Lavendilly Story Time: The Ringing Bell

Little Garden FaerieThis is the story of my Little One’s caesarean birth. I wrote this to tell at her 4th birthday party, although I told a simplified version. My Little One sat on her birthday pillow, inside the silk rainbow circle, and I told this story with only a little bell as a prop in the story. At the end I put a rainbow necklace with a bell on it over her head. She felt so special.

THE RINGING BELL

Written by and Copyright to Jennifer McCormack, July 2014

In a little house by a creek there lived a family of fairies. There was Mumma and Daddy fairy, and Brother and Sister fairy. Mumma was a water fairy, Daddy was a wind fairy, Brother was a fire fairy and Sister was a song fairy. They were happy together, each one unique, each one interested in different things, but all living harmoniously together.

One day Mumma thought she heard the jingling of a little bell. It was only faint, but it jingled on and off all day. “Do you hear that?” she asked Daddy. Daddy couldn’t hear it at first, but after a while, if he listened carefully, he could make out the sweet faint jingling sound.

It wasn’t long before Brother and Sister could hear it too, and the sweet jingling, ringing sound grew louder every day. “I know what it is,” said Mumma Fairy, “a new little fairy is going to join our family!”

The whole family heard the jingling sound for many months. Some days it was strong, and some days it was soft. Sometimes they heard it at night, and at other times it woke them up in the morning. “Sweet Little One,” they would say, “when are you coming?”

Day after day the fairy family would make their home ready for their new Little One, and the ringing grew louder and louder! Everyone was very excited.

But one morning Mama Fairy woke up because the jingling sound wasn’t loud. It was very soft, and it didn’t ring very often. As the morning went on, the sound stopped all together. Mumma could feel her Little One in her heart, and deep inside her womb she knew her baby fairy would be coming today, but she couldn’t hear the clear ringing of her Little One’s bell at all! This worried her.

“Oh dear!” thought Mumma Fairy, “I need some help! It’s time for our baby fairy to come, but it seems to have gone away. Come little fairy, come! Wake up Little One!”

They all tried to use their talents to help their Little One come. Mumma the water fairy rocked and danced like the gentle waves of a river. Daddy the wind fairy spoke words of wisdom and bravery, encouraging Little One (and Mumma) to not be afraid. Brother the fire fairy used his fire talent to make their home warm and welcoming. Sister the song fairy sang to their Little One a song of love and joy, calling for the sound of the bell. But no bell could be heard. All was still and quiet.

They needed some more help. Daddy called a Healer Fairy to come and help them call their Little One in.

The Healer Fairy listened to Mumma’s story, and listened carefully for the bell. She put her hands on Mumma Fairy’s belly and gently called out to the Little One:

“Baby Fairy ring your bell, 

Jingle, tinkle, ring it well!

Your birthing day has begun

Come join your family, Little One”

All was still, even their house was quiet, as everyone listened carefully for the ringing, jingling sound. Still the baby fairy’s bell remained silent. The Healer Fairy told Mumma and Daddy that she would need some more help, and they would need to visit the Great Healing Hall because the magic was powerful there, where lots of healer fairies worked together.

Many fairies were already waiting at the Great Healing Hall. They were singing and chanting together, songs of love and birth and healing and the music entered the Healing Hall on sweet drifting strands. Mumma and Daddy Fairy heard their friends sing and felt strong, brave and loved. The many voices making music together was part of the healing magic. The healer fairies gathered around Mumma and Daddy and called to the Little One to ring her bell … and … after a while:

A faint, sweet jingling. There it was! They could all hear it!

The healing fairies rested their wands on Mumma Fairy’s brow and asked her “Are you ready for your Little One to come?” Mumma held Daddy’s hand. She was ready. They were all ready.  It was time and they could hardly wait.

The healing fairies rested their wands upon Mumma Fairy’s heart and asked her “Are you ready to receive your Little One with love and openness, however your Little One arrives?” Mumma Fairy was ready. Her heart was now bursting with the sound of her Little One’s bell. A soft feeling, almost like sleep swept over her as she relaxed, ready to receive.

The healing fairies rested their wands at Mumma Fairy’s womb and asked her “Are you ready to open the door, to help your Little One come through?” Mumma Fairy was ready. She put her hands on her womb and listened for the ringing, jingling bell. She could hear it and feel it growing stronger. She whispered the Healing Fairy’s special words to the Little One over and over:

“Baby Fairy ring your bell, 

Jingle, tinkle, ring it well!

Your birthing day has begun

Come join your family, Little One”

The fairies outside the Great Healing Hall kept singing and chanting. Daddy Fairy and Mumma Fairy held each other, and held their breath with anticipation. They could hardly wait to meet their Little One. The healing fairies drew a line with fairy magic across Mumma Fairy’s womb with their wands, and a door opened. From this door came a bridge of rainbow light – and a loud clear ringing sound filled the room as a little baby Rainbow fairy came through the door, lifted over the bridge of coloured light, helped by the healing fairies, landing snuggly in Mumma Fairy’s arms. Their Little One was perfectly well, perfect in every way, and slept in Mumma’s arms safe and sound, ringing gently as she breathed.

The healing fairies waved their wands again and as the door in Mumma’s womb was magically closed, the bridge of rainbow light disappeared. All was still, all was quiet, and cloaked in peace. Only the sound of singing from the fairies outside of the Great Healing Hall drifted in through the windows. Everyone smiled.

Brother and Sister Fairy were delighted to meet their sister, Little Rainbow Fairy , and they took turns holding her and talking to her. Brother Fairy warmed her and Sister Fairy sang to her.

“You silly little fairy,” crooned Mumma,” We were worried about you, and here you are, perfect in every way. If this is the way you come into our family, I can see that you will have plenty more adventures, and come out of them just fine every time.”

And do you know, that’s exactly what happened. Four years have passed, and the Little Rainbow Fairy still wakes up every day, ringing and jingling happily, finding adventure every where she looks.

* * *

She was a plannedLittle One's Birthday Ceremony. LH home birth, but it seems our Little One had something else in mind. In the end we went to hospital because our baby was very quiet and still, with a faint heart beat. It just so happened that on this same day many of my friends and community were outside the hospital attending a rally in support of the re-opening of the Gold Coast Hospital Birth Centre. They were singing and chanting together and I could hear them from my room. It gave me great comfort to know they were outside while I was inside with my husband and our two wonderful midwives, who were really looking after me. Caesarean was exactly what we were trying to avoid, but in this case I felt supported in the decision to go ahead.

In the end our Little One was perfectly fine, the little cheeky little thing. A picture of perfect baby health. We have just celebrated her fourth birthday and she has grown into a bright, cheery and chatty little thing – always ready for the adventure each day brings.

I thought that I had already processed her birth, and found myself ok with how it unfolded, despite our worry about her at the time, and my very ordinary recovery after surgery … but writing this story brought me more joy on another level, and I found a new kind of acceptance and peace with my experience. I hope, if you have experienced an unplanned cesarean, that you find some solace and beauty in my story too.

You may be interested to read more about my reflections of this experience:

A Mother Blessed – a poem about my unplanned caesarean birth (this one!)

Cold Birth: Reclaiming my Labour – my immediate reflections about this birth and my thoughts about what it was like to give birth without labour.

xx Jennifer

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Parenting: The Dark Passage of Grace

I wrote this three years ago and shared it on the Kindred Community, as part of a series of posts celebrating the Sacred Family. I was looking for some of my writing on parenting and found this, realising I hadn’t put it on my blog. Three years later, here it is! Here are the thoughts on birthing and pain that I had before my third child was born.  And interestingly … about that comment I made about labour being a predictable pattern? Well it looks like you can’t even count on that … this child did not even allow me the time to indulge in labour. Hers was a cold birth.  …. I tell you she really did lead me down the dark passage of grace – and what a shining light she has become!

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I am preparing for the birth of our third baby … soon. Thoughts about preparing for this birth are never far from my mind at the moment. Reflections on my past two births are also coming up and thoughts about the pain of birthing are surfacing too. I was writing an email to a friend a while ago, who was asking for some resources that will help her prepare for the birth of her first child. After listing a few of the resources that helped me greatly in my previous two births, and in the recovery from my miscarriage in between – I then found myself writing on to address the issue of fear of pain in birth. I think I may have garbled on a bit as I tend to do, but one remark I made in my email brought tears to my own eyes: I said that although I will always have certain concerns and worries about birth they are nothing in comparison to my experiences as a parent. Labour is a breeze.

I don’t think anything really prepares you for parenting – and indeed it can be a shock for first time parents. But I think that is part of what birth IS – the process of birthing is preparation for what is yet to come … it is the birth of a new phase in your life, a new role, a new you. I would take labour over waiting in a hospital emergency room with a sick child any day. At least with labour you know what will happen, well, kind of, as labour almost always progresses to a certain pattern. With a child’s illness you do not have this certainty. There is nothing quite like the tension and anxiety of waiting to find out if your child is going to be ok – or if they will make it through the night without further complications. We had that frightening experience as new parents when we waited to find out if our baby would survive the night without severe brain damage, at the beginning of a sudden and very serious childhood illness. It wasn’t fair. Labour was a relaxing meditation in comparison to the pain of that experience.

The times I cried when learning to breastfeed, the times when I’ve stayed awake all night nursing my children through fevers, vomiting, asthma or nightmares, the times we’ve visited hospital for accidents and illnesses, the times I’ve been ill and have STILL had to be a responsible parent, the times when our children’s behaviour is just too intense and challenging and confusing, the time when we found out our son is deaf … each time we experienced something like this I distinctly remember this thought popping into my mind: I’d rather be in labour! Labour is easy compared to the torture of on-going sleep deprivation, the agony of listening to your child’s struggle for oxygen during an asthma attack!! It is easier than knowing that parenting goes on and keeps presenting you with new challenges and you just have to learn how to move through the moments of uncertainty so that you can get back to loving and savouring every second of the joyful ones, which are far more common, even if the effects of the painful ones are long-lasting and bitter-tasting. Bitter foods awaken and enliven our digestive system. Bitter experiences awaken our ability to digest our life experiences.

I am painting a grim picture of the experiences of parenting! Like labour, these things pass into memory and labour prepares us for this. I love being a parent. I love my family and the colourful life they present me with. They’ve taught me that downhill runs and plateaus are so much more enjoyable and satisfying because you’ve had to slog it up the steep hill in the first place. I am grateful that my experiences of birth and parenting have allowed me to know what it is like to confront the scary face of the unknown, and move through it, maybe not always with confidence, but with the idea that if you just keep moving forward one step at a time embracing the unknown, then whatever happens next is much easier to accept. You’ve done what you could to prepare. You’ve done what you can to heal the situation – and the rest you hand over to trust and faith. THAT is the hard bit.

To be honest, pain in childbirth is never what you think it will be; certainly not if you are prepared to accept that it is going to hurt, knowing WHY it hurts. It is different every time, and for different reasons. Pain in labour happens because your body is changing shape in a matter of hours to let your baby out – it is a GOOD thing! It is a great skill to know how to then transform that experience into a power you can use, and recall how pain teaches us something new about ourselves. I am much stronger for the experiences I have had, through labour and beyond, and it has opened up parts of me that I couldn’t have accessed before.

I posted a quote on my personal blog from Rumi a few weeks ago, on the topic of pain. He wasn’t referring specifically to childbirth I think, even though he uses it as a metaphor, but all the same I think it applies.

Every midwife knows that not until a mother’s womb softens from the pain of labour will a way unfold and the infant find that opening to be born. Oh friend! There is a treasure in your heart, it is heavy with child. Listen. All the awakened ones, like trusted midwives, are saying, ‘Welcome this pain! It opens the dark passage of Grace’.” – Rumi

I am looking forward to the growth I’ll surely experience after this coming labour. That isn’t to say I’m not wary of the pain!! Of course I am, that is human nature, but I know it will pass and I’ll be ok. I am looking forward to opening the dark passage of Grace.

Copyright Jennifer McCormack, May 2010

Lavendilly House: Celebrating sacredness and beauty in everyday life.

Sacred Moments, Sacred Families

20121231_144825I have to tell you about this awesome course – yes it is one of my mine 🙂 At least, I am one half of this course. Melissa and I have been writing this and living this for well over a year together. We made it come alive last year at Silkwood and now offer it in bite-sized chunks, because we know every family has different needs.

Sacred Moments is a parenting course offered on the Gold Coast as a monthly playgroup at Nerang, a monthly evening discussion group at Finger Prints Children’s Centre, and as the Effective Parenting Weekend at Silkwood School, on the Gold Coast. We are currently working on offering it as an e-course for those who live further away. What will you gain from the Sacred Moments Parenting Journey?

This course offers a framework and skills to support your decision-making as parents. Parenthood is a unique experience for each of us.  Sometimes we experience parenthood as a gift, while other times (even on the same morning), we can feel totally swamped and want to escape all our responsibilities.  This course is designed to help you equip yourself, as an individual, for the occasionally wild ride of parenting, to help you feel more prepared as a parent, better nourished, and a whole lot more inspired to be creative about your parenting so that you can enjoy the journey.

You will gain the skills to discover, honour and support your own pathway as a family. This course presents family life as a shared experience between parents and children, based on the understanding that there is no ‘right way’ to be a parent or a family unit, and no magic answer that will fix each and every family dilemma. The process of parenting is a rich, deep and dynamic process that allows us to be present with, honour and ENJOY all that life with children has to teach us.

You will gain a framework to support and ease your everyday family experiences. The framework we are presenting may even help to dissolve those tricky and exasperating moments before they become a big problem, negating the need to find that ‘quick fix’ solution. It will allow you to plan ahead, creating wonderful memories together and smoothing the ruffles in family life as you go.

You will learn techniques to review and reflect upon your parenting experiences while you are parenting on-the-go. You learn how to be present to your parenting and monitor your own effectiveness in the present moment. The ability to reflect with clarity is key to the process we are presenting. It will assist your own personal learning and help you in knowing when it is time to seek more information, more support or use other professional services. These techniques will also help you work through experiences of guilt and anger in a manner that honours your experience and your learning.www.

You will gain a support network of parents. For those attending Sacred Moments Parent Child Group it is anticipated that as we work through this course together and share our experiences that we will emerge as a group of parents able to support one another positively through the processes of family life when needed.

To find out more, email us at mj@liveyoursacredessence.com

Birth: The Birth Dance

mother and child

The Birth Dance

written by Jennifer McCormack, 2007

The sun and the moon, the planets and stars all heard your angel call.

They sung you a bridge, that you may dance to earth from your celestial hall.

Your father and mother heard your life song and prepared a heavenly home on earth.

A soft loving space to experience the world until you are ready to birth.

Your heart and your mother’s, your blood and hers, carry the beat of your song.

Together you move and dance to the rhythm – you dance and so you grow strong.

When you and your father and mother are ready to embrace one another in love,

the sun, moon, planets and stars dance joyfully from above.

The tune of your song plays loud in your ears, your mother moves in anticipation –

and when you dance your way into her arms, the whole world bursts with celebration!

All of your family has heard your life song and they’ve sung together for ten moons.

May you always dance to your own special tune, that is our wish for you.

My Book: A Mother Blessed

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I’ve been wanting to do this for years and years! Ever since my first baby turned one, and I wrote a poem for him that my friends turned into a song – and my good friend Deirdrie Cullen took such touching and breathtaking photographs – I’ve been wanting to combine my writing and the photos into a book that celebrates birth.

I’ve had some fun playing with Blurb.com to put the book together. There are a few photo-book programs available now and I have found it MUCH better than scrapbooking! All the photos of my family are going in to photo-books now. You receive a professionally bound book and it feels so awesome to hold this in your hands and know that you created this wonderful thing. I took photos of a book that my son and his school friend made together and turned that into a book for them too. Published authors at 8 years of age! He was so proud of himself.

This book, “A Mother Blessed” contains a collection of my poetry about birth, put together with some amazing photos and images of my fibre art. You’ll have seen some of it here on this blog over the years. I think my favourite one so far is “The Wise One”. There is also (of course) “A Mother Blessed”, a poem about a birth that didn’t go the way I thought it would. The whole experience of birth, mothering and watching my children grow has been very humbling and this book is an expression of that experience.

I am so grateful to everyone who gave me information and support along the way, to help me birth well – no matter how the birth evolved in the end. So grateful that I will donate 100% of the sales from this book to Homebirth Queensland until Christmas time. It is truly a lovely gift for any mother, and if you know someone who is birthing soon, or who is still in the midst of wonder in this experience (as I am still -eight years later!) you may like to share this book with them. You can view a preview of the book, and purchase it here at this link: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3719062. The book is available for sale as a pdf, softcover and hardcover so there are a few available options there. Please share, and help an organisation that supports so many women to birth with wisdom and support.

The Wise One

I have finally finished my Luc Bat poem  .. and maybe it isn’t finished, but it will do for now. It was inspired by Linden the Listener, but this is a photo of Rosella, who would look right at, and into, your very being -and you knew she was connected to something Greater than all of us. Linden is still there in that place of wisdom, but as she now sits by herself and goes to the places she wants to see, all by herself, and I am seeing her drift away from that place. I guess, in this poem I am trying to say that we are all still connected, and that our life’s work is to remember the things we forgot when we grew up.

The wisdoms of the world:

Compressed within my girl’s deep gaze,

Drifting in the sweet haze

Of all the dreamy days since birth.

 

She’s arrived on this earth,

Knowing all there is worth to know,

And in her eyes it shows:

From life times long ago, she brings

The ancestral teachings

And angelic blessings of Love.

 

And the sweet haze, above will lift,

And from Heaven she’ll shift.

And from Wisdom she’ll drift down here,

Forget Love, and learn Fear.

But deep within she’ll hear, always

The Wise One’s voice: it says

“Love comes when the heart prays and sings

And to Fear you’ll find Love clings

Small One, you know these things: you’ll thrive!

Through your life you will strive

To keep Heart’s Love alive and not

To lose what you forgot.”

 

Welcome home Linden :)

The little one has arrived – in a manner that quite surprised us all … the cheeky little thing!

After all these months of dreaming and writing and preparing for my second home birth, it didn’t happen. In fact I had a bit of anti-home birth … in fact I didn’t even go into labour at all!!  I knew this labour would be completely different from my other two, but I was at least expecting labour as part of the birth! But there you go – that just reinforces what I’ve known all along: you’ve got to be prepared for anything.

So what happened? My waters broke early in the morning, but with no contractions so I went back to sleep – or tried to … I was a little excited 🙂 Once I woke up I texted my midwife, then when she came over we noticed the fluid was looking a bit green, and after a moment’s thought, she recommended that we go to hospital for monitoring. Green amniotic fluid suggests meconium (baby’s first poo), and if baby has pooed in the womb then that is considered a sign of distress.

So after arranging care for the children off we went, where I met what seemed like a stream of people all intent on telling me the same thing in as many different ways as they could. We tried to start labour, but still nothing was happening, except that when I moved about baby’s heart rate dropped … which wasn’t good.

So then there was really no other choice to make: cesarean it would be. Of course I was disappointed, but I felt fully informed, I had asked the questions I wanted answers to, I had my husband with me and my support team (midwife and lovely student midwife), and down below in the street outside were about 400 women, many them my friends, rallying for the Gold Coast Birth Centre. I could hear them chanting and it felt like they were there for me! (good on you girls!!)

I took a moment to adjust my thinking and in we went. Yeah I know … I make it sound like an easy emotional process … it was something I’ve tucked away for later processing I think, but I don’t regret the birth for a moment – who wouldn’t rather have a happy, safely birthed baby?

The thing is, our little one emerged with a perfect heart rate, perfect breathing, perfect colouring, perfect little cry, perfect everything … not remotely distressed apart from the obvious shock of being pulled out into the light by strange hands.

And there she was .. another daughter! I think that was probably the biggest surprise of all! While I have never felt any ‘vibes’ at all about who might be in there, I really did feel a moment of “OH! You are a girl!” when she was presented to me – and then “OH! You have hair! And it is black!” and then she snuggled in and I was lost in baby land. My husband was so moved and he was choking on his words. All we could do was laugh and hold hands, and touch her.

She is a darling. Here she is, adored by the whole family, a little girl with a big name:

Linden Lucille Marie

Getting ready …

The children have helped to wash the birthing pool, fill it and find the holes (which are now patched!)…

The pool is in place, and the room all prepared (although of course it has since been rearranged!)…

Knitting in progress for various little-people clothing items …

And spinning the last of my silk/merino for a little baby bonnet!

And unrelated to birthing … here is David’s latest project (it is up to me to finish painting it!). This is Rosella’s new potty chair that he converted from one of the children’s play chairs (shown next to it). I promise to finish painting it and post another picture. It will be very beautiful!

Learning to love receiving

I had the most divine experience today – something that completely sealed my decision to be cared for by a home birth midwife. I just do not see an obstetrician or a doctor having the time to care for me in the manner I received today!!

My midwife, her midwife partner and her student midwife all participated in giving me the most luxurious massage today. With six hands gliding over me there was not a bit of skin that did not receive the loving touch of three women who wanted nothing more than for me and my baby to feel relaxed, nurtured and loved – and so I received all that they offered and just slipped away into dreams and memories, together with my baby.

I have to admit it was quite overwhelming, receiving so much love all at once. I started feeling all choked up at one point – and then asked myself why I would feel like crying when I was surrounded by so much love. I took my cue from my baby and just lapped it up. Babies are so good at receiving love, they just look at you and accept it as their right, which of course it is! I could feel my baby moving gently into the best position to receive those beautiful caresses, and so I did too. Laying in the warm sunshiny room, feeling those fluid strokes made me feel like I was lying in crystal clear water on a shallow beach in the sunshine, with waves lapping over me.

It is my right to accept love too – but at what point do we begin feeling that we do not deserve it? At what point do we learn that it is better to give love than to receive it? I think it was a mutual experience today. Those three beautiful women genuinely enjoyed sharing their skills to make me feel wonderful – and so I feel wonderful.

I am a giver. I do feel immensely wonderful when I am able to give someone something they need, when I am able to help someone or teach someone, or watch someone gain enjoyment from something. It is a total buzz for me. Harder to accept it from others.

My friends gave me a blessingway last week and I am still on a high from the warmth they wrapped around me. I sat in the circle and listened to things being said about me that I might have suspected, or hoped I could achieve one day, but not crediting myself with the fact that I already hold the qualities I strive for. It was very humbling – and again I fought the urge to deny the love being freely directed at me.

Why do we wait until we are at a life transition point to accept the love others have for us? Honestly, we should ask for regular blessingways! Not for a birth, or our birthday, not for an anniversary or a life change … or a funeral … why not ask your friends to arrange one for you next week? Take turns. I guarantee it will be a buzz for everyone.

There is a growing global movement to begin RED TENTS – monthly sanctuaries for women to give and receive the nurturing they deserve. I guess that is how I feel about our Sacred Essence Circles … where the focus is on looking within ourselves at what drives us, inspires us .. and a good honest look at where our skills lie  … and then making them shine. Even though I co-host these circles I feel just as nurtured from them as I hope the attending women do. Love is freely given and received in these circles – but how nice to arrange something with the special women in our lives to give back to them what they give to us?

I’m serious! Arrange a group of women and set aside a monthly time to nurture each other. meet for massages, rub each others feet, give each other facials, cook treats for each other, share stories about how you met and why you are such wonderful friends, sing together, make a group gift for each other. One woman a month.

Frequently Asked Questions …about being brave

When are you due?

Mid-July, sometime.

Is this your first child?

No. This will be our third child. We have an almost-six year old, and two-year old.

Ooh, three children! You are brave! Do you know what you are having?

No, we haven’t found out. I am looking forward to having three children. My two are lovely children, and I’m looking forward to having a newborn to cuddle again!

So, it is going to be a surprise then? That’s brave!

I don’t want to do any scans if I can help it, so … Yes! It will be a beautiful surprise!

No scans? That’s brave of you! Why not?

It isn’t important to us whether our baby is a boy or a girl and I don’t think we are meant to know about who is in there until the baby is born. To me, birth is about learning how to accept the unknown element. We don’t need to ‘control’ everything in our lives! I think we need to trust our bodies, our health and our intuition. I think we need to encourage professionals such as independent midwives who know women’s bodies inside and out. Midwives know their craft and they are trained to care for women and babies before, during and after birth.

I am a bit disturbed by the idea of being scanned – and I also don’t feel the need to disturb my baby with tests and needles. Bombarding baby with intense sound waves in the crucial stages of the development (when some of their organs and body systems such as hearing are still just beginning to form). It doesn’t make sense to me. Doctors used to X-Ray pregnant mothers, thinking THAT was safe! I am healthy, our midwife is monitoring the baby’s growth, I can feel for myself that our baby is growing well and is active, and I like the thought of my mystery bundle all snuggled up in there. A little present to unwrap in a few months!

I had one scan in the very latter stages of each of my previous pregnancies – both my babies did all they could to get away from it. They kicked and punched and tried to roll away. On the screen I could see them cover their eyes, and try to protect their body with their hands. I found it very distressing. I know that this is not everyone’s experience, but it was mine and I don’t wish to repeat it if I can help it.

So, no. No scans if I can help it.

Where will you have your baby?

We are planning to have another home birth.

A home birth? Is that allowed? That’s brave of you!! What if something goes wrong?

It is allowed. To be honest, for me, I think it would take more bravery for me to birth in hospital where I feel that I would have less choice about my birth, and would have to birth in an unfamiliar environment, with unfamiliar staff ‘monitoring’ me, unfamiliar noises, smells, subject to staff shift changes … I feel safe and comfortable at home. I have a midwife I trust, and she will be with me when I need her. This is what she is trained to do! She knows how to help a woman birth babies, she has emergency equipment, and she knows when further help will be needed. We have discussed risks, addressed fears and she has taught my partner and I how to effectively prepare ourselves for birth. I feel safe with her and to me that matters more than anything else.

If something ‘goes wrong’ then we will transfer to hospital. I have transferred before (for my first birth) and I was grateful for the immediate assistance I received at the hospital. My second birth was at home with nothing to worry about. A beautiful, exciting home lotus birth.

What is a lotus birth?

A lotus birth is a peaceful entry into the world. It is a ceremony that honours the ‘space’ a baby is born in, and allows the baby to come to terms with its new environment in its own time. In a lotus birth the umbilical cord is not cut at all, which means the baby remains connected to the placenta until the cord dries and falls off of its own accord. It can take up to (approximately) a week to complete this process and in this time baby is allowed a peaceful and restful state of adjustment.

Yuck! You are brave to do that! Doesn’t it smell? Doesn’t the placenta go off?

I would never risk the health of my baby. The placenta is cared for as the baby is cared for. It is washed and drained and allowed to dry, preserved with salt and herbs. A placenta is nothing to be afraid of! My baby and I made it together and it nourished my baby the whole time it was in my womb. It has to be birthed too, and should not just be discarded without any regard. With careful loving attention it does not smell, turn septic or develop infections. Our last birth was a home lotus birth, and it was the highlight of my life. It wasn’t a hassle, our baby lay peacefully undisturbed with us in our bed. The cord dried within 24 hours and came off by itself on the morning of the fourth day. Again, our midwife was there to monitor the health of the baby, and the condition of the cord and placenta. My husband took over the care of the placenta while I concerned myself with recovery from birth, and nursing our baby. Our son was fascinated with the whole process of his sister’s lotus birth, and asked lots of questions. It is our hope that they  both can experience this again so that they may approach the birth of their own children with an open mind and heart, knowing what a special time of life this is.

You keep saying that I am being brave. Why are we afraid of birthing? Of course I have worries. Even a third time, the thought of birth can be overwhelming, and it would not be normal for me to approach a massive event like this without some trepidation. Fear means I have something to learn, it means my body is working the way it should. I think we are taught to fear the act of birth, but what are we actually afraid of? Birth? Pain? … or the unknown? Birth HAS to happen if we are to meet this baby! But I just can’t let those thoughts consume me in such a way that I end up losing faith in my ability to birth! I have support: medical, family, friends. I have knowledge about what my body can do, and I know I can give birth.

Birth is something I can prepare for – the unknown is something I cannot prepare for. But if I can prepare my body, feel comfortable in my environment, feel confident in my birthing support, then I feel I have significantly reduced my fear of the unknown. I don’t know how this birth will unfold … and in that way, yes I guess I am brave.

Exciting, isn’t it?