Rosie's spiritual birth

Divinely-guided birth

I am confident I'd done everything I could to recover from the trauma of Maggie's birth where our planned home birth led to an emergency transfer after long back-to-back labour, emergency forceps delivery with 3rd degree tear and episiotomy, PPH, 10 day NICU stay with Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (due to an infection she contracted in hospital after we transferred). But after intermittent surges went on and didn't seem to progress at home for two nights, I decided to transfer to have an elective caesarian about 4am on Thursday 16th September.
I started feeling mild squeezes every now and then on Tuesday, then during the night they woke me up a bit and i got up about 4.30am and had a bath. Our midwife Ambra came for a check in the morning and Rosie was ROA (the same starting position as Maggie, and I would rather she didn’t start in the same position so was hoping she would be LOA). My mucus plug started coming away as I had blood in my discharge. Shaun was working but I was tired and wanted to relax to let things progress. We went to town so Shaun could get glasses fitted and have a haircut. I met my friend for ice cream. When we got home Shaun worked downstairs in the kitchen with Maggie on the laptop and I slept for a couple of hours on the sofa. Shaun made bean pasta and we laughed because I was grumpy and told him it was inedible bean goo. After dinner we went to the shops with Maggie in the carrier and bought yummy snacks.
It felt like surges were more often and walking helped progress them a bit. After Maggie fell asleep we decided to act as if this was it, so got into my purple cosmic prosecco bath. I felt like I should go downstairs and be more active to encourage things. Had warm cake and ice cream and watched Friends. I kept having surges intermittently. At 11.50pm I decided to get back in the bath with towels over me in case it helped me to doze in between surges. Shaun dozed on the bathroom floor. I got out after an hour and went downstairs. Surges were still intermittent and inconsistent. After a while I tried TENS machine. Shaun laid behind me on the sofa trying to rest. About 3am I said to Shaun that I didn’t think it was going to work; I was too afraid of the surges, too concerned about Maggie witnessing me struggle, afraid how I would last if I was struggling this much at this stage.
I just couldn't surrender to the surges - my trauma was such that I panicked and resisted each one, and I didn't feel like I could survive it mentally. We talked to our healing birth doula and I decided i wanted to choose an elective caesarean birth - that if I felt so afraid of the surges and this was just the beginning, then I didn't *want* to handle getting to the end, and couldn't bear the thought of my daughter seeing me struggle in that way at home. It was a very hard decision to make. But Sheryl’s experience of having an elective caesarian as her own healing birth gave me the confidence that I could make the choice and would be able to feel ok about it afterwards.
We called our midwife and she came round, was very supportive. She checked Rosie’s position which was unchanged, and it seemed to be confirmation that the surges so far hadn’t been productive. She called MAU and went ahead to prep things for our arrival. By the time I’d answered the door to her I was back to normal - as soon as I’d made the decision to have a caesarean surges become manageable (I thought because I was so tense and afraid that I’d scared them off). I felt very worried about saying goodbye to Maggie and was proud of myself for keeping it together so it didn’t worry her too much that we were leaving. My sister got into bed with her and she woke up as we were packing.
We got to the hospital about 6.30am, and surges were very manageable - I breathed through them pretty easily in the hospital as we were talked through all the risks and consent, and waited for them to be ready for me. I felt incredibly sad, disappointed and defeated - that i’d worked so hard to achieve a safe, healthy home birth with both my children and not managed either. And instead was choosing to have the biggest birth intervention there is. But I tried to stay positive for Rosie and make the best of it. We spoke to the registrar who said we’d have the surgery that morning. As we went through the procedure and risks with the surgeon and anesthatist, my surges remained manageable but i did need to stop talking to breathe through them and they started getting stronger.
At 10am we walked down to the theatre for my elective caesarean. In between surges I had put some make up on and done my hair, so I'd not look too tired and upset in the birth photos. We took a selfie with our midwife as we walked down the corridor. The surges were strong but I felt normal in between. But when we got to the theatre they turned us away, because the porter hadn't even picked up my bloods yet, so they weren't ready for me after all. We went back to the delivery suite, and I was pretty chilled about it I think - assuming we'd be called back again very soon. Surges were intensifying but I’d not had any vaginal exams and assumed they weren’t being productive as I was ‘only 4cm’ with Maggie despite a long time of very intense surges. I felt impatient for pain relief but no-one could say how long it would take for my blood to be taken to the lab.
I felt like I was shouting by this point, but the midwifes said it sounded like singing and it was beautiful. The surges got so strong and i felt pressure in my bottom, the surges stayed just at the bottom of my belly at the front. I started leaning over the bed and jumping up and down during surges as I felt I couldn’t stay still with the downward force. The midwives said it seemed like she might be coming and they needed the check me, as it would be difficult to do a caesarian if she was close to being born. I didn’t know how I’d manage to stay still long enough for the epidural anyway and was afraid. One of the midwives checked me stood up and said they could feel Rosie’s head. So there was no going back! I started having gas and air and after being examined started to feel like i was pushing something out. I leant over the bed, roaring and jumping, I could feel fluid and pressure as surges kept coming. They said her head was out and it felt huge! I was totally in shock that it was happening. The relief when she came all the way out was intense. I sat down and said ‘What the f** was that?’ (which Shaun thinks was funny and we have on video).
Everyone helped to lift us onto the bed and Rosie was on my chest. I was in shock and exhausted. Rosie was born at 10.40 and her cord was cut by Shaun at 10.59. I had the injection to help my placenta out, and chose to get up on all fours to try and push rather than having Ambra push on my tummy and try to remove it. I birthed my placenta in one piece. We left the hospital about 4.30pm and came home to Maggie. So at 10am we’d gone to theatre, and no-one had any idea that birth had progressed so far. Minutes before birth I'd been putting on eyeshadow and taking selfies. It was a shock! My second stage was about 10 minutes. I realise now that as soon as I decided I would take control with a surgical delivery, I stopped being so afraid, and the surges were manageable from that point (until i very suddenly got to transition!).
It took me a little while to come around from the shock, and to be able to focus on what an amazing story this is to add to my new narrative about myself. My midwife reminded me how I said 'this is going to be such a great story!' as she was coming out. I was really focussed in birth prep on my connection and support from the universe, and trying to trust the journey. And it seems like the universe stopped the porter from picking up my bloods when they were supposed to, to give me the opportunity to prove to myself that I am capable and I can trust. Making the decision to have a surgical birth - and getting out of the house - were what I needed to to in order to surrender to the surges. So from 4am - 10am my body was quietly working away, opening my cervix ready for birth and I didn’t know until she was almost born! One minute putting make up on and the next she was being born. And all thanks to a porter not picking up my bloods. Thank you Universe!
On one hand I was so pleased and grateful and proud that Rosie was born as nature intended and I had originally wanted - and we were home to my daughter same day - but on the other hand, circumstances forced me to give birth in a way I'd chosen not a place I'd not planned...without the pain relief I decided I needed... after I'd decided that wasn't what I wanted - so I was left feeling very conflicted initially, and shocked from the speed and intensity of the birth. I know now that the Universe led me on the path I needed to follow, and that path is very rarely smooth for me and that's ok - it's my journey. There has been a lot of growth and awareness and lessons to be gained from what happened, and I am so proud of myself for the hard work I put into preparing, the tough decision I made to go the opposite way, and my amazing body's ability to do what needs to be done.

2 years on...

Since I wrote Rosie's story above a lot has changed. My pregnancies, births and motherhood journey has really been my rebirth. I don't need to know all the answers and understand everything now. I'm getting better at trusting, and believing that it's all going to be alright. Rosie's pregnancy and everything I've achieved since - how i've grown as into an artist and business woman, a home-educating mother, a panto and choir performer, a puppy mummy - it's all thanks to the transformation that was growing my girls. Life is still a struggle, most of the time - but I have faith that i'm taking the right steps on the path even if i don't know where i'm going. I feel grateful for Rosie's journey and her surprising birth and everything the Universe has blessed me with since.

Maggie's birth story

Read my first birth story of a planned home birth with hospital transfer and NICU stay with Meconium Aspiration Syndrome - written a year after her birth in 2019

Help raise NICU awareness

I used to think that special care was just for premature babies - but the majority of babies who receive neonatal care are actually born full term. 60% of babies in NICU are full term (after 37 weeks) and may need support due to infection, issues with breathing, feeding, jaundice or lack of oxygen to the brain. Around 1 in 7 babies born in the UK are admitted to a neonatal unit. Having an awareness of what to expect and how to feel empowered would help parents cope and lessen their trauma if baby does need medical care, so I am urging antenatal teachers to include special care in their conversations with expectant parents - as 1 in 7 of those babies will need it.

Trauma healing through art

Read about how I started Womb to World and how my creativity and spirituality has helped me on my journey to heal childhood and birth trauma.