The Birth of Frederik Denis Gilles Lahteenmaa “ Freddie”
In July 2020 we decided it was time to start trying for another baby. Over the last few months I had been delving into conscious conception. I had always felt this baby’s presence around me and we had already had his name come through very clearly. My husband is Finnish and French Canadian. We felt a strong connection to his name. I had been having dreams of this spirit baby. The day my husband finally said he was ready to start trying was the day we conceived, under a full moon. It was pretty magical. I almost instantly knew I was pregnant.
My first son was born in the hospital system, it wasn’t as traumatic as some of the other stories you hear but it certainly wasn’t what I had envisioned. I knew things could be different for the next baby. I was determined to give birth at home. I had a very clear vision of the birth from very early on and my mantra throughout was “I trust my body and my baby”
I had found my doula, Jess Quain around the time I was consciously conceiving. I contacted her briefly before we started trying and then again at 6 weeks into the pregnancy and we commenced our journey together. Initially my husband was very against having a freebirth. He was very firm that he wanted someone medical present. I have been obsessed with birth since having my first son. I had even studied and done a doula course. Over time, by educating and perseverance I was able to shift his mindset. He came full circle and was incredibly supportive. We had to have many discussions including one where I told him that if he wasn’t ok with me birthing at home he couldn’t be there. I didn’t want any fear in the birth space. We did a lot of work with our beautiful doula leading up to the birth. He released his fear and it was amazing to see him change into a position of unwavering support.
I was steadfast in my vision for my birth. I did a lot of journaling and whenever a fear would come up I did a lot of work to release and understand the fear and why I may be experiencing it. I still had some trepidation going into the birth but I believe a healthy amount of nerves is to be expected.
The night before I went into labour our son Hugo was sleeping over at my parents house for the night. I was feeling emotional. I felt huge and over it and had a bit of an emotional meltdown. I cried and cried while Erik held me and listened. I went to bed and actually had a reasonable restful sleep. I woke feeling like I had cleared something by crying and releasing it all out.
That morning as I lay in bed I felt a little twinge at around 9 am. Nothing painful but a cramping sensation. I dismissed it. As I was induced with my first I had no idea what to expect for a physiological labour. I had also been over analyzing every bodily sensation and googling “How will I know when I am in labour”. Around 10 minutes later the sensation started again. I was still unconvinced and unexcited. Throughout the pregnancy I had experienced pelvic instability and I assumed that it could be another flare up of pain. I got out of bed and decided to go do a little bit of shopping. I bought a tin of pineapple as I had read that it could induce labour. I didn’t end up eating it.
At the shops I was on a mission and was very focused. Get in. Get out. I could feel some sensations at the shop but I was in denial.
I got home and it was the first cold day for the year. I asked Erik to start a fire. We have an open fireplace which is such a lovely addition to our home. He chopped some wood while I dropped into my body. He started the fire and as it was burning I remember feeling like it was so primal. It was very quiet and ritualistic. I sat on my bouncy exercise ball and watched the fire for a bit. I felt some more surges but still wasn’t convinced that I was in labour. I out on my labour playlist and we sat together quietly with our dogs watching the fire.
When I was sitting down and relaxing the surges would stop. I walked around to see what would happen and sure enough things would ramp up again.
I ate some lunch and at around 1pm my mum returned with Hugo.She took one look at me and said that I was definitely in labour. I laughed and dismissed it. Then a surge came and I had to close my eyes and pay full attention. I asked Erik to heat up my wheat bag. My mum left and our darlin Hugo was demanding full attention but my contractions were getting stronger. We made the decision to call Erik’s mum who was going to take Hugo when I was in labour. Erik left to drop him off at 3pm. When Erik returned he got a call from his mates inviting him out to dinner. I told him to go and that I wasn’t in labour. He looked at me like I was crazy. I was still in denial.
The day before my girlfriend had arrived from WA for a visit. She popped over and braided my hair for me as I sat on the bouncy ball. At this stage I was unable to talk through contractions. I asked Erik to run the bath. I was ready to hop in. This was around 3:30pm.
Throughout the bathroom and the house I had stuck up my Bearthlings affirmation cards. I asked my girlfriend to help me set up the space. She got all of my alter crystals that my girlfriends had gifted me at my motherblessing and we set them up in a grid on the sink. I love my bathroom its full of plants and it feels really nice in there. My friends had also written down words of encouragement which were up in the bathroom.
At around 4pm I got into the bath. My girlfriend made me a cup of tea. I sank into the water and concentrated. In between contractions I asked Erik to call Jess our Doula. She had gone to Rosebud for the weekend. She could hear me over the phone and dropped what she was doing and came. I had also spoken to my girlfriend Chloe and she wanted to come. She had expressed her desire to become a doula too. We talked about how amazing it would be if my birth was the initiation for her into the birth world.
The surges were coming regularly and were getting stronger. Chloe arrived and gently kissed my arms, I relaxed knowing she was there. I could feel the presence of my other girlfriend who was studying in our living room. Feminine energy is so powerful in those moments.
I was so focused and in between a surge I would be able to ask for something. As it was light outside I asked Erik to “turn the sun off”, so he put up bed sheets over the windows. This was a massive help. I would open my eyes after a massive surge, have a sip of water, look at an affirmation card and then take its message with me into the realm of labour. It took all of my mental capacity to focus and breathe throughout. At about 5:30pm I wanted to get out of the bath.
We all went into the bedroom. I remember this stage feeling very primal. I felt a bit of fear as my whole body worked hard with each surge. I sat on the floor with my legs apart and my waters broke all over the carpet. The waters were clear which was a relief. I could not get comfortable. I was throwing my body around, trying to find a comfortable position that would help. Erik would hold me up but then I would push him away as it was so intense. Jess was on speakerphone coaching us all through it. Chloe would gently come up and remind me to breathe which was so helpful. In hindsight I was obviously in transition. I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I kept repeating “I can’t do it anymore” and everyone would hold the space for me and remind me that I could do it and I was doing it.
I felt like I needed to open my bowels. Jess realised what was happening and told me to go sit on the toilet. I got to the toilet and roared. This was so intense. I sat there for a few seconds before deciding I wanted to get back into the bath. The bath was still lovely and warm, Chloe and Erik helped me in. I roared again and was on my knees with my head resting on the side of the bath. Jess arrived at this point.
I felt between my legs and couldn’t feel anything significant. I felt my anus and it felt like it was prolapsing which was a bit of a shock. I roared again and did a huge involuntary push. I looked down and could see his head inbetween my legs. I remember having a moment of stillness and wonder how incredible that was. I reached down and touched his head. I then felt his body rotate. I felt another surge and with that his body was born. He was earthside. I was in a bit of shock and didn’t even think to pick him up. Jess gently said “Pick him up”. I brought him to my chest and he let the air into his lungs with a cry. Born at 1803 under a new moon.
We stayed in the bath for about 10 minutes, just marveling at him and how I had just done what I set my heart on. I decided to get out as the bath was getting cooler. Everyone helped us get out and we waddled to the couch. We were in the magical hour of enchantment. I couldn’t stop staring at him. I remember the look of awe on my husband's face. He was so amazed and impressed that I had achieved my dream birth. Our little Freddie was perfect. Meanwhile Jess and Chloe put some washing on and cleared up. Chloe left soon after with a look on her face that I will never forget. Awe. Jess looked at us and suggested hopping into bed where we would be more comfortable.
As I was climbing into bed my placenta literally fell out with a wet plop. Jess and I laughed. It had been a concern of mine that it wouldn’t come out.
Jess was sneakily taking photos of us all together. Freddie did the breast crawl and had his first feed. Jess made us food and cups of tea, she was invaluable. I will never forget how amazing she was. At about 8pm I felt like Freddie was ready to be cut from his cord. It was a feeling that he communicated to me. Jess had got us a beautiful cord tie from Blissful Herbs, a local herbalist. Erik tied the tie and cut the cord. We kept the placenta to bury under our passionfruit vine. The passionfruit as I type this some months later is absolutely thriving.