This time last year I posted about the year that was and resolutions for the new year... sleep more and be awesome. Wrapped within that was the hope that we might finish the year with a new owlet in the nest. My year pretty much focussed on that. Getting through each day, growing a small person and nurturing my loved ones... and I did it! I'm certainly managing to sleep more, we have a tiny owlet and if I wasn't awesome the whole time, the year certainly has ended on an awesome note... If you feel like reflecting on it with me, read on. I've written down tiny owlet's birth day in a bit of detail. You'll need a cuppa.
This is the story of a much longed for babe, two years in the making… Our journey towards baby number three was a lesson in trust, love, loss and surrender. In April 2009, we lost Pippin, almost halfway through pregnancy. His birth taught us all that we were capable of and that things just happen sometimes and with loads of love, you get through. Then in September of the same year, we lost another little one. More lessons in trust and patience. This time I really had to listen. Put my health first. Remember to stay in the moment. A tool that might just come in handy when mothering three.
In February of 2010 I discovered I was pregnant again. This time I needed to focus on each day as it came. For the rest of the pregnancy, I endeavoured to savour each moment that the babe was with me. No need for tests, just love and trust and listening to the babe and myself. It felt so free. So gentle. Over the months I came to know the baby inside quite well. People would ask if I had any inclination as to whether it was a boy or girl… I didn’t. What I did know was who the baby was. A gentle and happy little soul.
By November I had pretty much withdrawn from the outside world, staying cocooned in my little nest, waiting for her arrival. Friends and family sent their warmest wishes and beautiful blessings to us as we waited. Tightenings happened gradually, building and slowing for a couple of weeks as the official “due date” came and went. One night labour started in earnest, the pool was filled, midwife was called and Huz and I swayed through each contraction together… all night. I’m sure I was pushing for a little while there too… By dawn, everything had stopped. Something was not right. A visit to my GP that morning confirmed that I had passed a kidney stone instead of a baby… The baby was well though, still happily kicking away and waiting for the right moment.
That afternoon, Mum arrived and looked after us all beautifully as I recovered from my first attempt at birthing. I worked through pain, exhaustion, anger, sadness, grief, impatience, and frustration over the next few days. Labour was stop, start, stop for days. Enough with the lessons already!
On a sunny Sunday morning I woke up somewhat renewed. This was the most pregnant I had ever been, even with two babes who had arrived later than their “due dates”. I was extremely large, with a belly full of baby, but feeling surprisingly energetic. Uh huh. That night, about an hour after I had fallen asleep, I rolled over a little and felt a sharp pain and a POP!! “What was that?” “Oh… Uh-oh!!” I reached for a towel that was at the end of the bed and asked Huz to get up. “My waters just broke” I said, waddling down the hallway. “Oh ok,” he replied, a bit dazed... He called the midwife and began filling the pool, then quietly asked “so, what does this mean?” “Um… BABY!”
The next few hours saw me swaying in the lounge room, turning the music and the heater on, watching Huz and the midwife fill the pool, trying desperately to heat it up. By the time it was ready, so was I. My midwife asked a couple of times if I’d like to check the baby’s heart rate. “No. Not right now.” I replied and she held my hand, looked into my eyes and said “I’m happy if you are, Lauren”, before popping behind the curtain. The pool was like a big warm hug for my tired, cold legs and feet and I swayed some more, waiting until I absolutely *had* to sit down. Ahh the relief of that warm, beautiful water all around me. Then I shivered… transition… the vocalisation began. First gentle and like a song. I kept my mouth and lips very loose too and blew raspberries as the tightenings grew stronger. I pushed and slept between pushes. Huz held my hands and stared into my eyes.
At some point, my midwife popped her head through the curtain we had across the door and suggested I bring the noises down from my head to my diaphragm, making them deeper to assist with the pushes. Ah-ha! Much better. What she heard then brought tears to her eyes as she heard my body work towards bringing the baby down through my pelvis. Huz hopped in the pool, standing behind me. I needed some help. His hands assumed the position he remembered so well from Little Owlet’s birth day. This time was different though. Instead of kneeling on all fours, I needed to be upright. Huz was buckling under the pressure. My full weight pushed against him as I roared with each push. I ROARED!! Deep and long and LOUD!!! This was hard work. “Help!” I cried as my back felt like it was splitting in two. “Come on baby!” I almost called the midwife into the room, feeling the need for a wise woman nearby, but saw her silhouette through the curtain, felt satisfied with that and continued on… I watched the candle from my blessingway and women’s circle flicker on the mantelpiece and remembered the wise words of my friends. “Smile with each tightening”. I smiled. “You know what to do”. I did.
Huz felt my hips shift and open up. I roared again and so did he as I pushed back into him. His back ached. Mine moved and shifted as our baby moved closer to us. RING OF FIRE!!! Of course, Johnny Cash ran through my head as I stopped pushing, opened my mouth wide and breathed for what seemed like an eternity... “What’s that down there?” Asked Huz, looking over my shoulder. “Is it a head?” I felt around… A soft cheek, a tiny ear! “No, It’s a baby!” And with that, I grasped her with both hands and pulled her into my arms. I scooped her up to my chest and sat down, as Beck played in the background. She opened her eyes, cooed a bit, blew a raspberry and smiled. “Talk to your baby” said the midwife as we said our first hellos… Then a tiny cry. The door burst opened and in came the owlets, smiling, a little nervous and giggly after hearing all my weird and wonderful noises. I looked into those deep, dark eyes and saw the beautiful gentle soul I knew so well. “Shall we see if we have a brother or sister?” I asked the girls. Then we unwrapped our little bundle and laughed when we saw she was a girl. Another beautiful wee woman to love!!
She snuffled at my breast and latched on perfectly as we told the owlets and Mum her name. Her beautiful big placenta was born and we hopped out of the pool for a little rest by the couch and to gaze at our gorgeous girl as the sun rose. She was heavy! Much heavier than her big sisters at birth and her head was bigger too. That explains all the hard work… Life slowed right down at this point. We stayed in bed for three days, then introduced her to the rest of the house and later the garden. Slowly exposing our tiny one to light and sound. Watching her gradually unfurl. Soaking up each moment she is here with us and so happy she is finally in our arms.