It was around 3:30am on the 8th of August, when I was awoken by a crampy feeling in my belly. Creeping out of bed, sliding out from underneath Sage’s arm (#cosleepinglife), she said aloud in her sleep;
“I see Hunter?!”
(Translation: I want to see Hunter!)
It was at that moment that I thought - how freaky!
But - yay he’s coming!
The day before, I’d called Rhys at work, with the last slither of fear around freebirthing arising. “I’m pretty sure he’s breach bub, or sideways, or in a weird position, or something. It’s giving me anxiety, I think I’m going to go to the Doctors just to check.”
Although I wasn’t too worried about him being breech, because I knew he could turn last minute or be birthed breech regardless, I just couldn’t figure out how he was positioned at all! He was all over to the left in a curve. I’d tried to Belly Map, but I just could not figure out what he was doing in there! I’d had the sharp pains of engagement earlier but they’d stopped. And for some reason it was playing on my mind.
I could hear Rhys’ surprise when I’d said I wanted to see a Doctor
…(only seeing one twice throughout the entire pregnancy), but being my rock as always he just said calmly; “yep no worries, we can do that this afternoon, yeah?” So we went to a local bulk-billing GP that I’d never seen before - and came back home none the wiser! Seems the Doc couldn’t figure out his position either. Apparently, though, I needed to do that to get into a safe space in my mind before I birthed.
Maybe it was some sort of old, deep-seeded societal conditioning (that birth is a medical event), pulled from within my subconscious. My outdated belief system…?
Or maybe it was some kind of early transition?? Maybe I was in labour at that point and didn’t know it? Could’ve been, since he arrived a short 13-ish hours later? Fast forward to Sage talking in her sleep, which she often does, and I was doing the weird - ‘am I actually in labour?"‘ questioning. Just as I did with Sage’s birth.
I went to the toilet, thinking maybe that’s what the tummy cramps were about, but after I got back I had another few crampy feelings. So I decided to screenshot my phone every time I had one, to capture the time and see if these ‘feelings’ were regular. Not to time my surges (I’ve never monitored my surges during labour, or known my dilation - cos, why…?)
But yeah, they were regular!
So, just like my birth with Sage,
I immediately went into ‘Hypnobirthing’ mode.
I had always visualised birthing Hunter in our backroom, looking out the big back window at the gumtrees and into the night sky. But somehow that space seemed too open, too cold, too exposed. I decided the warm bedroom where Sage and Rhys were sleeping, and where the heater was on, was the perfect spot to labour. And I was so certain of that. (And that’s what is meant by trusting yourself during birth, no matter what your ‘plans’ were.)
I grabbed my birth altar props that I had out in the back room (candles, crystals, essential oils and Goddess Oracle Cards) and I started setting up a birth altar on my bedroom dresser. Yep - this is the perfect spot to be, I decided. Definitely not in my original plans, but as I said - a woman in labour is always most connected to her instincts and intuition! So I was not going to let my logical mind question my heightened intuition at that moment.
The dimly lit room and the light snoring of both Rhys and Sage in our bed made me just as I needed to feel - safe.
I grabbed a towel, got on all fours and got into some suggested positions from the Spinning Babies website, because I was still sure Hunter was in a weird position. And once I did that there was A LOT of movement in my belly! It honestly felt like he flipped, but I will never know if he turned into the perfect position, if he already was, if he would have anyway, or if he was just moving downward - but I remember saying aloud ‘whoa’ at the intense movements. Yet, he still felt quite high up.
After about an hour of peacefully labouring on my own, sniffing Wild Orange Essential Oil from the bottle (which this time stopped the nausea in its tracks - I wasn’t vomiting like l was with Sage), using my birthing techniques, listening to my Rainbow Relaxation in my headphones and whispering to Hunter at the same time - everything started to intensify. At that point Rhys and Sage woke up together and saw the glow of the candles and the altar already set up on the bedroom dresser. I said to Rhys something like “pretty sure this is happening bub'“ and he said (groggily); “really? You all good? Want me to do anything?”
It was at that moment that I should have reminded him to go and get the GoPro Camera that we had borrowed from his brother, with a fully charged battery that we had ready to go, weeks ago. But I forgot about it too and said calmly; “no, I’m OK. I’m going to message Trish (my Doula) soon.”
“Maybe wait a bit bub, it might take a while.” And the memory of Rhys telling me the exact same thing whilst I was in labour with Sage (and the absolute certainty it wasn’t going to ‘take a while’ last time too) was just as strong this time!
I said; “oh no, he’ll be here before sunrise for sure.”
“Nah, that’s in a few hours Neet!'“, he said. I whipped out my phone again and Googled what time sunrise would be - at the same time my surges became a little stronger.
Sunrise was 6:40am.
So I messaged Trish at 4:42am - I’m having surges! After a few texts back and forth, Trish left hers about 5:15am. I let her know that my surges weren’t too intense, they were OK. I hadn’t had any other signs of labour yet either - no show, nothing. When she did arrive, she walked into me being in full blown established labour, which was only half an hour later!
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During that half hour, Sage and Rhys were with me the entire time. Sage was hugging my leg and whispered a few times “you OK Mummy?” as I’d started to become a bit more vocal. I also started rising up on my toes with each surge, as I gripped the edge of the dresser. I assured her I was and gave her big cuddles during the lull of the surges.
When Trish arrived at about 5:45am-ish, I burst into tears.
It was a huge release! If you’ve ever had a Doula, you’ll know the feminine energy they bring into the room when they arrive. For me, I know there is someone who can match my energy and hold that space for me entirely, whilst I completely let go. Rhys and Sage were amazing birth keepers, don’t get me wrong - and even though I know I have walked this Earth with my children and Rhys many times before, I also know I have done the same with my Doulas, as well as sat in Circle with them. We’ve discussed women’s sacred wisdom over many lifetimes, I’m certain of it - and it all floods back to me when I’m with them.
This moment was also right about when I went somewhere else.
It’s hard for me to remember what happened, it’s the time Mamas often describe as leaving their physical body and going into the Ether to get their baby and bring them back down, Earthside. The consciousness of this moment was like a lightning bolt, when one large intense surge brought me right back down into my body. It was the same moment Trish whispered something to me whilst she whisked her Raven’s wing around my body.
It’s something I’ll never forget and at that moment the Divine Feminine entered the room.
I felt her.
And she patiently waited for me to surrender and hand over my birth, to the natural flow of nature. As I did, she took me right to the edge. This was definitely transition, because the veil was thin. I could sense my complete surrender and trust as she held out her hands for me to take, and my respect for the life and death border that is presented to you at this exact moment was the strongest I’d ever felt it.
This moment right here…
is (what I truly believe) has shaped the way our Birthing Industry operates. It’s a succumbing to the fear of the unknown that it brings. A lack of respect of this natural process, of our birthing women, of our babies - and the need for huMANs to control it.
And this is the worst perception, because there is no control. You either allow it to be what it is going to be, or you let your mind convince you there is something ‘wrong’ - because you’re not leading the process. Mother Nature is.
You are presented with an opportunity to disagree with the fear, and just let what ever is happening, happen. Or let fear handle your decisions. This moment is something women will never be able to truly explain. I believe this is the moment you are presented with all of your ‘stuff’, in one intense moment. All at once. If you haven’t healed or processed them beforehand. And that can be scary - if you’re not willing, or wanting, to let go of them.
Physiologically, this is also the moment we are flooded with adrenalin. We enter flight or fight, in order for our bodies to be able to have the energy to get through this stage. If you know this, and are able to fully trust everything at that moment - your baby is coming undisturbed.
This is the moment where, I know for sure that, if I was in any other environment, I may be at risk of leaning into external opinion or direction. And for me, that risk is far more dangerous than ‘freebirthing’.
Safety for me, is a completely undisturbed process of my body, mind and soul doing what it was built to do, during labour.
It wasn’t long after this, that I had that same sense that my water was about to break - although I never know that’s what that ‘sense’ is. I said; “quick! Help me into the shower.” I felt a sense or urgency to get in there, and once I did, my waters broke. It was a huge, intense gush that Rhys heard from the bedroom! And the relief, oh the relief! I think I even let out an ‘ahhhhhh’. Trish was with me, after helping me waddle into the shower and untangle from the pj’s I had on. And Rhys was with Sage in the bedroom. I turned the warm shower on, as that early morning was still a tad chilly, as well as the fact that water always calms me when I’m in labour.
I asked Trish to please get Rhys, something along the lines of “I need Rhys now” - and in the entry way to the bathroom, Rhys and Trish ‘swapped shifts’ supporting Sage. That gush of water had pushed Hunter right down, and almost through. His head was now crowning, and I grabbed Rhys to help me inside the shower - whilst Sage and Trish watched from outside the tiny cubicle.
I was pretty vocal at this point. I had been breathing him down so perfectly that he was coming down so easily. I had this need to bear down, whilst I used Rhys’ shoulders and neck to hold the rest of my body up. But then - “Quick! You’re going to have to get him”, I said. “He’s coming out fast!” And with that, I pushed him down from a standing position, to a squat. He cupped his hands underneath me and I heard Trish gently say to me;
“reach down and touch your baby’s head.”
So I did. And I will never forget that feeling. That immediate and beautiful connection. The way his wrinkly head felt. And then - as fast as I had dragged Rhys into shower with me, I pushed him out! Hunter was coming, and he was coming fast. As soon as Rhys was out of the shower, I got down onto all fours with my head sticking out of the shower door. Trish and Rhys almost said at the same time (I assume after a quiet discussion OR they were both just so in sync with their thoughts!) - “have you got this Neet? You’re going to have to do this, we can’t get in there to grab him.”
Yep, I said. But Rhys wasn’t convinced - so moments before the amazing (wonderful, magnificent, magical!) Fetal Ejection Reflex pushed Hunter out, Rhys threw a folded up towel on the shower floor underneath me. And underneath him! He came out so quickly that my attempt to catch him one handed underneath, from above, was matched with Rhys’ forearm shooting into the shower and breaking Hunter’s fall!
We brought him up and I noticed the Umbilical Cord was wrapped around his neck.
He was wriggling around attempting to unwrap himself (the intuitiveness and primal consciousness of babies!) So I gave him a hand and unwound it. I pulled him to face me and he greeted us with the biggest smile (2nd pic below.) An ear to ear smile that assured me that everything was absolutely fine when his first breath seemed to take far too long.
This had been one of the fears of birth that I had to walk through and get face to face with. And only weeks before I had seen a video of a homebirth where the baby had taken several minutes to take in his first breath. Thanks to his Mama’s calmness and knowledge that this is extremely common and natural, as baby’s airways adjust to breathing, and circulating, Oxygen. I had spoken to Rhys about this also, and therefore we adopted the same temperament when Hunter’s little body was limp, floppy, grey - and he was yet to breathe.
I rubbed his little back, and continued the communication with him that I had been having with him since he crowned. “Come on mate, you’re safe, everything’s OK, Mummy’s here, you’re OK, deep breath in.” Thinking back to this moment, I am once again grateful that I was managing my own birth, as opposed to an immediate removal from the mother, cutting of the Umbilical Cord (the Umbilical Cord… where babies are still breathing from at that moment) and oxygen mask application ‘procedure.’
He drew in a huge breath, and we all took one in at the same time. His body turned pink and he let out a huge cry. Here I am world! At the same time as Sage yelled out; “yay! the babies here!”
And so he was.
At at 6:38am.
Just 2 minutes shy of sunrise, on the magical 8th of the 8th Lion’s Gate.
Now… I feel it in my bones, that this story might trigger a lot of you.
For your own individual reasons.
But at the end of the day, this is my story and my choices.
They are not mainstream, they are ‘unconventional’ in relationship to our birthing views at this time on Earth. But, just at this time. Expand your mind a little, outside of your own consciousness and remember that ‘birth’ has been happening since, well - you know, the start of mankind! And the way you may believe birth should unfold, is only one way. And one way in one, very very short, period of time on this planet.
So I share this story, as an ode to my amazing Sun Hunter Kye, his fiercely awakened sister Sage Luna, his unconditionally loving father Rhys, our wise BEarth-ing Doula and to WOMBen all across the world. Those who have birthed, those who have not, and those who wish to…