Birth is Radical, the earthside arrival of Maxwell Stanley.
As some of you know, his pregnancy was one i chose not to have traditional antenatal care, which is often referred to as ‘wild pregnancy’
We did in the 2nd trimester choose to have my belly scanned, to check in (there was only one baby) and for my own reassurance I wanted to check in with his placenta placement in the womb. This was important to me due to my previous births and C-section scarring.
But other than that, no listening in, no appointments, no measurements, no checks etc…
I’m healthy, probably more than I ever have been. And felt I’d done that before and I was confident and comfortable in my body’s ability to grow a healthy chunk of a baby.
I tuned into my body and to him.
This was a deeply conscious and considered decision, I realise not for everyone, but felt good and right for us, our family and our baby.
My antenatal care did involve me consulting with and engaging the services of a birth keeper & independent midwife to support certain parts of the journey.
For holistic space holding support in my birth and in the postpartum.
I also had 121s with some of the best in the country, birth coaches, wise wisdom keepers, we read books, listened to podcasts and completed numerous courses to really research this way of doing things, and it just clicked as right.
I also journeyed through pregnancy with my soul sister, daily reviews of our reading and listening materials, talking about the miracle of carrying new life and all its amazing highs as well as the lows did make it extra special.
I suppose part of this decision, was understanding the downsides and have first hand experience of medical maternity care, of care provider fear, of complying to policy pressure healthcare staff are under, and knowing the huge red warning tape my maternity notes would be wrapped in if I’d engaged the nhs knowing it would be a fight, a defence. And how triggering and frustrating I found some of my interactions in my last pregnancy.
So this just felt like the natural order and path in my journey of growing babies and mothering.
To have an undisturbed pregnancy was one of the most special and connecting things I’ve ever experienced.
I am and have been careful to remember through this process, very grateful we have the access to an advanced and amazing allopathic medical system in this country.
One that is there when we truly need it (And I’ll get to the bit where me&him really did need it later)
But it’s been my long term belief and still is, that we’ve come to a place where we’ve over medicated and over medicalise everything in our culture.
In birth and life.
We treat symptoms, not root causes, we give drugs to mask, to improve or temporarily relieve, whilst rarely evaluating overall health.
Within this model we pathologize pregnancy and birth in a way that just doesn’t feel necessary to me.
I’ve come to a place where I believe that through this we outsource our own bodies, our own knowing, we’ve been growing babies and birthing them for millennia, and have lost faith in women and mothers to know themselves, their babies, their needs. ❤️
I understand this is a nuanced topic, and instances and variations of need will crop up. But on the whole, healthy women are able to grow healthy babies without any of the above. And it comes back to the feeling of presuming the body works until you feel maybe you need support, or are unwell etc.
My plan, and one I openly talked about during my pregnancy, was to continue to tune in and connect, to trust myself, my body and my baby.
And to seek help if I felt we needed it.
Rather than the reverse ❤️
So as I headed to 42 weeks, I was in trust and faith he would arrive when he was ready, with of course the occasional monkey mind natural wobble of “will I be pregnant forever” 😂 It’s such a weird ‘in between’ late pregnancy, the unknown, the expectation.
But I’d gone to 42+3 days with his sister and knew slightly longer than average might be my body’s norm!
After days, weeks even, of tightenings, of deep movements that took my breath away.
I woke up in the night on a Monday morning, a wave deep in my belly awoke me.
I laid quietly tuning in for a while, not sure how long, till I could tell this was consistent, I checked the time and I was just gone 3am. Tighter tightenings than I had in the weeks before, and this time they were coming and going.
I wasn’t timing but I could feel a pattern emerging.
This is it! I couldn’t sleep with excitement and the soft enough wonderful sensations of early labour coursing through my body!
I tried to doze, listening to guided affirmation meditations.
I told my husband we were on when he woke, we were going to meet our baby boy today (Oh, in my hope and expectation, how wrong I was😂)
We decided it could take a while, so he went to take the kids to their various activities and my wonderful friend, my soul sister, who I’d journeyed through pregnancy came to be by my side in support, with her own baby with her ❤️
My daughters returned home and gave me extra support, Matilda massaging me and holding my hand as I bounced and kneeled over our bed.
She was with me only a couple of hours, when we decided to phone our birthkeeper- I’d been bouncing and starting to close my eyes and breath through sensations, and seemed 2/3 mins apart! Brilliant I thought, we are on!
Trickles of water gushing in between.
When our birthkeeper arrived we decided to head down stairs, to the cave (sitting room) that would become a sanctuary of birthy portal amazingness for the next few days.
I continued to breathe and sway minute to minute, as everyone else moved around lighting candles, filling the pool, putting on birthy tunes, burning incense.
I remember the sweet taste of the delicious labour aid my birthkeeper made.
It seemed we were heading full steam ahead.
I remember at one point in these moments, I started to cry, tears of joy, it all felt so right, despite the intensity, this is where we were meant to be, only existing in this moment, and already felt so healing from my previous experiences of labour and birth.
I decided to get into the pool which was a wonderful relaxer, the ability to move so freely is such a welcome relief, anyone who has laboured will appreciate I’m sure!
But after a few hours and hot water top ups, thinking initially we’d reached ‘rest and be thankful phase’ we’d actually slowed right back down, hmm, I’ve been here before I thought! (similar happened in my previous labour and birth)
Let’s get out, rest up a little and try again. Things will pick up again overnight!
We got the kids to bed, lots of cuddles and kisses, and looked after by my mini midwives.
As well as our birthkeeper and dear friend sticking with me ❤️
As the sun went down, things started to ramp back up. Here we go I thought, THIS is it, and this time I won’t get into the pool until we absolutely are in no turning back zone!
My body tiring a little I decided to rest propped up on my side in between and let things build back up.
And boy did they, it was intense, that evening and into the night, I was less breathy and more roary!🦁 Sound is such a powerful way to release tension in the body, it felt good!
Here we go I thought, my birthkeeper told me she could see my rhombus sticking out, my back and pelvis was opening.
(Rhombus of Michaelis – This is an alternative indicator of the birth journey, to checking the cervix for ‘full dilation’- a practice not only disruptive, in my experience painful and degrading, but despite its commonality, not really backed by good research or science as an effective way to support babies being born.)
Baby is heading down ready, we’re on, we all thought!
She and my friend reminding me I was going to meet my baby soon, envisioning him moving down and emerging.
That I could do this, I was powerful and amazing. My husband coming in and out with more words of support and cuddles.
You are nearly there.
When we thought there was no turning back, the waves crashing on top of each other, I was back in the pool and this time, another few hours later we’d slowed back down, unfortunately this time to an almost halt. The waves spaced out and their intensity waned.
My friend went home to her own kiddos for a while and I got out and managed to sleep/doze a bit through these much more spaced out milder contractions. Me and my birthkeeper napped for a few hours like this, she waking with me to hold my hand or squeeze my hip or thigh as I breathed through the stronger ones❤️
And we stayed this way through most of Tuesday morning, varying in intensity and in time, snoozing on my side trying to rest and build up strength for the real climax later. I knew and know stop start labour can be a variation of normal. It was intense, but willing to ride it out, we could be here a while yet. Birth in hospital isn’t waited for. Timelines are drawn, marks in the sand. Undisturbed birth can take hours. Days. I know women who’ve kept going for 2/3/4 days. And this felt ok. I had started to ask myself how long? Do I have a parameter here, but came back to, until something tells me otherwise, no.
I feel remarkably ok, baby is good, moving and kicking. There are no signs anything is wrong. We continue.
I’d sent the excited kids away to their various daily activities, -again! 😂
Later that morning I also thought I’d sent everyone home to rest and check back with their own families, to give myself some space. Time alone may help me to recalibrate.
So off they went for the afternoon, whilst I repeated a 20 minute pattern of side lying supported snooze, a sensation to breathe deeply through, go for a wee, back to sofa repeat😂
Largely wanted to just be alone in the quiet, but with my wonderful husband also occasionally in and out during this time, looking after me, keeping me physically, emotionally topped up and happy ❤️ Then when she got home my mini birthkeeper Matilda took over bringing me what I needed, keeping me hydrated, stroking my hair, she was amazing, I remember her saying I just want to look after you and help you do this Mummy, you can do this.
This was the first time I’d checked my phone since Monday morning. Conscious of wanting to stay in my zone. But it felt ok to switch things up as I was switching zones. I reached out to a few of my closest ones that knew where I’d been, off grid.
And a sneaky check on insta.
I messaged the wonderful Carmen, with whom I’d had a coaching call with earlier in pregnancy and knew where I was at.. She offered to call me immediately, we spoke, about fear release, blocks and she invited me to go deep within anything that could be holding me back, and I sat and journaled and did a fire ritual release.
This psychological and emotional release made sense to me, certainly felt good and the time and after it was done I laid back down.
The next wave, I remember so clearly, with no warm up, no warning, like a sign, brought me rolled off the side of the sofa to my hands and knees!
And so big and strong, here we go!
This is it!
My amazing friend, who had been leaving her own little family to be with me, arrived back after tea time. I cuddled with her newborn, a couple of months old, for a bit while she prepped me some extra bits. Kissing and smelling his little head was giving me all the good vibes.
Soon I’ll meet my own baby vibes. We laughed about how special it will be for them growing up together that he was there for all of this.
So thank you for that little O, I’ll not forget that.
We agreed to only call our birthkeeper back until things were ramped and more regular so she could rest.
We continued and napped in between these waves, carrying on with the more intense but restful pattern of side lie, drop to hands and knees for wave, wee, back to lay down.
Until they were much closer and back to under 5 minutes, at midnight-ish, i called our birth keeper back.
And we were very much back on.
This time although it was, I acknowledge, much harder. I’d had bits of rest, but my body was so tired, at full endurance for 2 days, my knees and arms were sore, bruised and red, from all the forward leaning and all fours type poses.
I seemed most comfortable sitting up straight on the edge of the sofa and edging forward to an almost supported squat at peak of the wave, then being helped back up.
We were back to really big, long, powerful waves of sensation, but baby was still quite high.
I had started to feel like my belly was staying quite tense in between, but my friend and birth keeper massaging me and it for a while softening to touch so felt ok with that for the time being.
Through all of this, and the days previous some of these long rides of waves on waves, these moments, these stretched out periods of time, where time didn’t exist, were everything just was, really was a cosmic portal, of visions and dreams, so many things coming up, coming through, to be washed away. Sometimes softly, sometimes crashed or drowned. I’ve heard and described birth myself as a portal.
And this really was, a very watery, very cosmic, almost psychedelic experience of pain, of joy, the most surreal and intense journey one can make.
By early morning we decided to refill the pool again, 3rd time lucky and this was definitely it.
We agreed at the hint of anything slowing, or spacing out, I’d get straight out and focus on land, but again I knew the freedom of movement the pool would allow was what I needed.
My time line goes a bit blurry here but I know for now it was just me and my birthkeeper, in the flickers of opening my eyes I could tell past sunrise.
I got in, and nothing slowed, the waves crashing in, stayed as intense.
A minute apart and so powerful it was taking everything I had to keep focused, I can do this, come on baby, come and move down! We are ready to meet you. Breathe breathe breathe.
I started to wail and flail around a bit more, fleeting between I can do this, there is only this moment, one wave at a time – to- I can’t do it, make it stop, I don’t want to, I’d give anything some kind of epidural, I’m done- help me god, please!
All classic transition signs.
And here we stayed, in transition, waiting for the drop. The most intense, most challenging 2 hours of my life I’d say. This ‘stage’ of labour for lack of a better word is typically 15 mins to an hour, but could last longer, and here we were.
I started to feel different, I’d been having doubts it would ever happen, but being reminded of this transition phase.
After saying I only wanted to call him once my body started pushing, I asked for James to be called down to hold me through, he did and we continued. They gently encouraged me.
Give it a while longer. You’ve got this. It takes as long as it takes. Most people would have given up days ago. You are so so close.
I’m not quite sure when, but during this last hour or so the tide started to turn. By this point the same thing has been going on for 3 hours.
I started to not just lose faith. But I started to drift, flickering out the portal, the zone, into a new reality.
We’d been there for that long, at that level of intensity, something wasn’t right.
Initially questioning is this my limit, my parameter, but also knowing no, I’ve been past that..
Not only were these waves so on top of each other, my baby was still high, he wasn’t moving down and on checking my belly definitely wasn’t softening inbetween now, this was a red flag.
This is something the brilliant Kemi Johnson had warned me about in a birth prep 121, the fundus not releasing in between contractions. Especially for someone like me, whose uterus has deep scarring from previous c-sections. This not releasing and pain around scaring is a sign things are going wrong, the first sign of trouble.
She also said to me, in the rare instance of something like this happening, not only will you know, you’ll be able to snap to it and take action. You might not know exactly what or what to do but you’ll know.
I said out loud and in my head, I know birth works, but I was grounding into a new reality..
Not 100% every time, and very rarely, it does need help, and I have this scarring, I realise now that is what is preventing this from working, not the process of birth itself, my body is trying, my baby is trying but this scarring is blocking and and and…
Every wave that came, my birthkeeper was still encouraging, inviting me to visualise my baby emerging, something I’d done many times in pregnancy.
Bringing him to my chest, maybe even try to bear down a bit. See what happened.
But I’d lost the vision, the one I had created and held for months.
I could see his gorgeous but slippery little body emerging and me bringing him up to my chest, but now from my back, under the very clear bright circles spots of theatre lights.
I started to come around further, now out of the birth portal, no longer in a zone at all, saying I’m being serious, it’s not working. Something is wrong. I think for a while both my birthkeeper and James both thought maybe it was still transition, I’d asked them not to let me give up, but they could also feel the vibe change, l remember saying no, I’m not just done, listen to me, this bit is over, it’s not happening. Call an ambulance.
I also knew I was l rationalising clearly with myself because I knew calling for an ambulance wasn’t just going to make it all stop, wasn’t going to stop the intensity or stop the contractions, they don’t carry or administer pain meds or epidurals I’d been asking for the hour before.
I knew it’d get harder, I’d have to ride this out all the way to the hospital.
And once there, what lay ahead of me.
That what would come with the help me and my baby needed, wouldn’t be a walk in the park either.
It would be bright lights, questions, machines, drugs and pain.
I agreed to be helped out of the pool, just to see if gravity would help a final drop.
I got out but I was no longer primal breathing, swaying and roaring (or even wailing) I was in no zone, James held my full body weight up so I could hang in the balance.
After a few moments, I decided to check if this had worked, the gravity.
I looked down, I’d started dripping blood, maybe babies crowning? Blood in birth is normal.
I used my own hand to reach and see where he was, but nothing, no head, I couldn’t touch anything hard, as I pulled my hand away there was more blood, I didn’t feel good or right.
I lifted my hand back to my belly and could feel my baby’s bum still so high in my belly.
Although this sounds scary to some, I wasn’t panicked. I just knew the time was now to call and although we were veering to another path, everything would be just fine, me and baby would be fine we just needed to get to the hospital.
This time I shouted, call now.
James called 999, and 2 ambulances arrived before he was even off the phone.
The crew arrived at the house. They were great but I had to be quite direct. I’m not sure what they were expecting, but I remember the friendly guy smiling at me and saying right, we need to time these contractions, then wow they are under a minute apart we will need to stay and ‘deliver’ the baby here, you’re too advanced baby will be here any second it’s too risky to start the journey. Best intentions of course and I expect it looked that way 😂
I think I snapped back- what the fuck do you think I’ve been doing for the last 3 hours. 3 days!
I understand birth, my baby’s head is not descending, it can’t descend.
I didn’t call you to help ‘deliver’ my baby, I called you to take me to a hospital!
I’m going in now. Can we please just go!
And that got them going😂
And again the funny conversations continued in the ambulance, wanting them to be quiet but also vaguely amused/bemused was a distraction. I was so grateful James could come with me, I was just getting them to understand I don’t need any of what they were saying, I know I need an emergency C-section, that’s what’s happening now!
We live in the centre triangle of several hospitals and trusts. I remember the crew discussing where to go and I said Bradford, I wanted to go to BRI.
I am so grateful we have such skilled surgeons in our country, but for some reason I knew I would be in safe hands there, that when needed this was where I wanted to go.
When we arrived at the maternity unit, the staff were great. I agreed to be put on a monitor to check in on baby. Still sat on the ambulance stretcher, but I didn’t care, I didn’t need to be in any position. They wanted to see if baby was ok, he was doing great but obviously the stress of what was happening and the intensity meant his heart rate was elevated on each surge. Weird after a wild pregnancy to finally hear his heart beat loudly through the machine next to me.
My heart rate was obviously high, blood pressure too and my temperature was starting to spike.
The midwives knew the score, but were happy taking their time with initial checks, kept asking if I felt ‘pushy’ nope!😂
As they moved me onto a bed, I noticed the spotting had turned from bits and spots to lots of fresh, thick meconium and blood.
This got the consultant called quicker, also I explained I couldn’t wee now, I felt my bladder was full but I couldn’t wee- I’d been fine weeing even 20 mins before. They tried to place the monitor back and I felt weird sharp pains on top of the contractions, deep within me. I think I knew what we’d been building up to was happening.
In planning this pregnancy and birth, natural fears and thoughts did arise, I had plans and back up and parameters I’d worked through. It was a consideration.
But I can honestly say despite knowing I would be at a slight increased risk of uterine rupture due to my previous births, it wasn’t a big fear for me. I’d done so much work and research. I’d weighed up the risks alongside the risks to me and my baby of just going for a repeat c/section, which come with its own immediate risks and long term health implications for mothers and babies. And this is where I’d landed.
This type of rupture is often associated with vbac births but also labours that are induced or augmented in some way.
But here I was, becoming part of this small but real statistic.
I was so happy to see the consultant, she was the loveliest lady and I knew her! She remembered me.
She said it’s Jules! The power of warmth in a smile, I had complete faith and trust, things were urgent, and run through quicker than in my previous experiences, but both me and James were very (pleasantly) surprised at the ease of the chat, it had to be quick, they were also prepping me with socks and James in gowns, but they continued checking our understanding and consent communication.
No one batted at eye lid at our decisions, I was open in my disclosure of not having chosen NHS antenatal care, or my requests, or declining of certain things.
She immediately said she was absolutely fine to support a lotus birth. But joked this time just not recommend eating my placenta as it was going to be covered in meconium😂
She asked if she could do a quick scan to check where the head was, and then we were taken into theatre, the anaesthetist keeping me distracted and at ease, clearly reading me.
The spinal block, which I’ve always been terrified of, and even after my active labour with A, still hated the feeling of numbness.
In all my reading of sacred birthing, the feeling this can give babies if it reaches them, always being with me. I also seem to remember previously it taking a while to work.
But it was a different situation.
And this time I seemed to knowingly accept and surrender more, like I knew it was needed and as the contractions wore off, as I was laid down, I felt peace, I had a few moments of peace to refocus.
This was my rest and be thankful.
Not the one I’d expected, but a much needed pause to recalibrate before I met my baby.
I remember I asked the consultant once this happened to please, if his head is fully engaged properly, please only use forceps if you absolutely have to, she said of course. I’ll talk you through everything.
It was quick, they got in quick.
And helped my own hands down to lift his gorgeous but bloody and meconium covered little body straight up to my chest.
One of the midwife’s stepped over and was a bit pushy, saying he’s blue, he’s gargly and was trying to get in and be quite rough, saying ‘I need to hear him cry’ whilst I appreciate them thinking this is needed. I know it’s not, he was fine.
Healthy babies are born all kinds of colours other than bright pink, he was tired and just been through a load of hard work, a big stress, he was moving, breathing, his eyes clamped shut, coming too slowly and that was ok.
I asked her to back off, I could see him pinking up, I could rub his back and chest a bit, I sucked a bit of gunk out of nose and I didn’t want his first few moments earthside being traumatised unnecessarily by over zealous plastic gloved hands.
Again, I understand how needed and welcome clever hands are when truly needed for a baby needing resus for example, but this one didn’t. I also understand HCP reactions are on edge prepped in an emergency so best be safe, quick to play a role, to need to do something to help.
But I feel we seem to have come to a place where we are so rough with newborns, like it’s par for the course, that they won’t mind being vigorously rubbed, patted and suctioned when they are just trying to readjust to the outside world.
Even in this circumstance, under bright lights, if calm babies are born gently they don’t need to cry and scream and you don’t need to make them.
And don’t get me started on hats!
So I rubbed his tummy, I kissed him and I spoke to him as I had for days, for weeks, for months before. He was breathing fine. We stuck with that for a few moments. With the consultant honouring the birth of my baby’s placenta, he was also still attached to his lifeline of the last 10 months, supporting him still, with it in a bag by my head and he and his placenta stayed that way for sometime.
We’d always planned a ‘partial lotus birth’ as some may call it, or atleast to wait til the cord was white and floppy, so that he’d had his full blood complement, knowing the long term health benefits that would give him.
After a few minutes, the consultant looked me in the eyes, I could tell she wasn’t happy.
She said ok Jules, we’re in a bit of a mess, this is going to be tricker, your uterus has ruptured in several places, we knew this but it’s a little worse than we thought.
And unfortunately it seems like there were adhesions between your bladder and the uterus that have pulled apart and I’m not happy with this.
We’re calling for help from a urologist and we are going to have to quickly get to work.
She explained everything calmly, with empathy but seriousness. They started to prepare me for a general anaesthetic.
James took Maxwell, while these emergency decisions were happening.
It was surreal but I was calm, still in trust, the consultant seemed concerned but confident and I had every faith in her.
I asked for help and the younger student midwife helped me to hand express some colostrum for Maxwell, they were saying I might be in surgery for a long time, at least a few hours.
I know how crucial getting little bits of the golden nectar are in those first few hours, especially for my tired boy who’d been through a long labour.
I could see James and Maxwell together at the baby station at the side.
Maxwell is now being weighed and measured.
This wouldn’t have been my choice at this time
I remember shouting over to James… skin to skin, they don’t need to be doing that, get that hat off him!
I remember thinking I don’t want all those blue gloves hands prodding him, it’s not needed, stop them, but also thinking, he’s his Dad, he’s in his own zone, he knows all the important stuff, he’s dealing with that over there as well as dealing with the awful powerlessness of what the fuck is happening to my wife over there.
In the grand scheme of things, these are his choices now, he knows the important stuff and he will decide the right things to do.
So I ended by just shouting, if takes a long time, call Lauren, she will come, bring milk or feed him, DO NOT let them give him formula!
My attention brought back by being asked if I was ready. Yes.
And then I was out.
During this time, James stayed with him.
He was pretty astounded at the paediatrician saying he was going to cut the cord as it was starting to go white and the baby could get too much blood 😂
I find this level of ignorance and conditioned understanding around the importance of placenta and cord blood astounding too.
James of course said no thank you, no way.
Got him skin to skin and made his way to recovery to wait for me. Eventually deciding when he was ready to cut the cord and asking them to put the placenta in the box he’d brought and popped in the fridge.
Meanwhile I was being worked on.
I’m told and understand from other research I’d done before, that the long labour and intense contractions over time had thinned my uterus, combined with the tension around the scarring meant it started to pull apart. It was in pretty bad shape by the end and needed a lot of work, my bladder, although in better shape still needed some stitches. And is going to take time to heal.
We think I was in surgery for at least a few hours. I’d also needed a blood transfusion, which I’d consented to if needed and became clear because of the rupture. A lot of meconium had been leaking out into my abdomen so I’d need antibiotics specifically for the risk of sepsis, through infection markers I was displaying.
I’ve reflected more now in the days gone by, on the general anaesthetic and ‘being put to sleep’. Although it may sound weird, I think I feel a sense of relief or gratitude for it.
Although of course far from my ideal immediate postpartum, where I’d have been back at home in bed with my newborn.
I was trying to verbalise this to my husband and friend, I feel it gifted me something subconsciously.
I don’t know where I was, and I currently have no memory, as I was definitely unconscious!
But almost the feeling of the chance to catch up with what had happened in my body, to process.
A kind of mind-body time vortex, to subconsciously understand and process the events preceding it.
Not something possible the conscious mind would be capable of. Not that quickly anyway. Almost a release, like where people pass out to cope. I will investigate my inner world on this further as time goes on.
I came round, hazy, my husband and my gorgeous boy waiting for me. Ready for love and cuddles. And to my surprise, after having 3 tongue tied not latching babies, he latched on there and then in recovery!
I was so happy!
I know James was worried, seeing the woman you love like that, everything moving so quickly from one course of events to another and then weird, sitting in the void, waiting, with his son in his arms but no me.
But he, like me, just knew everything was working out as it should and would be fine. Deep trust.
He has said he did find the last hour or specifically half hour at home pretty intensely horrible, seeing me like that, sinking in what I was saying and expressing, physically having to support the whole of me, knowing he couldn’t do anything.
(I think ‘a bit fucking grim’ were his choice words😂)
But once in motion, he too knew we were redirecting but on plan, to the safest place for us all and all would workout.
It’s been important to me to talk through and ask him (make him) express and process and start the healing immediately.
Not to allow anything to go unsaid, unheard, repressed for fear of worsening for the other.
But again, the unfolding, acknowledgment and processing and healing he is in, yes, but not attached to.
The consultant afterwards explained to me that at points she was unsure if my uterus could be saved, I am so grateful to her to have worked so hard and to have been able to keep my precious womb❤️
I have meds, tests and checks to come back to in my own physical recovery.
But rest and nourishment key for now.
Several people have mentioned the word trauma or traumatic to me. I hear the murmurs, why would you, don’t you wish you hadn’t bothered…
And while there will be bits to work through, over time, to process.
And it’s ok for me to be disappointed we didn’t get the calm birth of dreams, the calmest and safest way and place in my mind for him to be born was at home, with no interference.
In the end the safest place for us was the environment I’d spend that time trying to avoid.
But we navigated this to ensure this was as peaceful for him as it could be.
He will have felt the effects of the spinal, for a few minutes for sure, although he didn’t need any help, he will feel the effects of the drugs that run through me and my milk now, but the body is innately wise, it can process and now knows how to support him heal from this. His immediate few weeks involve all the skin to skin, all the feeding up, already a lovely postnatal but I’d say non clinical appointment with our independent midwife support, cranial and homeopathic appointments coming up.
I’d also remind myself and anyone reading, this was a very rare occurrence in a very specific set of circumstances, even with my own body’s previous experiences, scars.
To me, my beliefs, the way I understand life and health, the risks associated heading straight for a surgical birth, an early birth, as I said before, would have been to the greater detriment to my son, and therefore was never a real option for our family.
In planning how I planned, in planning to birth in a hospital or planning an elective Caesarean birth.
All come with different risks.
All these risks are subjective, nuanced and personal decisions to be made by the person doing the baby growing and birthing.
But I can honestly say at the moment, whilst I sure feel emotional, in reality about the physical trauma my body has endured, and needs to heal from, in many many layers and stages. I can deal with that. That’s my journey to work on.
I don’t feel deeply connected to trauma as a word to describe the situation.
To me, in my previous experience, ( and as someone who works with pregnant and postpartum women) when I hear the experiences of others, trauma, especially in birth, can come from a change of circumstances yes, but often in fact resulting in the way they were treated, that those circumstantial changes were perhaps not borne of necessity rather than intervention. How they felt, were spoken to, trauma that was created, that could have been avoided and leaves a whole space of what ifs.
Which can compound this.
I was in control, til I knew I had to take responsibility to relinquish it, I realised this and I handed myself and my faith over to the place I knew was the right place for me and my baby.
I also know birth works, when left undisturbed, the vast majority of the time.
And I know on the very few rare real emergencies, support is there when it’s needed.
And I, given my previous history, was one of those that needed it.
I wouldn’t change my approach, I wouldn’t change my experience. I do believe everything unfolds as it should.
I gave myself and my baby as much space and chance as possible to be birthed. I did this for as long as I could, until the scars of my previous birth experiences and choices meant my body couldn’t.
And that’s ok.
Nothing is truly safe, not in birth or in life.
There are never any guarantees.
I do trust myself though.
And my power and capacity to understand this.
My choices during this pregnancy and birth were my own and on going down this path meant taking radical, radical responsibility for myself and my baby. I had to be in complete trust of myself and continually connected deeply to my intuition.
Because of this, I don’t have the what ifs I had from my previous pregnancies and births, about what else I could have, should have done to have changed the outcome of their ultimate arrival.
All to better support the long term health of my babies. I know there was nothing more to do.
In not giving my power away (as I have in the past, in birth as well as life in general) to external forces, coercion that I allowed to carve the path for me.
This time though, that was the path, the journey, the lesson meant for me. And I find acceptance and power in that.
I will be honest and acknowledge, I suppose the only ‘what ifs’ niggling me for now, are more what if I’d gone in an hour sooner- would that have been enough time to avoid the more serious physicality of the issues I now have to heal from. Would an hour sooner have saved longer hospital recovery?
But when I go deeper.
It doesn’t matter.
I can heal from this.
It’ll just take a little longer.
There are lessons and opportunities to understand yes.
But no one can tell me these things, again there are no definitive answers.
All of these ‘what ifs’ took place on a different plane, on a different timeline, in a different dimension.Many of them interconnect the sliding doors that started 6&½ years ago in my first pregnancy and birth.
But it was in this one this reality played out.
So we accept and heal.
I suppose we’re only days in as I write this, I may be a bit battered and bruised, and yes I will need more time to fully process, and reprocess, but I also feel I have a hazy yet beautiful clarity.
I find myself in a place of gratitude, humbled, broken open and rebuilt and currently feel in deeper trust and connection with myself and my power than I ever have.
Our birth, not the one I held and envisioned for 9 months, but the birth that was meant.
The rebirth of me again, as mother.
James again as a Father, more wisdom, more courage and understanding than ever.
More barriers broken down, more vulnerability and seeing and growth in ourselves and with each other. As it should be.
The Matrescene begins again.
This time it begins with a version of me who knows more than ever what she is capable of, what she can withstand, physically and emotionally, how she can cope and how she can heal.
And who truly knows herself.
With this beautiful little warrior by my side.
We had his name in the background with others awaiting to see what fit once the little soul was earthside.
We knew he was a he, not from scans, from our dreams, our visions, our knowing.
But as soon as he emerged we knew he was Maxwell.
Maxwell is an old Scottish/Galeic name and means Great Spring, bringing strength and courage and the ability to flow through all obstacles to those that bore it, since ancient times.
He was born a cancerian, ruled by the element water and the moon, in the wake of the cancerian new Moon no less.
The draw of and power of water throughout his pregnancy has been strong.
So perfect name for our new prince.
I hope one day to adventure with him to try and find the ancient legend healing pool of his namesake.
And our clan is complete. ❤️