Dear Skyla
You lie next to me, milkdrunk, your body limp with the rush of the milkhigh, and contentment washing over your being. The fact that you are here is miraculous, I still can’t quite believe it, today is your actual ‘due date’, but as we know that means nothing, and you were going to come when you were ready, no sooner, no later. You have been in our world for five days now.
So here, my love is the story of your birth, written while still fresh in my mind, body and soul.
Your conception wasn’t planned Sweet Skyla, and I don’t really know how you came into being, it is a little miracle. However I could feel the winds of change as soon as you were conceived. I had no idea of your existence yet I felt all tingly inside, it felt like a premonition. I looked into my days with anticipation, nervousness and wonder, ‘What was this feeling? What lay on the horizon?’. I kept saying to people, “Something is going to happen, I can feel it, I don’t know what it is yet, but I know it”.
So when my period was slow to arrive, and then I started feeling a little nauseous, your existence was discovered. It was a shock for me and your Daddy, but under the shock we were both happy, very happy.
And it was a beautiful ride my love, growing you inside me felt so magic and full of such wonder. We were blessed with an easy ride too, you and me, a few weeks of nausea, but that soon passed, a bit of tiredness, which I took as my body telling me to rest, and that was all. We blossomed.
And I began preparing for your birth day. I wanted to bring you into this world in the best possible way for the both of us. Your Daddy too wanted what was best for us. So we made some birth choices, and your Daddy was amazing at helping me to stay strong in them, and in defending our choices to people who questioned them. We declined routine scans, it felt intuitively wrong to expose you to that for no medical reason (of course my precious if at any time anything was medically indicated then we would!). And we decided to have a birth at home.
I read books, I researched, and I looked for tools to help us have the best possible birth. Sadly in our culture birth is medicalised, rather than normalized, and so I wanted to counter that programming in myself, I surrounded myself with positive books, ones that empower women on their birth journeys, I read, I wrote. I started a Hypnobabies program to give me tools for the day, to embrace the sensations of birthing. I believed in and wanted a beautiful fearless birth. Your Daddy read the bits I asked him to read, did my Hypnobabies with me, cooked us yummy food, and gave me back rubs when I needed it. He looked after us well Sweet Skyla. And we found a lovely independent midwife, Debs, who would attend the birth, and be there to help us if we needed it.
So, I thought you were going to be late, I thought I would end up fighting the induction police, so I planned on hair appointments and massages in my last few weeks, and started tying up loose ends. On Tuesday I went to Oxford to visit my Goddaughter and her brother, Anna is 4, Will is 6, Anna chatted to you, and patted my belly and spoke about ‘the baby’ almost non-stop. I felt a bit crampy and ill when I left there that evening. But I had been feeling a bit ‘niggly’ the past two weeks, period like cramps, teary, and tired, so I didn’t think anything of it. The next day I felt a little ill, and my lower back was rather achy. And you were so so active, rolling and kicking all over the show. Your Daddy and I went out that afternoon, and had a massive argument in the street, I guess we were both feeling a bit hormonal! We got home that night, he went to bed around midnight, and I stayed up and cleaned the kitchen (which, my precious, is very unlike me, so perhaps I was nesting?). I had started to feel you do your head spins on my cervix, but the sensation had moved, and I was feeling it in my bottom, it felt a bit sharp and it rose and fell. Then I felt my first pressure wave, it was like a tightening from my lower back that radiated all round to the front of my belly. I hadn’t felt any Braxton Hicks throughout the whole pregnancy, so this was a new feeling, exciting! I timed them and they seemed 7-10mins apart. I got in a bath, to see if that would change them, they increased to 5mins apart, lasting a minute. By 3am, I called Debs to let her know, I wasn’t going to, as I was convinced this was just practice, but I thought I should call her ‘just in case’, she said get some sleep and call me back. I went to bed and woke your Daddy and told him what was happening, and asked him to get the tens machine, there was no way I was going to sleep through these waves! Don’t worry Skyla they weren’t painful, they were intense, and the best way to describe them is to say they are all consuming, they became everything and demanded all of my attention. I put my affirmations on, and the tens, and when a wave came I got on all fours and circled my hips like in yoga, and I said “ahhhhh” in a soft breath, and “open, open, open”, and I thought of you my lovely, I sent you love and energy and reassurance.
Your Daddy timed these for an hour, not realizing how all consuming they were getting, he tried to talk to me during one, I couldn’t answer and I think he realized then. During one, he put his hand on my belly (he often did this in bed at night). He said he felt the energy change completely, and he knew that this was it for real, he also said he knew you were a girl (I had had this feeling from this beginning, as did he, but then he changed and started thinking you were a boy).
There was a little show and we decided to call Debs back to see if we should start filling the pool.  She said ‘Okay I am coming now’, when Daddy described how things were, this surprised him he said later, as we must be further along than we thought. (We had plans of going for lunch, of hanging out watching dvds together during early birthing time). So he jumped up and got into action setting up the pool, I started helping, but got to the point where I needed to just focus on this. I returned to bed, on all fours, and put on my hypnobirthing “Easy First Stage” on and went within.
Debs arrived at 6ish, checked us, you were doing great, so was I, we didn’t want any internals, which Debs was fine with. Daddy did a quick dash to the supermarket (we didn’t have anything in the house!). Debs just left me to it, alone in the bedroom, which was what I wanted, to go within and let my body do it. I found myself covering my eyes during a pressure wave, and continued with the circling and ‘ahhh’s.  I also started saying “yes, yes yes”, I found this really helped me to embrace and surrender to them.
Debs said when Daddy got back I could get in the pool if I wanted, this surprised me, I didn’t think we were that far. I was only using the tens machine, putting it on ‘boost’ during a wave, and this really helped manage the sensation, I only had it on ‘2’ (it goes up to 20) as I wanted to keep it back in case I really needed it. The waves were intense, and becoming more all encompassing, it was such a powerful feeling, I would go right into them, and then once they subsided, I would return to the world.
Daddy got back from shopping and continued getting everything ready, but now I wanted him with me during a wave, so I would call him every few minutes and he would come running. He tried some hypno cues, but I didn’t want that, and told him to hush. He tried to give me some nice touch, but again, I didn’t want that and shook my head. He said he felt a bit helpless, but having him there was All and Everything that I needed.
Then I felt sick, I asked Deb to get your nappy bucket from the bathroom, and up came all the raspberry leaf tea and porridge your Daddy had given me. And I started crying, I don’t know why, it was like waves of emotion washing over me, I wasn’t upset, just a little confused maybe or overwhelmed.
This passed and we moved into the living room, where your Daddy had done an amazing job! The blackout curtains were up, and candles everywhere and the most beautiful fresh flowers, pink roses, and a massive bunch of lovely yellows and reds and oranges. He put the Rumi poetry and music cd on, and I got in the pool. The temperature was amazing, so hot and delicious. And you, my lovely, began your descent.
I found it hard to let go as I felt you press against my bottom, this is just a natural taboo of letting go in that area. I had asked Deb not to ‘coach’ at all, and only to give direction if I asked for it, so I asked her here, she said ‘just push through your bottom as if you are going to the toilet’, and I tried. Then I felt sick again, I leant over the edge and threw up into your nappy bucket, it was a bit of a yucky feeling throwing up and trying to let go in my bottom at the same time, but it obviously did the trick, with the next wave I felt that letting go, and I relaxed into that. There was a show at some stage and I think Debs said something about it being a good sign that I was fully dilated, somewhere I registered this, although words were gibberish at this point, I was just following my body. With each wave I went right in, still on all fours, leaning over the pool, holding on to your daddy’s hand, his presence meaning more than he will ever realize. The ‘ahhhs’ turned into a different noise, a really primal grunt/moan that I had no idea was in my vocab. I went with that, I could feel you moving down ‘pressure’ or ‘pushy’ or something I said to let Debs and Daddy know what was happening. It felt so good to surrender to this feeling, again hard to describe, still all encompassing and intense, but it felt a bit like throwing up in that my body just did it and I went with it. In between waves I rested, then circled and moved and said ‘come on baby, come on’, encouraging you on your journey down.  I could feel your head come a little further forward with each wave, but then slip back, this was hard and I felt impatient and wondered aloud if I could do this. Your bag of water hadn’t broken yet. Debs said to reach down and feel your head, I did and it was squishy, you felt so close and yet so far. Debs suggested breaking your bag of waters to help you down, I agreed. She was listening to your heartbeat after every wave, and it was taking a little longer to recover each time, Daddy and I could hear it a bit slower (we were using the sonic aid now, after a whole pregnancy free of ultra sound, once we were in the water we decided for ease to let Debs use the sonic aid rather than fetalscope). So Debs suggested moving into a squat, and said to direct the energy that was coming out of my mouth in my amazing primal sounds downwards. Basically she meant actively ‘push’, which I hadn’t wanted to do, rather I wanted to let my body doing the pushing, which it had been beautifully. But obviously, my precious, you were finding this part of the journey a little hard, and it would be better to get you out sooner. So I moved (Daddy was in the pool with me and you by now), and squatted and reclined, with Daddy next to me. The next wave came “here we go” I said to Debs and Daddy, and you moved into position, and I directed the energy down and I Pushed and Pushed and Pushed, and then there your little head was, I couldn’t quite believe it! We looked at you and we waited for the next wave. It felt like an eternity in coming. When it did I pushed again, and Daddy held his hands out and out you came, turning as you did, I felt your body slip out and your little foot last of all, Daddy caught you, the cord was around your neck a couple of times (this was why your heartbeat was dipping so much) and you still had the membranes covering your head, Debs removed both and Daddy brought you slowly up out of the water and put you on my chest. Daddy bent down to look at your face, and you opened one eye and looked at him. You were floppy, we rubbed your back, ‘hey, wake up baby’ we said, you coughed and spluttered a bit and then you were here. During the whole birthing we had been referring to you as ‘she’. Debs said, “Is it a girl?” and went to feel between your legs, but I lifted your leg so Daddy could look. He said, “Yes it’s a little girl”. We smiled and said “Hello Skyla”. It was 11.36am on Thursday 12th March 2009.
You had arrived, you looked a little funny, but of course we thought you looked absolutely beautiful! Your colour started coming, and you were quiet and content and we had a timeless hour in the pool getting to know you, waiting for your placenta to come. I was getting lots of cramping as my womb clamped down and released your placenta, but no movement, I wondered if some gravity would help, so we decided to cut your cord so I could move and you could stay in the pool with Daddy. Debs clamped it and Daddy cut it.
I went to the bathroom, and your placenta slipped out easily. I showered and while Debs checked me, you and Daddy had a lovely time in the pool. Daddy talked to you and you just listened and gazed at him, when I came back Daddy said he had fallen completely in love with you.
And now, with you lying next to me lost in your milky dream world, I can say we have both fallen head over heels for you. We intend to do our best by you. We know it will be challenging at times, and we don’t know all the answers, but we look forward to rising and growing with the challenges and exploring the questions with you Sweet Skyla.
With so much love, now and forever, to eternity and beyond, your Mama xx
I loved my hypnobabies practice, I would say I was a B student, I practiced, mainly at night, and I did more of what I felt work for me.
As our birthing time happened a bit quickly, I found it hard to get into the hypno zone I thought I would be in, I didn’t listen to all of easy first stage, or to second stage (I had intended to use both) as I was in that place where I just wanted to go within. This surprised me, also that I didn’t want to ‘listen’ to words, I just wanted to know them.
My main birth goal was to have a really intuitive birth, to really listen and go into my body, so words (both the cds and Pete’s – aka Daddy) felt kind of redundant. But also I felt like I had already embodied all the knowledge from all my hypno prep, so I didn’t need to be listening to the cds during birthing.
This really worked for me, this embodying, it allowed me to feel confident enough to let go and go with in and ‘let my monkey do it” (-Ina May!). I couldn’t have done this without the confidence and calm that hypnobabies gave me.
In the few weeks before the hypno tool I used the most was painting my cervix, perineum and all my birthing muscles with my silver blue anesthesia paint (I knew how well this worked for me when I did the icecube test thing, I was Amazed that it worked so well!!!). So every time I thought of it, I would paint it on. Naturally this worked so well during birthing time too, there was no ring of fire, or any uncomfortable sensations there. Also when I had to push her out at the end I tore my perineum a little, I didn’t feel this at all, and nothing when I was actually pushing!
When I visualsed the birthing I imagined it lasting 12 hours from start to birth, which it did, that it was mainly in the night with her born in the morning, which it was, and I saw myself surrendering to the sensations, which I did. The rest, being a first time mama, I wasn’t sure really what would happen. But hypnobabies really helped me to Trust my body and Trust my baby.
Having this Embodied Knowledge really allowed me to let go, go within, get primal and intuitive.
I don’t think I can get across how much Trust and Confidence Hypnobabies gave me, and that the three months of ‘training’ with it was SO important for Embodying it so it became something my body Knew, or rather ReMembered! As of course my body knows all of this, but to remember it, and to know it on all levels was vital to the Beautiful Birthing time of Skyla.
Thank you Kerry! Thank you Hypnobabies! Thank you Mamas and Mamasinthemaking on this forum for all your support! And thank you Sweet Skyla for coming into my world!