I love giving birth.

A weird thing for a lot of people to hear and definitely not something that I thought I would ever say.

Growing up I'd never heard any woman say they loved birth and from the way birth is portrayed in Hollywood I wanted nothing to do with it. I was petrified. Then I found out I was pregnant & I became informed.

After having an incredible first time labour and birth with Echo a few doubtful thoughts tried to creep in this time around and tell me the same thing couldn't happen twice in a row.

Luckily I was wrong. 

After passing Leafs estimated due date, I felt no signs of labour. I didn't have a funny feeling it was close, in fact it felt like labour would never come. I was doing lots of walking, bouncing on the fit ball, eating dates, curry ect. Nothing. At 41 weeks, in another desperate attempt to avoid induction; I booked myself into two sessions of acupuncture. 

On the same day as my second acupuncture appointment Marcus took Echo out for the day, I tidied the house, lit candles, listened to meditation music and as I took a walk down to the stables I remember thinking "this could be the last day I have to myself in a very long time" 

After Marcus and Echo got home he headed off to work and it was just Echo and I spending the evening together. Despite her big day out she wasn't ready for bed yet so she sat with me and was unusually quiet. I felt something cramp-like, "Braxton hicks" I thought. Not consistent and it eased off when I moved. Echo sat not to far from me playing, coming over to me every now and then to cuddle. I put her to bed just before Marcus got home. "Don't get excited" I told him as he walked in the door from work around 9pm "but I might be having contractions"

I started timing and called my midwife to tell her the same.

The aim of the game here is rest when possible, so we checked the bags, got everything ready to go just in case and crawled into bed.

I couldn't rest of course and very soon after I was needing to stand to ease the mild contractions.

We called the midwife and decided it was time (we'd already spoken about leaving earlier this time as last time was a close call) 

We arrived at the hospital at 11.40pm. 

The car ride was pleasant enough, Marcus and I chatted and laughed the whole way there but I could feel the contractions getting more intense. Ten minutes after arriving at the hospital I could no longer talk through contractions and started to go deep within myself. I found myself comfortable in the corner of the room. Lights off. Eyes closed. Meditation music softly playing. Marcus behind me. Sitting up on my shins when the contractions eased and forearms on the ground when they came as Marcus applied acupressure to my back.

My midwife informed me the bath was ready but I couldn't bring myself to move, I was in a rhythm and I was scared changing positions would be more uncomfortable.

I stayed a little longer and in the distance I heard my midwife mention to Marcus my breathing had changed and it was time to hop in the bath now before it was too late. I reluctantly hopped up and stripped my clothes off as I made my way over to the tub, a sigh of relief escaped me as I found the warm water wrap itself around me. I found my position quickly, forehead on the bath edge, Marcus positioned behind me. I had a short break in between my last contraction before they started to come on strong with very little relief in between. Allowing my body to take control all I had to to was remember to breathe. The moans came deep from within my body as I exhaled and fought the urges to tense up in resistance to the intense pressure I was feeling of my baby's head making it's way down. 

With my midwife by my side and my husband in the tub with me I felt so safe and supported as I laboured and prepared to birth our baby. 

I remember roughly 5 contractions before my baby's head crowned feeling like this was never going to end and then I heard Marcus' excited voice telling me "yes baby, you can do it, I can see the head, you're doing so well" while at the same time my midwife was reminding me "breathe Sarah, breathe, remember to breathe".

And… that was the most beautiful combination of support and love I could ever have. I was so excited, fighting the urge to push and just breathing my baby out. The head emerged, sac still intact and we chatted excitedly until the next contraction came to bring the rest of our baby out. Marcus caught our baby and passed her through my legs. 

After 24 minutes of active labour Leaf was born at 1.14am

I exploded with a combination of joy and relief as oxytocin flooded my body. We just stared at our baby a moment before looking at each other as if confirming it was time to check the sex. A girl! To our surprise, as I was so convinced I was having a boy, we had another sweet beautiful baby girl.

Another empowering birth surrounded by my support team of people I trust is the most incredible feeling I've had the joy of experiencing in this lifetime.

Beautiful black and white images by @melissajeanbabies, birth images by Erin and beautiful birth story by the most gorgeous mama @sarahjblue <3