Please welcome the first featured blog post written by this beautiful birth mumma herself! Continue to read below to hear Emma's journey. She is a magnificent human and I am so grateful to have met her and been a part of her birthing journey. ❤
I’m a Wife, Mama to 4 littles and a Birth and Postpartum Space Holder. I have always been amazed by birth. I had a love for it before I even birthed my first baby. But it was birthing my first baby 7 years ago that radically changed how I saw myself and knew myself. From that moment on I knew how powerful I was, there was a power in me that was released.
I have never been fearful of birth. Fear was never an option for me. I knew even while pregnant with our first that there was more to birth than the horror stories and narrative around birth that our culture has. All of this lead to me wanting to support women birth their babies and walk with women through postpartum.
I wanted to support women in a way that aligned with me and my giftings though. In a way that walked with women the whole journey, not just some of it. That didn't put me in a box and limited what I could give to women. I trained to be a Doula and I long to call out the potential in women. Call out the things that they may not even see in themselves, but I know it’s there, I see it. Birth is incredible. Birth shouldn’t be feared. Birth will change you forever and every birth is different and deserves to be shared and celebrated. I also know there is so much power in sharing your birth story.
This is the birth story of Amais Zion…
In so many ways I don’t know where to start writing the story of Amais’ birth. But I’ll start by introducing my amazing Private midwife, Wendy. This special lady was my midwife for our last 3 babies and here she was again, walking this journey with us with our 4th. She was and has been such a gift to our family and there is no one else I would want to be with me as I birthed my baby. She gets midwifery. She gets what it means to be with women on so many levels. I have experienced this 4 times over now. I could write a whole other blog post just on her, her character and the support over the years that she has been to our family. Not just physical support but mental, emotional and spiritually. We share the same faith and love for Jesus and this has bound us together in a really special way. She has anchored and grounded me on more than one occasion over the years.
It was incredibly important to me that we had Wendy as our midwife. She knew me, my body, my husband, my kids, my story, my journey, my fears and my strengths. We have developed this very special relationship over 8 years and to have her walk this out with me again was a non-negotiable. This is what continuity and women-centered care looks like and I wasn’t settling for anything less.
I had planned to birth in hospital with Wendy as my midwife. I know many may find it strange that myself as a Doula, would birth in a hospital setting and not at home. I longed for a home birth but due to a number of circumstances, a home birth wasn’t financially accessible to us. I had previously already had 3 incredible empowering hospital births that I had every confidence that I would have the same experience, and better still. Each birth that I have had unlocks in me another layer of birth and myself. And this birth would be no different, despite birthing in hospital.
My pregnancy was pretty straight forward, no complications. We declined several of the “standard” testings and scans that would normally be done throughout our pregnancy and this came from an educated decision and with full support from Wendy. I used the whole pregnancy to be intentionally prayerful. I declared bold things over my body, my baby, my birth space and my birth team.
There were so many emotions the last couple of weeks leading up to the birth. Highs and lows. Happy and sad. I was so excited to meet our baby, daydreaming of what he or she may look like. The tiny features he may have and how he will make our family be filled with even more joy and love. Cherishing the movements in my belly, sitting up till late at night watching and speaking over my baby. But at the same time I was working through the ever-present and valid feelings of feeling sad that this may be the last time I’m pregnant. Possibly the last time I would feel those little flutters and kicks and motions and swirls . Possibly the last time my body would nurture and carry life. Possibly the last time I would share space with another teeny tiny human like this. Possibly the last time the wonders and mystery of pregnancy would feel so tangible.
I had never been pregnant past 39 weeks with my other 3 pregnancies. This time 39 weeks came and went and all those emotions, on both sides of the spectrum were only heightened and magnified. I didn’t see them as a bad thing but instead used them to tune into my body on a deeper level. Really listening to what I needed. I needed time alone and I needed to express how I was feeling. So I wrote. I wrote them down. I never wanted to forgot those final days of pregnancy, no matter how hard some days where.
Two more weeks went by. I had processed some of those feelings and found myself far less emotional. I had been given a very precious gift. The gift of time to sit and be with how I was feeling. But a very funny thing happens when a women goes past her “due date” or past 40 weeks (sometimes even if she goes past 39 weeks) she is all of a sudden given a label of “overdue”. That name and label started popping up here and there but I wouldn’t let it stick. You see, we have the ability to shake labels off and that’s exactly what I did. I was not letting the label “overdue” stick. Whenever those words were uttered, I would correct. I would correct with letting people know I was not overdue. I knew my body and my baby knew what to do and when to do it. But on a much deeper level, I had such a conviction that my baby’s story is not written and predetermined by calculations, interventions and people. My baby’s story starts earthside in my Heavenly Father’s perfect timing. I trusted my body and my baby. I trusted His original design for birth. In all of this never once did Wendy mention induction or sweeping of membranes despite reaching 41 weeks. She trusted birth!
At 40 weeks I started getting Braxton Hicks on and off. This was something I had never experienced or felt with my other 3 pregnancies. Many women get really discouraged by Braxton Hicks as there is a misconception that it’s false labour, there is no such thing as false labour. Everything your body does, including those Braxton Hicks is preparing your body for labour. With that in mind, it was so encouraging to me. My body was doing what it needed to do! Wendy’s words encouraged me also “Your another day closer to meeting your baby” she would say.
On the Friday, at 41 weeks, right on midnight I woke up needing to run to the toilet as I had a heap of pressure from a very full bladder. I also found that I had a big show. I remember sitting on the toilet with a huge smile on my face. I just sat there for a while, soaking in the moment. My body was closer again to birthing my baby. I went back to bed and messaged Wendy to let her know the next morning.
That same morning I started getting Braxton hicks more frequently and I noticed there was a rhythm to them. They were mild and just enough for me to notice they were there and happening. My husband, Will decided to take the day off work in case they built up. My last 3 labours were short and with each labour they became shorter and shorter and he wanted to be at home just in case. He did the school run that morning and I was able to have a really slow morning at home by myself resting, drinking tea.
That same day I already had a pre-scheduled appointment with Wendy. She came over and checked bubba’s heartbeat and baby’s head was a little further down than the last appointment, but not engaged yet. We drank tea and chatted as we also did. Wendy said, knowing my history of short labours and the Braxton Hicks that had been happening, to not be surprised if when I do go into labour that the tightenings/contractions build up momentum fast. She explained how they could possibly go from 10 mins apart, to 5 mins apart, to 3 mins apart etc… all in a matter of the next contraction. This really helped prepare me. We finished our time together with her covering me, my baby and my birth in prayer. Such a powerful moment. My midwife and I standing together, not just physically but spiritually also. In that moment she was aligning her heart with Heaven for my birth. So powerful and special. We scheduled another appointment for three days time, in the event I hadn’t gone into labour.
The remainder of the day my husband, Azariah (my youngest) and I decided to go out for some lunch at a cafe and a play at an indoor play gym. The perfect spot where I could just sit, relax and chat to Hubby while our little man played. By this time the rhythm of the tightenings had stopped. We then went home, I had a nap while Hubby took Azariah to do school pick up. The rest of the evening was pretty relaxed. I had a long soak in the bath and being Friday in our house meant that it was pizza and movie night. Bianca (my birth photographer) had contacted me during this time and we were chatting throughout the afternoon and evening (little did I know that just a few short hours later my husband would be calling her saying we are heading to the hospital)
I went to bed around 8:10pm, feeling no tightenings and hadn’t since earlier on in the day. At 11.20pm I woke up very suddenly to a tightening, one long and big enough to wake me. I lay there for a while wondering if what I had just felt was actually real and not a dream. 10 mins later at 11.30pm, I felt another tightening and I knew I wasn’t dreaming. I got up to go to the toilet and had yet another tightening 5 mins later. And another not even 3 mins later again. I’ve never been one to time my contractions but I was paying close attention to these, knowing my track record with how I labour and the very wise and knowledgeable words from Wendy preparing me.
I turned on a playlist of Worship music that I had put together throughout my pregnancy and was walking around the house, singing, worshiping and dancing. I woke Will up and let him know that it was game time. I called Wendy and let her know that I was in labour, that I had woke up suddenly and everything was happening just like she had said that it may. We arranged to meet Wendy at the hospital. Will then called my Mum, as she was coming to the house to be with our other children. He then called Bianca to let her know that I was in labour and on our way to the hospital. While we waited for my Mum to arrived Will packed the car and I continued to walk, sing and dance to my playlist.
My Mum arrived at about 12.30 am. As I was leaving the house to make our way to the hospital a moment happened that I didn’t expect or wasn’t prepared for. A surreal feeling came over me, that I can’t quite put into words. It hit me that when we return to the house that it won’t be just the 5 of us as we know it. That our kids will have a sibling. Of course, we all knew that would happen but it was just a surreal moment that made me pause and just stand and soak the 5 of us in, even with the kids sleeping in their bedrooms and unaware, I stood still for a moment and cherished that last moment of just the 5 of us. When we return we will be welcoming a new baby, which will make 6.
We made the 15 min drive to the hospital, which was quite uncomfortable, not being able to move around freely but wasn’t too bad. We arrived at the hospital just before 1am with Wendy waiting out the front for us and Bianca arriving at the same time as us. I was feeling really great, excited and could talk and walk but would just need to make a pause through a contraction.
Wendy took us up to birth suite and into room 5, the same room I had birthed my last two babies. Wendy asked if I wanted to use the bath and I said yes so she started filling the bath straight away. I found a rhythm while I waited for the bath to be filled. I was easily talking, walking, laughing, swaying and sometimes even dancing between the contractions and when I did have a tightening I would lean over the bed or table and rocked back and forward until the wave of the contraction was passing or had passed.
Wendy was very hands off the whole labour, I didn’t have any vaginal examines. She checked my blood pressure, used a doppler to check baby’s heartbeat etc.. throughout but the main skill, tools and resources she used to watch for increasing signs of labour was her deep knowledge and skill of just being with me and listening and watching my body. What an ability she has to do this!
When the bath was filled I climbed in and the moment I stepped in, the warmth of the water was so comforting. I lowered the rest of my body in and a sigh came over my whole body. Like a sigh that comes over you when you step into a spa on a cold day. This wasn’t a spa or a cold day but the warmth of the water I was feeling on my body was heightened in such a comforting way.
It was from this point onward that I really went into myself. Will and Wendy knew how I needed to labour. I like to be left alone. Their presence is what I need more than anything. I don’t like to be touched, massaged or spoken to unless is a soft encouragement. They both knew how to just be with me. Fully present. That’s what I needed and that’s what they did my whole labour, but especially from here on out.
I sat on my knees, eyes closed, singing the lyrics of the worship music playing as I lapped the warm water over my belly. Each time a contraction started to rise, I would lean forward over the bath, resting my head on my crossed arms and breathed through the wave until it passed. When the wave passed I would sit up and continue singing with eyes closed, lapping the water over my belly. Occasionally I would take sips of water from my water bottle. The whole time I was unaware where Wendy, Will or Bianca was, as my eyes were closed the whole time, only opening them to sip water. But I knew they were there. They were present. They were holding space for me ever so beautifully. Just how I needed. Nothing less.
Each pregnancy I hear a theme or word that I partner with in the lead up to the birth and this birth was no different. I was so intentional in the lead up in prayer, declarations, affirmations, my mindset, even the songs on my playlist. They all spoke to me and what I felt my Heavenly Father was whispering, speaking and breathing over my baby, my birth and myself. My eyes were closed focusing on these things and my gaze fixed on Jesus as I sang Him praises. He was lavishing gifts, treasures and gold upon me and my baby and guided me in such a way that labour was so easy. There was such a sweet ease that I experienced in a way I have never experienced before. It’s an ease that I feel He actually handed me in that bath. An ease that I have been gifted with for Mothering my new baby. This ease, in so many ways I can’t explain but I can still feel it with me today.
All of a sudden I felt a pop, pressure and let out some grunting sounds, the first primal sounds I needed to make. My waters had just broken. I could feel that I was getting ready to bear-down. The waves increased in intensity from here and the last couple of contractions I had before Amais was born something really special happened that will stay with me forever.
As I was leaning over the bath, my head resting on my arms, I felt Wendy’s hands press so gently but firmly on my shoulders. I couldn’t see her, I just knew it was her. No words were spoken, no words were need. Her touch brought with it such a grounding and a peace that poured over my whole body but I felt it in the spirit too. I later found out that not only was Wendy placing her hands on my shoulders but she was also praying. Her prayerful spirit, physical touch and presence was one of the highlights in my whole labour. I could feel the fragrance of Jesus that she carried. Thinking about it now makes me teary. I didn’t hit the wall of transition that you hear about and that I had experienced with all my other births. The contractions, even the most intense where never unbearable. I so believe that it was a combination of being so prayerful and bold with my declarations during pregnancy but also what had just taken place as Wendy’s physical touch and prayers released something over me.
I needed to start bearing down. Little did I know he would be born about 3 mins later. I could feel my baby coming down. I could feel my pelvis opening wide and I could feel his head coming down, down, down. I could feel it happening fast but with so much ease and grace. It was so easy. I don’t say that to boast but to express the gift that I had been given. The gift of ease.
Within two pushes I placed my hands down to feel his head and hair, saying “my baby”. He was almost here!!!! I used primal grunting to bring him down but at the same time, I was laughing. So overcome with joy. I changed positions to sit upright, ready to bring him to my chest. I pushed one last time and at 2.48 am on the 7th March 2020, I lifted my baby up to my chest as I let out a squeal that took over my whole being and turned into laughter. The most joyous moment of my life. “My baby. my baby,” I said over and over. I held my baby so tightly and closely to my chest and kissed his head over and over. My laughter and smile turned into crying. A crying that involves no tears, just so overcome with love. I placed my lips on my baby’s head and left them there just soaking in that very moment. His smell and his soft hair.
After a little while, Wendy and Will helped me gently out of the bath to the bed. We actually didn’t find out the sex of baby till about 20 mins after being on the bed. I was just taking it all in. Laying there stroking and kissing my baby’s tiny head. After the placenta was born I lifted my baby up to reveal that he was a boy. In that moment I heard Jesus whisper to me “See I give you the desires of your heart”. Here we spent the next 4 hours or so, bonding and breastfeeding. Will had skin to skin and was able to bond with him to. I never wanted to stay in hospital long and at 7 am we went home, where our 3 other children meet their new baby brother.
Please read this and be encouraged that you can have a positive, empowering, physiological birth, I know you can. Let these words wash over you, take them as your own and declare big bold things over yourself, your baby and your birth.
Birth has forever changed me and is still my most favourite thing to do. For birth unlocks surrender and faith in a whole new deep way. Every. Single. Time