To my sweet AO,
Here is the story of your birth…
It wasn’t what she said, but the look & smile that sealed our fate. I wasn’t crazy, it was possible. I wasn’t going to stay in Dubai & fight the system again to have a normal, beautiful birth. I was going to travel across the world from the Middle East to New Zealand on 3 airplanes, with CJ not quite 4 years & MC 18 months. It would take over 24 hours in economy class, with luggage & no help….to have a ‘home’ birth far, far away from our home. I was going to do it. Eternally grateful to Kate for that sly smile.
I contacted Vanessa in NZ & she put me in touch with Mandy, the homebirth midwife who had supported her through both her pregnancies & births. I felt happy with the recommendation. We arranged with Mum & Dad to stay with them in Raumati for 8 weeks & to birth you there in the downstairs flat where we would stay.
This pregnancy I felt I knew my body well enough & chose not to have antenatal care. I was concerned when my pregnancy symptoms dropped dramatically in the 1st trimester so I decided on a 12 week scan. I was traveling to Scotland with CJ & MC for our summer holiday & didn’t fancy miscarrying alone in a foreign country. I am pretty scared of scans after my awful miscarriage experience so I am a nervous wreck going in for them, I cry. All looked well & I got what I needed to see, a lovely strong beating heart.
I believed in my body & tried to resist any more medical input but I couldn’t quite trust completely. Around 22 weeks I caved & went for another scan, this time I justified it with the fact we were going to NZ & booked to fly back with a newborn. I wanted to have an idea if there was likely to be any major upsets. Ironically we never did return to the Middle East but that is another story! Again, all looked as it should.
28 weeks, iron test & antibodies with the kiwi GP at Festival City. We arranged for her to write my medical certificate to fly closer to the time. Just before I left I had a wee panic, what if one of us fell sick & couldn’t fly, we’d miss the cut off at 36 weeks, or what if for some reason I didn’t get the medical certificate…..all was well & I had my precious piece of paper.
I mad it on to the plane! Phew! I looked about to birth but it had been stress free, self check in & a quick glance at my med cert at the gate. The trip was surprisingly fine, it is always hard with children but being so heavily pregnant didn’t make it too much worse. We were on the big plane which was really comfortable & I was glad we’d chosen economy; I wasn’t going to sleep now was I? MC had a few melt downs when she couldn’t get to sleep but they didn’t last too long. Sydney customs took my new face spray in transit which made me cry. I got questioned again & med cert viewed also in transit in Sydney. As always it’s from Australia the journey gets rough, my vision starts to blur & I stop thinking straight. We ran for it but missed our flight in Auckland & we had to buy new tickets. Can you imagine this
– 36 weeks pregnant, up for 24 hours running with children & luggage through an airport with 2 small kids in tow! What a scene! When we finally arrived in Wellington & there was no one there to greet us I was shattered, when we saw Dad after a bit of searching around I couldn’t hold back the tears & had a cry.
We were home.
We recovered from the trip & got on to NZ time. I met Mandy & started ‘care’. After not seeing anyone through the pregnancy, even these friendly home visits felt bizarre. But Mandy was wonderful, she is very intuitive & she was great with CJ & MC. We all loved her.
I had been prepared to birth without A there but once home & with you drawing nearer I realized I really did want your Dad to be there for your birth. He was booked to fly in on Christmas Eve & you were due on the 25th. I asked him to come early so he joined us on the 20th. You felt so close.
Each night after my shower I stood naked in front of the mirror. I used my ‘puku nui’ belly oil & massaged my stomach & ‘talked’ to you. Please be safe & strong. We can do this; we are both going to be amazing! I can’t wait to have you with me, earthside!
We celebrated Christmas Day.
December 27th, dinner time, finally a twinge! Could this be? Quietly excited I didn’t say anything as we finished dinner got the kids to bed etc. A fell asleep & I sat up on my birth ball reading old copies of The Listener. You were coming.
I woke up A & told him I thought I was in labour, he sat with me & we timed some contractions, 3 exactly 10 mins apart. He pumped up the pool, I lit a candle then I sent him back to bed. I also climbed back into bed with MC but nope, it wasn’t happening, I couldn’t be comfortable anymore lying down. I got up & started walking. It wasn’t long before I decided I didn’t want to be alone so I woke A up again.
About midnight A got Mum & Dad & they joined us downstairs. This labour was so weird, not at all what I was expecting. So textbook I suppose. I spoke to Mandy on the phone to say labour had started & I’d call her later.
I paced. I marched. I could not sit down. I did weird things with my hands. I went past the sleeping babes to the toilet a lot. I walked through the lounge & paced the ‘birthing room’. I took A aside & lectured him about not supporting me properly. I was controlled, I was so ready. I had been waiting a long time for this.
I asked A to call Mandy to come; as she arrived I started my birth song. Deep & low, like a truck as CJ said. I apologized to Mandy if it was too soon. My labour felt so slow after the intensity of MCs. I actually wasn’t convinced this was the real deal & thought at any moment it could stop & I’d go back to being in my heavily pregnant non laboring state. Mandy slipped into the background & drank tea with Mum & Dad.
MC woke up crying, I swore & Mum took her upstairs to play. She calmed straight down & played, one of my biggest concerns was MC & she was fine, yay.
Surges were so far apart but good & strong when they came. I had told Mandy I didn’t want any VE’s but I was so confused, & so tempted to ask for one. Why was this going so slow??? It was doing my head in, was I in labour? Was my baby coming? When Mandy would come in the room I would look at her, hoping in my head she would offer to check me. We laughed about it after & she said “I wasn’t going to ask”. Thank-you Mandy. I resisted being touched & instead got in the pool.
Massive surges when they came. Oh, I don’t really want to do this anymore I thought. CJ was up now & with us. Dad was filming on & off. Did I want a drink? “No I just want my baby”. Massive, massive surges when they came. This was still too slow, was I in labour, was it going to stop & I’d be pregnant again?
Mandy asked if I wanted a squirt of rescue remedy, I did & she wiped my face & arms with a cool flannel, lovely. It was time. I said get Mum & MC NOW! Mandy asked if I could feel you moving down. I couldn’t & then I could, ha, finally I believed this, I was about to birth, you really were coming! I put my hand down a few times to feel for you but I couldn’t feel your head yet.
A, MC & CJ were behind me. I screamed your head out.
“Is the head out?” I asked. It was, great, I knew the hard work was done & consciously decided to breathe your body out. Next contraction you were born.
I looked down & saw you floating to me in the water. A had pushed you through my legs. I will never, ever forget that moment. My baby, my perfect, healthy, strong, safe baby. It was a split second but I felt warm & knew you were fine before I lifted you from the water.
It was dawn.
Relief. Pride. Joy. Life.
What an honor to have birthed you.
Add comment August 8, 2010 aniwaniwa
Since the beginning of Autumn we have begun a nature/seasonal table. I love it when we’re out & find things to take home for our table. It is always changing. Here is today’s picture, flowers given to CJ by our ‘flower woman’ at the farmer’s markets, shells from South Stradbroke Island, fairies made at playgroup & a mushroom I made at home. The pine-cones are AO’s favourite toy right now so there are quite a few hanging around the house.
Add comment July 11, 2010 aniwaniwa
we were just waking up to a lazy Sunday when CJ went through this
CJ went by ambulance to the hospital where he was cleaned & stitched up. Poor A who went with him almost fainted twice.
He was back home by the early afternoon & is feeling fine. What a fright.
We’ve had some bad luck lately. I look at it as a reminder to count my blessings.
1 comment July 11, 2010 aniwaniwa
I’ve been so tired lately. But I am not good at doing nothing. I started reading a beautiful book last week but today it lay on my pillow & I had a day of baby-moon. Since the birth of AO I have been full steam ahead but lately my body is telling me to rest. Today I watched AO breastfeed, I looked at the colours of her hair & stroked her soft head. We played with each others hands & I listened to her sounds. We stared in each others eyes & I watched as she fell asleep, twice so far today. We breathed together.
I have decided to do this more often & to reclaim my baby-moon that was lost in an International move. One day here, one day there, I reckon I’m owed at least 4 weeks of peaceful days in bed with my newest baby.
Add comment July 4, 2010 aniwaniwa
“Life teaches us to be content with the only fate it proposes to us” Mourid Barghouti.
Today was beautiful.
Look at my boy!
And my girl!
And my girl!
This is today.
We would like to go overseas again one day. But this is our now & where else would we want to be?! A perfect Winter’s day, hanging out at a funky cafe & playing on the beach. Heaven.
Add comment July 3, 2010 aniwaniwa
I had a light bulb moment recently. It hit me that parenting isn’t about my children AT ALL! My parenting is all about ME and how I relate to my children, & in fact to people in general. If I am working on myself, interacting honestly & openly with others & treating my babies with focused respect I don’t need to worry about ‘bad’ behaviour.
1 comment June 20, 2010 aniwaniwa
It was time for a short break so over Queen’s Birthday weekend we went to South Stradbroke Island which is a small island just off the Gold Coast.
We stayed at Couran Cove the resort on the island. couran.com
The resort was pretty run down, it’s 12 years old & the facilities looked it. When we were there the jet ski’s were out of action, the restaurant closed for refurbishment & the kids pool heater broken! The pool would have been good for CJ & MC but regardless, we had a really great time together riding the farty old bikes around, playing on the beach & picnicking.
I had read reviews of the resort advising people to take their own food so we took lots of yummy food & mostly made our own tasty meals.
Our room, a one bedroom suite, was clean & in good condition.
The beach was gorgeous & the island was just far enough away to feel like we’d had a break but not too far from home to travel.
When we got off the boat we were glad it was just a short drive home.
Being mid Winter it was very quiet which made it lovely for us, & really 20 degrees isn’t really winter like weather!
It was a really great weekend away.
Add comment June 20, 2010 aniwaniwa
MC turned 2 and had a Birthday Week. She is still talking about her Happy Birthday, her cakes & burning her lip on one of the many candles. Just like CJ, she has turned 2 & can’t stop talking. It’s wonderful, she is such a special soul & I am so lucky to spend my days with her. She is such a funny wee thing.
Her first celebration was at playgroup, mother was teary eyed at the simplicity & beauty of this celebration. She looked stunning wearing her very own Birthday Star.
The day before her actual Birthday we had a small party at home.
MC turned 2 on a Monday & we celebrated once more with friends & cake at the park & more cake that night!
To my sweetheart – You have the most generous happy heart. You are kind & independent & very content in yourself. You help others to feel good because you are so enjoyable to be with. Happy, Happy Birthday.
Add comment June 20, 2010 aniwaniwa
I don’t have many words lately. All is boringly well.
Add comment May 18, 2010 aniwaniwa
We sleep together. One of my greatest joys is wrapping myself around baby A at night & cuddling her through the night. Nighttime is half the time I get to spend with my babies & I would feel so ripped off if those hours we spent apart in separate rooms. Co-sleeping is what we’ve always done since it was just CJ, A & I, it just came naturally, made life easy & we all enjoyed it. Nighttime parenting can be full-on & it is much easier to be able to feed, cuddle, take to toilet etc when you know what is needed as soon as bub does. Once when MC was sick in her bed & went back to sleep I thought about how awful it would feel if she was in another room & I found her in the morning covered in vomit. I can meet my babies needs straight away. CJ has recently moved on to a mattress at the foot of our big bed & he says he likes it because no one annoys him down there! One day my babies will all leave the family bed asking for their own space in their own rooms. That will be a sad day indeed, but also a celebration of independence. Until then I will appreciate the extra cuddles & my heart will be happy.
2 comments May 2, 2010 aniwaniwa