So here I am, 27wks pregnant with our second baby – and what do I want from this pregnancy? In many ways my wishes are the same as those for Grace’s birth, although now I know how to get there.
The choices for me this time were simple. Home birth without doubt is the only way I can guarantee an undisturbed, physiological birth. I immediately contacted Heather, who I decided, along with my chosen midwife, would be my only carers during this pregnancy. No doctors, no scans, no poking and prodding or fear-mongering. This decision has asked me to put faith in my own body and processes, and to take full responsibility for my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Heather recommended a well-respected doula, who has put me in touch with a midwife she likes to work with. They both share my philosophy regarding leaving well alone, and will allow me the space and intimacy with my husband that I require to birth this baby. We are in on-going discussions regarding exactly what my expectations are, and I feel we are all on the same page.
I have asked my sister to be there for Grace at the birth. So that’s my birth team! The next step is to get us all together at the same time to become familiar with each other, ask questions, discuss fears and generally feel we are all headed towards the same thing. I need to know that everyone at the birth trusts my ability to birth in an undisturbed manner, and will bring no fear or apprehension into the birthing space. So I am preparing my team carefully, as I have come to realise who we birth with is just as, if not more, important as where.
As for my own preparations? It has taken the better half of this pregnancy for me to fully come into it, and I feel this beautiful baby has grown despite me, so far. I had so many mixed feelings at the beginning, falling pregnant when Grace was just 12 months old was never part of the plan. I still felt that Grace was my baby, and certainly didn’t feel ready for another. I became resentful that my breastfeeding relationship with Grace was changing.
The first 12 weeks were incredibly painful, and unbeknown to me at the time, my supply was dwindling. This made my normally gentle feeder wriggly and determined at the breast, only increasing my pain and irritation. Grace was hardly eating solids, which had never bothered me as she was always plump and healthy, and I was very happy to let her lead the way. I knew she would get there in her own time. However, this pregnancy was now dictating the schedule of events and for that I felt resentful towards and disconnected from my growing belly.
By Christmas there was virtually no milk to speak of and Grace went through a very brutal introduction to other food. She really had no choice. It was an incredibly difficult transition for both of us, with many of my days ending in tears of frustration. We are still breastfeeding, although my milk supply has never really returned, she gets more emotional than physical nourishment at the moment and I look forward to the birth and the return of an abundant milk supply for both of my children.
The turning point in this pregnancy came around 5 weeks ago, when I took my sister to see a screening of `Birth As We Know It’, a beautiful film by a woman named Elena Toneti-Vladimirova. We were fortunate enough to hear her speak after the film, and I made the decision to attend her two day workshop in Byron Bay that weekend. Elena’s whole premise is that we will continue to re-create our own birth trauma until we are able to release ourselves from old patterns. The weekend enabled me to understand my own patterns, and to take some steps toward healing. I was able to see how my own pain was carried out in Grace’s birth and am now aware of the inner work necessary to prepare for the birth experience I crave.
I have heard it said that an ecstatic birth is equivalent to seven years meditation; such is the transformative power of birth. What an extraordinary gift and a privilege that we women are able to have this incredible experience. Apart from the physical preparations to nourish my body and ensure I am strong enough to carry the pregnancy to full-term, I am looking inward to find the place of calm and strength that will prepare me for a transformative experience. Much can be healed through a wonderful birth, not just for me, but for my whole family. I look forward to the experience and to welcoming another little being into our lives.