Birth of Bali Rose
By Keely B
Birth was not something we talked about in our home growing up, in fact I remember feeling scared about giving birth before I was even a teenager. I had seen it movies; a woman in hospital screaming, sweating, begging for drugs, bright lights, on her back with a male doctor with his gloved hands between her legs telling her to push. This story is of my fourth birth, my first daughter. I share my story and photos in hopes of sharing light and positivity in the birth world. My previous births were beautiful and natural, but not at home.
I was excited to do things my way this time. I knew exactly the birth I wanted, so each evening during the pregnancy I would bathe, meditate, and envision myself pulling my daughter up out of the water onto my chest. My vision was that my sons would support me, to be witness to what powers and magic woman are capable of. “Don’t romanticise it”; “you’ll traumatize them”; “I cannot imagine my children seeing me like that”; “what if something goes wrong?” I didn’t really know how to explain it to others but felt confident about my vision. A had a sense of great responsibly, to ensure my children grow to become supportive, intuitive, and encouraging birthing partners themselves one day. I wanted it for my future grand babies and their mothers.
I had gone into a nightly ritual of getting out of bed at 3.00am. My nights were almost sleepless by 40 weeks. I would sit outside barefoot in the warm summer grass, pleading to the stary night sky for a sign of labour. I awoke on the morning of my ‘due date’ with tinge of sadness that our baby had not yet arrived. I am usually a very active and patient person, but I find pregnancy hard, I was more than ready to meet our baby.
That morning continued much like all of our mornings, breakfast, lunchboxes, teeth brushing. Its a hassle getting everyone out of the house on time in the mornings, and much harder pregnant. I enjoy walking the kids to school most days, but today, I was just too tired. When I dropped my youngest at Kindy, I felt a tiny bit of water release when I lifted myself out of the car. It was so small I thought it may be discharge or urine. After kissing him goodbye, I sat down in the car, took a deep breath, and felt a sense of urgency to just be home. I drove fast! When I pulled into the driveway, I saw my dad who lives next door, “I think today is the day” I said as I hurried through his back yard to mine, unknowingly aware I would meet my baby 45 minutes later.
My house was a mess, it always is in the morning rush with breakfast dishes, clothes everywhere, beds unmade. I usually come home after school drop off and tidied up. Instead, I dumped my bag down and started running a bath. I had pictured myself enjoying early labour in peaceful meditational solitude, but as I focused my eyes and watched the bath water rise, I realized things progressing quickly. Then I felt a wave of panic hit me, I was alone, and began to ache for my family. I messaged my husband to come home, my midwife, my sister, and my girlfriends to pick the kids up.
I raced around the house collecting the special notes the boys had made me, roses, and crystals my friends had gifted us. The boys had taken the crystals I’d been given on my Blessingway into their beds, believing they could fill them with even more powers. I struggled and gave up trying to reach the top one in my eldest’s bunk (it’s a three-tier bunk), but the surges were coming fast, and I had to get in the bath quickly.
First to arrive was my sister, she also lives next door, and one year ago prior I had been blessed to jump my back fence and support during her homebirth. I have so much admiration for those who choose homebirth as their first baby. I wish I had trusted myself in that way and known homebirth as a valid and safe option. These photos I share were taken by her and I am forever grateful to her for the memories she captured. Next to arrive were the kids, who I had really only just dropped off minutes’ prior. My wonderful girl friends had received my urgent message and raced to school to collect them, the kids were thrilled to get the day off school.
My sister was relieved to see my friends arrive, as she knew baby was coming fast. One friend quickly cleaned up the house, made my bed and collected the crystal from Caleb’s top bunk. The other organized the kids out of their school uniforms and put away their gear. Next was my husband, who walked in to see me in a state he found familiar, which was me transitioning into the final stage of labour.
My windows were all open letting in the warm sea breeze and mid morning summer heat. My dad was outside on his deck next door listening on with my sisters’ baby in his arms, he was on the phone to my mum. I could feel his paternal energy, a father wishing deep in his bones to take away his daughters’ pain, as if he could somehow absorb some of the pain himself.
I felt myself surrender once my family was around me. I draped my body over the edge of the tub and reached for the hands of my sons. The contractions were like heavy crashing waves, I would wait for the break in between, to breathe, but there was not one. It was one after the other, hard, powerful, and just almost unbearably strong.
Then, I left, it was like I went into another world, space. I felt myself go deeper and deeper into myself. Searching, reaching for my baby, it was just us, among the stars, me and my baby girl. I felt far away but held tight, as my family was over me to keep me from floating away. From in this sacred space, this deep dimension, I heard myself roar, but it was like it was in the distance. I heard the sound of my voice change and deepen. I recognized and remembered this sound from my past birth experiences. I returned, knowing it was time use my energy to push.
I trusted my body completely, without any reservation, I trusted my baby, and believed in my birth. I beared down through the most powerful of surges, with mighty strength from a realm deep within, and I pushed hard. I reached between my legs just as I had done in my visions and touched her soft warm head and felt her come further and further out with each wave. I finally took a breath, I had been holding it. I breathed out as the crashing feeling of the waves paused for what felt like a minute, her head was out.
I felt the final surge building up, as if it were a far-off wave coming closer and closer to the shoreline. Josh reached down into the bath water, and I leaned back, stretched out, and completely let go. I felt our partnership, it was her, my daughter pushing now. Pure extasy rushed through my body as I felt her release her way into her father’s arms. At 10.01am her father brought her up through the bath water and placed her onto my chest into my arms. Her body was so warm, I heard her cry and I wailed, her voice was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I burst with pride, empowerment, and an indescribable joy.
I opened my eyes and saw my family surrounding me. “She’s here, she’s here” I said, “Boys, where are you? Look.” The boys’ eyes full of awe, wonder and nervous excitement. My husband responded, “they’re here Hun, we’ve been here the whole time”, answering as if he knew I had been into another world. Then, the realization came to me, I had just birthed exactly the way I had dreamed it, without any intervention, without the help of a midwife, in my bath, just my family.
She latched on to my breast naturally and we lay there together in the warm bath nursing as the midwives arrived. My midwife who had supported me through all my baby’s births chatted with me as I delivered the placenta and then tidied up the bath. She then weighed her as our biggest baby at 9lbs. Her father cut her cord, wrapped her in a warm towel and carried her across to our bedroom.
We went into our bed, all of us, sharing cuddles in the comfort and safety of our home. Each of us taking turns stroking her face, marvelling in her beauty and perfection. I watched, like a proud lioness with all her cubs surrounding her. So absorbed in the magic, as I saw each one of my sons, fall instantly in deep love as they bonded with their newest member of our family.
Her name; Bali Rose. We named her after my beautiful late mother-in-law, whose favourite place in the world was Bali and her great-grandmother, Mohi Rose.