Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Just Being

I went for a walk in the woods on Sunday. Not an uncommon occurrence I grant you, but this was different. I was ALONE.

It was late when my husband decided to drive a 40 mile round trip to my Grandparents house for some bits of Plexiglas my Grandpa had saved for him, and later still by the time he realised that the children really were coming along for the ride and he could do nothing to stop them.

The mountains of things requiring my attention were there. The paperwork, the laundry, the supper, the sewing...all there waiting for me. And I was tired, so tired, from several broken nights with unsettled children with bugs.

So I decided to go for a walk. Actually I just decided to go to the woods, and accept the walking as a by product.

It was beautiful. More than beautiful. It had been a clear cold late Autumn day and it slowly turned into a misty still Autumn twilight.

I walked, and stopped, and listened. I saw how the holy berries looked as though someone had painted them in scarlet gloss, like the staging for a Christmas photo shoot, but not for my benefit. I saw how the mist rose above the meanderings of the river, giving the whole valley an eerie and otherworldly quality, but that was only my interpretation. And it occurred to me there, in the silence and stillness that I am unaccustomed to in my boy filled world, that I love the wood, but the wood cares not one little bit for my affections.

It just is.

If a tree falls in the forest it matters not whether there is any one there to hear it. It's noises are not for us.

And small fish in big ponds and large fish in small ponds feel no more or less important and give no thought to the size of their pond and the relative dimensions of their own fish body.

They just are.

It is only us humans who attribute layer upon layer of meaning to everything, and it felt wonderful in the dusk and mist to just be, just for the briefest of moments, before heading back to meaning.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Wheal Eliza

We took a walk on Exmoor yesterday. Starting in Simmonsbath and heading out to Wheal Eliza Cottage. The ruins of a tiny cottage left out on its own on the moor. You can just see the wall of it here. The boys and I stood in front of the piles of stones and imagined what it must have been like to live there.
Fin said it would have been boring to live such an isolated place, but then when we talked through what life out there would have involved, he decided there wouldn't have been time for being bored. It must have been so beautiful and so hard. They were probably snowed in for weeks or months at a time up there in the winter.

We had hoped to walk on to Cow Castle, but Jack had tummy ache and I wasn't convinced he would last so we will leave that one for next time.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Vocation Vocation Vocation

Some places make you feel at home. Like you should be there.

Some times you just know you are where you should be.

Sometimes you find yourself bathed in autumnal sun, planting tiny little plug plants in a field of dwarf clover, talking to your friend and listening to the sounds of happy children as they roam unchecked around the farm. 

I had the most sunny, beautiful day at the Share Harvest Farm yesterday. I spent the day working in the fields, whilst answering texts and phone calls for help and advice from two women who were in very different labours.

And as I carefully dug the little holes for the tiny cabbages, and leeks, and spring greens, and talked a woman through how to stay relaxed, and another through how to up her hormone levels, it occurred to me that this was about as perfect as it could get for me.
 My own personal work ideal!

Oh, and I also realised we need a farm, or a small small holding at least! Time to get thinking again.
Updates on the births over at the Birthwise blog. 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A Day Off and Working

Fin's operation was only a partial success. Although they managed to straighten his nose as far as possible, it isn't straight. Fin is taking this quite badly as I think he was all geared up for everything to be back to normal by now. They have talked about cosmetic surgery to correct it, but the procedure sounds horrendous, involving chisels, and he can't have it done until his late teens as he is still growing.

When I say it isn't straight, it's not badly wonky either, or that noticeable, but to him it is glaringly obvious. We are just all trying our best to keep things light and positive, and focus on planning for all the excitements of the season ahead.

I cancelled a Couples Workshop I was supposed to be teaching yesterday, and Fin didn't want to see anyone so he skipped his youth theatre practice in the morning. He really just wanted to sit on the sofa and watch films so in the afternoon I left him and his Daddy to the sofa and took the littlies to the Working Day at Ashreighney.

Which as far as I can make out is a ploughing competition involving every conceivable method of dragging a plough over the ground. From the gleaming Massey to the tiny little vineyard tractor designed to be narrow enough to fit between the rows of vines, and these beautiful chaps of course, they all ploughed their little strips. There was no urgency though, or sticking to your own patch as the tractors seemed to take turns, swapping and moving around, and stopping to chat.

Jack and Lily followed this chap, with Jack launching his usual flurry of enquiries until by the time they had done a few turns Jack was naming the various parts of the plough, and explaining how the ropes steered the horses. He never quite managed to absorb the bit about ' don't touch their back legs or go behind them' though, and was constantly having to be called away. I like to think of it as 'selective genius'! 

Thursday, 16 September 2010

An Underactive Danger Gland

I have obviously been thinking a lot about what happened to Finley at school. And I have talked to him about how to be more 'danger' aware, how to spot the danger signs and steer clear. Finley seems to be almost completely unaware of danger, which is a little unsettling as a parent, or at least it should be, and it it when I think of it, but at other times, it's not!

I have an under active danger awareness, and so does my son! Thinking about it I have real difficulty in feeling worried, or spotting potential dangers. In a world where people seem to see rapists around every street corner I seem to have missed out. And I guess my son has as well.

My lack of danger awareness in it's most innocent form gives rise to uncomfortable situations with other parents where they question why I haven't stopped Fin from doing things, or ask the questions about safety that haven't even occurred to me. At it's most serious it has allowed me to walk headlong into seriously sticky situations where luck and luck alone have meant that I'm still here and not on the front cover of a national newspaper.

It is bravery, and to be brave is no bad thing, but to be brave and stupid is disastrous. I am afraid of the dark, but not overly. I fear being near big drops and cliff edges with my children, and can't bear driving along roads with drops on one side, but I have never been afraid of another person, ever.

I think I need to teach my children to become more danger aware, but first I think I am going to have to teach myself.

Fin goes in for his op to straighten his nose tomorrow, and I am afraid for him. I fear for the discomfort he will have to go through, and the horrible experience that is a general anesthetic. And I'm afraid for myself, as I know how gut wrenchingly nerve shakingly upsetting it is going to be to hold his hand and watch him go under.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.
It's a YES

Here's to the power of thought, of will, of intent, of Isis.

To all the things we can't see, and all the things we can't explain, and magic, however it manifests itself.

I want to sing and shout and scream and dance and I can hardly contain my overwhelming happiness.

And I knew, and told them all, but they doubted, but I KNEW.


More details to follow, but for now just go and WISH. Whatever you want, whatever you need, just wish with all your heart and thought, and imagine it happening. Imagine how it will feel when it happens, see how you will react, feel the joy and excitement welling up inside you, and just keep doing it unitl it becomes REAL.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Rocks along the Road

Finley and I went to see the Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant at the hospital yesterday who has booked Fin in for his corrective procedure on Friday.

If you have never had to watch your child be put under with a general anesthetic you are fortunate indeed. It is one of the most disturbing and upsetting things I have ever had to witness.

I am struggling to find positives in my feelings at the moment, and am trying hard not to let feelings of anger and disappointment become too great a part of our lives.

Fin has returned to school today as I did say he could go back once he had had his Consultants approval. I am trying very hard to keep up with Fin's confidence and enthusiasm, and not show him my own fears and concerns in case they become part of his story.

I believe very strongly that great things are just around the corner for our family, and that these are all just rocks along that road. We will never get where we are going if we fall foul of the rocks and give up on our journey.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Rocks and Hard Places

We have been having some particularly trying times around here of late.

There have been some really good happenings happening, such as starting planting out some plug plants at the Share Harvest. This is really the very beginning of the 'harvesters' involvement in the project, and due to various factors such as ill health and holidays, I am the first and currently the only harvester working up there.

It felt so good to put these tiny little plans into the earth that John and Carrie have spent years improving. And the techniques we are using are so different to the 'conventional' methods, it is all very exciting and unprecedented.

Jack started in Hedgehogs class which feels wonderful. He loves it, and is a lot calmer now he has access to all the books and equipment available to him at school. They are currently studying Native Americans as the whole school learning subject so we are drawing totem poles and wolves now instead of city scapes and volcanoes.

Fin started Secondary school last week which was a tough thing for me to integrate. It isn't the growing up thing, I'm fine with that, it was more the change in influences and attitudes that was bothering me. As Fin neared school change age we explored various possibilities, looking at different schools and considering the possibility of home ed-ing. I did home ed Fin for about 8 weeks around the time of our move when I decided to remove him from his previous school. I was unsure at the time how his schooling would work out, but was prepared to keep him at home if that was what worked.

As it was he was offered a place at our local school which he really wanted to take up. I would have quite happily kept him at home but he really wanted to be at school so that was his decision. And it was a good one as he had a wonderful time at our local primary, and they really helped to undo a lot of the very destructive and unhelpful programming that he had received at his previous school.

So Secondary school. We eventually settled on him going to the local secondary for a number of reasons. Having looked at most of the schools in the area I had come to the conclusion that they were all pretty much of a muchness, and at least with this one it would be where most of his friends from school would go. It was in our local town and the bus collects them from right outside our sitting room window.

So he went, and loved it. Made some really nice friends, and met up with some old ones, and was having a lovely time. Right up until some boys took a slight dislike to him as he didn't like them and started saying they were going to knock him out etc. He thought it was just mildly amusing but I was concerned as I felt these were the sort of boys that Fin hadn't encountered before and that he was maybe unaware of a potential problem. I decided when he set off for school on his 4th day that I would e-mail his tutor that evening just to express my concerns.

Then I got a phone call just before lunch to say Fin has had his nose broken at break time.

 Seems one of these lads decided to stop waiting for Fin to bite and try to antagonise him. Fin was stood talking to a group of friends when this boy and some cronies came up behind him and started to unzip Fins back pack to get stuff out. Fin turned around with this lad right up in his face, called him a name and pushed him away, at which this boy used his elbow to break Fins nose.

The police say it's probably GBH and that the way the boy hit Fin is a recognised martial arts move designed to cause maximum damage at close range.

The school have so far done nothing, saying they are waiting to see what the police do. In fact the only thing they have done is lie to me and tell me that all the witnesses said Fin hit him first. When I asked to see the witness statements they changed their story to say that only some said that, basically the ones taken from this lad and his gang! They had the all out nerve to suggest I needed to come in to talk about how we could help channel Fins energies into something positive!!! I told them that what with rugby, boy scouts, youth theatre, guitar, knitting, sewing, surfing, walking and helping at the farm I didn't think he would have the time!

I am left with zero confidence in the school and a sinking feeling of inevitability. Fin is just desperate to get back to school. He was loving it and he just can't wait to have all the subjects he still hadn't tried out yet. I think he is naive and doesn't understand how these sort of thing work. I'm sure there will be more trouble, especially with the school being so unhelpful and with this boy likely to be arrested.

There are just so many rocks and hard places in this world that sometimes it can be hard to see how things will ever turn out well! I just have to put my faith and trust in the universe and hope I receive the guidance I need to make the best choices.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Tail Chasing

I have been neglecting this space of late.

There has been a lot going on, some good, some challenging, and I have found myself stretched both physically and mentally. I will be back to update and become more present again soon, but for now I must concentrate on getting straightened up and on figuring out how to work the camera my Mum has lent me.

I'm really missing my camera.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Here it Comes

Its happening, can you feel it? It would depend on where in the world you live, but up here in the Northern Hemisphere if you're 'northern' enough, you can feel it now.

If you go outside and just stand still, smell the air, just feel it. Its the end of Summer and Autumn is beginning.

I smelt woodsmoke outside yesterday when I put the recycling out. It was 6.30 am and the world was still and cool, and there was woodsmoke in the air. I stopped, and felt it. And before the day had begun, and before the sun was really up, and before we all remembered it was still Summer's end really, Autumn was waiting in my back yard, whispering it's promises to me.
And I felt the little thread of excitement, like a lightening deep in my chest. And I felt a little clearer, a little calmer, a little more able and more in control.
I love every season, and the change of season always fuels me, excites me, but none so much as Autumn. This feeling of excitement and possibility just grows in me as Autumn does, right through until Christmas by which time I'm capable of anything and pretty much fit to burst.

 As the year wains I find more of myself, and as I sit here I could almost giggle with the prospect of the next 4 months ahead of me.

I am an Autumn Girl

But my camera is broken, so I am also flying blind here, as it were!

Monday, 23 August 2010

How To Really Love a Child

Struggling a bit, if I'm honest.
Not confident that I've got everything in hand.
So I've made a list to remind me what I'm aiming for, inspired by a post of the same name over at Shivaya Naturals

How To Really Love A Child

Listen :: get down and really look at them :: stand still :: tell them you love them :: say yes more than no :: make things with them and for them :: paint things including, but not always, paper :: follow their plans :: build their ideas :: let them help :: point out their strengths, not their weaknesses :: tell them when they make you feel wonderful :: keep it to your self when they make you feel tired :: build dens :: make biscuits :: forget imperfections :: laugh at mess :: go outside :: stop shouting :: let them bath at lunch time :: stay up to play a game :: eat chips at the beach :: don't be busy :: remember how small and precious they really are, and how fleeting their childhood really is.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Other People's Junk

I find it hard to understand
the plethora of second hand.
It seems to me the only reason
is 'making do' is SO last season.
Why care, or mend or just make do
when you can opt for something new?
Why have just the things you need
when your budget quite supports your greed?

This cardigan, perhaps this top,
looked more in fashion in the shop?

This little top all lacy white?
Perhaps the cut was not quite right?

But this? This dress? How could it be?
that someone thought it 'not quite me'.

But I don't mind the spoils of waste
they suit my budget and my taste
And so I  love the old 'car boot'
where one man's junk is another's loot

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Elements of Self; A Shadow

I have no shadow! I am a vampire, or Peter Pan. I have spent days trying to photograph my own shadow, and failed.

I tried to take pictures of my shadow where it usually falls, the cooker, the table, my knitting, the computer, our bed time story in the big bed, my sewing machine. Unfortunately the light in our house is so poor, my shadow was too faint to see. Just one of the many things I am having to come to terms with in our new home. Old Devon village houses were so often built to keep the weather out, not let the light in.

I then tried to capture my shadow on our wish adventure. and though I cast long powerful shadows, whenever I turned the camera on to capture them, the sun would hide and I would get nothing.

But I don't mind, I know my shadow is still there, still attached to my feet. I'm not really Peter Pan, I won't need it sewing back on.

So my offering here is of another shadow I cast, the one that comes to mind when I think of my shadow. The lovely long summers evening shadow that followed me around the golden hillside on our wedding day.

And a shadow that might remain, long after I am gone and my name is forgotten,

I have ever been in paintings, a side effect of growing up around artists, but this one is so much of me, as to almost be my shadow.

This post is to continue with Shakti Mama's Elements of Self challenge, which this week is focusing on our shadow. Please have a look at some of the other women and their shadows linked to her blog.

Friday, 20 August 2010

A Big Wish, A Little Magic?

When you were a child, did you ever say 'if I can run to the end of the lane before the milk tanker gets there then I will get what I want for my birthday' or 'if i can get this piece of paper in the bin from here then *insert boys name here* will ask me out'.
And sometimes the magic worked didn't it? Sometimes, if you wished something enough, and you asked your wish a lot, and you showed your intent by beating the milk tanker, or running all the way home, or giving up something that you loved, sometimes your wishes came true.

Well, I have a wish, and it's a big wish. I'm wishing for a YES, and this yes could change our lives. It could make such a big difference to our little family. And I'm struggling as well, as I know there are more important things in the world, I know there are others that are wishing for food, or shelter, or protection, or health, and I know that compared to these wishes, mine doesn't seem so important.

But I'm wishing it with all my heart, and I'm wishing it long and loud, but I'm not sure how loud I can wish from my house.

So I ask how I can wish louder, how my wish can be amplified, how I can beat the milk tanker to the end of the lane.

And in the night I dream of Isis, the Egyptian mother goddess. I have always felt a connection to Isis, despite her being worshiped in such s far off place. I think she fits my understanding of the female mother aspect. I dream that I have to get high, high and windswept and empty, like the deserts of Egypt. And there is only one place I can think of that fits, Dartmoor.
I dream that i have to climb up high to make my wish, and that  have to take my children, but only if the sun is shining when I wake up. It has been horribly wet and dismal here for a while so I figure I'm probably off the hook!

No, the sun is streaming through the window first thing. It was, to be fair, the only time for the next few hours that the sun showed itself, but I was going to the moor!

And I knew where I had to go as well, without thinking, Yes Tor of course, for a Yes!
Further investigation revealed that Yes Tor was widely recognised as being the highest and trickiest to climb on the whole moor, standing at some 2031ft and being heavy on the granite boulders. But that was where we had to go. I picked out a route that meant we could park at the base of  neighbouring West Mill Tor, climb over or skirt around that one and then tackle Yes.

So we set off, with a printed bit of map, some waterproofs, sandwiches and a pack of celebratory kit-kat's for the top.

We parked, and the boys very quickly set off up West Mill Tor, so I guessed we were going up and over!

the view from the top of the 1st Tor

Looking across at Yes Tor it did look like quit a scramble, but we were fueled by our wish and the speed with which we had scaled West Mill Tor, so we rested not, but carried on.

As we neared the top I felt so relieved that had nearly done it. I had Fred in the back pack and he is fairly heavy now. I was also concerned as Jack is a notoriously bad walker who tends to complain and drag his way around even a short walk. He had done really really well but I felt we had probably pushed our luck with him a little!

At the very top there were a couple of hikers with poles and gators and all the gear. They asked if they could take my photo as they hadn't expected to see someone being carried up the Tor! One of them said I was making him feel like he just wasn't trying hard enough!

Then Fin, who was convinced that we hadn't followed the map quite right, asked if we were really on Yes Tor...

'Oh no' they said, 'this is West Mill Tor, that's Yes Tor over there'

It would seem the first Tor we had climbed was Row Tor, and the biggy was West Mill Tor, and the monster beyond was Yes Tor.
And it made sense, 3 boys, 3 Tors, and now we were really being tested.
Bu we had to do it, if the magic was going to work, if the wish was going to be heard, it had to be Yes Tor for a YES.
I have to say though that at this point I wasn't sure how we were going to do it. I really felt like I had given my all and I was fairly sure Jack was running on good luck. And as we looked at the Tor a cloud passed over it and cast an ominous shadow over its top.

Between West Mill Tor and Yes Tor is Red-a-Ven brook, which is basically a bog, which was fun! You sink faster with a 2 year old on your back! We followed the sheep, hoping they knew something we didn't, but it turned out they just knew they weren't as heavy as me.

But somehow, little by little, scramble by scramble, we got nearer and nearer until we were within reach of the top. And by now Jack was ahead of me, and seeming to jump up the boulders and run up the sheep tracks. I was astounded.

The hikers we had met on the previous Tor had beaten us to it, but only just, and we had stopped for sandwiches half way up.

And we made it! To the 'roof of Devon'. I don't think I have ever seen the boys so elated and joyous. The wind was incredible. Fin almost had to hold on to Jack for fear he might get blown right off the top.

And we made our wish, right up here where the earth meets the sky. We made it big and loud, and shared our food, and felt full of sky and earth and YES.

Sheltering from the wind, this is their 'have a break, have a kit-kat' photo, although it does look more like their 'Groucho Marx' photo.

Yes Tor is also home to the highest bronze age carins in Devon. Although They have all been 'disturbed' in the intervening centuries, there is plenty of evidence left.

You can see in the distance...the rain. I noticed as well.

This is us, legging it! We got absolutely soaked. Rain up there is like stepping into a shower. But it had held off whilst we climbed the Tors and for that I was grateful.

And I found this at the bottom of the Tor, as we were running from the rain. A spiral in the granite, an ancient symbol of life, and the mother, fertility and the universe. And a clockwise spiral at that, a spiral to bring things towards you.

When we got back to the car I checked the time, it had taken just under 3 hours. 3 Tors, with 3 boys, in 3 hours.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

To London

It was my very dear friends 30th last Sunday, so I went to London for a visit. I went alone, just me, no children, no husband, just me. This is the first time I have had any time off when I wasn't teaching since I was about 7 months pregnant with Fred.
I love going to see my friend. Living so far away, and both living our busy and hectic lives, we don't see nearly enough of each other. So to have a whole weekend with her was luxury.

 But the journey, oh the journey, what bliss! An hour on a bus, an hours wait at the train station, then nearly 4 hours on a train, and the same coming back! Just me and my knitting and the occasional cup of peppermint tea. I honestly enjoy the journey as much as the visit!
I don't think you can really appreciate time spent on your own until you have none. Likewise anyone who says they are bored just clearly has too much free time on their hands and a lack of imagination. I can't imagine ever getting through all the things I'd like to do to get to the point of feeling bored!

Oh, and these? They were bought in Clapham, in a sale I hasten to add, and have become my 'when you reach your target weight' reward shoes. So for now I just get them out of the box and smell them a lot! I love the smell of new shoes!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The First Harvest

Our first harvest! From our tiny little yard. Unless you count the small amounts of basil that we have been having, but I don't.

There would have been several that ripened earlier but Fred kept picking them as soon as they started to fatten up. We would have had strawberries by now as well, but Fred kept biting them in half as soon as they started to swell.

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Beautiful Birth

I am fortunate that my work is also my interest and my passion. I know that my teaching and involvement with pregnant women and their families is what I want to do, and have always wanted to do, since as far back as I can remember.
Birth, as everyone knows deep down, is a miracle, and the more you understand it and immerse yourself in it, the more amazing and miraculous it becomes.

There are some days though when there just doesn't seem like enough of me to go around. Some days when I feel like I am doing many things badly instead of a few things well, days when I think that my teaching is just one pressure too many on our stretched little family.

Then I get an e-mail like this one...

Ithan Saul Hancock 31st of July 2010

I woke up at 7 in the morning, despite having been up half the night with Rosa, my teethy two year old. I thought that I felt a tiny pop but thought I’d probably imagined it as Ithan wasn’t due for another 10 days. I tried to go back to sleep and drifted a bit but started to feel like the baby was poking me really low down and so decided to get up and make tea. When I got out of bed I noticed a small wet patch and started to wonder if baby might on his way
. I wrote my diary for a while wondering if it was really happening and cursing the fact that we had decided to start decorating the dining room the day before so the house was total chaos. Not the lovely clean tidy environment I’d imagined giving birth in at all!

 By 8.30 the poking feelings had turned into definite period type cramps and I had to go to the loo for a huge pooh so I thought it really must be happening and I’d better wake Gareth up and tell him the baby was on his way. As things were still really quite mellow I didn’t feel any urgency as my labour with Rosa had been about 14 hours, the first 6 or so were fairly relaxed.

 However by halfway through Rosa’s breakfast I was starting to find it hard to concentrate and the contractions were definitely getting stronger. Gareth phoned the hospice, where we had arranged for Rosa to be while we had the baby and they were great and said they’d get her room ready, bring her straight in
. I phoned the labour ward and had a chat with them and they said they’d find someone to come out . None of us thought there was any rush though as I could still concentrate enough to make sense during contractions. They said the midwife might be a while but that sounded fine as I thought it might give us some time to sort our chaos out.

 G whisked Rosa off and although she had been quite amused by the noises I was starting to make I was relieved as it meant I could fully concentrate on the physical and what was happening. I went and sat on the loo again and it all reached another level of intensity. I started sounding and it really helped my breathing and to focus on thinning and opening.
 I felt so much more aware of the process this time and of everything we had learnt both in the hypnobirthing and the active birth classes. Last time I felt like the hypnobirthing fed in and really helped but it was on a subconscious level. This time I felt I was consciously drawing from what I knew.

I decided to get in the bath. I thought it would help and if it slowed things down a bit it wouldn’t be a bad thing either. G came home as I was trying to run the bath and helped me into it. He then did a super human high speed hoover and tidy. I was feeling like everything was going on very low down and I was really starting to push.
 Gareth had been timing my contractions and said that when he’d started they’d been 30 seconds long and three minutes apart and the gaps just got smaller everytime until there was barely a minute between them. I felt they were coming in waves the whole morning but the sets were definitely increasing and getting closer together.
I was using the sounding more and more, I surprised myself by how loud I was, mostly using ooooh! and AAAAH! As my surges got deeper and intensified so did my voice. It really felt like I was using my voice to push and squeeze downwards.

G had to give me a lot of support to get out of the bath. I had to hang off him every time a contraction came and there wasn’t much time in between them. Eventually we made it into the sitting room. I felt so happy when I saw it
, I think I hadn’t really been able to imagine giving birth in there as we had had to go to hospital at the crucial moment last time. Gareth had made it really lovely, or so it seemed to me. It was clean and uncluttered and everything was covered in throws and towels. I think my only moment of anxiety had been at the beginning when I realised it was really happening and the house was such a state. I couldn’t even really sit down anywhere let alone imagine giving birth. I felt huge relief and love for him. All of this in the blink of an eye between fast and furious surges.

I asked Gareth to sit on the sofa and I knelt on the floor resting on him in between and braced by him during contractions. By this point I was really roaring, proper effective pushing with my whole self. My voice was deep down roaring him out. I said to G at that point it felt fierce, I think that describes the physical sensations really well but I felt fierce too.

I needed to sit back for a moment and I leant my back against the birthing ball while kneeling with my legs apart. This was really intense and when I put my hand down I could feel his head. It was amazing and so exciting. I wasn’t at all bothered that the midwife wouldn’t be there. I didn’t feel like I needed anyone else.
I felt a bit stuck in that position so we went back to the sofa. From then it was maybe two or three more pushes and I felt his head be born, it was the most wonderful and satisfying feeling. In a strange moment of clarity I saw the midwifes car pull into the drive. Another push and he came out with a splash onto the floor, he started to cry straight away .

 Gareth got out from under me and picked him up in a towel. I was stretched forward, panting on the sofa, everything felt like it was in slow motion. G told me he was a boy and I kept saying hello baby without moving, he asked me if I wanted to hold him but I needed to just stay where I was for a moment.

The midwife knocked on the door and G shouted for her to come in. She came into the hall all of a bustle saying sorry she was late, traffic etc. and she came into the room and said oh my god you’ve delivered! It was perfect timing as far as I was concerned as she was able to do check him out and make sure my placenta came out completely, which it did without the need for the third stage injection.

Ithan and I had lovely naked cuddles for quite a while until the cord was cut after the pulsating had stopped. He didn’t feed straight away but nuzzled around lots and I felt elated and so very lucky. I had a tiny tear but it didn’t need stitches so by lunchtime the midwife had gone and we were eating scrambled eggs on toast and wondering if it had really happened!

Thank you so much for helping me to have an amazing birth experience. I will treasure the memories of Ithan’s arrival for ever. The classes empowered me and meant I felt confident and in control and was able to trust my body and my baby completely.  

...and I remember why I love what I do, and shall keep on doing it.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

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