A Very Homely Freebirth
I first felt our child come through in my dreaming before Jay and I were even together as adults (I’ll share our story another time. I’ve decided to skip all the back story and focus just on the birth as our story really needs it’s own space to dance upon the page… perhaps a book. It was all a bittersweet mess really.
But now, life is loving and kind.
Lucah Belle’s Freebirth Story.
I met her in a dream. I think I was around 7months pregnant when I saw her face- she was wrapped in cloth in a carrier, with dark hair. She had a full face and little squinty eyes. She reminded me of an Inuit baby.
It was the middle of a hot and humid North Queensland summer, the kind where the air as thick and the sun bites. Where you escape to freshwater creeks for solace- or the shower if your pipes don’t heat up. My usual trick was to shower under the cold tap and then starfish naked under the fan! This was my first summer baby and in all honesty the later part of the pregnancy sucked! It really took its toll on my body with low blood pressure and swollen, puffy ankles. I was craving ice intensely… crunching ice was so satisfying- I was addicted to the sensation of crunching it, literally cups of it… I started consuming more than what I could produce with my ice cube trays in the freezer and so I started buying bags of it.
It was when a dear sister came over to henna my belly that she shared wisdom with respects to that being a sign of anemia…I had never heard of that. So off I go to get my bloods… YEP! Borderline again.
At 39 weeks pregnant I woke up in the morning to a sharp contraction that lasted about 30 seconds or more. I had been having Braxton hicks for a couple weeks, but this was a real contraction… the ones that feel like deep uterine cramping that start from the lower back and span around to the front like a hug that grips you from this inside- except it’s not really warm and friendly.
I was expecting to go “over” as I did with my 2 previous pregnancies, carrying to term at 40+10 and 40+11 weeks.
In the previous weeks I had lost my mucous plug, and then another at around 38 weeks. I knew my cervix was ripening and upon self examination, I had started to dilate, as with my other births, I dilate quite a bit before I have a bloody show. Nothing much happened for the rest of the morning, perhaps another random long contraction around 9am. I was feeling quite energized and started to get stuck into out domestic duties…
You know that whole nesting thing!
I began gernying (high pressure hose cleaning) the back deck from random leftover bits of playdough, whilst Jay was out mowing and after he had a shower, we both sat down on the couch to relax.
He turned and said,
“Well, I’d say that was a rather productive day!”
We decided we would spend the rest of the day chilling out and watching movies.
Just after lunchtime I went to lay down with Maia in my room so I could have a nap too.
Something in me knew that I was in pre-labour… but I’m not sure if I really wanted to be.
Based off my last “post date” pregnancies, I really wasn’t expecting anything for a couple weeks. At 39 weeks my dream of a spontaneous labour was about to become realised.
Laying in my bed, I text my mother who was 4hrs away, that I had had a contraction although nothing was regular yet, and that I would know within the hour if it was Prodromal Labor, and if she should get in the car to come up. The very loose plan was that she would come up for the birth, to photograph and to help with the girls. I say loose in the fact that I had become a little bit complacent with the fact that I was nearly full term, with this being my third baby and second freebirth, I was still expecting to go post term, in the peak of a very hot Australian Summer.
Needless to say I didn’t get to have a nap with Maia, it had become apparent that I was in pre-labour as I had another contraction laying in bed with her. I couldn’t rest my mind from the “Am I in labour?” Chatter… Handy hint… it usually means you’re in labour!
I came out of the bedroom with a smile on my face, looked at Jay and said
“So… I’m pretty sure we are going to have a Valentine’s day baby!”
Of all days…
By this stage its after 1pm. And we start setting up. My contractions are still irregular, but there is no mistaking them. I contact Auraura’s dad to bring her home, as she wanted to be there for and witness the birth, just as she was for her sister Maia.
Maia woke up super cranky- as she does most days if it’s in between sleep cycles. I am in no position to lay with her and settle her, so I tell her that Auraura will be home soon and that they can watch a movie. Bless her little heart, but she was incredibly whiney and clingy for the rest of the afternoon, obviously sensing the changes taking place, but not sure on how to deal… that and she’s 2.5years old.
Auraura arrived home and I greeted her out the front during contractions. They’re about 20mins apart by that stage. We go inside and I settle the girls on the couch so that I can focus on setting up my birth space inside the Womb Temple, while Jay tends to the birth pool. We knew what was happening though there was no stress or need to rush. Even though we weren’t really set up, we had everything we needed waiting.
I decided to make popcorn for the girls. Jay was laughing at me and filming as I’m having contractions near the stove. This would’ve been one of those risky jobs to palm off… especially with cranky Maia… some jobs only mummy can do! That day… it was popcorn!
(writing continues after video)
I begin to settle into the Womb Temple.
Then It becomes known that Auraura’s father’s car had broken down in the driveway and needs a jumpstart. So Jay goes out to give him a hand. Auraura’s other little sister comes cruising inside trying to find the other girls- as much as I love her, it was not a good time for her to be in my space as the contractions had set in.
It felt like so much was happening to take my focus out of the moment… like oh, don’t mind me… I’m just having a baby over here!
After they left, I felt my space settle into stillness.
I began to Smudge the room and start singing her in. I felt to get my drum but for some reason, that didn’t happen.
I began to tune into my womb, to baby and then into my heart to send out my calling, to all my sisters birthing in that moment… taking my place in the grand thread and tapestry of birth shamans, becoming the sacred bridge between worlds.
I was now on Birth’s doorstep= about to cross the threshold.
Birth: Active labour begins
My hips begin to sway, as I time my contractions, I can feel myself dropping. Activating the spiral, moving hips, breathing in slowly and becoming deeply anchored in my breath. I sense that I am approaching transition. I love my body and how she speaks to me, letting me know what I need to do in the moment to support her needs in opening the gateway.
I slowly get into the bath just on transition- I am now listening to my body wisdom, breathing into oneness of all life- everything that exists in the peaceful presence of this perfect moment. I am still, calm and in deep surrender. There is a swirling of energy, a quickening and grounding, I become heavy in an ecstatic way- everything is fluid, I am still and centred, wading in the warm water.
I wait for her to tell me she is ready.
I call to her in the ethers.
I am ready now baby girl, Mama is ready now.
As the waves of intensity crash over me and through my body, my focus is drawn to softening my jaw. Allowing my exhale to soften the bodies response to tense. I breathe deeply and soften. Opening wider. My body spikes with adrenalin as the familiar feeling of my pelvis opening.
I feel baby descend into the pelvis, down into the birth canal.
I am simply breathing and witnessing my child birth herself.
Everything is so beautifully still and serene.
I feel the pressure on my sacrum as baby descends and without saying a word, Jay intuitively placed his big, warm hands on lower back applying counter pressure. My heart swells with love for this man. He can read me. He’s just there… totally tuned in, totally with me. He’s got me, and for the first time I feel myself totally surrender into the energy of the Beloved.
That feeling of being safe and so completely supported. This is a holy moment of union. Sacred and transcends all words.
Then, like in waves of piercing distraction, little Maia rushes in and out of the space. She needs mummy, and I simply can not meet her emotional needs with a baby sitting in my vagina. I offer the children to have free reign of the house, to use any sheets they can find and they could turn the whole house into a giant cubby- whatever so long as they let me be for atleast another 20mins.
I remind myself not to get cross with her… shes only 2,5yrs
resting in a wide legged squat, I feel down and notice that familiar feeling.
Bulging forewaters… again.
I prepare myself and gather my strength for what’s to come.
From the outside, I may be super still, calm and quiet… I may make birth look easy- but I can tell you that Labour is exactly that… it’s hard work and your body is tested to the extremes!
My mind is laser focused.
POP- there go the membranes- not as intensely as Maia’s, though similar in the sense that the contractions picked up speed and intensity with no reprieve.
I feel the descent into birth canal and as she crowns I actively engage and use my pelvic muscles to hold her, suspending her and allowing my perineum to stretch. I have to command my energy to enable the birth pause… It’s hard to breath, the air is thick and humid and the heat from the warm water is almost unbearable- I shift my face to find a cool breeze. I relax and soften as the contractions subside, and then feel this “slip” and it feels as though she goes back up. A contraction comes and she’s right there, crowning again.
As I birth the head, I can feel my bowels releasing a couple nuggets into the pool hehhee. It’s such an odd feeling- birthing and shitting at the same time, but there’s so much pressure in that whole area it surprises me that many women don’t know this about birth, and it does serve a purpose. That’s a great thing about water births too- less mess!
You know it’s so hard to describe the fact that here was such a calmness inside the intensity, like it was so quick, but this internal serenity took the edge off and it was all just so beautiful, and blissful. So natural and totally normal.
One more contraction and baby was birthed into Jay’s hands
he passed her to me as I awkwardly turned around and then lifted my leg to claim our new daughter.
Then the energy shifted…
and there is that moment…
THAT moment, where the fabric of space and time feel so fragile… where everything, your whole world could collapse in a silent moment
Everything comes to a halt!
And this plump purple fleshy being of love incarnate takes its first breathe…
Life begins outside the womb
Life as a family begins
Life as a mother of 3 daughters
All the waiting, wishing, wondering collapses with my relaxing shoulders as I cradle our daughter in my arms and I am reborn as a Mother… Bringing her to my chest for the first time. welcoming her home…
In my heart I thank the unspoken guild that I have now transitioned through.
And cheekily say,
“Happy Valentines day baybee” to her father.
We have a moment and as if perfectly timed, Auraura and Maia come into the Womb Temple to greet their new little sister.
Auraura told be she felt the exact moment that Lucah was born and then bought Maia in.
I got out of birth pool to birth the placenta… this is to monitor any blood loss, as I was borderline anemic, so there was a risk of hemorrhage.
The placenta was birthed within 5 mins although part of the sac was still caught inside, I was unsure if the placenta had come away fully and if that was the reason the membranes were still inside. After about 5 mins I asked jay to call my local independent midwife just to make sure, she gave me the all clear to tug on it. An odd sensation but it released with another small gush of blood into the placenta bowl. As another Lotus Birth (not full Lotus- we cut the cord about 4.5hrs later as it was Summer, there were lots of flies around so it wan’t ideal- I also decided to print the placenta this time to create an artistic keepsake)
We bonded for about an hour without any need to move. We were comfortable, safe and content. I looked at this beautiful and healthy baby girl and then realised she was exactly how I dreamed of her!
So yes, that was a rather productive day!
Maternity photos by Chanel Baran