So, in the last post, I shared just how excited our entire home was for baby girl who started to make some rumblings…Keeping us all on our toes as to whether she was coming that day, or not. And I shared just how badly we were actually caught with our pants down this time, since she was coming MUCH earlier than the others (37 weeks). But, also how against all odds, it was all still working out beautifully for us. So much faith, laughing at ourselves and enjoying the unfolding of it all…Now, if you haven’t read that post yet, first go catch up over there, then come back here! 😉
Warning, this is a super long post…with lots of photographs! It’s the story about our third child -our little Rainbow Baby’s coming into our world- and how her arrival touched us in ways beyond what we were prepared for. I suspect I will not accurately be able to ever convey those emotions in words to another..No canvas broad or bright enough to contain it. Nor do I think those words even exist; To tell you how it shook me to my core, and then filled me up…Expanded me in ways that only love could, as it pours all of itself into your soul. But here’s her birth story anyway. It is more for me to remember all the details than anything else, but I hope you enjoy it too!X
Sunday night, into Monday’s light…
Yeah, so sleep came easily that Sunday night, but as things with birth go, when it’s all dark and comfy, and you’re feeling good, it’s the trifactor of stars aligning in the birthing world. You’re essentially ripe for labour! And so it was. This time, there was a little more than a mere tap-tap sensation in my groinular area…This time there was a definitive, “its go-time” kind of vibe to it all. I woke Mikey up, and let him know, this is it, “Coco’s on her way!”
He obviously wanted to call the midwife up. I was hesitant, for as much as I knew instinctively that this was the real deal, I could tell that Coco was still farrrrrr from saying peekaboo. But because of my previous birth with Parker-Grace where I was in total denial of being in labour – despite the fact that I would shush Mike ever so now and then and sit up to breathe through these surges that was I completely and totally not actually having. * insert eye roll here * So, I agreed and he called up my midwife.
Our beloved Angela picked up the call just after midnight – bright and cheery as always. And after trying to also convince her that I’m far from active labour, I eventually agreed to her insistence, as she lived pretty far from us. And with the wildcard nature of third babies on everyone’s mind, I guess everyone preferred being prepared and ready. We called up Marysol, our birth photographer, too.
At about 2am midwife and photographer were in our home, and whilst we were all whispering so as to not wake the children, we were all so happy to see each other because, flip, today was the day, man – of course we were excited!!
Angela did some checks on me up in the bedroom, just to get a baseline. And, I have to say, it was actually so nice to be able to do this in the comfort of one’s own home. My OWN bed! I didn’t have to pack up and make special arrangements for the doggies or the kiddies. We could all just chill out, the kids could get undisturbed sleep, and we didn’t have to drive anywhere.
It was perfect! But after all the giggles and whispered jokes between us all, I once more noticed that things had died down again in the surge department. Like nada. Zip! And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit disappointed.
Actually more a bit disorientated – because this was just SO different! And I know that every birth is so different, but flip, I was caught off guard by how much this third birth was different to the others. It took some serious mental self talk to truly let go of any preconceived notions I had about this birth, and just let this one unfold as it was meant to be. (This is why I say first births are the easiest in some ways – you have a clean slate with no comparisons, no expectations.)
So reading me well, Angela advised Mike and I to go get some sleep; That I light my candles, listen to my hypnobirthing clips or whatever it was that I needed to do, to just relax and get into a good place. And this was exacty what I did. Or tried to. But sleep was so touch and go for me – I was too excited, and also so perplexed by how unpredictable this birth was. (DUH.) Mike, however, was lights out! 🙂
In the mean time, while I was upstairs trying to get my “OM” on, Angela and Marysol were quietly busying themselves downstairs– Angela with her reports and paperwork…Marysol with cake!
Yes, a cake for the our little Coco! A special Birth Day Cake. It was a first for us, and I was already inlove with the idea of a special cake when Marysol first pitched the idea. I mean everyone knows I’m big on birthday cakes, so this was truly special to us.
But eventually as 6am rolled around, with still no action going on, Angela came knocking to say that it was time for her to swop shifts with another midwife…and off she and Marysol eventually went, as I waved good bye to them. I was feeling a bit bad that they came out all the way for nothing. But they both assured me this was normal, and that I, of all people, should know that, and that this was all part and parcel of a birth worker’s life. Angela also noted to me that I did warn her it wasn’t close yet, but that she preferred being there ready just in case. So it was nice to see them anyway. 🙂
Most of the morning went by in a bit of a blur to me to be honest. There was lots of chilling, movies, chatting to my mom and copious consumption of rasberry leaf tea.
However, just to give you some context for the rest of the story, the oddest thing is that our home and neighbourhood is almost always pretty quiet. No one ever really rings our bell, aside from friends and the odd neighbour who needs to borrow a tool, and maybe a lost jehovas witness here or there…BUT, for some reason that day – the day of birth- the bell didn’t stop ringing.Like allll freakin’ day. Not quite the HypnoBirthing environment I had had in mind, guys…
It was like something out a flipping Hollywood movie! LOL
Dude, it got to the point, where, mid-mediation or mid-relaxation, the bell would ring almost as if they knew the timing was bad. And it felt like someone had blasted it on megaphone! But everyone else in the home seemed so busy with things, that I knew, despite the fact that I was trying to get all down and dirty with my inner birth self and Dalai Lama the crap out this day, I had to take matters into my own hands. So in between surges I went hunting for paper and a marker, marched outside and put up a sign across the bell.Now, if I could have left some pigs blood to show I meant business, I would of, but the surges were getting to a place where it was needing my attention to get through.
In fact, things were really starting to pick up – much to my excitement- and by 1pm, our next midwife, Bernice, was there. Once more my baselines were taken, and of course Midwife Morgan-Lee immediately took up post, and literally shadowed the midwife’s every move! Every. Move.
It was also at this point – in between all the excitement, and the surges – that Mike hesitantly informs me that our cable guy has finally arrived. A little confused as to why we even have a cable guy, he reminds me that about 9 months ago we ordered fibre internet connection, and ironically and as luck would have it, today was the day that they decided to pitch up and sort it out. (Who knew ordering fibre took as long as growing a human?!)
I flashed him an incredulous look, which was meant to say, “no freakin way,dude. Not today! Don’t even think about it”. I moved on from there, thinking it was settled. At least that’s what I thought. But a man and his fibre – his link to all the sports channels he usually watches on his phone – cannot be separated, apparently.
Mike sorted out the music – and by sort out, I mean he only then just started searching and putting together a birth music playlist I asked him for months ago. We all did a lot of chit chatting in this time, and it was also here in chatting to Bernice that I realised I had slipped up on something…She was not very well-versed in HypnoBirthing. (Wait, what?!) My stomach did a bit of drop when she said it. I tried to establish to what extent she did know – she had “watched a few videos of hypnobirthing women” , which if you’re in the know, then you’d be aware that that is essentially not being informed at all about it. I wanted to kick myself for not doing a birth plan – something I always encouraged other moms to always do. But I didn’t this time. Purely because I had been with Birth Options before, and Ciska knew HypnoBirthing inside and out. So I very naively just assumed that any new team members would also be the same. I hoped… Crikey! Inside I wanted to cry.
But I figured, I can still manage this. This whole birth thing was a Mike and me thang anyway, so this was fine, I could deal. I used my calm breathing, focussed on how good this was going to be and didn’t let my thoughts drift towards any negative ideas.
By about 2:30pm things had really picked to the point where I needed to kneel, breathe and get some light touch massage to get through my surges.
And also to add to the difference factor, these surges I started feeling in my hips…like a dull deep throb in my lower back that radiated into my hips. So much so, counter-pressure applied by hubby or whoever was available, was bliss.
I had all the intentions of starting a pot of curry before things got too deep, but I missed my window for that. So my mom took care of the food and I decided to camp out in lounge, and things were going well. Like really well…until that is, mid deep-breath, I spot a strange man, in a bright plastic bib…walk in through my side door. Like right there…metres away from me as I was busy labouring….what in the hell?!
I check with Mike to see that maybe Im not hallucinating… he sheepishly grinned back at me…trying to find the best way to explain that he never did say no to the cable guy…and that it was in fact said-cable guy that was now waltzing through my home as I laboured…*cue my confused-is-this-really-happening facial expression*
Marysol arrives at about 3pm. And I cant help but smile ear to ear when I spot her.
However, Mike and I at that point were having a hilariously odd discussion about this cable guy…with him pleading his case in between my surges. And me breathing and surging as my counter-argument mostly. Eventually I caved… with conditions…Cable guy had one hour to finish up, or until I pull the cord on him. Mike wisely agreed to this. I half laughingly shook my head about it all, as I still couldn’t believe THIS was how my “peaceful Home HypnoBirth “ was going down: An extremely busy home, with a doorbell that cant be switched off, with strange workmen in bibs marching in and out, and a midwife that wasn’t experienced in HypnoBirthing….HAHAHA…of course!
What could I do at that point? Nothing but accept and make the best of it. Cue all the calm breaths…
Eventually the next shift of midwife popped in, Sue, and it was so great to see her too – she has such wonderfully happy yet calm energy.
All the candles were lit…
music was going, Mike was there keeping me laughing, my mom was making magic in the background and put the girls down for their nap, I had two wonderful midwives supporting me, and the surges were coming on beautifully – it was going well…
Being in the middle of Winter, Mike got cracking on the fire.
It was also at this point that I pulled the plug on the cable guy…I still remember as Mike explained to him, hearing how shocked he was that there was birth busy happening only meters away from him all this time , and he hadn’t even noticed. He just thought it was a bunch of women socializing. So he finished up as quickly as he could, and slipped out silently.
This definitely made me feel better and more at ease, as I started to slip deeper into birth. Surges were starting to take all of my focus this time around, and I really needed the quiet. But I could tell, I was still a bit distracted, not fully immersed within myself yet, like before. This birth was so different in every way to that of Parker’s HypnoBIrth. And I couldn’t help but compare all the time. Granted, so few of the conditions needed for a HypnoBirth were being ticked as it were…But when it comes to birth, you’ve just got to roll with it, and be easy…
This was also a much livelier birth. The midwife spoke a lot to me, and did a lot more heart rate checks, and asking me to move…which was not quite the HypnoBirhting way, but I just breathed and went with it. I did my best to be zen about it all.
But to add to it, because this was in our home, and we had people there, Mike couldn’t help but feel like a host, and was a bit distracted in trying to ensure everyone else was comfy. I kept having to look for him. And then we ran out of wood…and then snacks…so he ran out to the store for a bit, which was something that I’ve never had to do before.
I’ve never had to spend a second in labour without him before…Which wasn’t so bad, as the midwives always lovingly stepped in to support me during a surge…but it wasn’t the same. My body reacted to his presence. He knew just how to hold me, just what to say. And when not to say anything…especially when not to say anything! He knows me so well…and doing this birth without him, even just for a few minutes at a time was not great. He is such an incredible rock for me always, but especially during birth – faithful and steadfast – that not having him there by me all the time made me feel a bit lost at sea.
Once more, I realised that whilst it wasn’t ideal, if I wanted this birth to go smoothly for me I needed to step in to make some tweaks before I lived with regrets. I decided that this wasn’t the time to crumble at how much this wasn’t going the way I needed it to, nor was it the time to play a shrinking violet and let things happen. My body was tensing up with all of this, and I could feel it in my surges…I needed to be sure to rid myself of it ASAP.
I remember the exact moment when I reached the breaking point on this….my midwife kept talking and engaging with me, whilst I was trying to centre myself, until I eventually, abruptly, yet respectfully asked her to not talk to me anymore…She professionally and politely agreed and understood. But my body and mind also did what any birthing body does when it feels uncomfortable…it retreated to a more private, “safer” space….for me in this case, the bathroom, where I took Mike with.
It was here that we had quick pow-wow and I let Mike in on what I needed from him. Reminded him of his role, and how much I needed him to take it on, remind him that he was my advocate, so that I could let go and let this birth take me…And just like that, it all turned around.
We eventually came out the bathroom …
And this time he stayed with me…and it couldn’t have been better timed…As things truly started kicking into gear, VERY quickly (4:36pm)…It became intense, to say the least…And since I hadn’t truly been able to get to the point where I was deep with in “my birthingself”, as they say, I started feeling these surges in the rawest way….
My previous two births, whilst also very different, were quite comfortable and very quiet. So much so, I napped through a lot of Parker’s birth. But this one, was deliciously potent! Being swept up in the relentless surges, I then just let my body lead with what it needed at the time… I swayed, and let out guttural moans that felt good to resonate and vibrate throughout my body…it may not have been the same fast asleep scene as before, but it was still so natural and raw, and real. I know at first I resisted this, but then realised how exquisite it felt in my body…And how it felt good to let go and be swallowed up in the waves of birth…
It was also at this point where, unlike the last 2 births, I realised no one was going tell me when to get into the birthing tub…so recognizing similar sensations, I asked Mike to get the tub ready. (round about 4:50pm)
My mom in between checking in on me, was – unbeknownst to me – washing and ironing clothes for baby as the precious dear mother that she is….
5:15pm my girls starting waking up one by one.
In that time, I felt an incredible surge come along…one that I’ve learnt brings with it a new level and phase of birth… I released a guttural moan, and my waters broke…Tears of sheer happiness and intensity rolled down my cheeks…I was closer to meeting my baby girl!
Morgy, ever the midwife took up the mantle like a natural. She seamlessly just slipped into the role of little midwife as if she’d been doing it for years, and was just such a natural. She spoke in hushed tones, and was so encouraging throughout.
Even once I was in the tub, she remembered the light touch techniques I had taught her in the build up to the birth. She even managed to make me laugh right slap bang in – what I didn’t realise yet- the most intense part of labour. Love that little soul of her’s!
Other big sister, Parker also eventually joined us after her nap…but made sure that her blankie (her gift to baby) was ready. And Im so beyond delighted that both my girls were there at the birth. They were simply incredible, and understood what an exciting yet very natural and normal life event this was…Each of their personalities shining through in the way that they interacted at the birth.
The sloshing of the water against my back, as the midwives (both big and little)poured it, felt like pure magic. And sinking into that warm bath, while sensing Mike right by me, with his light breath caressing my face, felt like home. There was a beautiful mix of sensations flowing through me…almost to the point of intoxication.
And then I felt it…You know? I felt as I was nearing that infamous point in birth, where you question just how you will go on…I tried to silence my thoughts as I had “calculated” I’ve only been at this for a short time, surely the road ahead was much further.
I silenced my thoughts but still searched Mike’s eyes for answers…His faithful gaze signalling a reminder to breathe and let go.…Barely able to keep still, swaying and rolling with the incessant waves of birth…trying my best to also navigate the pressure on my recently dislocated knees, there was suddenly a lull in it all….
I didn’t even realise it then…but it was the break in the tide…
The beautiful design in nature that brings on the next stage…
But I was so convinced that I had still a long day ahead of me that I didn’t even recognize it…until not even two minutes later I felt the head drop right down with wonderfully pain free surge!
Like unmistakably, drop…
I was so surprised by this, that I actually had a gobsmacked look on my face as I told Mike in utter shock, as if I’ve never given birth before – “THE BABY! Its right here…Baby’s coming!”
I couldn’t believe we were there already – and it took me a good few seconds to pull myself towards myself, all of myself : ) The intense unfolding of life was over, and now the glorious, heady stage was filling my being…
As I tried my best to kneel in a way that was comfy for birthing without re-injuring my knees, I knew that in a mere two relaxed pain-free surges, the veil would finally be lifted and I would finally get to see our darling Coconut…our darling rainbow baby, for who we have prayed for….
I reminded myself to relax, and open up..to breathe…
Second surge….Crowning beautifully…
Oh my darling girl…youre almost here…
She’s here!!! Midwife helps direct her to me…and I see her eyes look up at me through the rippled waters, as I pull her and she swims towards me…
Absolute elation vibrates through my being! The glorious rush of bliss overflows within me, as I bring this fluffy pink little fingy into my arms.Hold her. Press her warm body into my skin…And all I want to do is see her face… There is no better feeling, no greater satisfaction…She’s HERE! She’s safely here in my arms! I finally get to meet this precious soul face to face…and finally get to extend our deep nine-month long connection into a more earthly one. As I rapidly feel the outer limits of my heart stretch towards explosion, brimming with love…and my entire being is shifted from within…
And just as quickly, that magnificent mix of emotions wash over me..engulf me…our beautiful rainbow after our storm…
And her journey into this world could not have been more symbolic…storming her way into our lives, coming with the thunder and bringing with her all the sunshine, hope and glory and promise of a rainbow!
And this look on his face…
…the one that mirrored my gratitude, and that overwhelming love…The kind of love that leaves you speechless in it’s wake…
It’s what made me crumble…so much was said between us in that fleeting moment as we looked at each other..basking in this indelible moment…without a single word being uttered between us.
I am completely love drunk…you see it in my face; this love-induced intoxication spilling out of my eyes.
And for those few moments, no one else but us existed….
And when I eventually regained awareness to the rest of the world, it was so wonderful to take in the delight of our girls…They had fallen inlove right along with us.
Having a professional, caring and wonderful birth team was wonderful…And having my mother there was truly an honour…
Our little Yuriko-Mae, born 24 July 2017, at 5:30pm on a beautiful Monday afternoon, drug and intervention-free, right in our lounge…in the heart of our home, with biggest fire blazing away…less than hour after the intensity truly kicked in!
Daddy of course cut the cord, as is the norm for him.
The energy of the room was one of pure happiness and delight…as we all took her in deep long breaths.
Having our girls there with us, felt like a smorgasbord of joy to indulge in…if I was not drinking in Yuriko-Mae, and feeling a her tiny warm pink body against me, I was imbibing in Parker’s absolute intrigue of, and immediate unadulterated love for baby.
And Morgy’s unwavering care of me was just so beautiful, as we all took our time with everything.
It was an experience I will always be grateful for, and I know that having them there was a gift not only for us as parents, but for them as well, as women who may one day birth too…
Eventually I made my way out of the tub, where the midwives checked me out with baby nicely on my chest, as I breathed in her skin and took in her face. I loved her short stocky build, and just her seemingly calm nature. Morgan-Lee insisted she smelled of chocolate-chip cookies….and I can’t argue with that.
My placenta took a while to come out this time, which was odd…but at this point, I had finally accepted the idea that this birth was nothing like I ever experienced and so just went with it. So, while the midwife was sorting that out, and making me give the odd cough and now and again, I got lost the deepest pools of my baby’s sparkling brown eyes…
Later on, while I went to the loo upstairs, Sue checked out baby on daddy’s chest…
And the sisters got to hold their little sister too…And Parky got to do the much anticipated hand over of her precious blankie to her little sister.
But something I will never forget….that when everyone eventually left the room (dad included, to go make tea for everyone)…And while Morgy followed the midwives to help them fill out their reports and see the behind the birth medical scenes… you know, Midwifey things.
…It was my little Pax, who had taken such quiet supportive role throughout the birth, that was now the only one who stayed behind with me. And without even me asking, came to feed me a cookie, as she chomped on her’s, and held up a drink for me to sip, as she sweetly smiled at me, somehow understanding how amazing this all just was… She was so incredibly caring, and instinctively knew what I needed…It was so beautiful to watch her care for me, and be the object of her care and attention…And even more heart exploding to watch her interact with baby…Making sure blankie was nicely tucked in..
As usual for me, breastfeeding right birth after went fine, and Sue was so helpful…(it’s the weeks that followed that came with it’s own set of challenges!)
Whiskey, who spent most of the time upstairs, was also raring to come greet the newest family member… that tail of her’s wouldn’t stop wagging! She has always been such a great family dog to all our kids.
Much later, once the midwives were happy with everything, we hugged and they made their way home…and it was just Marysol, my mom and us.recapping the day, and having a laugh. But, remember that Birth Day Cake of Marysol’s I spoke of earlier?….Well, the lady did not disappoint…
It was complete with rainbow colours, confetti and candles! And delicious! I absolutely loved this touch (Thank You, M!!)…and a great way to round off an exciting day…complete with some celebratory bubbles!
So, after having pitiful sleep for an entire weekend…going into a birth on pure excitement, and coming out on the other side of an emotionally charged birth with a newborn, I was left feeling the heavy hands of sleep tugging on my eyelids..But I was also pulsating with oxytocin and endorphins…so I was a bit in limbo..tangled up in this sweet mess of sleep and elation. And I loved it…it was a great day!
Mike and I were already well aware of the immensity of the gift that Coco was to us, when I fell pregnant with her. (As all children are, but even more so after the loss we experienced)…There was no doubt about it – our prayers were thickly laden with gratitude every night. But neither of us were prepared for the tidal wave of love that rained down upon us when we finally got to hold her and see her take her first breath. As ecstatic as all my children’s births have been, I have never ever cried before…I have laughed and been humbled into joyous silence, yes…but never tears. But with Coco? There was no stopping it…It first embraced, then enveloped me completely, immersed in the glorious present, I was swept up in it’s current…and happily so. And when locking eyes with Mike, I knew he was right there with me…our beautiful promise and hope fulfilled..Our beautiful Rainbow baby, Yuriko-Mae.
It was like rains falling on the driest plain, as far as the eyes could see…
ps. Oh, and by the way, the next morning, Mike showed me the awesome fibre internet connection we had…So, two “babies” in one day…and happy endings for everyone!