Welcome to Part 2 of Pippa’s birth, written by Pippa’s Mum, Jess.
You can read Part 1 here:
Pippas birth story from behind the lens.
Pippa’s Birth Story
Our lives are sacred and everything is worship. Everything. Each breath is worship, back to the One who gave us life. Each day at work reflects the knowledge we have of Him. Each time we potter in the garden mirrors the way God tends to us. Carefully. Gently. Passionately. Mindfully. Lovingly. If this is true, which I wholeheartedly believe it is, then the birth of a child should be no different. Birth is simply, yet profoundly and miraculously, another opportunity to worship God with our whole being, as we welcome another one of His children into the world, gifted to us – so generously gifted! – to nurture and love with the time we’ve been given.
I believe we were created to live for God. A personal, loving, relational God. As I’ve journeyed through my life so far, this belief has become more real for me through so many experiences. The birth of my firstborn sparked even more of this truth within me, pressing me to consider and explore what a truly unhindered, God-breathed, ‘raw’ birth could be like. The way God intended it to be, in all its miraculous glory!
Before I write any further, I want to take a moment to acknowledge anyone reading this who didn’t have the birth they anticipated, who had a traumatic birth experience or whose birth just simply didn’t pan out the way they longed for. I also acknowledge the women who have lost precious babies in this process or who are struggling to conceive new life. I see you. God sees you. You are loved by a God who designed your incredible body and I pray that in reading this birth story, you will feel encouraged and blessed in some way. You are already whole and beautiful, did you know? And I extend my arms to wrap around you lovingly and share in your journey, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Cry out to the One who created and knows your Mumma heart! He so longs to speak to you and deeply touch your heart.
I invite you to read the birth story of my daughter, Pippa Grace. One could argue that riding an electric scooter through Brisbane city, tandem with your three year old son, juggling bags and a balance bike whilst 42 weeks pregnant is a foolish idea. Ladies, I beg to differ. This, my birthing friends, is natural induction at its finest! At 5pm on Friday the 24th May, 2019, my beautiful son enthusiastically urged me to grab a Lime Scooter and ride with him to my sister’s house, some 20 minutes away, where we were expected for dinner. Without a car and not having arranged any other transport, I willingly obliged. If this scooter ride were to be the final activity Archie and I enjoyed just the two of us, how could I say no?! And, if anything, it would help baby along! It certainly seems it did, because about 4 hours later I went into labour. I’d been experiencing mild waves over the month or so leading up to this point and had had Braxton Hicks since the first trimester! However, once my first proper surge came over me, I knew baby was officially on the way.
A scooter ride, delicious thai dinner at my sister’s and icecream for dessert finally saw us back at my husband’s football game, which is why we were in the city in the first place. We headed home at 9:30pm and I experienced my first surge around this time, and then seemingly nothing for the rest of the half hour drive. Once we arrived home, I ummed and ahhed about whether I was in labour or not and, “Should I call my birth team?” A few more surges in and everyone had been contacted and were on their way. I tried to get some rest in bed, but it was too uncomfortable lying down, so I ran a shower around 11:30pm and spent some time alone there.
I called my husband into the bathroom another hour or so later, as the intensity of my surges had increased and I needed pressure on my lower to relieve me. My sister and best friend were both still resting at this point, and it was just my husband and our photographer with me as I made more and more room in my heart for the arrival of this baby.
I birthed my first babe in water, and I felt drawn towards a water birth again with Pippa. I spent a large part of my 12 hour journey in the bathroom, between the shower and bath, but in the end, the water just didn’t feel quite right this time. I experienced little to no fear and little doubt during the entire birth. I had spent so many hours preparing for this birth, and felt confident and safe. The small doubt that crept into my mind was after reaching seven hours of active labour. Archie’s birth was seven hours, and for some reason, I almost certainly expected Pippa’s birth to be less. I wondered for a moment if I wasn’t “progressing” properly or if something was wrong, but quickly expelled this thought and surrendered to this individual birthing journey, unique and perfect in all its 12 hours.
Archie must have sensed the energy close by, because he woke early at 5am to come and be with us. Between then and 6am, I continued to dance around the bathroom. Archie hopped into the bath with me. I knelt in the shower. Everything was too uncomfortable, I felt like I couldn’t open up, so around 6am I moved into our lounge room. We had camping mats laid down for me to create a little birthing nest and that is where I stayed.
Kneeling there, in the lounge room of our own home with our closest support people just felt so normal, like how it’s really meant to be. I carefully chose not to have any medical assistance at Pippa’s birth, because I just longed to experience this moment in time with no added opinion, no unnecessary intervention. I wanted to fully trust my body and its ability to give birth. I was intentional in my birth preparation the many months before and I was intentional about the people I chose to join me in my birth space. Every part of this birth was owned by me, I was aware of everything that was going on, and it felt so good!
The early morning sun was beaming into my birth space like God breathing all over my birthing body. It was truly glorious. The intensity of my surges increased and I could feel my baby preparing to come, and my breathing and groans turned to deep growls. It felt so good to make noise, it just came out and I rolled with it! I felt the urge to bear down and push at around 8:30am and I remember telling everyone, “It’s close, they’re coming.” I had asked my husband to remind me not to push myself, but to breathe baby out and let my body do the work. He did just that, and my breaths went from longer, harder ones to short little ones as Pippa began to emerge. I felt the sting as her head began to appear, but this sensation for me was a welcome one, as I knew she was close to being in my arms. Once her head was out, I felt her shoulders rotate inside of me to get in position. I held her tiny wet head in my hands and encouraged her out.
“Come on baby, we are all ready for you, come on baby.”
One more surge and my body danced her out into my arms. It was an amazing moment, holding this baby, my baby and realising all my preparation towards this one moment was complete.
There were plenty of tears of relief and joy from all as I held her and there were exclamations of awe and amazement and, “It’s a girl!” A wonderful surprise as we had chosen not to have any scans and although I had my thoughts towards a girl, I wasn’t 100 per cent certain.
My friend who was at the birth reminded me that I whispered tearily soon after Pippa was born, “I don’t deserve this.” I think I just felt so honoured and blessed that God would give me this gift of such a beautiful raw birth and a healthy, gorgeous girl. I really didn’t feel deserving of such a gift, yet I received it lavishly.
Pippa’s first cry was clear and beautiful. I gently offered her my breast which she latched onto after a few explorative sucks. My placenta came about 20 minutes later, and we put it into a bowl, still attached to Pippa to ensure she got the good stuff that magic organ provides. I showered and cried some more, shocked and in awe yet again, at the miracle of birth. It really is a miracle, in all its complexity yet simplicity. This is birth!
I had alllllll the skin on skin with a herbal bath and then into bed to continue bonding. We sat together as a family now of four and together named her Pippa Grace, meaning ‘to love with grace’. I pray she carries this name her whole life. My husband cut the cord after we tied it off with a precious cotton mandala tie my mum had made. The cord itself seemed quite short, and even had a little knotty partway along it. Umbilical cords are curious, funny, amazing things! I kept the placenta in a container in the fridge to prepare for consumption later, as this was my desire post-partum.
The hours after were divine/sublime, as we all got to know this fresh little babe and slowly soaked it all up. I’m in awe that I did it, yet not surprised, as after all, this is birth!
It’s meant to work, and work well. I can’t thank my husband enough for supporting me and trusting me and not missing a beat the whole birth. Experiencing birth with your partner is amazing and life changing. I’m also deeply grateful for my dearest friend Henrietta, sister Sarah and outstanding photographer Amy Philp who all held such a beautiful space for me and at different times during the birth held me, encouraged me and supported me. I couldn’t have birthed with a better tribe of people.
Birthing Mummas, who you have around makes a huge difference. Don’t be afraid to take charge and really make a point of who you’d like (or wouldn’t like!) in your space. Own your birth!
I’m not sure if we will have more children, and if this was my last birth I feel so blessed and deeply satisfied. I wouldn’t change a thing! My encouragement to the women out there preparing to birth is not necessarily to ‘free birth’, but to own your birth. Get the facts. Explore your options. Ask uncomfortable questions. Challenge the status quo. Don’t let someone else dictate your birth. This is your moment! And you and your baby are worthy of having the best birthing experience possible.
I pray this encourages and inspires people. I also pray you see the beautiful normalcy of it! When we create the right birthing environment, it really is so simple and wonderfully normal. We were created to birth!