Our beautiful son, a little Leo, was born Friday 9th August at 6:28pm in a thunderstorm at 39 weeks. He came to earth like a lightning bolt!
It was a wildly magical cosmic experience – with some challenges along the way.
My waters broke at lunchtime on the 7th of August and it was only until 36 (excruciatingly long) hours later that I finally went into labour.
Within that time-span the hospital protocol was to induce and give us antibiotics 24 hours after my waters broke. I declined as I felt that in my specific case it was not necessary, I knew the risk of infection was a small percentage higher but I really intuitively felt that the baby was coming soon and that we were both healthy. The hospital agreed if I was willing to be monitored before and after birth.
Thankfully I was right and once labour got going it was pretty quick, especially for a first baby (my sense of time blurred but so they tell me!).
Early on Friday the 9th August mild contractions/surges naturally started. After a quiet morning walk around the reservoir, I suddenly felt things intensify and from that moment things rapidly progressed. Once home we realised it was time to travel to the hospital. Unfortunately once there we struggled to get a room in either the birth centre or labour ward (the hospital was understaffed that day and so rooms were scarce). We were sent to triage to get monitored and to wait for a room to get free. Our birthing environment was not the relaxing one we had hoped for!
After 1.5 hours of monitoring, waiting and transitioning in a cramped loud hot cubicle in triage with me breathing and bouncing, singing and dancing on a birthing ball while attached to monitors, we were finally given a room in the labour ward. By this stage I was in active labour, dashed along the corridors in a wheelchair wearing big sunglasses, headphones and my wild woman leopard print skirt, whilst singing operatic notes.
D and my doula, Yolande, were amazing birth partners, working with me to facilitate the entry of Joshua into this world. Although the staff at Whittington were short on the ground, there were some caring staff who supported us – the South African midwife who caught baby J went above and beyond for us, working over her shift to support us and running to the sluice to fetch our placenta when the doctors accidentally took it away!
Birth was the most exquisite moment – when my midwife immediately handed me my baby I was in another world, not the Whittington ward. I am so grateful that I was lucid and could feel all of it, even when it felt like I would break apart I kept reminding myself that I could (and would) be able to birth this baby.
I didn’t quietly breathe J out, I sang/moved/howled/instinctively pushed him out with D firmly by my side. J wriggled his way into the world with my sacred song playlist on and as the midwife threaded him through my legs, I quickly took him, lay on my back and held him straight onto my chest.
I was losing some blood and suddenly the room flooded with doctors and bright lights , strangely surreal with my music still playing and J still on me, we were held in our own bubble of love as the doctors did what they needed to do to quickly stop the bleeding – all with my informed consent..
A week before I gave birth I had a dream where I was repeating the mantra, ‘birthing is my superpower’ – all week I held onto the mantra and trusted that power. D and I read our affirmation cards to each other the night before the birth, and then again afters and each of them had stuck – the power of intention is so strong! I didn’t know what I was capable of, but now I know what I can do. I feel my birth story was a huge initiation into motherhood, with inevitable obstacles and gates I had to pass through along the way. Ultimately I felt empowered that we were able to make conscious, individual and informed choices in how the birth was to transpire. The overall experience was actually a very positive one for me as I kept returning to my intention to birth with love and trust.
Now I’m on the other side, in another world, I feel another person really and I’m looking forward to this next journey.