~Written on the night before Star’s 10th birthday, 2016~
My dearest Star, on this night ten years ago I was heavily pregnant with you, awaiting your arrival, and very eager to meet you. At this time your father, Bear and I were living ina big old house in the Adelaide hills town of Nairne. Early on in my pregnancy with you your father and I had decided not to birth you at the birth centre in Flinders Hospital where your brother was born, but to birth you at home, wanting the intimacy of our home, continuous care with an independent midwife of our choosing, and the confidence that all our choices and decisions would be respected.
In the early stages of my pregnancywe had not yet moved to Nairne and were living in Bridgewater; it was here that we met with two midwives and chose Lisa to be the one that would support us. Lisa visited often, just like Annie did throughout Strong’s pregnancy, and we grew to know and trust her.
About six weeks before we expected you to arrive we moved to Nairne and settled in. I had been working at a health food store throughout your pregnancy, persevering through the morning sickness in early pregnancy and lower back pain and tired feet in later pregnancy, and it was at this time that I stopped to focus on preparing for your birth.
Your estimated due date passed and we looked forward to this beautiful little being joining our family. Your father also took time off work for your birth so we hoped you would come soon so he had as much time with you as possible after your birth. Your beautiful, sweet big brother who was only four years old then was also looking forward to meeting his little brother or sister.
On the morning of your birth I woke feeling very ready to meet you. I remember wanting the house to be all ready for your arrival and asking your father to make sure everything was clean and tidy. Early in the day I had a shower, willing you to come soon and encouraging the start of labour by massaging my nipples.
It wasn’t too long afterwards that I began to feel the first cramps and early sensations of labour. We had arranged to go to Mt Barker that day for your father to take Bear to the cinema whilst I did some last errands in town before your arrival.
The cramps were getting stronger but we thought we would still go, we would have enough time. But, no, as soon as we got in the car and began driving down the street I knew I could not go, the cramps felt like much stronger contractions once I sat down in the car, so we turned around and went straight back home.
Back at home we rang Noni and Pop as they were coming to support us with Bear, and Lisa to let her know that labour had started. She would not come just yet but we would keep in touch and let her know when the labour progressed.
Noni and Pop came and we decided it would be a good idea if they took Bear to the cinema as we hadn’t made it. So they went to see the Cars movie and your father and I stayed home as I continued to labour.
We had planned for your birth to be in our lounge room where it was cozy with the heater, so we spent most of the time in there. I also walked around alot and tried to go to the toilet several times to empty my bowels but with all the pressure nothing would move.
At around 4pm I went to the toilet and my waters broke. We rang Lisa again and she said she would come. When she arrived she brought in all her things, checked to see if I was okay, and started setting up the birth pool in the lounge room. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use it but I wanted to have the option, the only thing was I’d used up all the hot water in my long shower earlier in the day!
Noni and Pop came back with Bear and my contractions continued to become more intense as I walked around the lounge room. I remember my labour reaching a stage of intensity that brought back the memory of the overwhelming feeling of contractions. I felt fearful of what was to come and shed some tears, but I moved through the fear, summoning my courage, knowing I would be meeting you soon, and focussed on walking and breathing through the contractions.
As I laboured everyone else worked on getting the water for the pool, carrying buckets of hot water from the Indian restaurant across the lane!
My labour intensified and your gorgeous big brother, whom we had planned on being at your birth was very full of questions and wanted to keep talking to me, curious as to what was happening. At this time I needed to withdraw into myself, to give my full attention and concentration over to moving through the contractions, but found I couldn’t let go and was feeling anxious with Bear there. We decided that Noni and Pop would take Bear to your uncle and aunty’s for the rest of the labour and your birth.
Following this the labour really intensified and after only about 45 minutes I was feeling the sensations that told me your birth was near. I attempted once to get into the pool but as soon as I got in and felt the sensation of floating I had to get straight out again and plant myself firmly on the Earth.
I got into my birthing position, kneeling on the floor in front of the lounge, leaning over your father who sat on the lounge in front of me. I held onto his hands, his strength and love supporting and grounding me, and as I breathed through each contraction I felt the enormous pressure of your head pressing down. Lisa was there helping me through and helping to ease you out. Your head crowned and I felt an intense burning sensation, Lisa guided me, telling me when to slow down and stop pushing as the contractions passed.
You were so close now and Lisa told me to push hard with the next contraction. I remember saying, “this is going to hurt”, then I pushed and you came into the world! Lisa caught you and passed you to me as your father told me you were a girl! What an amazing, wonderful blessing! I recall on seeing you saying, “she’s so chubby!” And, “she looks like Bear!” You were so beautiful, soft , a little chubby round faced gift! It was 6:45pm.
After you were born we loved you, held you, you had your first drink of booby, a natural at it from the start. We had a very brief wash together in the pool, Lisa weighed and measured you, and checked you all over. You weighed a very healthy 8 pounds 5 1/2 oz, or 3.91 kg. We waited a while and then I began trying to birth your placenta. This part I don’t find very easy but after a while your little sister was born.
We called Noni and Pop, and Bear and they came straight home. Your brother had his first hold of his beautiful new sister. We all adored you and I snuggled and rested with you on the lounge. We slept in the lounge room in front of the heater for several days, and after about a week we decided on your name – our gift from the stars.