! His head was out to his mouth and I remember thinking that with another push, it would be out completely, then a rest, then his shoulders and body. Well, with the next rush out he came – whoosh! I wasn’t ready for him! He almost bounced off the bottom of the pool! I reached down and lifted him to me. My boy. It was 11.45pm. The cord was up over his shoulder, half way around his neck. He was blue and beautiful. I felt grateful, gratified, elated, relieved…
He took a little while to breathe, and I rubbed him gently with Reece and my mum. The cord was still pulsating, but I was still a little anxious. He started breathing tentatively. I asked someone to put on a Dalai Lama CD, the Mahimrityunjaya Mantra, a mantra of compassion and healing. As his Holiness sang the opening Om , my little boy opened his mouth, took a deep breath and cried heartily. I felt, and still do, that the sacred, ancient word bought him into his body, into himself. He cried for over an hour!
At 12.15am, the cord has ceased pulsating and I felt horribly uncomfortable. Reece cut the cord so that I could get up. The placenta was delivered into a bucket 5 minutes later. Oh, relief!
Finley was 4.32 kg (9lb 8oz) and measured 52cms. His head was 37cm - 1.5cm bigger than Jarrah’s. No wonder I was so uncomfortable! I had a minor first degree tear, which I didn’t even notice until it was healing and itchy!
The birth of my boy was such and incredibly wonderful experience. I was so empowered and grateful to be allowed to listen to and trust in the wisdom of my body and do it all myself, with no instruction or interference, the way I was meant to birth. I felt alive, ancient, powerful, strong, connected to the divine, the ancient collective sisterhood. I felt the embodiment of the sacred feminine, a goddess of fertility and birth.
He didn’t latch on properly and have a good feed for nearly 48 hours. I was getting very worried. At 8pm on the 29th I called Fiona. She came around and gave me a couple of positioning hints and hey, presto! Away we went. He still fiddle farts around a bit on the breast, but we’re doing fine.
When Jarrah saw him in the morning the next day, the brightness of her beaming smile made the sun pale. She was so excited. She loves him to bits and wants to kiss and cuddle him always. The reality of a new baby has sunk in now and she is exhibiting some behavioural issues that we are dealing with. Nothing serious, just attention seeking, which is understandable. I try to include her wherever I can, and am sure to give her loads of love, hugs, kisses and giggles. We’re settling in well, everyday a joy and a challenge.
Finley is a lovely boy. Big and bonny, quiet and cuddly. He’s continuing to settle into his earthly body. He smiled for the first time on Sunday and melted my heart again. He’s given me glimpses in his sleep, and I can see it’s going to be a huge, face splitting beam. His personality is expressing itself more everyday and everyday I fall in love a little more deeply. I feel incredibly blessed to have two healthy, happy and beautiful children and to have had two wonderful, joyous birth experiences.