Georgie’s birth story

Midnight

I remember waking sometime after midnight, with a sense that something was shifting. I was almost 42 weeks pregnant, so the inevitable had obviously been in my consciousness for some time – but the strange thing about birth is that, even when it could begin at any moment, it always feels so far away. Unimaginable.

So I just lay in bed and waited, with Nick sleeping soundly next to me, and I thought to myself – ‘I’ll just see if that happens again.’ Continue reading

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The Rockstar Birth questionnaire!

Recently, Jo from Bella Mama shared a birth questionnaire in our private Facebook group – it came from Shalome at Rockstar Birth Magazine, and Shalome had written on her own Facebook page:

“I teamed up with a swag of other rocking Birth Professionals to turn the focus to where it NEEDS to be. To open the conversation on healthy, positive & transformational birth. Less about what pain relief you had or when you gave birth, and more about how birth made you FEEL. How it transformed you into the Rockstar you are today.” Continue reading

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We’ll be waiting…!

Dear baby,

You are the second soul to have lived in my womb, and today I saw you for the first time.

Your daddy was there and your big brother, too.

It wasn’t like the first time, when we first saw your brother – although the circumstances were almost identical… I had been asked to drink half a litre of water and not pee for an hour. And so I was sitting in the waiting room, with crossed legs, thinking of nothing but the loo, before I heard my name called… and we all went in.

We had a lovely sonographer – she was really welcoming and friendly. The warm goop was plopped on my tummy, and the ultrasound stick she used to look at you glided smoothly across my middle… and there you were, straight away. Your daddy noticed you first.

I had been nervous this time, so it was with relief to immediately see your movement and to have the sonographer comment on this. You are very much alive and well and growing in my tummy – but I wasn’t flooded with emotion, like the first time. There were no tears of joy, or exclamations of wonder. There was just a calmness and an acceptance.

I reflected on this driving home.

Many people before me have said the same thing that is now being whispered in my own mind… how can I love this baby as much as my first? It’s something that has worried me.

You see, with your brother – it was all magical and wonderful and new. We hadn’t planned or tried for him, he just came – surprising us and blowing our minds. I began pregnancy in great shape, glowing from our recent honeymoon, and every stage of the pregnancy was enjoyable and exciting. I felt so empowered and in control.

Then your brother arrived. And he was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. And far more lovely. And, despite his birth and those post-partum months being the hardest and most arduous of my life – physically, mentally, emotionally… I loved him so completely and everything was perfect. We got through it.

But now we are on the other side, there are parts of your daddy and I that feel worn down, battered, in need of a tune up.

This time, with you little one, there is no magic or wonder or surprise. We worked hard to get you, we fought for you, and I know exactly what I’m in for. I’m higher risk on account of your brother’s birth (a late stage c-section), and I’ve already put on a fair amount of weight because eating all the bread is the only thing to keep my nausea at bay.

I’ve been caught in a state of despondency – a lack of energy, motivation, and joy. I’ve been feeling anxious about the duration of pregnancy, the endurance of labour, and fearful of all that is to come… because, this time, I know what is to come.

Baby, your imminent arrival won’t be to a new and wide-eyed mother, floating on cloud 9. But it will be to an experienced mother, already with her stripes, and her feet firmly on the ground.

I will in fact be more sure of myself, somewhere on the middle ground, with wide open arms and a wide open heart for you. Always. And of course I will love you as much as I love your brother. Of course I will. But I know my love for you will be different, it will be unique, because it will be yours.

Your arrival won’t be rose-tinted or golden hued – but it will be so resolutely beautiful in all of its raw truth. I know what’s in store… and I know that means not knowing. I know it means allowing you to guide me, and getting to know you as you get to know me. I know that it will be uncomfortable at times. I know that it doesn’t mean I’m failing if I’m not getting it right. I know that doing what I can is doing enough. And I know that I’m not alone.

I also know how terrifying it will be, all over again, to have a part of my heart living outside of my body. But I also know just how much my heart will swell with love at the same time. I learned so much with your brother, and I am about to learn so so much more.

I will be there for you, baby, in every imaginable way, just as I am for your brother – for all the rest of the days of my life, and hopefully beyond. I will always be your biggest advocate, your greatest admirer, and a tireless cheerleader egging you on.

I know already that your life is your own. And we are simply here to care for you, to guide you, and to learn from you. You will enrich our lives and there are no words to express how much you already have.

You are our faith, and you are our love.

Your big brother, he is so excited about you. And he talks about you and kisses my tummy, where you live, every day. You will learn much from each other – and it won’t always be easy for you both – but your daddy and I will always be here to remind you both just how loved you are.

There is another 6 months before we get to meet you, and we have things to do before then. So keep on growing, my little one.

We’ll be waiting,

Mumma. X

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Week 39

Dear baby

Today we had a chat. Well, I did all the talking and you just listened.

I thought it was time we discussed what is about to happen to you. Very soon baby – you are going to be born!

On the one hand, I simply cannot wait. I cannot wait to finally meet you and cuddle you, to get my body back, and to be able to move around easily again! I cannot wait for our family to begin. And for all of the adventures we will have together.

But then, on the other hand, I think about you – how safe and protected you have been inside me, for 9 months now, and what a scary experience it could be for you to suddenly be thrust out into a foreign world.

So, when I was speaking with you (and you were squirming around in my tummy so I definitely know you were listening), I told you not to worry – that we are on the journey together, and I will be right there to catch you when you arrive. In fact, I will always be there to catch you – even when you no longer need me to.

I’ve spent a lot of time preparing for your birth, baby – mentally, as well as physically. And fully educating myself on the physiology of what is going to happen. It’s still so incredible for me to think that such a natural, normal process (birth) – something that is continuously happening all over the earth – can still be such a momentous event for one woman and her baby. And for a first time mother, it can be especially daunting – there is, unfortunately, a lot of fear mongering associated with labour and birth in the western world (not to mention a lot of pressure to turn pregnancy into a medical event, by default instead of actual necessity). So I have spent the last 9 months eradicating fear from my experiences.

And so, I have maintained a sense of self-empowerment that I plan to bring with me to my labour. I trust my body to be fully capable of bringing you into this world, without interference, and I am completely open to (and excited about!) the process that lies ahead of me. Whatever happens, letting go and remembering to just breathe is about all I need to do – there is nothing to fight. Just a tremendous journey to go on.

And, should we encounter any bumps in the road at all, we are fortunate to live in a country where emergency services are utterly amazing. We have nothing to fear, baby.

But this is not just about my labour – this is your birth.

And the thing is, baby – when the time comes, I know you’ll know what to do.

I hope I can remind myself often, when the going gets tough, that every part of the process brings you closer to me. And if I can focus and go deep enough then perhaps, for a short period of time, we can be in-between our two worlds together.

You know something, I have been teasing your daddy throughout my pregnancy that if you are a little girl, I will call you my Tinkerbell. He’s not keen. Don’t worry – I won’t record that on your birth certificate of course – it will just be my little nickname for you. And if you are a little boy I will absolutely come up with something else… but I came across this Tinkerbell quote in a wonderful article I read recently and, no matter who you are baby, I think it says everything that I have tried to write to you in this letter:

 “You know that place between sleep and awake? That place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you… that’s where I’ll be waiting.” 

And that’s where we are right now baby, an in-between place. A place where we won’t be for much longer – but a place where our two hearts will always be together.

I have had the most amazing 9 months carrying you.

Your journey will begin soon, baby… whenever you are ready. And when you reach the other end, those will be my arms that hold you. My eyes spilling onto you. My mouth kissing your cheek and telling you over and over that I love you. And then… I will finally introduce you to your daddy.

We cannot wait to meet you little one.

Any day now.

Your Mumma. Xxx

Tink3

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Week 37

Dear baby

This morning is a Saturday and, when I first woke up, I put my iPod on and the Mumford and Sons began to fill the room. I’ve only recently put music onto my new iPod, so it’s been a while since I listened to them – my favourite band – and, as I lay there still snuggled under the cocoon of our duvet, it immediately took me back… to 3 years ago, when their music carried me through an eventful time in my life.

I actually couldn’t believe that was just 3 years ago… Then, I was single for the first time in 10 years (my adult life so far), completely solo, and everything but nothing all at once! In my life up to that point I had moved from one side of the earth to the other (a couple of times, actually); travelled extensively, around many of the places in between; worked jobs in too many industries to remember; performed a lot of theatre; and obtained a degree in psychology. Great achievements, great memories, and experiences that will stay with me throughout the rest of my life – but all of those things saw me looking outwards at the world, at other people, and it was finally time – aged 26 – to start looking inwards. At me.

To be honest, I was actually quite discontent in my life. I was at a loose end, continuously disappointed with people and the situations I found myself in and, ultimately, I knew the life I was living wasn’t mine. I needed change. I had completely lost sight of what I wanted to live for, what I valued, what mattered to me – instead, I was simply going through the motions, living within other peoples’ lives. With every new person I met, I felt myself taking another step further from ‘me.’ So, abruptly, I gave notice everywhere and bought a one-way ticket back to the UK. To London. A city I had visited twice as a tourist, with no one to meet me at the airport, nowhere to go, nowhere to live, no money beyond an overdraft in my bank account, and a suitcase full of clothes I no longer wanted to wear . The absolute most difficult and the best thing I have ever done. I completely broke myself down into my elemental parts – and proceeded to rebuild myself…

Since then, all sorts has happened. I fulfilled a lifelong dream to perform professional theatre and workshop at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; I became a poet; I travelled and lived alone, anonymous in London city, and I (oh so cliché!) really discovered myself. To cut a long story short, I guess I simply figured out who I am and what I want.

Today I have shaped my life into one I am incredibly happy with, but, even better than that – I am content. I have met (well, ‘met again’ – but that’s a story for another day!) and married your daddy, and I have conceived you. I am also back living in New Zealand… (not that place has anything to do with what I am talking about)… and I am now a marriage celebrant! THREE YEARS! Imagine what the next 3 could have in store…

I really am so looking forward to the future and our growing family, but, none-the-less, I did have a moment or two this morning of nostalgia. I’m not going to lie, baby. I even felt a pang of grief – for a time so brief that it was over before I knew it. A time before your daddy, before you, a time that was just me and no one else. Yes, I ached for you both before I had you. And I want nothing more than to be where I am today. But this morning I remembered where I have come from to be here, and I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be to just close my eyes and relive that journey for a moment. A journey that defined me in so many ways, and has enabled this very path I am on today. A journey so eventful, that I wish I could go back and cherish it.

Yet I know that time is already long past.

Which really got me thinking, baby – it’s been a fantastic week, with a delicious baby shower to celebrate your coming, a wonderful photoshoot to capture my amazing body at this time, and a lovely home visit from the midwife who announced I am “ready for baby” and that SHE is “so looking forward.” This is an amazing, precious time in my life and I am so treasuring it and cannot wait to meet you little one. But, deep down, I do have a frightening sense that I could lose myself again… that maybe I already have… even if temporarily. Because, with all of the wonderful things going on in this chapter of my life, ultimately, everything is all about you. As it should be. And I can’t help but grieve a little bit, for me.

Even when your daddy sees me now he says hello to “his babies” (meaning us both). I’m no longer sure where I end and you begin.

Baby, it’s not that I want to turn the clocks back or to separate us – ever! – it’s just that I want to be able to remember exactly who I have been for these first 30 years of my life. The person your daddy fell in love with. Before someone else’s needs (yours) become greater than my own. It’s important not just for my own sake now, but for your daddy’s sake, and for your sake too. I will be his devoted wife, and your devoted Mumma for the rest of my life – but I am also so much more than that. I am me. I want you to know me, not just for being your Mumma… and I want you to love me, for my own sake.

You know what – with time, baby, I am sure you will.

And, likewise, I will grow to love you for you too. Not just for being my baby. I simply cannot wait to meet you now, and to watch you begin the discovery of yourself. And I cannot wait to continue my journey in life, learning more about myself through the things you teach me.

I guess being on the right path, which I know I now am, is all that matters.

~

Anyway, I guess you felt all of those strong feelings I had too. As you moved around in my tummy a lot this morning – and I believe it was more than just a shared appreciation of the Mumford and Sons. 😉 I think you were saying ‘I love you mummy – all of you.’

~

At that moment your daddy came back into the bedroom, and when he came over to me he could see your movements under the bed sheet. So he lifted the covers and put his hands on my tummy and said “good morning baby!” And you moved for him. Lots. Your daddy was so chuffed and he kept saying “it’s your daddy!” and giving you kisses. And immediately I left behind my memories, and was right back in the room with you both.

I’m right here, baby. Patiently awaiting your arrival; enjoying the last of my time between my two worlds.

I love you, I love you, I love you!

Come soon!

Your Mumma. Xxx

Nova3

Image (c) Nova Photography

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Week 35

Baby!

It’s been a long time since I wrote to you – 5 eventful weeks! – but of course I do talk to you every single day.

Truth is, I’ve just been so busy preparing for your arrival, that it’s taken a bout of the flu to sit me down long enough to catch up with myself. And it’s been a pretty hideous week to be honest; a total wipe-out – never in my life have I felt more exhausted – and between coughing and sneezing and snuffling, and body aches, and worryingly high temperatures, the only other thing I’ve had time for is to complain about how much I am over being pregnant!

And I don’t mean that I am over YOU, just that I am over this waiting and this cumbersome body we share, and I cannot wait any longer for you to come into this world so we can meet the little person you are and I can return to being the comfortable and energetic person I am/you need. (Given how active you are being, I have a fairly strong inkling that you feel the same way!).

You’ve really grown a lot over the last month, my darling – and all of a sudden I found myself unable to get dressed without breaking into a sweat, or walk for any longer than 5 minutes before I need to pee, or sleep comfortably without 4 giant pillows wedging me in place (it must be the most hilarious thing in the world to the fly on the wall watching me dismount the bed 5-6 times each night and then bottom-first my way back in…). And I haven’t so much as cuddled your daddy in weeeeeeeeks, baby. Weeks! I see him every single day, but I miss him! He just can’t reach me! So, add to that ‘one flu,’ and I reached our biggest hill yet… declaring, “I am over it!”

But! It also has to be said that, now the flu has passed – I am back to appreciating my amazing body once again, even for it’s sickness! Because it knew exactly what I needed… I was so busy with one thing or another that I wasn’t doing what I should be doing above anything else – slowing down, and resting. So my body gave in to the flu and forced me to relax. And I am so grateful for it.

It has also been pretty incredible watching your daddy take care of me. I didn’t think it possible to be any more in love with him. I was wrong.

So, we still have a few weeks to go yet, baby, and I am right back to being just plain old uncomfortable, but still utterly in awe of your presence inside me. I am ready for you little one! – I have been for a very long time. So now it’s simply time for me to enjoy the quiet, as I sit in the middle of my two worlds.

This is me with you in my belly, baby! You are going to be so big and so beautiful! >

SONY DSC

Your Mumma. Xxx

 

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Week 30

Baby,

We had a fight the other day. Your daddy and I. We are so sorry about that – as I know you would have heard it. Well, you would have heard me anyway, as your daddy spent the entire time just staring at me dumbfounded. Poor thing. Wondering what on earth was going on I bet. Watching his wife ride a roller-coaster of emotions right in front of him.

To be honest, I don’t even remember what it was that specifically upset me – I just remember feeling so overwhelmed and out-of-control – with my body, my feelings, my future – and it all came out on a quiet Saturday afternoon. The climax of the situation, saw me sitting on a swiss ball in the living room, balling my eyes out, with your daddy sat on the edge of the couch next to me. So much change in the last 2 years – from living in London and getting paid to perform Shakespeare, to moving back to NZ, the familiar culture shock, the familiar starting over, a new relationship, a different career path, getting engaged, getting married, falling pregnant, moving house…

It’s irrelevant that all of those changes are things I embraced. It’s irrelevant that I have never been happier in my entire life. Change, especially so much of it, can be both unsettling and exhausting. “I don’t even know who I am right now…” – one of the things I remember crying into your daddy’s arms. And he held me, and I’m not sure if he said anything at all, or if just his being there holding me said enough. But eventually my entire vulnerability came out and I was able to look up at him. And baby, I saw a single tear had been falling down his cheek. And my heart fluttered. I told your daddy how much I loved him and reassured him that I didn’t want to be anywhere else, and he just held me some more.

Nothing is wrong with me, baby. I don’t need to do anything – I’m just riding the wave, and allowing every feeling to flow through me. Every woman who has ever been a mother before will understand. It’s very normal, and very understandable. But it’s also very important to acknowledge when we are feeling vulnerable, or exhausted, or unsure, or frightened. And being able to do that doesn’t make us weak. In fact, the very opposite – I believe we find our true strength, by being at our most vulnerable. Having you come into my life leaves me feeling more vulnerable than I have ever felt before, baby – because I feel completely responsible for you – and yet, at the same time, I also feel stronger than I have ever felt before too.

Later that day, baby, I asked your daddy if I had made him cry – and he told me just how sad he had felt seeing me so lost. And I know how hard he tries to make my world whole – how hard he works to provide for us, how supportive and encouraging he is of me and my abilities, and how he spends a lot of his own time at the moment just making my days more comfortable – cooking for me, picking me up when it’s raining, running me a bath, telling me I am beautiful when I don’t look it – he looks after me in every way. And I don’t take him for granted for one single second, baby, but lately I have realised – that however hard this transition is for me, it is every bit as hard for him. Except, he doesn’t get to feel you. He doesn’t get to spend his days with you. He doesn’t know what’s happening to us, beyond what I tell him. And yes, giving birth to you will take strength and courage and will be the biggest thing I have ever done in my life so far. But, ultimately, you are my baby and my body is made to birth you. How I approach that, how I deal with that – the point remains that, one way or another, my body will birth you. That’s the easy bit, and I have it.

Your daddy, he has the hard bit. He has to see the changes, the challenges I am going through and be unable to help. A willing helper with his hands tied. He has to know how much I love him, even when I want to be alone. He has to know how happy I am, even when I am lost in tears. He will get to watch the joy and ecstasy of me bringing our little baby into this world, knowing that I could do it all (physically) without him. But what he doesn’t know, is that he is the one holding us together, making it happen. He is our tower of strength, our voice of reason, our gentle hand. Inside his love we are found, baby. He is the one keeping us going.

And so whatever the future holds, whatever changes are coming – so are you. And I mean this when I say it, baby – I am so sorry you heard my broken words this week. But I have never, ever been happier. And I don’t want to be anyone else but yours. Ours.

Baby, sometimes I so wish I could just crawl inside and hold you! To kiss you and tell you how much you are wanted. But it’s not much longer to go now, baby; soon you will be with us.

And we cannot wait to see your little face.

Your Mumma. Xxx

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Week 26

Dear baby

My heart-broke today – not for you my baby. But for someone who has lost their own. Not someone I know – this is the crazy and beautiful thing about life as it is today – but someone who I met online. Someone with a blog I follow. And a story that has touched my heart. Just days before the due date of their precious bundle of joy, they lost her. My heart ached for their loss, for anyone who has experienced the same, and it also ached with the magnitude of my love for you. And the split second thought that something, at some point, could happen to you. I had to leave the office (I really shouldn’t be reading peoples’ blogs whilst I am working, but, in my defense, it was lunch-hour) as the tears were silently streaming down my face. Such complete sadness and compassion for all of those Mumma’s who have lost their angels. And the totally overwhelming, soul filling depth of my love for you. You are safe inside of me, surrounded by my heart, my blood, my sustenance – and whilst I cannot wait to meet you and see your beautiful face, I am just so grateful to have you safe and sound inside of me for now.

Truth is baby, something, at some point, is going to happen to all of us. The only certainty with life is ultimately death. This poor woman’s experience really hit me with the reminder that life is fleeting, life is a precious gift for all too short a time. What matters is not how we got here, or where we go hereafter – but where we are today. We can’t fill up our days worrying about the things that could happen, or aren’t happening, or happened once upon a time – but what is happening right now. And to be grateful for this moment (you’ve just started kicking me – you are right here with me).

I love you and your daddy so completely baby – I belong to you both. And so whatever happens to us, whenever it does – nothing will ever end my love for you. It will exist forever.

And so in light of that – I decided to turn that sadness and fear around immediately, and to feel joyful instead. For all of those beautiful people in this world who are so full of love to give, and for my own love as well.

I have been so very blessed in conceiving you, and having such a healthy and comfortable pregnancy for 6 months so far – and I don’t want anyone to think for one second that I take all of that for granted. Every single day I rejoice in the fact that I have been so blessed, and I live in constant gratitude. You are my precious gift, baby. And you are also my little gift back.

Make the world brighter by being here. And enjoy the ride.

I love you forever,

Mumma. Xxx

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