It is fascinating to me the real beauty that can be experienced in moments of pure surrender. Never has that been made more abundantly clear to me than on Thursday 27th May 2010 when my beautiful chubby cheeked boy finally made his appearance.
I sat on my birthing ball in my study, perfectly at peace with the ‘what is’ of my situation. I was uncomfortable and 6 days past my due date, I had half heartedly tried some of the suggested ways to augment labour and had really reached a place where I knew with certainty that I didn’t want to do anything else to try to hurry this pregnancy up.Though I was barely sleeping, often in pain and still, at times, worried about coping with two children rather than the one, rather demanding, kidlet that I already had, I knew that when the baby and my body were ready, then I would know. I called my doula to let her know that nothing was happening but that I was ok, truly ok, with how everything was and that I was now just in a place of total acceptance. She smiled as she heard the change in my voice but reminded me that she was actually flying out to Adelaide the next morning and therefore wouldn’t be around for the next 3 days. I actually laughed out loud. I was simply sure, in that moment, that whomever was at the birth was meant to be at the birth and if that wasn’t my excellent friend, then that was as it should be. I knew, I don’t know how given my previous birthing experience, but I knew that I would be ok, come what may. I promised to give my back up doula a ring just in case and she was laid up in bed with Tonsillitis, her uncle had just died and she was due at a funeral on the Friday AND the two women for whom she was primary doula still hadn’t gone into labour! I laughed again. I told her what I had told Bhava, all would be well. I had simply reached a place where I didn’t care when it happened or how it happened, I knew that it simply would happen and all in it’s own good time and in it’s own perfect way. And so it did.
I felt good. Truly. My little Beanie was with her nanna for the day, so I took mum for lunch. We yomped through a delicious lunch of chips and vinegar and gravy (well i did) and I enjoyed a lovely mug of chai. Part of the way through my chippies, I suddenly realised that the sensation of my baby doing what felt like downward dog in the middle of my belly was, in fact, coming at regular intervals. I asked mum what the time was – it was 12.30pm. Mum asked me if I was timing contractions, I said I wasn’t sure but that I would see how regularly these sensations came. I was calm and smiley and continued to eat my lunch. They were coming every five or so minutes. That’s when I knew that my baby was on it’s way.
We left, popped briefly into a shop on the way home and then hopped into the car and drove back home. Mum was concerned about me driving the car but really, it was completely fine. I wasn’t panicked, I wasn’t in pain, I was just in labour. I rang the hubble and said that I thought something was happening but, as I wasn’t sure if it was labour or just pre-labour, I would call him back in an hour. 45 minutes later I told him to come home. I then went upstairs, finished packing my hospital bag, dusted my shelves, put together the changing area and got it all baby friendly and then went downstairs to watch Anchorman. Michael came home to me occasionally standing and circling my hips during a contraction but mostly chortling away to anchorman whilst sitting on my ball. I called my doula, who was ecstatic that she would actually get to be at the birth. At around 4pm we decided that, though it might be early, we should get to the birthing centre just to ensure we had a room and a chance to birth in water. 1 hour later my doula arrived to me deep in labour and 3 more hours later I pushed my not so wee boy out into the world. I was, in fact, only one push away from birthing him in the birthing pool but his heart rate dropped and I only made it one step away from the bath before his head was out and the deed was done.
I did it. I DID IT! I was/am so ecstatically happy that I managed to birth my Finlay Gabriel MacDonald Skarbek (or Finn as he is known) naturally and on Buddha’s birthday no less! I so proud that I did it without drugs – it was my deepest wish to have a natural birth. I didn’t get to birth in water but I did labour in water and in the end, he was born in his amniotic sac, so he got to have a water birth even if i didn’t! Apparently, being born in the sac is the gentlest way for a child to be born but it’s also quite rare. Michael caught him but had a hell of a job hanging onto him because he was so slippery! And we found out that the reason his heart rate dropped was because the cord was wrapped around his neck once, but he was plump and chubby cheeked and, amazingly, silent. He was passed through my legs and up to me to hold and I yelled out in surprise, “It’s a boy!” Finally he let out a yell and he hasn’t been silent since! And when I found out I had birthed an 8lb 10oz baby boy naturally, I was even more proud of myself. You cannot imagine the joy of doing something that you simply didn’t know you were capable of doing but sincerely hoped that you were. I knew this was likely to be my last pregnancy and I so wanted to do it my way. and I did. I breathed and surrendered and breathed and surrendered and roared and surrendered as my body did amazing things. As I opened and moved with the waves that undulated through me. As my mouth said ‘No!’ but my mind said, ‘Yes. This is what we want. Yes.’ As my husband and my doula let me squeeze the life out of their hands and whispered words of comfort and strength to me. As I remembered the women who encircled me and held me in this precious space of birthing. As I chose, each moment, to let go and let it take me in a way that I have never been able to before. That is the magic of birthing. It is the work of birthing. It is a path of life that could be taken every day, if we could but remember to breathe and let go. It was truly magical.
I won’t lie and say it didn’t hurt in places. It did. But you know what I kept saying to myself? “It’s not pain yet Kitty, it may get to pain later, but it’s not pain yet.” And it got me through the hard parts. I birthed my beautiful boy in just 8 hours compared to the 40 hours and massive interventions I had with Beanie. I felt I took my place among the tribe of birthing women and felt I finally I belonged there. Now I know there are many ways to birth, many choices and many women who birth. I simply know that for me, this is where I wanted to be, this was the choice I made and this was the path that I followed. And sweet Jesu did it ever make me happy. And so, here he is getting a cuddle from his awesome big sister. My beautiful indigo eyed sleepy-boy Finn, who looks just like his handsome daddy.