An edited version of this story was published in Midwifery Today
Birthkit, Winter 2001
Nicholas, my beloved, and our three children bought me a rose garden-
ten rose plants- for my 40th birthday in May, the seventh moon of my
pregnancy, and planted them outside our bedroom window. In July, a radiant
pink rose, Dearest, budded and flowered as we awaited the time of birth of
our fourth baby.
In this pregnancy, the moon had been my calendar, and I knew that the
birth time would be close to nine moon months from the waning crescent
under which we had conceived our baby. The night before our baby's ninth
moon, two weeks of frequent tightenings culminated in a strong sensation
that woke me from sleep. Still, I thought, maybe a few days more for
convenience and completions…The next morning, Nicholas photographed the
moon at dawn- a silver crescent framed by the sun's early rays on
That day saw me compelled to finish some important shopping at
Indooroopilly Shopping Centre- not my favourite activity, but I was in
such an altered state of consciousness that the hustle and bustle washed
over me. Lucky, too, that Emma (9) was with me to fill in the gaps in my
rational mind, bless her!
Early in the evening my dear friend Suzanne and I - plus my Jacob (4)
and her two children- were cooking soup for dinner. I leaned forward in
the pantry for an ingredient and…pop!- floods of beautiful clear fluid,
and the smell of babies and birth. This was the first time my waters had
broken before labour- and miraculous also, as a friend had wanted me to
collect some amniotic fluid for her, and here it was, pouring out. We lit
candles through the house, and Suzanne smudged me and my birth space with
sage and blessings for an easy birth.
Emma and Zoe (6) returned from hockey practice, curious and excited-
"There's so much room at the top of your tummy now" Emma said. Nicholas
arrived home to a candlelit dinner, and we wondered if my soup might be
seen again later that night! Still, I was hungry, and it felt good to be
going into labour so well nourished.
Two photos of our family at dinner- the only photos we have of Maia's
birth- show each of us with an expression of our experiences that night,
from total bliss (me) to uncertainty (Jacob) to excitement (Emma), pride
(Nicholas) and blessings (Zoe). Moreover, both photos, although taken with
a flash, have an inexplicable pink hue.
After dinner, Suzanne readied the children for bed. At first, the mild
tightenings of the last few days continued, and we decided that Suzanne,
who we had asked to be our support person, if necessary, would sleep the
night with her children in a bedroom at the other end of the house.
Nicholas and I shared some quiet time, and we remembered the early
hours of my first labour, almost 10 years earlier, which had caught us by
surprise. The waves of labour had been strengthening, then as now, and I
had been rocking, moaning and hanging off the wardrobe door as Nicholas
sorted the baby clothes. At a pivotal point, I had realised that they
would not be washed and neatly stacked before our baby (Emma) was born.
Here too, in this labour, was the need to let go of things not done, and
to surrender myself as wholly as possible to the unfathomable mysteries of
birth and baby.
Nicholas lay down with Zoe and Jacob, and I cuddled with Emma, who was
excited but keen to get to sleep, so we would wake her, as we'd agreed,
when the time of birth was close. My last two labours had been in the
daytime, and Emma and Zoe had been with me for the full labours and births
of their siblings. This time I wanted a more solitary space, and they
agreed reluctantly. Jacob, who was the least experienced birth attendant
("I've only been at my birth") was a bit unsure, but didn't want to be
While I lay in bed, Zoe came in to say goodnight, and she recalls our
"Are you a ghost?" I apparently
"No" she said
"Are you an angel?"
"Are you Zoe"
(Actually, I think
she's come straight from the angelic realms)
I took the opportunity between my still-mild expansions (not
contractions) to phone my friend Sunderai in Melbourne- she had been
present at Jacob's birth- asking her to hold me in her heart as I
laboured. I remember looking at the clock- it was 9.20 when I
After this, I moved into our ensuite bathroom, my trusty yoga mat on
the floor to protect me feet from the cold tiles. I was on and off the
toilet initially, emptying myself and my bowels, but then back to my mat.
From this time on, my expansions were very close together- I couldn't even
get back to our adjoining bedroom to read the beautiful birth blessings
sent to me by my women's circle in Melbourne, or to gaze at the birthing
Mandalas which the children had coloured so exquisitely in my pregnancy.
No time either for music, dancing, essential oils or water- as my friend
Davini wished for me, this birth was to be "simple and present".
Our baby's birth was to be witnessed only by the family- there had been
a strong feeling from the start that this was what this baby wanted. This
was not a comfortable option for Nicholas who, like myself, was trained in
GP obstetrics, and who was very aware of the possible complications and of
his responsibilities. However towards the end of my pregnancy, he became
more accepting of my wishes, and we stopped arguing about medical versus
alternative responses. He prepared his medical kit- IV fluids and
syntocinon in case of bleeding- and I prepared my box of homeopathics and
herbs for myself and baby.
Along with the decision to give birth unassisted, I committed myself to
be optimally prepared on every level. My body was well nourished, I
practised yoga and meditation daily, I had regular massage, osteopathic
and cranio-sacral treatments, and later in my pregnancy, shiatsu, which
revitalised and balanced my body wonderfully.
I also chose to have no medical care or tests- not even blood pressure-
in this pregnancy. I trusted my body and my baby to tell me, through
feelings, dreams and impulses, what was needed. It was a great gift for
me, with my medical training, to liberate myself from numbers, and from
In my meditation, I had been given a series of affirmations, one for
each level of my body, which I used in the last months as my own medicine.
In the final weeks, it was only the last- at the level of my crown, and
with the colour violet- that I needed: 'I totally surrender and
This baby had a very soft pink energy- most of us felt that it was a
girl, and even Jacob, who said he wanted a brother, commented "I love the
baby because the baby makes me like pink". The other colour that was
strong for me in the pregnancy was deep blue- the colour of the night sky.
The children saw both of these colours at the birth.
There was also a simple, domestic feeling to this pregnancy- no need
for outside activity or people- and I felt keenly this baby's love of
family. I felt strongly not to be poking my belly, nor to let others do
this, especially with intent to 'palpate', or check for position.. For
example, when I considered whether to book into a local hospital as
back-up, I couldn't face the idea of my baby being touched by others.
In my yoga I had worked a lot with pain, stretching into tight and
painful areas and finding the surrender, the bliss at the centre. I
wondered how it would be in this labour- could I find the ecstasy at the
heart of the expansions? How would I be this time in the intensity of
giving birth? I had shown the children the video of Jacob's birth, and
Jacob, especially hadn't liked my loud moans. Zoe had commented, after
hearing my birth mantra 'Oh baby, baby, I love you, baby'
wouldn't say 'Baby, baby', I would say 'Love, Love'…"
All of this was in my mind as I moved so rapidly through this labour,
feeling, with every few expansions, shifts in texture and timing, as my
cervix- and my whole self- was taken up more and more; was sacrificed-
made sacred- in this ancient initiation.
After Nicholas had settled the children- except Zoe, who kept getting
up and so was present the whole time- he joined me, and we cuddled. I was
standing, mostly, moaning, and circling my pelvis with each expansion.
Then a new and exquisite space opened up for me, and, for the remainder of
my labour, I was looking into the eyes of my beloved, telling him "I love
you, I love you, I love you, I love you.…" peaking and subsiding with each
wave, while Zoe was holding onto his leg, cruising the love energy.
I was in an ecstatic, timeless space, yet also aware of the rapidity,
of my baby moving down so quickly. After an hour or so, I felt a familiar
catch in my throat- a feeling that the urge to push was close. "This baby
will be born soon" I said. But my mind was incredulous- it had been such a
short time, and I didn't want to wake the children too early. I said to
Nicholas "We should feel my cervix". "You do it", he said. Probing my body
myself, I felt the vital ring of my cervix fully open, enclosing a soft
and strangely boggy head.
Nicholas had filled our sunken spa bath by now- Zoe recalls that it was
too hot, and needed more cold. Zoe went off to wake Emma, who tried her
best to wake Jacob. During this time, the urge to push became
irresistible. I was standing on my mat, leaning forwards slightly as I
worked and feeling the strong rushes as inseparable from my own energy- my
body and my baby's body working together, as we have always done.
As Nicholas left to wake Jacob I had a sudden desire for water, and
jumped in, finding myself a beautiful position in the triangle of the tub;
upright and kneeling with my feet supported on the sides as I pushed .
With Emma, Zoe, and now Jacob, still drowsy, sitting in front of me on
the mat, I felt such beauty and fulfillment; a sense that the stars
themselves had stopped for these exquisite minutes; and the absolute and
total rightness of being- of all of us being- here, now. "It's so
beautiful having a baby" I said.
The children said I 'screamed a bit', but I felt every centimeter of my
baby descending, and I could hold the growing pressure in my vagina,
without contracting against it. In this way, progress was very quick- two
or three pushes, and not even a strong stretching feeling, and I said "I'm
crowning". One more push and "Here's the head". Yet strangely, I had no
feeling of my push finishing easily at the baby's neck.
We were in candlelight, and I was tucked into the darkest corner of the
spa bath. Nicholas had a torch ready, and he shone it into the water to
check the baby- "It's a foot", he said. I turned, my baby still half in my
body, and saw a left leg waving in the water. Nicholas leant down- I still
don't know how he did it without getting wet- and freed the other leg,
which was straight against her belly, held only by the foot.
I had two clear thoughts- firstly, that she might be posterior as well
as breech. This would mean a very tricky delivery, as had been the case
with a friend's baby. But then I realised that I couldn't figure out which
way was up, in my state and position, so I let that one go. Secondly, I
was glad to have Suzanne in the house with us.
I asked Nicholas to feel the cord- she was born past her umbilicus by
now. "It's not pulsating" he said. We both knew what this meant; our baby
would need to be born quickly, as the cord was being compressed between
her head and my pelvic bones, cutting off her blood supply. "I'll stand
up" was my instinctive response.
Standing with ease, I leaned forward, my hands supporting her slippery
little legs and bottom, and, without waiting for the next wave, I pushed.
Out came her chest, arms spilling out, cord tumbling and tangled, then
lastly, with one push, her head. I scooped her up into my arms, to the
warmth of my heart. She was like a little bundle of kelp; floppy, blue and
not breathing. (The children said later "We thought she was a dead baby".)
"We love you, baby, we love you" they cried, calling her in. After twenty
or thirty seconds- it seemed longer, but Nicholas was watching her
closely- she opened one eye, squeaked, and took a breath, pinking up
From blue kelp to pink flesh, our little breech mermaid, born tail in
the water and top out! Emma and Zoe both saw deep blue and pink - her
colours- in her aura at birth, and Jacob saw "blue, pink, purple, yellow
and orange". Emma had the important job of recording the time of birth-
10:48pm, July 26 2000.
Nicholas helped me out of the tub and back to the bedroom, and I lay on
the bed, skin to naked newborn skin, all of us in the purest bliss. The
children were very keen to know her sex, but Nicholas and I needed a bit
of time to recover-which we did with joyous laughter. After a few minutes,
we pulled back the towel to see that our baby was, as we had guessed, our
own girl, Maia Rose! (Emma said "I've been right four times
I put her to my breast - her eyes were open now- and she suckled
straight away. Zoe went to get Suzanne, who had heard the whole process,
including our laughter which told her that all was well. She helped with
the children and with cleaning up, and prepared us a beautiful plate of
fruit -and the juice that I hadn't had time to drink in labour. I sat up
after half an hour or so- it was getting a bit uncomfortable- and squatted
to deliver Maia's placenta.
We didn't cut Maia's cord, as we had chosen Lotus birth (as we had for
Zoe and Jacob) where baby, cord and placenta remain whole and attached
until natural separation. My perineum was totally unscathed- I have been
blessed this way with all of my births- and I bled barely at all. My body
"Perfect!" said Nicholas- "An evening birth, then a full night's
sleep"- well, almost!
In the days that followed, I was respectful of the enormous opening
that my body had been through, and I stayed in bed, in a quiet space, with
my baby. Maia's cord came away, without any fuss, on her third evening. It
was seven days before I even left the bedroom- where our family shared all
of our evening meals-, and I didn't go past the letter box, or in a car
for a full 6 weeks. Nicholas had arranged 1 month off work to care for our
household, which he did beautifully. As well as this, friends and
neighbours brought meals, flowers, muffins and practical help. We were
fully nourished and our community shared in the magic of birth and
The lovely Claire- traditional midwife and naturopath
extraordinaire,-who had been so supportive of me and my choices in my
pregnancy, visited on the third day, and weighed Maia at about 8 lbs.
Actually we'd borrowed the neighbour's kitchen scales the day before, but
balancing a newborn baby on a dish made for food wasn't easy, or accurate,
as it turned out!
Maia was very inner in the early weeks and months, curled up like a
rosebud and content just to be in my arms. Incrementally, over the months,
she has opened up, more in accord with her Leo sun sign, and now, at 11
months, is very sociable.
For myself, also, there has been a gradual 'coming out' process, and I
continue to reap a rich harvest from my experience of Maia's pregnancy and
birth. We have been blessed with enormous, and continuing, love and
support from friends and family- thank you to each and everyone- and, most
fundamentally, deepest gratitude to the Goddess for answering our prayers
with such a gift- Maia Rose, Goddess of Spring, and midwife to
"Faith in a creative, fulfilling, desired end- sustained faith-
literally draws from the Universe all the necessary ingredients, all of
the details, and then inserts into physical life the impulses, dreams,
chance meetings, motivations or whatever is necessary so that the desired
end falls into place as a completed pattern. "- Jane Roberts/Seth, as
quoted in Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Kaplan Shanley
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