My home birthing chronicles - Part 2. The birth of Kiya

  I have decided to share with you the stories of my four home births in ' My home birthing chronicles'. When I was pregnant each time, I loved reading other women's positive birth stories, so here is the second installment of mine, in the hope that it will inspire someone somewhere for their own birthing journey.
  This part two is the story of the birth of my daughter Kiya.

   Kiya's birth story begins approximately six weeks before she was actually born, at Glastonbury festival. I was already hugely pregnant and so was my friend Beth. We both got a lift into the festival with Beth's partner Tara, to Rer, my partner who was helping with the sacred fire in the teepee field. It was extremely bumpy riding over the festival site and we both sat clutching our big bellies as we bounced over every pothole and bump! Later that night, I experienced strong contractions all night and I thought I was in early labour. The next day Rer and I got a lift off site, and as soon as we got home, the contractions stopped! 
   I experienced really strong braxton hicks  contractions on and off for weeks, which was quite confusing as I hadn't had them with my first two pregnancies. In the two weeks prior to Kiya's birth, I felt like I was in labour every night between about 11pm and 2am, but come the morning, everything stopped again. I was starting to get really impatient and disheartened. Was this baby EVER going to show up? I knew exactly when I had conceived as I had been taking my temperatures religiously whilst attempting to conceive this baby, so I knew I was almost 43 weeks pregnant and so big I actually had to walk with a big stick and sleep in the comfy chair in the living room! The midwives were very cool and left the ball in my court. They knew I had had two successful home births and didn't want any intervention. I believe that a baby will be born when s/he is ready, but as I hit the 43 week mark, I knew that the midwives were wanting to induce or at least do a cervical sweep (where they manually dislodge some or all of the mucous plug with a finger to get labour started). My partner Rer looked up how to do a cervical sweep online and the day before the midwife was due for the sweep, we decided to do it ourselves. I certainly would prefer the finger of my beloved opening our babies  door rather than a relative stranger. I certainly would not recommend anyone do this unless they are at least three weeks over and have weighed it up very seriously. I kept checking in with my tummy baby and on that morning with the sun streaming in and a feeling of peace pervading our house, it felt right. 
   I sat and meditated with my baby for a couple of hours and prayed for her to begin her journey earthside before any medical intervention was pressed upon us. I took a big homeopathic remedy and some herbal tincture too, all the while talking to my baby and asking her to please come today! In the afternoon my friend Sam came round and gave me some acupuncture too. I had been having mild contractions through the day, but that was nothing new, and I didn't want to get my hopes up too much, but by the time Sam finished the acupuncture and left, the contractions were much stronger. I kept feeling my feet as I read somewhere that when a woman goes into labour her feet go cold, as all the heat rises to the womb! 
  My dear friend Becky arrived. She was supposed to be with us for the birth and was coming to stay the night just in case! By this time I was sitting on my birthing ball, holding on to my big stick, feeling like a tribal mama, and starting to moan through the contractions. This definitely felt at this point like it could be the day! Rer lit loads of candles and nightlights and made a gorgeous shrine area on the table with crystals and stones. At this point there was a knock on the door and our friend Jaine came in. She said she couldn't stop thinking about me that day and felt to come and check I was OK. She was really excited to arrive during my labour and it felt right to ask if she wanted to stay, which she did! 
   The atmosphere was so lovely, dark and candle lit, with quiet chatter and laughs between contractions and everyone focusing on breathing with me through the rushes. Jaine gave me my birthing mantra for my first birth and I used it every time. 'Down, good, open, yes!' My other dear friend Jess arrived as she was invited to be at this birth too. I had been at the birth of her son a few years before and I really wanted her with me this time. The labour was progressing pretty much text book. I stripped off my leopard print pyjama's and sat naked on a towel on my trusty birthing ball. The contractions were getting really strong, and seemed quite close together. I remember at one point having an arm each round Becky and Jess and practically pulling them down to the floor during these strong contractions! Jady, our lovely friend and doula arrived next and our birthing team was complete. 
   All this time my beloved Rer was near me and rubbing my back when I needed it, and cleaning up the messy parts of giving birth, God bless him! I started to feel 'pushy'. The sweet baby working so hard to get born. At this point, I was on my knees, leaning over the ball, with Becky on one side, Jess on the other, Jaine and Rer behind me and Jady in front. I was squeezing Jady's hands so hard and roaring like a lioness. Rer even gave me his hand to bite down on at some point! He kept reminding me to bring the pitch of my roars  from high to low as this really helped to bring me out of fear and into empowerment again. He also held in my piles for each contraction, now that's true love! I started to push the baby out and felt the familiar crowning, splitting sensation. It seemed to go on for ages. It took quite a few contractions to get the babies head out and I felt great relief when it was finally out, but her shoulder and body were stuck fast. I pushed and pushed and moved and pushed, but she wouldn't come. Jady reached in and hooked her finger under the babies armpit and twisted and pulled her out. Blessed relief! I felt exhausted and elated! I remember hearing Rer exclaiming ' You've got a daughter Arisha!'. These were some of the sweetest words I have ever heard. After two beautiful sons I had yearned for a daughter and here she was! I picked her up and marveled at her beautiful little face and perfect little yoni! She was born at around 1.18am.  The next moments seemed to go in slow motion. It seemed  to take ages to birth the placenta and all I wanted to do was snuggle up with my baby girl, but I had to crouch over a bowl while her daddy gave her his first cuddles. I think the midwife arrived at this point. Eventually the placenta came out and I lay down with our little girl. Everyone cleaned up around me, I think we used every towel in the house! 
   As I looked at her I suddenly knew her name was Kiya. I hadn't really got any girls names ready, as I didn't dare hope I would be blessed with a daughter, but she seemed to come in with her own name ready! I didn't sleep all night, but gazed upon our beautiful angel and relived her birth in my mind. She latched on a little and sucked some colostrum, but mostly she slept. In the morning my parents arrived with our lovely boys and they met their little sister for the first time, and my parents met their first grand-daughter and brought a mahoosive bunch of pink flowers and the cutest little pink butterfy suit! Later that day, Kiya weighed in at a hefty 10 pounds 10 oz! I give so many thanks for her safe arrival and the loving support of Rer and our fantastic birthing team! 

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Following the golden thread of the perfect flow

   Do you ever feel like you are trying to ice skate uphill? Something that I have learned the hard way over the years, is that if I try to push against the natural flow of the day, then it really does feel like trying to swim upstream. If I have a certain amount of things that I 'have' to get done that day, and I steam ahead even if I have really low energy that day, or the kids need me more than usual, or my instinct is screaming at me not to do it, then things do not go right, obstacles happen all over the place and the day does not flow in a balanced way.
   I am learning to listen with a kind of sixth sense to the natural, balanced flow through each moment of my day. It is like a little voice in my heart that prompts me to be where I am supposed to be and do what I am supposed to be doing. Of course there are some times when you do have to keep going even when you don't feel like it, but what I am talking about is like a delicate golden thread that gently pulls you forward into the right places and situations. If you listen and follow it, you find magic happening around you on a daily basis, and things just feel 'right'!
   My children are all very good at naturally following their perfect flow's. They are great teachers to me. Due to the nature of our homeschooling environment, they get to do much more of what they feel like doing, rather than being forced into a prescribed format against their flow. I see them move seamlessly from one activity to the next, without any force or strain. They naturally follow their own golden thread of the perfect flow. They come to me when they need something (a question answered, some stationary or art materials, a website recommendation, food etc) but mostly they go about their day's, studying, learning, and playing without any hesitation. I watch them in awe of how self contained they are and how easily aligned with their own natural perfect flow.
   To sum up, when we listen to, and act upon the gentle tug of our own personal golden thread of perfect natural flow, things feel 'right' and much easier. When we ignore the gentle tug and pull in the other direction, things feel difficult, like we are bashing our head's against a brick wall, and simply not 'right'. If you start to really tune in and feel for your golden thread each day from moment to moment, you may find your life becoming less like an uphill struggle and more like drifting gently down the stream!

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My home birthing chronicles - Part 1. The birth of Phoenix

I have decided to share with you the stories of my four home births in ' My home birthing chronicles'. When I was pregnant each time, I loved reading other women's positive birth stories, so here is the first installment of mine, in the hope that it will inspire someone somewhere for their own birthing journey.
  This part one is the story of the birth of my youngest child Phoenix.

 Before I begin I wanted to mention that during my eldest son Shiin's birth I had an internal examination very near the end and it was excruciating and put me right off my natural rhythm and flow, so with all my other births I chose not to have any internal exams and to trust that my body and my baby knew the perfect timings. This has proved to work perfectly each time and probably would have during Shiin's birth too, but I was only 23 then and he was my first baby, my opener of the ways and I was scared! Since then we have birthed our other three children without the presence of a midwife. 
 So, this story takes place in our home town of Glastonbury on a cold April day in 2013. I am hugely pregnant (I have big babies... Kiya was 10 pounds 10 ounces!). It is a very cold day and our boiler has packed up the day before so our house is pretty chilly. For whatever reasons our baba chose this day to begin his journey earth-side. 
 So anyway, I have promised my boys a trip to the next town, so I struggle into my sandals, (I was rocking the socks and sandals look in late pregnancy as I could barely reach my feet let alone do up laces!) and me and the kids clamber into the van. It is bitterly cold. My daughter Kiya has insisted on wearing her new flip flops despite the arctic weather and her feet soon turn deep reddish blue, but she doesn't care! I waddle about Street with the children doing stuff then we drive home.
 I sit down and start cutting patches for the quilts I am making for the kids. Soon I get what I assume to be a Braxton Hicks contraction. I have been having them on and off for a couple of weeks now. Then another one comes, this is around 5pm. Rer makes me some tea and we chat away while I cut patches and he sits at the computer. After more contractions I request my birthing ball to sit on and my wooden pole to hold onto and the children bring them. I roll through a few more before I decide to move upstairs. My dad drops by and upon discovering my labor has most probably begun, rushes off to buy a small halogen heater, God bless him! Once dad delivers the heater and leaves, Rer sets it up in our room and lights some candles- much better! 
 I sit on the ball and breathe through contractions with Kiya playing next to me. She reminds me to look at mama monkey when contractions start getting stronger for inspiration.(Mama monkey is a big smiling monkey toy who for some reason has a zip in her yoni area, which encouraged lots of birth simulation play from my boys when I was pregnant with Kiya. Mama monkey has a big kind smile and has birthed many babies over the years, so she was my mascot and birthing guru! )
 I explain to Kiya what is happening and she happily plays next to me. I go for a pee and lots of water keeps coming out so I stand over a bucket. I call Rer and tell him I think the waters have broken. This is now around 7.30pm. A few more rushes and more water comes out with each one, then part of the mucous plug- so this is really it then! Excitement! At last! Back to the bedroom, plastic sheets and towels down and back onto the ball. Moaning deeply now with each expansion/contraction, sometimes standing up holding onto the chest of drawers. Rushes getting stronger but still seem short to me and plenty of time between them. 
 I call down to Rer 'Please call Jady now!'. Jady is our dear friend and doula. She eased Kiya out with her small strong hands when her shoulders got stuck a few years previously. She is a marvelously intuitive, sweet lady who gives herself in service to others on a regular basis as a doula and all round lovely person. I call her Jady angel! 
 Rer phones her, she will come in an hour. I am starting to need all my focus to get through the rushes now, water coming out with each one, vocalizing and picturing opening up and sweet baby moving down. DOWN GOOD OPEN YES! My trusty birthing mantra. Ouch, this is starting to hurt quite a bit. 'Rer I need you!' I have been feeling his loving strength and support from downstairs where he is tidying and and making everything lush, but suddenly I need his physical presence with me.
 Jady arrives. She and Rer fully focus on helping me through the increasingly intense rushes. Rer reminds me to bring the pitch of my moans low again as they have risen high, this helps. Each contraction now feels like a huge band of deep hard bruising round my womb, my legs are shaking. Very full on, this seems much more painful than my previous labors. 
 Things moving fast. I am on my hands and knees now. Blessed Rer holds my hemorrhoids in for each rush!  Jady massages my back, Rer now holding my hands. At some point he says to me 'Your back is so beautiful' and it gives me such heart and strength. Jady is behind me now. Feeling 'pushy'. I love that feeling, my strong body naturally bringing my baby closer and closer to my arms. There is a feeling of inevitability when your body starts to naturally push of its own accord and an excitement that it will all soon be over, this wonderfully massive experience of birthing a baby. 
 Much encouragement from Rer and Jady. She asks me to feel inside and I feel the babies head, WOW! Never done that before! Come on baby! Bearing down, screaming and shouting. I start to feel the splitting, crowning sensation of the head coming through. Rer calls the children who all want to be present for the birth. They are all around, excited, not minding the noise I am making. Kiya shouts through some of the contractions with me and puts her hands over her ears for others! 
 The head starts to come out, such hard work. Push push push! Running commentary from Shiin. 'Arisha! I can see the eyes!' In wonderment. Push push push! 'Arisha, I can see the nose!' PUSH PUSH PUSH! 'Arisha! I can see the mouth!' Finally the head is out. More pushing, the babies body is stuck fast, just like his sister's had been. 
 Rer and Jady moving my legs and position. Rer holding me up, Jady reaching inside to pull the baby out. Whoosh! Relief! Baby is out! 'You've done it Arisha!' Cries an elated Rer. I lean over the ball, utterly spent. 'It's a boy!' Wow, we were convinced he was a girl! 
 'Pass him to his mama! Arisha likes her babies on her straight away!' instructs Rer from behind. I sit up and take hold of my slippery little baby. Come on baby, breathe, cry. A gurgle, then a good strong cry, he cries quite a bit in my arms. He is beautiful. His little nose is mashed to one side from the time his head was half out during some contractions. I look at Rer and we smile and fall in love with our newest family member.
 The midwife arrives. Rer gets a bowl for the placenta. Jady helps me to the toilet and puts the bowl in there. After a short while I feel a mild contraction and push out the placenta. I get helped back to our room and into bed. Our little guy is wrapped up in a towel and latches on to my boobie for his first taste of colostrum. He had a big meconium poo as soon as he was born and is now peaceful after his initial long cry. We are so pleased with him. He was born at around 11.35pm. The midwife checks my yoni and finds a small tear inside and an intact perineum. Yey! Rer ties hemp string around his cord and cuts it . Jady puts a suit and nappy on baba as I am too shaky. She gives me homeopathic remedies and herbal tinctures then heads home. I am so grateful to her for pulling the baby out safely. 
 Kiya sits on the bed and proclaims 'Let's call him Phoenix!'. Wow! What a great name! He looks like a Phoenix too. The midwife spends ages filling in notes then leaves. Kiya sets up her covers and pillow next to Phoenix and goes to sleep. Rer curls up round my feet and goes to sleep. Phoenix feeds then sleeps all night. I stay awake all night gazing at him and re-living his birth in my head and giving so many thanks for the miracle of his life and also for the preservation of my own life too and for my beautiful family. 
 Birth is such a portal and each time I have experienced it, I have had to surrender to the fact that I and my baby are facing the possibility of going forth through the death portal as well as coming through the birth portal. I am sure that facing that before each birth has meant less emotional and mental blocks and therefore easier births. I am so lucky to have birthed four gorgeous babies safely and I give thanks to the God/dess and angels for assisting us so beautifully! 
We found out the next day that Phoenix Heru Ausar James David Aahmau weighed in at a hefty 10 pounds and 12 ounces! Heru and Ausar are the egyptian Gods Horus and Osiris, James was Rers father and David is my father. Aahmau is our family surname which means 'mooncat' in ancient egyptian. Thank you for reading our story.

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