Just two weeks ago, contractions began. The start of what would be the last time I would physically experience labour. The last hours of my 4th pregnancy. The third and final baby I would birth, about to arrive.
Just after 9pm on 7 February, 3 days after my official due date contractions started.
I called my mum. Then called the hospital letting them know I believed I was in early labour and was hoping for a birthing suite with a bath.
"Contractions were lengthening and getting closer together. I could still talk, but focusing on breath was all I wanted. I shut my eyes. Moved. Drew air."
By 1030pm I was ready for the TENS I hired from the @thebirthstore. Contractions were lengthening and getting closer together. I could still talk, but focusing on breath was all I wanted. I shut my eyes. Moved. Drew air.
My mum massaged. I felt her energy. She was nervous for me to go to hospital but I second guessed until midnight when intensity was again increasing. 30mins later we were parked at the hospital. I got out as another contraction took hold.
I shuffled to the entrance when another stronger contraction stopped me. Moving between the entrance doors, another. Into the lift, another. Onto the 3rd level, another. Into the birth ward, another.
The same midwife who held me up, led me to the delivery suite and began our induction with Willow, led us to our birthing suite. Another midwife arrived. Between contractions we talked through my birth plan.
A doctor popped her head in asking if we were going to have a baby tonight. The midwife undoubtedly said yes. Another contraction hit and I heard water burst before I felt the relief and waters soak me.
The bath was nearly ready now. I knelt on the floor against the bed wanting to be close to the ground. Downward pressure was there, but not the same intensity I felt with Xavier.
Before there was time for monitoring and checks, the bath was full and I was ready to rid the TENS machine and move into the water. Water had been sweet relief and surrender with Xavier and Willows births.
Barely in the water I felt the need to roll belly down. Legs stretched out like a frog. Not the romantic image I’d drawn in memory of my previous births. I felt an urge. Primal sound left my body. Our babies head begin to open me.
Another contraction and the head was passing through. I swore. It was all happening very fast. I heard the voices of the midwife and my husband tell me the head was there, to go slow. I felt my body listen.
In the brief spaces drawing breath I heard my fears that something had been missed, that something could still go wrong. And then I breathed them out knowing full well it was out of my control but birthing my baby was now.
With the next contraction I breathed our baby down, feeling the head now born. With the next contraction baby slipped through and out before I had the chance to repeat the mantra’s I had written.
I reached into the water for our baby. My midwife assisting to remove the cord draped around the neck. With bub against my chest they rubbed a towel on baby’s back prompting a cry. Our baby was alive.
My husband spotting we’d had a boy. A brother to Xavier and Willow. I looked down in disbelief that this baby was here. That I had delivered them already. My little boy looking up at me, his mama. We did it!
With a calm birth mindset I had surrendered to birth. A birth I had barely had a chance to register. Even writing this it’s like it never happened. It was so quick. Not a moment to change space. Limited air to hold fear.
It was done. He was here. After delayed cord clamping my husband freed our baby, who now would be nurtured outside of me. Over an hour later with assistance, the placenta and long cord were delivered.
"Today, I absorb each present living moment. Knowing what it means to get to hold this life. Remembering the pain of letting go. The fear of letting in. And the gentle acknowledgment that sharing this life to those still waiting is both bittersweet and hopeful."
Without any issue, bub took to my breast with ease and I felt my body contract. The moment I hoped to have with Willow just once, was now being lived by her brother. My body nurturing him.
I wouldn’t change a thing. I am grateful to my body and my babies. To experience water births three times. I’ve held three babies. Fed two outside of my body. I take none of this new life for granted.
I know too well how quickly newborns grow. Xavier now feeling so grown up and solid, compared to the human we now all get to hold and see grow. A tiny human who while bigger than Xavier at birth, feels so small.
Choosing a name was hard. Finding something that sounded good and felt symbolic. Isaac meaning ‘they will laugh’. Alexander meaning ‘great’. Together his acronym is IAM. He is here through hope and love.
Birth was the final hurdle I had to face, with no guarantees of life that would come home. The final fears that this birth would not meet my expectations of a calm water birth like Xavier and Willows birth.
Since confirming we were pregnant I journaled in Pregnancy after loss by @zoeclarkcoates. From 20weeks, I wrote what I loved about pregnancy daily. In the @birth_book I acknowledged fears, hopes, mantras, and visualised birth.
Today, I absorb each present living moment. Knowing what it means to get to hold this life. Remembering the pain of letting go. The fear of letting in. And the gentle acknowledgment that sharing this life to those still waiting is both bittersweet and hopeful.