Eight weeks ago I was in the “in between”. Waiting for my dear baby to make his appearance earth side. The scene was set for our delicious home birth and I was doing everything I could think of to welcome him into our world... but things were not flowing as I had hoped. The natural labour I had wished for had to be brought on by a stretch and sweep and from that moment things began to shift and change.
Our beloved home birth rapidly became a transfer to hospital and a whole range of different interventions that ended in the crescendo of an emergency c-section and being painfully separated from my baby for two hours after birth due to some more complications.
Although I was so happy to finally have my baby in my arms, the sadness and trauma of what we went through was thick in my cells. All of my judgements of c-section mamas (and yes I had them) had dissolved as I realised the bravery and strength that it takes to have your plans completely change minute to minute. I felt like a viking warrior steering my ship into the storm as I allowed myself to be cut open in a strange room under bright lights… and then surrendered my precious skin to skin time, my desired delayed cord clamping and let them take my baby away from me.
My healing has been big.
Big in my beloved body that is still tender; in my womb that was cut open; in my yoni that was robbed of the experience of feeling my baby pass through. Every day I try to place my hands on my scar to infuse it (and the process) with love and acceptance and to remind myself that this was the doorway that my baby passed through to arrive on this earth. Although I have pushed it aside as I need to step up as mama and fully show up for my son, the pain and grief runs deep and I yearn for the birth I had prayed for.
So we felt to try a process - a rebirth ceremony. The idea was sparked by the fact that all of our home birth equipment was still in our house and I caught myself looking at the packed up pool, the bags of towels, the plastic sheeting and the labour aide in the freezer (that I have now been adding to my smoothies) and couldn't help but fantasise about what could have been. So I chatted to my dear photographer friend Louisa who was going to capture our birth and gave her the download of our story and she offered to come and take some new born shots… and I thought - let’s go one better! Let’s recreate our home birth.
So at 3.5 weeks postpartum we did it (although I almost called it off as the thought of setting up for our home birth again was so devastating.) Once again the bedroom was rearranged to fit our birth pool and my beloved husband began pumping and filling it. I had a flash back to when he did this last time - I was in labour and riding intense waves but really excited that I was on my way to birthing (little did I know what lay ahead of me).
Our altar (or more crystal grid) was still set up for our birth complete with gold and silver, orgonite, a variety of quartz and our sacred tools. We cleared the space with sage and palo santo and infused the room with frankincense. We lit candles and said our prayers, calling in the ancestors, Guides and energetic teams for extra clearing and healing support. I gathered the dried petals from all the roses we received when Sammy-Owl was born and scattered them in the pool and then took a moment to fix my hair and put on a little make up (possibly not so authentic to a real live labour and birth but I figured I had earned this privilege).
Although we had already been talking to our son about the birth journey we had - and to release the energy we were all holding about it - we took a moment to explain our intentions to baby Sammy. We told him that this was the gentle birth that we had dreamed of… mama and dada in the pool, daddy supporting mama as she breathed you into the world.
So much love. So much power. In our own sacred space. Surrounded by those who love us.
No bright lights. No hospital beds. No drugs. No intervention. No mama being cut and baby being wrenched out. No separation from mama.
We stripped off and hopped into the pool and took a moment to breathe and tune in. Immediately my tears were rolling as I caught a glimpse of what could have been.
Gently we guided Sammy into the water as this was his first bath so we took a moment to make him comfortable, washing his little body and floating him around in our hands. My beloved was behind me, holding me tenderly in my big release and I was on one knee as I feel I would have been in my final stages of transition. Then we simulated his arrival as it could have happened. His journey out of my yoni and into the waters and his own natural process of finding his way up my belly and onto my breast.
It was potent, raw, deeply emotional and utterly beautiful. And I am so glad we did it.
You may find this a bit stunt-like to get a photo, and I have to say photos were a big motivation for me. I was so sad to have missed out on having photos and video of my birth and felt robbed when I saw my sisters posting their own birth journey captures … so it felt empowering to make our own as we wanted them to be. You can see the gallery below (loving shot by the divine goddess Louisa Seton).
Although this process was but a small step in my healing journey, and that even writing about this reminds me of how much energy I still hold from this experience, I feel grateful. I know the learning goes on from a big birth and I affirm my readiness to receive the gifts of knowledge and experience that are coming my way,
My scar is a reminder of the battle I fought and won when I received my magical Sammy-Owl in my arms. I am learning to love my scar and I celebrate myself for my strength. I am a warrioress and I am so damn proud of myself.
And I am proud of all of the mamas and now have an even deeper respect for those who navigated massive changes and surprises like I did. Our initiations are HUGE. We walked through the fire and rose like the Phoenix from the ashes. Reborn as the wise, brave and strong women we are.