Birthing Grace: A Labour of Love

I have been feeling the shifts in my body for a while now. I am in tune with the rhythm of baby and the little signals that my body is sending me to say that the time is now.

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This has been a 9 month meditation. I have been breathing in love and breathing out gratitude for the privilege of carrying this new life and for the wonder and magic that comes with it. Abundance flows to me and through me. I am going to receive another baby boy – a little brother for my eldest son Noah who is here, with me, delighting in this moment that he too has been waiting for, preparing for, growing into.

Noah has been affectionate and caring throughout my pregnancy. No-one asked him to speak softly to baby, but he does. No-one told him how precious skin-on-skin is but he remembers himself and so throughout my growing bump he would often lift up my clothes to put his own skin on the bare bump. Sibling love from the womb, what a magical experience for me to witness.

I smile at Kevin who doesn’t believe me that sex is going to bring this baby closer. Of course there is the science behind it, but more than that, there is the togetherness; the intimacy and closeness between two people who love each other and who have created new life together. The orgasm, the oxytocin, the love; our baby hears the invitation and within minutes, I know I am in labour. The time is now. This is it. We are birthing.

I can feel my own excitement rise as I know that each surge brings my baby closer to me. I feel myself smiling.

Parenthood is both magical and messy though, my little Noah has had sickness and diarrhoea for a week and he is up again. We tend to him during this early stage of my labour, cleaning up sickness between surges. I keep quiet, allowing Noah to feel loved, safe and tended to before he falls back to sleep with the rest of the family. I hold the sacred beginning of labour as a quiet secret for now.

I meditate in front of my birth altar, celebrating the magic of having carried this baby in my womb and celebrating myself as the carrier of new life, the pregnant mother who embodies the miracle of creation in my body and in my being.

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I have slowed down my mind to be present with myself and my growing baby, linking generations through our breath and through mindfully honouring this sacred time and this spiritual experience. Inviting in the stillness. Embodying the Divine Feminine. Embracing the magic and all that is present.

It is time to take my bump to bed, knowing it will be the last time we sleep together in this way. I wrap my arms around my bump, cradling my baby as I listen to the Sea of Serenity and drift off into a peaceful sleep in excited anticipation of what is unfolding; it is 10pm and I am in labour!

I often wake at 3am, many spiritual people do. My surges are coming fairly regularly. I am reading a book called ‘Everyday Blessings’ about the inner work of mindful parenting and I time the surges in between; they are coming every 7 minutes.

Reading the book is a gentle reminder of my mindful approach to pregnancy and birth. I have looked at pregnancy as an invitation for cultivating gratitude, love, joy and wonder and for giving birth to grace. I have been delighting in the presence of another soul developing alongside my own. I am blessed to carry this life, this miracle and to be part of this real life magic! The book unexpectedly becomes an anchor for my ‘moment-by-moment, breath by breath’ mantra which I find myself repeating internally throughout my labour of love.

I sneak into bed with my boys at 7am and I tell Noah that today will be his little brother’s birthday. His face fills with delight, the joyous glee on my three-year olds face fills my heart right up. The rest of the house is still asleep and we quietly delight in our little secret.

Kevin has this glint in his eye – an impatience that stems from a place of love – in hopeful anticipation of catching a glimpse of and then receiving his second son into the world. I can see the love he has for me, the gratitude he has for me carrying and nurturing this baby. I can see this gratitude in his eyes with each surge, gently reassuring me and beyond each word of reassurance, quietly thanking me for bringing our children into the world, into his life and safely into his hands.

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After some yoga to encourage baby into a perfect position for birth – with head down, chin to chest, hands to heart and back to belly – I find myself looking out of my bedroom window. The sea is wild! The intensity of the waves growing as I allow my body to sway, moving my hips and dancing as I gaze into the expansiveness of the ocean and all the magic it holds.

When Kevin touches my hand, I feel safe. I am calm and relaxed, I remember his words, the practice, all that has come before and all that has yet to come. I smile thinking back to last week when I cried as he was doing my perineal massage. The tears stemmed from a place of feeling completely safe in my naked vulnerability – where he was literally stretching the walls of my vagina – and yet I felt so held by him. He has got me. He has got us. This is shared.

Noah is here which means the place is full of joy. He is tender and sweet with me, often showing me his affection through skin on skin contact and the occasional soothing strokes. His little hands are still so tender, so chubby; they are my favourite hands to hold. An anchor of unconditional love and a reminder that there was a point in my life (not so long ago) that I wished to have everything that I have now. Breathing in love, breathing out gratitude.

I can hear my drums. One drum is (Grandfather) Derek’s – a kind borrow until I could afford my own. The other is now mine, kindly gifted by Kit during my last trip to Lendrick and my eyes well with gratitude for his kindness and my abundance.

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Noah and my Mum are both drumming and dancing. I move my body to the rhythm of the drum, reminding myself of Steve’s words – dance to the beat of my own drum – allowing baby to move with me, gravity to support me, the Divine to carry us. I am connected to the Divine One heart; I remind myself of this umbilical cord.

In the background, I hear my Dad whistling. I love hearing that whistle. A proud Grampa and soon to be Grampa of two little scallywags. I can’t wait to watch his tears of gratitude when this baby arrives.

Noah has been popping in and out of the livingroom. He is pretending to monitor me with the midwifery equipment and I delight in him being part of this journey and in normalising birth for this next generation. I am responsible for proactively teaching my boys about women, about birth.

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Kevin and I begin to drum together. This feels incredibly powerful, having journeyed together for the first time last week in preparation for baby. I am filled with gratitude for him stepping into this place and for holding this sacred space for me. I allow Kevin to hold me, to catch me, to receive me, in gratitude, love and vulnerability, I will birth into him. Our child will follow, falling into his arms, as I birth grace. I delight in Kevin, in the beat of our drum, as I close my eyes and fall further into darkness, held only in love.

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It is 3pm and the surges are arriving every 5 minutes; I feel ready for the water to carry us through this next phase and I am instantly comforted when I move into the pool. I fondly recollect Noah’s birth and how beautiful it was to experience the surges in the water and how being in the water allowed me to fall more gracefully into the process. We listen to our birth affirmations as Kevin uses soothing strokes up my arms. I simply delight.

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I look to my birth altar and catch the image of the river at Lendrick Lodge, my spiritual home. I smile and become tearful remembering the power of our sweat lodge where my spiritual teacher, Stephen asked me to honour his vision where I – Little Mother – held the yin and yang energy from the fire and the water by sitting in the Lendrick river with my baby in womb.

What unfolded in those moments honouring this vision has been one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life; it was a moment of pure grace. Ever since then, I had been calling my baby, River.

In the river, I was singing a song our Native American Elder had gifted us with, a song about balance and harmony; I was completely at one with baby. I begin to sing the same song as I labour in this water.

 

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Anne-Marie comes to have a gentle word. She kneels beside me. Her presence is such a comfort. Blessed am I to have my friend as my midwife – a woman who has seen me at my most vulnerable, cracked open to a degree of love and vulnerability during my first birth and first baby like I would never have imagined, and now, having journeyed with us for these last three years to be here, again during this magical transition of womanhood, motherhood and fierce, fierce love. I count my pearls as another surge comes on.

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As my surge arrives, I take myself to my relaxing place – an unexpected place beneath the surface of the sea. I use the sea beyond my garden as my prompt, it is my invitation to take me deeper into relaxation, and with that my eyes begin to close and I breathe: 5,4,3,2,1 into the deepest state of relaxation.

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I allow myself to float on the surface of the storm; waves are crashing around me but I am calm and relaxed as a weight carries my body safely beneath the surface. I begin to gracefully move beneath the commotion of the water. Have you ever watched the grace of a feather falling? I watch my own body fall with this weightlessness beneath the surface of the ocean until I find myself on the bed of the sea – in this sacred layer of the ocean where there is only peace. I lie there and reach out my hand to the right hand side. I am hand in hand with Raps, in complete bliss. I find myself smiling.

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When I open my eyes, I catch Kevin’s love, caressing me like a gentle gust of wind. Noah comes to ask me if baby is coming yet. He gives me a kiss and then quickly wipes it off – his invitation for another, even better kiss! I smile, delighting in him. His presence here is magic, it makes my heart full of love, joy and gratitude. How blessed am I. He runs off.

He has been playing under the kitchen table with his Grampa and now I can hear him giggling as he splashes in the inflatable bath in the kitchen, alongside his grandparents who are supporting him in this big transition. It takes a village to raise a child.

 

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I can feel baby descending physically within my body. My affirmations remind me and baby that I am born to do this. I feel calm, relaxed and in control. My baby and my body know exactly what to do, I birth easily. More than that though, I birth joyfully! After all, I am birthing grace.

People are floating in and out of the room as I simultaneously float in and out of my relaxing place. Between my surges, I become present with where I am physically and who is sharing and delighting in this magical transition. The place is full of joy.

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My mum offers her hand which I gratefully accept. Her hands have anchored 27 years of love and connection, of presence and depth and this child of mine can tap into these endorphins during his birth which is pretty remarkable. I’ve always been fascinated by my mum’s hands; her hands are incredibly soft, graceful. Her touch is poetic and filled with a deep and genuine love. She touches her 27-year-old daughter as though she is tending to a small child, her small child.

I wrote my mum a love letter a few weeks ago, trying hopefully to express in words the depth of my love for her and my gratitude for the connection we have and a deeper understanding that I have recently come to around our relationship. The letter was to tell her that my greatest act of showing her how much I love her was this invitation, the invitation to be part of this birth – my most vulnerable and most magical moment – a moment I was wanting to share with her, grace that I was wanting to share with her.

I said in my letter that even if she never made it to the birth, what was really important was that she heard my invitation, that she knew in her mind, body and soul that the love I have for her is fierce, unconditional and full of gratitude.

Mum and I share this blessed moment of connection. No words are necessary. I am crying looking into her eyes, watching hers fill, tearful because of the absolute privilege of sharing this intimacy, this magic, this vulnerability with my own mother, the woman who birthed me and loves me fiercely.

 

 

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The water is comforting for my body. Someone is making sure it stays at 37 degrees and I suddenly feel grateful for my birthing tribe who are here, the people who make all of this magic more possible by their practical, emotional and physical support. The water carries the weight and the impact of the physical birthing. It soothes my skin as it stretches and eases the intensity as it comes and goes. The ebb and flow is so prevalent, I honour it.

My birth altar is visible, I feel empowered by the energy of my tribe, of my wolf power and my soul sister who is my distant doula. I have reached out to Mama Peggy and we have collectively snowballed the news that I am in labour so my tribe really are with me energetically. This is their birth too. I smile at the choices on the altar, knowing and appreciating the anchors they provide, the magic that they invite into our birth. I see the words of encouragement through my collection of birth wishes. I hear the voices of my tribe speaking softly to me as the drum beat continues. I smell sage burning. I see the lotus flower opening, forever travelling towards the light.

I smile at the sunflowers, remembering my sister’s wedding – an anchor of love and joy – and remembering both my Grandmothers and the choice to keep growing towards the light. I am facing out of the front window when this radiant beam of light shines in from the side window and warms my upper body.

I hear Anne-Marie gasp and both Kevin and her look outside. Noah comes running through to see what is happening. Outside, is the most magnificent double rainbow. No picture could do it justice. I begin to cry. I had asked for this symbol from Roger – rainbows were hugely significant to us. He is with me, carrying me through, River’s Spiritual Godfather.

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I notice the wildness of the sea calming and corresponding to the change in my surges. I feel baby moving down into the birth canal; I am breathing baby down.

As another surge arrives and I begin birth humming, I find myself amused, hearing my Mum joining in with my humming. I wonder if she knows what I am doing. I am in rhythm with my body and my baby. I can feel him moving down, moving gently through the birth canal.

Noah arrives into the room again and asks to put Alexa on. Everyone whispers softly that we can put it on in the kitchen but I tell them to let him. I laugh internally; here I am birthing his baby brother with ‘Baby Shark’ playing in the background! Only with a three-year-old in the house would this be unfolding as it is…

I envision this beam of light coming down through my crown chakra and giving me this fierce feminine energy for the birth. I feel empowered, I feel grounded; I am holding the power and beauty of this birth.

I can feel myself going inward, quietening and creating the stillness that I need to mindfully birth this baby into the world. I invite him to be consciously alongside me in this process; let’s breathe together, let’s birth grace!

This is his birth story as much as it is mine and therefore I have done and will keep doing all I can to make this magic for him. In deep gratitude for the blessing it is to be a mother, I breathe my baby down. In love with the life that Kevin and I have created, in love for the child being born and for the child looking at me with wonder in his eyes, I breathe my baby down.

This gratitude leads to my heart being filled with joy; for gratitude is the birthplace of joy and so it is in pure joy of being chosen by my children, in this lifetime, in order to guide them, mother them and love them unconditionally that I continue to breathe my baby down.

I am reaching into this power and finding my self-coach using both my birth and spiritual affirmations. I remind myself again of the Shamanic journey that Kevin and I done together last Sunday, where I was told that when I experienced the burning sensation as baby was crowning, to remind myself of how much I respect the fire and visualise the image I had seen of a Phoenix rising from the ashes. This birth is truly magical!

I don’t tell anyone that I feel my waters breaking and again, I keep quiet as my baby’s head is about to crown; I am so present with every sensation – moment-by-moment, breath by breath. Until suddenly I say to Kevin, “get everyone now!”

I see the Phoenix rising from the fire as I crown. With one more surge, my baby’s head emerges in the water. There are eyes full of wonder surrounding us in the room. Tears fill my eyes. YES! I am smiling.

I wait patiently for the next surge to arrive, not hurrying anything on but simply delighting in this moment here and now. This tiny moment of my life that will fill my heart forever, I devour it.

The next surge arrives and I breathe baby’s body from my womb, from the home that that nurtured and held him for 9 months. Stepping out of my meditation into the present moment, here and now, I thank my womb and my woman-ness.

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In wonder of the miracle of life, I birth grace.

Time slows down. My senses are heightened. My awareness, my consciousness is alive. I can feel my heart beating, I can feel endorphins flowing through my body, I can feel the magic of new life. I can feel the love we are cradled in.

I see Kevin’s hands – hands that I love – guiding our second child to my chest, he is the first person to touch our child, I know how much this means to him. Noah comes even closer as I receive our baby in my arms. He is calm. He is healthy. He is loved. He is Divine. He has arrived into this world surrounded by gratitude, love, joy and wonder. He has been birthed in grace.

I relish this miracle and allow myself to momentarily pause time. I imagine soaking up all of this magic and capturing it in some magical trinket that I store in my heart – this moment right here is my forever treasure.

 

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Noah comes in the pool with us. He touches his baby brother so gently and speaks to him so softly that it makes my heart melt. My mum is crying. Anne-Marie is smiling and so is the other midwife Catherine. Kevin is soaking up all of the magic with me. My Dad’s eyes are filled with gratitude. He is looking to Mum as they delight together. I notice something in their hearts sparkle as they step into another grandparenting adventure together.

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We take our precious time to delight in the magic of River’s arrival. There is no hurry when it comes to soaking up magic. We let the magic continue to seep into our hearts, minds, bodies and souls, knowing that there is nothing more precious than life itself.

I look into the eyes of my second son. He knows me and I know him. Our familiarity is breathtakingly beautiful. He feels safe. I feel fierce love and protection. This is my son and I will love him unconditionally for the rest of his life. I promise him this. I promise him unconditional love and to never let him fall.

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Then I fall into grace, over and over and over again as I delight in each ounce of him. Soaking up the magic that was birthed with his body; delighting in each finger and toe, in the magic between siblings, in the love of the family, in the power of the collective, in the beauty of our home birth.

This right here, is real life magic!

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One thought on “Birthing Grace: A Labour of Love

  1. Wow heather what a great read, loved it and the documented photos, Great details so calming I hope the little one is doing well now, Love the mediation I’ve tried but find it so hard, Nigel does it every single night, keeps him so focused

    Love to you all
    Ange (laurens mum) xx

    Like

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