Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Do pictures really speak a thousand words??

So the photos.....
Here are the ones we took, of which there really weren't many at all.
I figure that after the photo bonanza of the twins birth, you can just imagine
that it was all very similar...
minus the water of course

This is later on the morning he was born, trying to make sure to keep spending time with the other babies so  they don't feel too left out.....and the others are getting eyefulls of their new brother

A very brand new Zarrathustra Cyrus Wildcat

And one of the only photos we've got of the beautiful Annetta.....love Currawong in the mirror :)

Most of us sitting round adoring him...

Can you spot the baby??

A happy Currawong and Max with a stethoscope

Beautiful little Zarra with the vest I crocheted just for him. 
The white spiral is handspun bunny fluff.....the softest thing in the universe!!

Looking very regal

Beautiful boy

I know it's probably overkill, but what the hey :)

Three little angels....especially when they're asleep!!

The thinker.....I think his name is apt!

Beautiful big sister Tiger Lilly

Meanwhile, out on the verandah.....

Looking a bit serious....

Ah no!!!!  Call off the hounds!!!

The magical Currawong multi-tasking....reading the big kids Harry Potter,
whilst also being a bed for the two babies that he got to sleep at the same time.....
What a man! :)

Hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The baby that came bearing gifts - Part 2

So I've made a bit of an executive decision........due to flooding and my crappy satellite connection, getting it together to upload photos is proving too tricky.  And I know there's people itching for the rest of the story, ( and there's no photos of this birth anyway, just the afterwards ) soooooo, I'm gonna post the rest of the story, and then when I get near a computer that uploads again, I'll post a stack of photos.  Happy with that?  Good. 

A bit of a recap…

After a day long but empowering trip to the hospital, to find out that my dating of the birth had given us the gift of two extra weeks when we thought our baby was premature, then flying emancipated from the hospital back home, birth was progressing all stately and graceful towards a conclusion, then stalled completely.  After another empowering act of creating the birth space that I needed surrounded by the people I needed to be there, a deep spell of sex magic with my Currawong, and another serious chat with my birth helper Annetta, I headed into the second night of this birthing drama slightly oppressed with worries about future possibilities, but feeling like I at least had a clearer idea about what was going on.  I climbed into bed and cuddled up with Currawong, glad that I could finally sleep.   

And then woke up again at quarter to 12 that night.  Yes, this was a good time to start labouring I thought, as I had an intense contraction.  I went out into the lounge and gently cleaned the space between tightenings, and lit some candles, and thought they were coming closer.  I woke Currawong, who was in an intensely grumpy mood having been woken after so little sleep, and we sat and grumped at each other about how little sleep we’d had and how grumpy and unready we were, as the contractions slowed down again…..  Then we both pulled each other back on track, and shook off our grumpiness, and decided that if the time was now then of course it was perfect!  Till we were sitting in a lovely, dusky, candle lit room, with nothing happening again, and decided we’d go back to bed and sleep while we could.  The rest of the night was a strange world where I had strong uterine contractions every hour or so, and would jump out of bed to stand knees bent, in the position that I’d worked out relieved them, while Currawong jumped up equally quick and rubbed my lower back.  Surprisingly enough we woke up well rested, and I at last had made up for my sleep deficit over the past few days, and was feeling unexpectedly fresh and optimistic.

A sleepy Annetta, and a Currawong expecting the worst but trying to be positive, both looked at me to see what the mood was, and maybe both were thinking that now was the time for the dreaded talk about transferring into hospital again, to see what was going on.  And I surprised both them and me, with a Pollyanna-esque proclamation about how regardless of what else was going on and happening around me, I couldn’t help but think that there was nothing wrong with me or my baby, and that it was a normal birth, though strung out over a few more days than is usually expected, and the time just wasn’t right for my body and baby to engage in the birthing dance, and I really wanted to give them the opportunity to get there in their own time.  Any drugs that they gave me in hospital most likely wouldn’t work, as they are designed for healthy women giving ‘normal’ birth and to quicken the process up, not at all likely to work well on a ‘grand multiparous’ woman (which means a woman who’s birthed more than 5 times) whose uterus needed a bit of a help to contract enough to birth, or to create that unidentifiable spark from a baby that triggers off the birthing process from within.  I would be likely to be unresponsive to intervention, and maybe even become part of that cascade of intervention drama that folk talk about.  Again it’s likely that most roads in hospital would have led to another caesarean, considering the ‘risks’ that surrounded me, and I would probably have been best off to just request a caesarean straight off, rather than mess around getting tired again.  And I was fully prepared for all of this, and had thought my way and approach through it, and would be totally into engaging that path………..if I could have shaken the feeling that this was a normal, healthy birth that was drawn out because of the plug leaving a bit early, and having an overwhelming and compelling feeling that I really wanted to give my body and this baby every chance to come into birth in their own timing…………..and that it would all be allright.

“Fine! fine….” Said Annetta, and Currawong had a look of delighted surprise on his face, as we all felt this birth swing along a positive road again, and we could all leave behind the dire possibilities and worries for a little bit longer.  “If that’s how you feel, then that’s what we do, and if you’re feeling okay with it and the baby’s doing well, we can take a week if you need to!”  Bless her heart, and her intuition, and her experience, our Annetta was totally into acknowledging how I felt and regarding that as important, and heading down the groove we were laying out.  She asked me if I’d be into going to see an acupuncturist friend of hers who was known for helping birth along, and who did home visits, but we could also go and see her if all was well.  I jumped at the idea, greatful for any external stimuli that could help us along.  So we organised for Currawong to take all the kids into Nimbin for supplies, while Annetta and I went to visit Ingrid in her home on a community. 

I got to have a drive in the 4WD home on wheels, and chatted with Annetta, as we drove up to a tranquil garden, with tropical plants looking loved, and a small wooden studio with pot plants, garden, artworks, and raw wooden beams spilling round.  One of the first things Ingrid said when told about how many births and babies I had, was how she thought the world was overpopulated. I really love that kind of honesty.  Gave me the opportunity to try out some of the justifications that sit in my head as a result of copping criticism in the past, and she laughed when I told her my kids were here to help wake us all up so we could share and respect our planet again, as there’s more than enough for all of us if we lose our greed and materialism and stop spending all our resources on war.  And then the three of us proceeded to spend a divine time together, chatting about art, and life journeys and children.  I could feel the needles working on the energy in my body, and then she hooked up these little electrodes to make them ‘zing’.  And at one point, as I lay there with these two gorgeous, vital, compassionate and loving, wise German women on either side of me, chatting about this little baby inside me, and Annetta telling Ingrid how she’d noticed that when she laid a palm on my belly, the little one inside kicked her hand to let her know it was there, and the wonderful warm smiles on their faces as they indulged in a moment about the wonder of birth with their hands on my belly………I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.   When Annetta and I told Ingrid how we thought this baby was a girl, and that she’d be called Batsheva, the little one inside kicked Ingrid’s hand, and we all took that as another positive sign, and an acceptance of the name.  ( HA! )  The treatment over, Ingrid invited us into her haven, and we sat drinking herbal tea and eating German sweet breads.  All around was an orderly, organic, sweet scented arbour of grape vines and plants and a large indoor outdoor deck.  Artworks and amazing gifts from nature displayed on warm wooden walls and a sweet little kitchen sat at the back with the sitting room and bedroom, as the only walled rooms in this gorgeous home.  I felt like I’d been plucked out of a busy and noisy existence to spend a sacred and precious little rip in the time space continuum with these two stunning and graceful women, and a bit like the kid who’s been allowed to stay up late all on their own, to sip tea with the grown ups.  We chatted, and snacked, and I was full to overbrimming with love for the creativity around me that keeps throwing such beautiful moments at me, and my extreme fortune with the wondrous people that keep coming into my life. 

And it came to me.  With a bit of help by Annetta and the conversation and the period of grace in the middle of our birthing proceedings.  I felt like I understood why it had all happened this way.  As an excuse and reason for empowering events first up, but also, as a chance for me to finally be pregnant……for a moment.  What with dealing with our collective past, and then fleeing to the warmer climes of the sub-tropical north, and then finding a home and setting it up and then getting visitors……I hadn’t even had a moment to really sit in myself, and with my body, and say ‘yes, we’re pregnant again aren’t we.  And who do we have inside?  And which particular fears are we going to face this time?  And how is this baby going to come into our lives, and what are the stories going to be around this birth?’  Hadn’t quite caught my breath again since the plug came away either.  Hadn’t really got to the point of knowing that the time was NOW!  Annetta drove me a large bit of the way home, while we continued to talk, and I was blown away by the big heart of this amazing woman.  Over the last two days she’d observed, and asked perceptive questions, and was piecing us all together in a rather intricate amount of depth.  She was telling me all the pertinent stories she had in her birthing tool box, and suggested I go home, clear myself a birthing space, and just focus on me and who was in my belly for as long as I could when I got home.  Lock all the kids out for a bit, and just really sit in my experience. 

So I did.  I cleaned the room, and layed all the (all three of them!!) clothes that I’d collected for this baby out on a space in the studio, and cut up some cotton material that would work as wrapping cloths till later.  And the other blankets I could use.  And the nappies that I’d bought earlier.   And I’d been worried for a while about where this new baby was going to sleep, as the twins slept next to my side of the bed, and Balthazar slept next to Currawong’s side of the bed…..that was until we’d got our new beds, and scored a king sized bed for me and Currawong, and through serendipity and experimentation, worked out that with the crates we had, we could arrange a bed next to Currawong’s side of the bed that was the perfect height, and had room for all three little boys to lay sideways instead of longways.  So on a wooden table, and tucked in by walls and the door, I made another little bed with a stuffed alpaca mattress next to my side of the bed.  A little nest by my side for our new baby to land in.  Currawong made a bed for Max, Merlin and Balthazar in Griffyn’s room, between him and Jess on a mattress on the floor, so that if birthing did happen, I could do it undisturbed by babies in our bedroom.  It’s the most comfortable, sacred, and cave like space in the house.  I figured if babies like best coming out in the same conditions as they went in……there was no better place to birth on land than in our great big bed.  And I was going to sit in my clean bedroom baby space, with my baby altar all set up, and crochet a pair of pants to go with the vest, and the hooded sleeves that I’d made for this baby for winter.  When I was worried about where and when we were gonna find a house, and worried about dire predictions, and just worried because I was pregnant, I’d been making a vest and a cute little pair of sleeves with a hood, and it was almost like I was crocheting this baby into a healthy existence.  All that was needed to complete the outfit was a pair of pants, and I was imagining that I’d finish them, and this baby would come, but it wasn't to happen that way.  During my nesting, I’d had a few more intense uterine contractions, and then some light, moving, dancing contractions started to come, that felt completely different to the expansions I’d had before. 

And then I remembered my previous twin birth, and how after Max had come, and we were waiting for Merlin, I had a visit from Russel the Ayurvedic Masseuse and Alison to help us along.  And after Russel had left, I’d had some really intense uterine contractions, that were a case of trying to stand still and in a certain position to make bearable, and then when the uterine contractions had finished, I’d moved into birthing contractions, which were different positions and movement was needed to assist with them.  I recognised the difference, and on feeling the change, and needing to move about when they happened, I realised that birth might finally be on the way.  No time to crochet pants.....

So I danced and I moved and I breathed and a smile didn’t leave my face, and I felt like we were actually getting to the space where we’d soon be meeting our new one. (again…)   Steady as a creek heading into a river it started flowing towards the evening, till the magical time when our babies go to sleep and dark and peace descend.  It was all green lights this time, with no hitches in the proceedings, and we all knew that this time it was really going on.  Children had been well fed and peacefully went off to sleep, the three little boys in with the two biggest.  And I rang Annetta to tell her that we were on again……….and how the contractions had changed.  She got here and we all settled into the birthing space.  Stories had to be told about the artworks in our bedroom, and birth expansion stations had to be set up.  Positions tried out and suggestions given.  Instead of moving about the space between contractions and standing still to have them, I was resting between contractions and moving with them. And then it just happened.

I settled into one of the most amazing birthing places I’ve ever been in.  Dim candlelight and tranquillity sat in the background with initial panic turning into delighted knowledge in front of them.  Birth expansions out of water were fun.  I found myself in all these intensely sexual positions, totally unashamedly, as they all decreased the levels of intensity.  Stances I’d only ever seen other people do, far too self conscious to do them myself, were all of a sudden the most comfortable ways to be.  And having Currawong, or Annetta rub my lower back was just incredible.  It was stronger and more intense all at the same time as being quicker and somehow more complete.  All consuming and all internal……..juxtaposed with deep perspective and external conversations between.  So many things were making sense.  Fears were being explained, and understandings were being had.  Legs spread, and back arched, and bum out and off we went.  Currawong really loved standing behind me, getting wafts of birth, that was a smell he was really getting to know well, and rubbing my back while I rocked through contractions.  And we were kissing lots in between expansions, and all of it felt like a prolonged love making session.

Then Max woke up.  Currawong was the only one who could calm him, and he was getting progressively more pissed off the more time it took, and at how he couldn’t leave Max without him crying again.  Annetta was giving me amazing massages and catching the expansions with me, but it wasn’t the same.  I wanted my Currawong with me.  So in an inbetween moment I stormed in the other room and informed him that Max was just going to have to cry, or maybe Jess could take him for a walk, but he wasn’t missing out on this birth, and I NEEDED him with me.  Empowering moment no. 42……..  Jess got him quiet and sleeping, that also kept her occupied, which was kinda good, as it was hotting up on all sorts of levels.  And I had my Currawong back, who was delighted with how different this birth was progressing.  On all fours on the bed it really started to get intense. 

How can one truly express the intense land that is transition?  And what would a more human friendly term for it be?  The world between worlds where I'm shocked out of and into my body all at the same time.  No room exists for anything else to be happening, heard, seen, felt or any other bloody thing at all, to have any sense of solidity or reality.  A place where if I could turn my torso one way, and my legs another to escape the crunch I would.  A place where what’s happening in my body is so incredibly huge and real and full on, that if I could climb out of my body  I would.  A place where I feel like every nerve ending is being pushed to its extreme limits of coping.  A place where I say ‘oh my gawd, we’re HERE again, and how did I knowingly as a mother make a conscious decision that would bring me HERE again, didn’t I remember how it was last time, and how I didn’t think I could cope anymore when I was HERE again???’  It’s not exactly painful in an ‘ow I’m hurt right here and the rest of me is okay’ kind of ache, as in a whole body calling on all it’s resources to manage and sustain and survive.  But also a place where I can feel like a viking valkerie, or a screaming banshee in the wind, or any other mythical goddess or woman role model I care to create for myself.  Standing on the otherworldly battleground in an ancient tryst for my soul, and the continuation of the flow of evolution towards a magical future.  And a place that I've got to know quite well having lottsa babies.  The pinnacle of the experience, is also the breaking of the wave, as I've learnt that HERE is also when it’s nearly over……….

Or at least should be, if you don’t have something like a lip of your cervix, just holding back a little on the head, and just enough to keep that head behind skin……..which I had.  And that little lip was just enough to stall the whole show at that intense transitionary, initiatory space.  'Oh fuckitall' I thought, I remembered that feeling when birthing Merlin, and how it went on for hours, and was the hardest and loneliest work I’ve ever done in my whole life.  ’Ohshit, not here again’.   I rolled over on my back and Annetta just knew what was going on.  ‘I think  you have a lip…..would you like me to move it?’  she asked.  I couldn’t believe it, and I straight away said yes, and I lay on my back for a moment, and she moved her fingers into me as I had a contraction.  She warned me it might hurt, but it didn’t, and within seconds I had to get off my back and turn around onto all fours again on the bed.  One almighty push and his head was moving towards the world, opening me in that gorgeous vulvic, yoni like, curved and angled oval shape of a head coming outside.        Annetta grabbed Currawong’s hand and put it over me, and over the soft soft head of our baby coming through.  And for weeks after, and to this day if he ever tells that story he cries…..and notes it as one of the most amazing moments in our birthing together. 

Two more pushes and our baby was out at five minutes to one in the morning, and Annetta guided Currawong’s hand again, as they both swooshed the little person under me, Annetta saying ‘here is your baby girl!’  ‘Are you sure?’ I drawled, as I moved the umbilical cord away to see a little penis and testicles…….got the gender wrong againJ  I sat up and hugged him to me, and Currawong laughed, and even though now we didn’t have any clue of a name, I didn’t feel disappointed for one second.  Instead I got a rush of a rememberance of sitting with my 4 big strong brothers either side of me at church, and looking at them all and being so proud of my  beautiful brothers.  And realised that one day I’d be standing looking at my big strong and beautiful sons, and hopefully in a functional enough relationship with them all, that I’d get to be with them for life!  And share their lives and loves and experiences, and be with them through their trials, and for the births of their babies if that’s what they want.  How could I be disappointed when this little boy had given me such an easy pregnancy, given me the impression that if we just let him be, and come into the world, he wouldn’t be any problem…..’promise!’.  Had given me a real rush when I laid my hands on my belly, like he was charging me up from an incredibly strong internal battery.  Had lain inside so quiet and peacefull…… And had just come out in the quickest, most sexual birth I’ve ever had.   A few days afterwards, Annetta said that I was ‘the epitome of the volutptuous, sexual, birthing feminine’………and you know what?  It really felt that way from my perspective as wellJ  And Currawong’s……….

Meanwhile, I was losing a lot of blood.  One of the risks for which the doctor suggested I stay in hospital for.  There is a tendancy for a woman to bleed a lot after having had twins, especially a ‘grand multiparous’ woman like me.  Annetta quickly helped me push the placenta out, to aid the uterus in contracting to control my bleeding, and Currawong cut the cord, as we’d all decided this time, with the newness and the weather and the cuddling factor, that this time we’d forgo the lotus birthing……which was just as well now looking back on it.  Cause a lot of bleeding was a full on thing for my body to cope with, without having to deal with washing and salting a placenta as well.  As it was, when I’d tried feeding our beautiful little boy, and then sat up, I was feeling a bit woozy, and all the family were awake now, as they all realised that our newest member of the clan had arrived.  They all gathered round to oooh and aaaah, and stroke his little head, and giggle about how another boy had been born.  Griffyn smilingly admitted that he’d never really thought it was going to be another boy, but had been saying it the whole way through the pregnancy just to be different to everyone else.  But he was glad nonetheless.  Annetta pulled out a turquoise blue cloth, and weighed him – seven and a half pounds of baby flesh.  We all sniffed and watched him up, and I was surrounded by eight bodies that had all come out of my belly.  Always trips me out when I have those moments of realisation!

And then Max spewed all over the boys bed.  Which made sense of why he’d been so awake and unsettled earlier in the night.  Poor little cherub had a sore belly.  So Currawong and Annetta cleaned up, and Currawong went off for a shower to clean it off him and Max, and in the process realised he had a paralysis tick in his groin.  Swearing lilted from the bathroom, and he removed the little parasite, whilst still cleaning him and Max.  Meanwhile, it was important for me to get off to the shower, and I found myself very dizzy on the walk there.  I had to stop halfway and have a lay down on the lounge, with my new baby nestled into me, and as I heard a buzzing in my ears that wasn’t the vociferous nearby frogs, and my vision started to blur, I thought ‘oh no, don’t make me have to go to hospital after all this!!’, but didn’t faint.  Laid for a bit and ate some toast and had a drink, and then Currawong held our new baby while I crawled to the shower. 

First thing when I got in there was a big release of blood clots, and then an instant feeling of getting better.  My uterus had contracted down nicely, (Annetta said later it contracted back into place as good as a twenty year olds!) and the worst was over.  I got clean, and felt more human, and rather than over exert, I got to kneel on a rug and get a magic carpet ride back to the bedroom, as Annetta and Jess pulled and pushed me down the hallway.  I got my baby back and snuggled him between me and Currawong, all the other babies were back asleep, everything was cleaned up and orderly, and we all went off to blissful sleep, while Annetta went off to her magical 4WD home outside the house, so she’d be there as soon as we woke up. 

And now a little aside.  I’ve been rather vocal in the past about the need for internals, of which I was positive there wasn’t any.  One of the only things that freaked Jess out in her witness of all the births I had after her, was me being given internals.  Despite the blood, and the yells and screams, she had a big problem with someone putting their fingers inside me.  And I agreed with her.  It had never felt nice, and always a bit odd, and like the information gained from it wasn’t really necessary either, if you were just gonna take the birth path and trust the timing, rather than over-medicalising your experience anyway.  Other midwives I’d birthed with had to be almost begged to check me out internally, as they really didn’t like to interfere in any way, an approach that I was completely in approval of.  But I’m here to tell you sisters and brothers, that a sensitively performed internal, from an empathetic birth helper, is a whole other kettle of fish.  A birth helper with midwife skills, who can do such a thing as push a lip back so your babe can be born in minutes rather than hours…….can be a real gift. 

Morning came and we all awoke to being well rested, with a new family member, and me feeling tremendously better after my blood loss situation. But I stayed indoors and quiet with my new baby boy for 2 weeks just to make sure that his entry to the world stayed healthy and wholesome.  And to keep him safe from the twins.  Max’s welcome was an attempted gouge to the eyes, while Merlin just wanted to cover him with kisses and pat his head.  A bit later on the day he was born, our guest with two girls who’d been staying elsewhere came to pick up the rest of her stuff, and delivered a few packages from the women of Nimbin.  When I’d gone to hospital I rang the dear friend who put up our guest so we could have our birth space, and she’d asked me if there was anything I needed.  I told her that I had no clothes or wraps or anything like that for a new baby yet, and unbeknownst to me, while all my other birthing events were evolving, she’d sent an email around to her friends, and was busy picking up donations from all around the area.  Touched and feeling special doesn’t do the awareness justice, when I realised how family like our new home was. 

And there’s more to tell, but that can come a bit later.  This is the bare bones of the story of the birth of Zarathustra Cyrus Wildcat.  Born on the 19th of December 2011, at 5 minutes to 1 in the morning.  The baby that came bearing gifts……..


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The baby that came bearing gifts - Part 1

It would be easy to assume on the birth of my eighth child that I am a veteran of birth, a knowledgable birthing woman in tune with her body and the rhythms of birthing, and secure in my role as a mother and lover and creatrix of little people.  But to be truthful, the more I birth, the more I realise I know nothing about birth, or more to the point – I could birth another eight times and still feel like I was standing before a limitless vista of birthing potentials and possibilities.  And lessons to learn and fears to face.  Attachments to let go of, and sacred cows to murder……  I had so much more to say about what was ‘right and true’ when I was just beginning my birthing career.  And now I find that everything just is.  Take out the judgement and it’s all just lessons.  The more I birth, the more I realise there is to know about birth……

So to set the scene for this recent birth, we’d all just got to a really nice place with each other, after a long long time of being observed and judged and in other people’s spaces, and sorting through recent trauma’s, and were all cohesively living and loving together and playing and having fun. The description of this time was in my last posting about Love….. Lasted about a week.

Only thing we needed to settle us, and before we got serious about baby preparation, was beds, cause the rest had been catered for.  So one day we get beds, the next day we drive to get our big girl from the airport, and the next day a friend turned up with her two young girls.  That same night a fellow community member dropped in too, and it was all of a sudden too many other people in our sanctum.  We slipped into our bedroom that night and felt overwhelmed and like we’d made a big mistake.  We’d finally got to a good and private place and then invited the world into it, and gave it away, what the hell was with that? When were we gonna be free to be ourselves in our own home again?  Went to sleep feeling slightly silly, distraught and ominous, after lots of activity and socialising….
And then woke up at 3am that morning, went for a wee, and had amniotic fluids running down my legs.  Shock, denial, fear, disbelief, horror, and panic played poker for centre stage, and I woke Currawong up to tell him, so they could tap dance in his head as well.  We decided to hope for the best, believe that my bladder had finally and all of a sudden sprung a leak after all these birthing years, and go back to sleep.  I woke up at 7 in the morning, had another wee, and this time the plug came away, with a whole heap of fluid, and I knew that I had to face up to it.  I was 35 weeks pregnant, which many people would agree is far too early to be considering birthing at home, and going into premature labour which is associated with lungs not yet ready, and a hospital birth with lots of backup, care, and postnatal attention.  After talking to my birth support person, Annetta, we decided that it was safest to just ring the local hospital and go in for their help, so sadly and miserably I packed my bags and asked my big daughter and our friend who’d just turned up the night before, to look after all our babies, while we went to the hospital for who knows how long.

We got there, and I mistakenly expected all the flurries and attention of the hospital folk that you’d see in a tele drama, and instead we got mostly left in a room for hours on our own. One of my first thoughts was about a midwife friend…….who had greeted this pregnancy with a seeming prophecy (that really messed with my head throughout the whole pregnancy), about how if this baby was to be stillborn, or with special needs, or needing intensive medical assistance, then that would be fine……and I told Currawong that she’d been right.  Here we were in hospital.  Feeling really depressed.  A hardened midwife of many many years was our tour guide into the system, and at first she was horrified that I was so far into a pregnancy at my age and with my history, without having had any tests, or ultrasounds, or doctors appointments…..  She wanted to kick us out and stop us wasting her time, so we could go and do paperwork and blood tests with a doctor instead of her.  It’s a tricky thing to try and explain to a hospital based midwife that I trusted my body and the process of birth, and hadn’t seen the need for medicalising my experience or getting information that might haunt me, especially considering that we wouldn’t have aborted this child in any case.   She put one of those machines on me that needed strapping in two places to my belly, and that recorded my blood pressure, baby’s heart beat, and contractions.  Currawong and I chatted and told stories, and asked her questions about herself, till she started to thaw, and realised that we weren’t homebirth extremists, and started making comments about ‘some alternative people who aren’t as open minded as you two….’ and the like. A sad chapter in the war between homebirths and hospital births is, this woman was bitter from the attacks she’d felt from ‘alternative’ types while she was doing her job to the best of her ability over the years……and if we had reacted to her reacting to us, we could have had a very different experience. 
A young doctor came in and asked a whole heap of random questions in the hope we wouldn’t notice he was checking us out, and that was the last we saw of him.  Then there was just hours of us sitting in an unused and sterile birthing suite, chatting, making phone calls to the kids and friends, Currawong popping out for fruit cake and bottled water whilst pouring money into parking meters, looking around at the standard fare in surroundings for women and families who birth in hospitals, and having moments of tears and disappointment, as we thought we were watching our homebirth sail off into the distance.  About 5 hours later and after not seeing a doctor or having an ultrasound or having anything really checked out, our new friend the midwife came in with a pill to stop labour, tags with my name on it for my wrist, and a shot of steroids in my bum for developing the baby’s lungs, as it was premature.  6 hours later another midwife came on duty who we connected with straight away, as we all told each other how judgement was futile, and it was far easier to make peace with your own decisions, and accept other people and the choices they made, rather than fight about it.  I had another 2 pills over the next hour, and time for a huge hug and cry with Currawong, as we realised that this was really it, and I’d be staying overnight in the hospital on my own, and he would go off to spend the night with the kids.  We really don’t dig spending time apart……

7 hours after getting to the hospital, a wild eyed doctor came in, asked about the dates, and within minutes had ascertained that I’d got my dates wrong, because I’d counted from  conception, rather than the two weeks before it, when the egg had descended and become ‘alive’.  Or in plainer language, I’d counted from conception, instead of from the first day of my last period, which is when the rest of the world considers the beginning of pregnancy to be.  I wasn’t 35 weeks pregnant, I was 37!!  We looked at each other horrified, and thoughts jockeyed in my head about how I’d robbed us of a homebirth, how stupid I felt, how I’d just made the biggest mistake of my life, and all sorts of other barbs.  But in my defence, we’d counted it from conception because we both remembered so clearly how this baby was made!  And the date of it.  It was a memorable event.  Other people remember holidays or outings, but my love and I remember conceptionsJ  So as we sat there looking shocked, the doctor tried to joke us out of it, asked us about our birthing history, and got very serious when I told him that our last birth was twins born at home in water and two days apart, and told us a few times in a tut tut kind of voice that we were very very lucky that it had worked out well for us.  He also told me that I was high risk anyway because of my age, and how many babies I’d had, and because I’d had a caesarean and twins most recent.  And then finished up by saying that I may as well stay in if I was already there, and spend the night even though there was no risk and we weren’t premature after all, and have an ultrasound in the morning so they could see what was going on.  Of course they wouldn’t be giving me any more pills to slow it down, or the other shot of steroids that was coming.   
He left the room and I wailed to Currawong about what an idiot I felt.  And then I rang Annetta.  “Get out of there!  And I’ll come visit you tonight, and we’ll see what we do from there” was her advice.  And big old strapping hippy me, the alternative lifestyler, the anarchist, the system questioning one……really needed somebody else to give me permission to go.  Afterall,  once I was booked in and had the tags on my wrists, wasn’t it a given?  And a really sad consideration that was probably one of the main reasons I was in hospital in the first place, and yet another casualty of the war between homebirth and hospital birth, was the knowledge that if something ‘bad’ happened in hospital, it would be considered par for the course, but if that same ‘bad’ thing happened at home, as the writer of a blog that was rather public about my impending birth, I’d most likely be hauled before the coroners court and demonised by the mainstream media and a horde of anti-homebirthing internet activists who’d doctor my photographs so I looked like Charles Manson……  What a shame politics has entered the arena of a woman’s personal choice for a place to birth.  So I needed permission.  All of a sudden this was a totally normal birth, and it was safe to do at home, and I could exercise my rights and just…..walk…..out…..of…….there……. 

The nice midwife came back in with a very unappetising hospital version of spaghetti bolognaise, and with tears in my eyes I told her that I wanted to be back with my family, to which I was overwhelmingly happy when she totally agreed, thought it would be best, and I’m sure she gave me a veiled message to stay the hell at home, when she told me about how I could come back in the morning, and sit around on my bum for another 8 hours till they could get around to giving me an ultrasound….or stay with my family and see how labour progressed at home.  She went and worked it out with the doctor, and before you could say ‘Homebirths-R-Us’ we were getting shooed out of the room, and I took those tags off my wrists, and we scampered out of the building to the big sky, and the fresh air, and our wonderful magic bus that was going to spirit us back home.  The feeling of reprieve from impending doom was immense.  The reminder of how unspecial a hospital environment can be, even when they’re doing you the tremendous favour of helping you or saving a life, was timely.  And maybe that doomsaying midwife friend hadn’t been right after all!!  Maybe we really could pull off another beautiful homebirth.  
And as a little aside and to skip to the present, it’s only a few weeks after our birth, and already the story has spread round the area like wildfire, and friends have already heard a few times how “That woman who has SO many children, didn’t even get her dates right!”  Reminds me of when I had an emergency caesarean with Balthazar, and “that woman who’d had all those natural births had to have a caesarean, so you never can tell!!”, and there were also some nastier comments about how the ‘mighty homebirther had fallen’.  And it sits in a funny place within me.  Like a slightly uncomfortable itch that intermittently annoys.  A bit of a wrinkle in my birthing fabric.  I also got my dates wrong with Spiral-Moon, because the first day of my last period wasn’t actually the first day of my last period…..it was a miscarriage of her twin.  And I only found out that I’d got my dates wrong because I was going to freebirth her in a town 250kms away from Adelaide, and thought I should at least make sure that the placenta was in a good place and everything was going well before we did.  And you know what?  Sometimes the medical system and ultrasounds get it wrong too.  I’ve got just about every detail possible ‘wrong’ throughout all my births, and hardly ever predicted correctly which gender they were going to be.  But what I’ve learnt from my  ‘mistakes’ could fill a book, and has taught me far more than being ‘right’ all the time could have.  And in getting so caught up in getting it ‘right’, we can get so swept up in using other peoples terms and talismans that we can miss the subtle little nuances that were meant just for us.  Like how in getting my birth dates ‘wrong’, we ended up in hospital for a day, and got to really live out some of my most dastardly fears about the birth I was about to engage in the Tango with, and to really sit with them, in the hospital, with all the staff around us, and then get the incredible opportunity to break free, fly the gilded cage, and empower ourselves towards the birth that we really wanted.  What an amazingly emphatic way of working through some last minute fears and creating some clearing around them so that the forthcoming journey was made all the sweeter and stronger!!

And (to get back to the story), the first thing we did was go shopping.  I was so unprepared for this birth, that I didn’t even have a pair of knickers!  Let alone something to bleed into, or soak up my excess breast milk, or baby clothing, or wrapping cloths, or a birthing pool…..  I was especially worried about the lack of birthing pool.  Annetta couldn’t get her hands on one at this short notice, and how could I birth out of water!  Surely there was a kids pool to be bought in the megaplex that would do? But they were all too shallow or too big, and I calmed myself with the knowledge that we had a bath at home that would probably do.  Getting back home again was like a homecoming scene from the Waltons……hugs and tears and many children draped all round me asking for the story, and telling us how glad they all were that we were both back.  We settled them all down, and got them into bed, our visitor and her girls went to bed also, and Currawong went to bed early too, after our exhausting and emotionally roller coasted day, while I sat up to wait for Annetta.

She drove up in her awesome 4WD home, and parked outside, walked into the front door, gave me a huge hug and kiss, and then scooped up a baby bat that was sitting in a corner between the bathroom and hallway doors.  “You’ve got a baby bat” she said as she held the little one up, and we looked for something to hold it in.  I brought out a basket that I’d made as a meeting between crochet and basket weaving, nice and wooly like a mamma bat, and we popped it in there, till I could pass it on to my big daughter and the other kids to look after later.  We both decided it was a good omen, bats being considered good luck by many peoples, and a baby bat to boot…..  And I told Annetta about how we were all sure that this baby coming was a girl, and how Currawong had liked the name Batsheva for years, with it’s meaning being ‘daughter of seven’ which we all thought was apt.  We chatted, I told her the story of the day, we had cuppa’s, and then she checked me over, felt the head that was down in my pelvis nicely, heard the baby’s heartbeat, and checked me on the inside to see how I was going.  The only danger now was one of infection, as the plug was gone, but if I kept clean, drank lots of water, and showered regularly, all that risk should be avoided.  Everything was tickety boo, I was so relieved and greatful to be home and out of the hospital, and we smilingly went off to bed, hoping that the next time we saw each other would be early in the morning while I was in labour, and could ring the hospital and cancel that ultrasound, as my baby had come and was safe at home.

3am in the morning I woke up and started having tightenings, sat up for a while on my own, and then Jess, my big daughter, woke up and joined me.  We had a lovely time out of time together, in the endless seeming hours of the early morning, as I told her stories about how horrendous I felt when I realised that I was 37 weeks pregnant in the hospital and thought I’d ripped us all off a homebirth, and how glad I was that we were home, and how strange it was to be birthing without my mother around for the first time, and how freaked out I was about birthing out of water……  A really bonding and connecting time.  She started timing the contractions, and they were very nicely and evenly heading down a narrowing tunnel of focus towards contractions close together and getting more intense.  In between them I kept chatting, and was getting more and more excited and empowered as I realised that I could manage my tightenings out of the water!  I was finding a position that tucked my bum in, while hanging my pelvis in as relaxed a manner as I could, rubbing the top of my bum, breathing out through a wide open mouth, and rubbing just under my belly all at the same time.  Currawong woke up feeling well rested, and joined in the dance I was creating through the house and the verandah, and we were both feeling happy and like we were going to meet our baby soon.  The contractions were getting closer and closer, and Jess went out to wake Annetta.  She came in too, and the dance kept winding round the house, and in between contractions I was brilliantly alive, and intense, and telling them the magic of this baby.  This new baby was all about letting go of the old and my attachments I decided.  I’d lost my birthing necklace with the Kali cow bone bead that I’d had since Griffyn’s birth, to Balthazar bashing it to smithereens early on in the pregnancy.  I’d left my breastfeeding dressing gown at my mum’s house.  I was birthing for the first time without my mother around, and interestingly, was out of the water and out of my traditional birthing position on my back, that was the same position that my mother had birthed me.  I’d been into the lion’s den of the hospital, thinking that my anxieties and that dire prediction had won, but had been released to birth at home, and was finally able to shrug off all those negative omens!!  I was standing on two feet strongly grounded, and looking birth in the eye!  I was wearing a lanolin soaked, handspun, bird cape with a raw fleece bustle that I’d made for Tribal Fibres, as a wrap to lend me power and magic.   I was meeting birth in a different way than I’d ever met it before, dressed in power clothes, standing tall and strong, perching my pelvis in a way that relieved the pain, and with my Currawong firmly at my side, instead of running around boiling water and making sure that the bath was the right temperature.  He was just as delighted with the new fangled way that this birth was happening.  I was grinning and smiling and laughing with delight at the fears I was facing, and the new birthing paths I was treading.  It looked like we were heading nicely towards birthing in time to ring the hospital with our awesome result, and then get on with the rest of the day…..

And then our guest woke up.  She had breakfast, and was telling stories of herself and her relationship and her births, and chatting to all my people who’d been dancing with me, and the contractions started to slow.  I tried to entice her into the birthing cocoon we’d been weaving, and she joined in the dance for a moment.  But then we were hearing about her plans for the day, and her daughters woke up, and my expansions virtually came to a stop.  I was bereft.  We were heading so cleanly and strongly towards birth weren’t we?  What had happened?  How could it have gone away so completely?  I came to the conclusion that I needed to ask our guest to leave.  I needed to reclaim my birth space, and keep it sacred and for the people who were in on the dance with me, and immediate family and my birth support person only.  Our guest didn’t take it too well, and felt like she was being kicked out, and was very pouty about it, but I stayed strong.  Which was actually a really big thing for me.  Underneath the strong alternative exterior, I’m actually quite a wus, and have often given what I want over in the face of opposition.  I’ll compromise what I want to make others happy before just sticking to what I want and exactly how I want it.  But I was clear.  “This isn’t about you, it’s about me, and what I need for this birth, and who I want around me, and it has to be family only.  Bummer about the timing, and thank you for your help yesterday, but that’s just how it is.”   I organised with a dear friend closer to Nimbin for our guest and her girls to stay in their community house for a few nights, and after packing up she was gone.  And so was my birthing process that had felt like it was coming to a conclusion.

We sat around for a bit, I had a few spasmodic contractions, and tried hard to not feel like I’d failed in some way.  Annetta decided to head off for the day, advised me to rest, and said she’d be back later that night after the babies were asleep, and we’d see what happened then.  We all agreed that we’d give it till the next morning, and if nothing was happening then, we’d have to consider hospital again.  That day was a bit despondent.  I tried all the things that I knew could bring on labour….walking around, squatting, and other positions to give my body every chance to kick back into the birthing process.  The hospital rang to see how we were going, and Currawong told them that birth had been happening and then stalled, and we were waiting to see what the rest of the day brought, and if nothing had happened by the next morning we’d be considering coming back in.  But the highlight of the day was Currawong’s favourite birth starting procedure…..making love.  And this was the first time in our birthing career that it actually worked.  All the other times we’ve tried it have been with lots of people around, and as a purely mechanical antidote.  Currawong’s enjoyed it, but I’ve been unimpressed, unfocused, and interested in what it might do for my body only.  But there was no-one around, the kids were all off on a walk, there was nothing else happening, and our lovemaking session did kick off a few contractions, but that was not the main aim of the exercise anymore.  We actually had the time and space to melt into each other, and visited the special place we create together, with the added spice of immanent birth.  I climaxed quite a few times, and Currawong was crying as our bubble of us drew to a close, telling me that watching me love him was what he was born for.  That moment he was watching me, was the moment he was born to witness.  Gotta love a romantic bird man.

Birth meanwhile, had gone on a very extended coffee break, and wasn’t coming back into the space anytime soon.  The day dwindled into the night, and well fed kids went off to bed, and Currawong again went to bed early with them.  I sat alone and waited for Annetta again, sad, and depressed, and tired after two days now of little sleep and big stress.  She came in again like a breeze of hope, and just hugged me and let me hold onto her.  And then she checked me over again, checked the baby’s heartbeat and position, and we sat as she explained what she was piecing together.  After having so many baby’s, my uterus was looser than normal, and hadn’t quite contracted tight enough to start pushing out a baby.   My body had been taken by surprise by the plugs defection, and a bit like my birth preparations, just wasn’t quite ready.  There was nothing wrong with the baby either, and it seemed like the little person inside had been caught on the hop as well, not quite ready to shimmy down my birth canal.  The culprit it seemed was the fact that my cervix which, again after having had so many baby’s, had been dilated and open for quite a while beforehand, and had left the plug vulnerable and exposed to the hungry bacteria that live in every healthy vagina, which had snacked on the sweetness of my mucus plug.  And then stresses, and moving, and cleaning and the like had helped weaken it, till it came away earlier than my body and baby were ready for.  So there was nothing wrong with us, except a mechanical fault that had thrown a spanner in the works…..so to speak.  And we seriously spoke about how getting this far from the plug having come away, there was still an increased risk of infection to me and the babe inside, and I had to finally and completely let go of the idea of a water birth, as water increased the risk of infection too.  I went to bed despondent and tired, but I felt like I at least had a clearer picture about why this was happening, and that there was nothing wrong with my body or baby. 

And guess what……..I’ve reached my self imposed limit for a blog post, so I’m going to finish the story in another post.  We have another situation of a ‘to be continued’.  It may not be twins, but it goes over days again, and a lot can happen in three and a bit days!!  And sorry, but this birth was far too engaging and intimate for any of us to have bothered with taking many photo’s, so you’ll have to imagine how it looked in your minds eye………….