I am one of those women that can intuitively sense when I am pregnant almost immediately. I also have dreams about what I am having and previously had dreams of boys which came true.
The very week I signed my Calmbirth franchisee agreement I found out I was pregnant for the third time. I was 3-4 wks pregnant and it completely took me by surprise as I honestly didn't think you could fall pregnant a week after you had ovulated! At first I was shocked as how could I run Calmbirth workshops when I was pregnant. Well duh, it couldn't get any better than sharing the journey with your clients.
The same week I found I was pregnant, I had a dream, a baby girl came to me and said her name was Zoe and she would like to be born in water at home. It required a bit of convincing for my hubby and thank goodness Brad was open to supporting my choices. I contacted a fellow Calmbirth practitioner who was also an acupuncturist and midwife, we instantly connected and everything was falling into place. I also found out about placenta encapsulation through the back up midwife and suggested I look at Moonsong.com.au. She explained the benefits and that she would show me how we could encapsulate it in the comfort of my own home. I had never heard of placenta encapsulation before and i was curious to find out if it did anything.
At 7 weeks I had the worst flu I have ever had, I couldn't move and I was vomiting and felt very low. A completely different pregnancy to the two boys, was it possible I was having a girl?
At 10 weeks we went on a family holiday to Cairns, my friend from mummies group was due to give birth to her second child. The text came announcing Liam's arrival, i was so happy for her she had been through hell with 4 miscarriages and in the next sentence the happiness came crashing down. Liam had died and had gone to be with the angels. How could this happen? A beautiful and healthy full term baby was gone. (read missingliam.com) It was not fair, the loss of a child at any age is every parents nightmare. My emotional state was not at it's best and I started having negative thoughts of how could I cope if we lost this baby growing inside me?
Infant death seems to be a taboo subject. I had no idea what to say, what to do or how to talk to my friend. I shut myself off from her and couldn't deal with it. It is through Amanda's blog I have learnt about her journey dealing with grief, loss and people's reactions and it is through her sharing her knowledge and experience she has made a difference to people all over the world. All she needed was someone to listen, hold her hand and give support. This was yet another life lesson for me. I was thrilled to find out that a year after the loss of liam, rainbow baby Will arrived.
The first trimester of my pregnancy was not easy, I was still recovering from the flu and with all these emotions going on the morning sickness/ gastro type symptoms ramped up. I was constantly sick and running family day care during the week with 4 little boys under 4 was challenging work.
I had dreamed of having a girl ever since I could remember - to dress up, to play tea parties, to plait her hair and to do girly things with. Zoe kept visiting in my dreams, we would walk in nature and through rainforests and waterfalls and big open fields and make daisy chains. I watched her grow to about 4-5 years old, she had beautiful caramel coloured ringlet hair and the same striking blue eyes as the rest of the family. She would always hold my hand and be close wherever we went. The thought that I was having a girl was motivating me to keep going.
The day had arrived that we were going to find out what we were having. I had previously kept the first two as a surprise. All the boys were with me and Jack (my eldest) and I were convinced it was a girl. The scan started and then the announcement came - It's a boy! I was honestly in shock and didn't think she was right.
Second trimester which I usually looked forward to I spent feeling sorry for myself.
I was still suffering from morning sickness and feeling really exhausted, stress had taken over, my adrenals were in overdrive and my immune system was very weak. I had never experienced this type of sickness before and I was trialling every natural remedy I could. Acupuncture, nux vomica, arsenicum album, rescue remedy, kinesiology, I was eating mostly clean foods with lots of protein, vegetables and fruits, very limited dairy and where possible gluten free foods. I had read many old wives tales about girls robbing you of your beauty and tended to cause more morning sickness but really this was pushing me into a negative space I didn't like being in.
At 20 wks I was still violently ill and had lost over 6 kilos (which is great but I was a little worried that bubba wasn't getting all the right nutrients) so I spoke to my midwife who recommended I see a holistic doctor. I went in a had some testing and received a call from the doctor later that night to say that I needed to come in straight away.
He told me I had two intestinal parasites that needed immediate treatment. I was told to go on a dairy, wheat and fructose free diet, antibiotic treatment( which he didn’t like to prescribe as it stays in your body for 2 years read here) probiotic and gastrointestinal powders and several chinese herbal remedies. It took a couple of weeks before I started to feel better, it wasn't completely cleared but I started to enjoy the pregnancy finally.
My Calmbirth workshops were going great and I was connecting with so many beautiful couples and sharing the pregnancy journey with them. I had finally found my passion and purpose and life was good.
At 28 wks my husband came home to tell me that his work was relocating to Brisbane. We decided as a family to give it 12 months and go on an adventure. We went for a week to find an area to live in and a place to live, we found there was not a lot of choice at the beginning of summer however we found a house with no air con( what was I thinking being pregnant in qld!)
I contacted a list of home birth midwives starting from the bottom of the alphabet, and the very first one i talked to sounded awesome and just felt right. Kelli from The Midwife Clinic came out to our holiday villa and stayed for nearly 2 hrs. It was an instant connection. Kelli’s care and support went above and beyond my expectations. Everything happens for a reason.
I also contacted Lauren from accomplished birth who happily agreed to collect my placenta for encapsulating on our babies birth day as our plans had changed and I wanted to spend the day falling in love with my baby instead.
Once again we were back on track and we were loving exploring our new surroundings.
I began to write my birth plan, it helped having a visible goal I could look at everyday.
This was my Birth Plan for Zoe Ariel
16th Jan 2013 between 5-8am (estimated arrival date 19th Jan by Doctors)
Calm and relaxed environment/ darkened room, candles and music
Easy calm labour (3 hrs) and water birth at home
Bubba to change to anterior position when coming down the birth canal as like your brothers you were stuck in posterior position
Brad, my husband, to catch the baby
Kelli, the midwife, to be present at the birth
My two boys, Jack and Mac, to watch the birth
Oxytocin everywhere, immediately bond with bubba and breastfeed easily
Calm and healthy baby starts feeding on their own
Cutting of the cord after it stops pulsating and left for as long as I want
Easy third stage delivery of the placenta
Placenta to be taken away for encapsulation
If in the event of an emergency that everything possible is done to keep mother and baby safe.
At 34 wks we arrived into a heat wave, we had been warned to get a place with air con, alas we didn't and so I took comfort in a big cold bath every day where I would listen to my shamanic drum journeys and go on a journey to meet my baby. ( moonsong.com.au)
Zoe would laugh and we would play peek a boo. She would tell me that she will come when the time is right.
At 38 weeks I went to my first Home Birth Qld meet where I listened to these amazing home birth stories and they made a circle and surrounded me with their love.
At 39 weeks it was my hubby's birthday, the kids had started in daycare and loving it so Brad and I went for a seafood lunch in Cleveland looking out over North Stradbroke. The drive home I was experiencing very strong Braxton Hicks, they do say that seafood works like an aphrodisiac perhaps the oxytocin (ejection reflexes) could produce a baby! I told Brad who spoke to the baby and said he didn't want to share his birthday and to stay in. The baby listened.
The next day was Brad's late mothers birthday and I had a really strong desire to birth our baby on this special day. Bubba had other plans
My braxton hicks episodes were increasing everyday, I practiced my breathing techniques during these. Just when I thought today was the day it all went away. Both my boys came early and so naturally I thought that bub 3 would come early too. This baby was on its own agenda!
The school holidays were almost over, I had my mum and my sisters (13 and 16) waiting patiently for bubba to come so they could jump on a plane. My birth plan changed as I was running out of time to see my family before my sisters went back to school. I told them to come up and join us for the birth. In hindsight it may not have been the best change of plan as when you have a house full of people there is no option for creating a calming environment! However at least it gave my sisters the opportunity that I had when I was present at their births and watching a beautiful calm birth experience unfold.
It was storm season and the winds were howling, rain was pouring and creating flooding, trees were falling and sight seeing was restricted. The house looked like a Chinese laundry and we were all just sitting around playing the waiting game.
I had a number of times taken myself upstairs into my bath with my music and drifted off with zoe into a nice place in nature.
Braxton hicks were increasing and I had passed the 40wk due date and was into my 41st wk. The Australia day long wkd was quickly approaching and I thought to myself what a great time to have a baby now as when they grow up they will always have a long wkd to celebrate their birthday! I chatted to Kelli who was with another labouring home birth mumma. Kelli told me to hang on to that baby as she needed some sleep in between! So bub and I had a talk and we held on a little longer.
Sunday night of the long wkd I felt a little off so went to bed early. My mum, before I went to bed, predicted bubs arrival for the 28th Jan. My mum stays up late most nights so she finally went to bed at midnight and low and behold the cramping started. I decided to not get up and sleep instead so I dozed on and off as the waves came and went. 5am I couldn't contain my excitement any longer and woke brad up so we could go downstairs to fill up the pool. Brad was pottering around whilst I roamed around the house and set the environment and bounced on my gym ball, got on all fours on the floor and swayed around like the trees outside. Cyclone Oswald was in full swing outside, my contractions were coming every 5 min and lasting about 1.5 min, I was in the zone. Kelli rang as I was having a contraction and then after I hung up she sent me a msg saying that the river was rising and if she didn't come now she may not get through. Call it midwives intuition as she arrived 20 min later and I was ready to birth this baby!
It all happened so quickly that Brad didn't get time to cool the pool down and it was up over 40 deg. Yet I got in because bubba and I wanted a water birth.
Kelli dropped her bags and calmly and gently encouraged me to breathe bubba down with each surge. Brad meanwhile was trying to cool the pool down, calm our other two very excited boys down and let my mum and my sisters know it was time.
I surrendered to the process and with each contraction I eased the baby down working with my body and the muscles of the uterus. Using my visualization of, me swimming with turtles, and my breathing techniques bubba's head emerged in the caul and dove into the water into Kelli's hands at 9.57am.
She quickly bought bubba up under my legs and I sunk back into the warm water skin to skin with this amazing creation.
Baby Ben snuggled in to my arms, I instantly fell in love with mother natures cocktail mix of hormones.
My placenta decided to also take it’s time (1.5hrs) and wanted to stay inside. After Ben had a good feed and cuddle Kelli guided me to the shower and suggested I try to go to the toilet as the squatting position may aid the placenta’s release. Sure enough it eased it’s way out just as I sat down! Now that was not part of my plan! I look back now and reflected that just like birth, the birth of my placenta needed the same conditions and environment. The house was buzzing so Kelli created a new environment in the bathroom and once again I felt safe and quiet.
Kelli then examined my placenta and found a small extra placenta attached which she explained was a twin that had possibly been re-absorbed into Ben or myself sometime before 8 wks gestation. I knew in my heart it was my little girl Zoe. She will always be in our hearts forever and the boys and I when out in the garden to spot her in many different forms. She has transformed into many animals and when we spot a new one that just seems to linger a little longer alongside us we say “Zoe is here again for a visit.”
Looking back on the birth plan now at least 85% of it came true, I did give birth to Zoe, Brad didn’t get to catch the baby, bubba didn’t arrive on the day I predicted and from established labour I went over by 2 hrs, all in all pretty amazing for a simple tool of writing down my birth plan on a piece of paper. Now of course not everything goes according to plan, however I like to think that if you have a positive experience then that is a huge achievement. Hmm, maybe I could do goal setting for every area of my life! Imagine the possibilities…..