Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Natural Birthing of Twins




I walked into this birth knowing that I occupied many high risk categories – being 39 years of age, having had a caesarean 21 months beforehand, being a ‘grand multiparous’ woman, (or a woman who has birthed more than 5 times), as this birth would be of my 6th and 7th children, and high risk just because I was having twins. I also knew that if I went anywhere near a doctor or hospital, a great and negative deal would be made of all these factors, and I would be experiencing a totally medicalised birth, not allowed anywhere near the water that I love and need to birth in, monitored the whole time, and induced if the second twin took longer than half an hour to be born after the first twin. I also knew that I’d have to struggle to be able to hold my twins after they were born, work hard to keep them out of the nursery, and fight strongly to be able to keep my 21 month old Balthazar with us in hospital, as he was not ready to be separated from us at night yet.


And I realized straight away that to avoid all this, and be able to stay at home and follow birth’s ancient journey, I’d need to employ the services of an experienced, groovy, birth trusting midwife. And that midwife was Lisa Barrett. I’d wager that if I’d gone with anyone else, the outcome to this story would have been very different indeed……



My last birth taught me a lot. Not least being a deep respect for fear, and a respect for the experiences of many many women in our culture who experience medical births. I found that almost every week, another layer of my most recent caesarean birth experience peeled away to be closer examined, worked through, and cleared, to make way for my upcoming birth of twins. And I had 4 other natural birthing experiences to call on! What courage must women have, who have had a caesarean as their first birthing experience, and go on to face their fear and strive for a natural birth afterwards!?!? I was more nervous coming up to this birth than I’d ever been before, and more aware of all the things that could go wrong. The normal birthing fears (will they be stillborn? Disabled? Need intervention?) seemed magnified, not to mention a big fear that my body wouldn’t be able to travel birth’s path gracefully, and that my fear would disable my ability to cope with what happened. I was also well aware that I was entering the twilight zone, with a whole heap of wierd seven things going on.....  Being the seventh child of two seventh children, about to have my sixth and seventh children, and almost a pure Friesian, Currawong part Friesian, a country with a flag that has 7 blue and red stripes with 7 red love hearts.....  And the biggest thing that messed with my head was how I’d ‘positive thought’ my way through my previous pregnancy – focusing on an ECO or Easy Comfortable Orgasmic birth, sure I was having a girl, and we’d already named her too – Faye Wildcat. Needless to say, I got it wrong on all points, and have come to realize for myself that our thoughts really do create our reality……except for the random factor, where things happen that maybe you need rather than want. Apart from my head wounds, my body was capably and beautifully carrying twins, and I astounded my alternative health practitioners with how healthy, robust, and well my body was operating. The twins spent the entire pregnancy in Yin and Yang position – one with it’s head down, and one in breech position. From the different heart rates, Lisa predicted that one would be a boy and one a girl, which was a prediction that many people, us included, favoured. She also predicted that the baby in breech position would nicely turn over to be head down once the first twin was out. Lisa came to visit regularly, and proved a wise midwife indeed, as nearly every time she came she offered me a different way to approach my fears, or a nugget of information that helped my journey.


Late pregnancy was heavy, ponderous, and intensely inward, and a heavy case of thrush came in the last weeks making life itchy and sore. Coming up to 38 weeks I was in that weird inbetween place, where I was hoping for it to happen soon, but really glad that it wasn’t yet, all at the same time. Had a bit of a false start where I thought it was happening, and surprised myself at how well I coped when it came to it, which helped me feel better about the fears that had been plaguing me. And then came the night of the 20th, where we were both feeling ready as we could be, and I even felt well enough to indulge in some love making. Currawong reckons he knew exactly what we were doing that night, and what would be the result, but I didn’t have the same premonition. At 3am in the morning, I woke to my waters breaking, (which had never happened to me before…), got up and panicked for a minute, and then started shaking for an hour or so. Rang Lisa first thing and asked her to come straight away – I’d been worried that this birth would happen so quick that she wouldn’t have time to get here – as it was, she probably could have stayed home a bit longer…..



Currawong got the birthing pool happening, and Mum and Jess got here, and we gently labored till morning.




The kids all woke up and hung out in the birthing space, and some fellow community members were dropping in and out and keeping an eye on what was happening, and some older members even dropped in, as it was the community meeting day.



At 9.25, to chanting and humming and sounding, a baby boy was born, and he shot out like a cannon towards the side of the pool.



He was quickly passed to me and was quite blue and not making any noise, and Lisa told me to breathe in his face, which I did, and he spluttered and gave a cry.


First thing the name ‘Maxamillion’ came into my head, with the thought that having a million in your name must be a good omen. I said the name, and then Currawong said ‘Hercules’…..Lisa said “Maxamillion Hercules, what a great name!” and thus he was named.


Everything was wonderful, a successful birth had been achieved, and Max was totally perfect and calm.



Ever seen that birthing scene in Absolutely Fabulous? Where Adina’s friend was birthing in a room with people speaking beat poetry, playing music, and generally being very hippy?? Well I felt like Max’s birth was a lot like that.


He had an extremely short cord, and couldn’t reach my chest even, so Lisa cut it as soon as safe, and we hung out and blissed in the bath for a while.



As there was another baby still inside me, and the placenta’s weren’t likely to come out till the other babe came, it was clamped off and left hanging from me.


As the day wore on we started getting worried about when the next baby was going to come.


Max was gently held by my mother, and my 17 year old daughter also did me the huge favour of taking off her top and sitting with him skin to skin……making sure that Max was being held all the time as I tried every trick in the book to bring on labour.



Standing up, hanging from a rope from the ceiling, taking Currawong off into the back room for a quick fix of sex and semen, walking round the property, leaning all sorts of different ways……it wasn’t working. Max would wake occasionally and have a feed, and all the other kids were generally milling around with distractions being given to them, so we could focus on trying to bring the second baby earthbound.



As the day moved into evening, we were all getting progressively more worried. Contractions had eased off largely, and it seemed like nothing else was going to happen. I’d never in my wildest dreams anticipated such a prolonged gap between babies. Nothing had prepared me for this eventuality! I’d just assumed that the second baby would be born soon after the first, and was hoping that we’d all have time to deal with the first baby before the second one came. I’d thought I would have one birthing experience, with two babies coming for the price of one. 


I rang Andrea Hart the acupuncturist to come and see if she could do anything to bring the second baby on. We’d arranged that she would come along to the birth beforehand, but Max’s birth had progressed so quickly and neatly that I’d never got around to ringing her for it, but we thought maybe in this extended pause some acupuncture could speed the process up. She came around about 8 that night, gave me a few needles, and then had a prior engagement that she had to go to. She told me later that the moment she’d walked in the house she’d had the feeling that my seventh child had a very strong presence, and also a strong desire to have a different birth date and karma, and that nothing she could do would change that.


So on we went…..trying to bring on labour over ten hours after my first twin was born. The longest gap between twins that Lisa had ever experienced was 12 hours, and we were all starting to get worried. Around 12 that night everyone had a bit of a snooze – except me. I paced round the house, willing my second baby to be born safely, worrying, and trying to bring on labour. A quiet and lonely time on my own. Around 3am on Sunday morning the worry was turning to desperation. Lisa had said that we were leaving her comfort zone, and she was prepared to go till 9.30 on Sunday morning – 24 hours after the birth of Max, and after that we’d have to think about our options again. The cord that we’d detached from Max was filling with blood, which was puzzling Lisa, so she clamped it tight, which was a real distraction while I was trying to bring on labour – having a scissor clamp jutting through my legs was intensely uncomfortable, so she instead tied it very securely with about 5 cords. Funnily enough, before the birth, Lisa had dreamt regularly that she was at our birth, and that one would come out and the second would turn to be head down, and in her dream she’d forgotten to bring clamps for the first umbilical cord, so she was prepared for this eventuality!! But I was still hale and hearty, the second twin had very considerately gone from breech position to head down, engaged nicely in my cervix, and both our heart rates were normal and healthy.


Currawong and I went for a walk in the moonlight and I was really bummed out. Thinking that after coming so far it was all going to end in a hospital drama afterall. Tension was high, and we were both despondent on walking down the road towards the creek. On the way, Currawong started talking about how I was healthy, Max had been born successfully, and the second twin was healthy also, so we had to start looking at this experience as TWO separate births, instead of the one birth of two babies we’d assumed it would be. Two separate births. This seemingly subtle shift in perception actually made us both feel better. If it was two separate births, all of a sudden it seemed more doable. We got back to the house where mum and Lisa had been chatting about it all, and we both told Lisa that we wanted to let it go longer than the morning, and told her our altered perception, and both started crying when we said how much we didn’t want to go to hospital. We told her that we were aware that we were risking her reputation and practice, and that if the worst came to the worst and we had to go to hospital a day or so after our first twin was born, we’d tell them that we were freebirthing, and leave her out of it completely. And bless her heart, and to my total awe and respect forevermore, she said straight away that she’d rather go to jail than leave us during this birth, and that she was there for the ride. We all decided to get a bit of rest, as it had been a very long and testing day, and we’d talk more about it after a nap.

I layed down in bed for a while, but found it impossible to sleep, Lisa went into another room for a catnap, mum went off and slept for a bit with Max, and my strong birth warrior Currawong set about cleaning out the birthing pool water, disinfecting the pool, and clearing away all the other paraphernalia of the first birth, making way for the second birth to take place..............

To be continued.....
(Don't you love a cliffhanger?)


P.S.  It's been nearly two years now since my baby twins were born, and I thought it might be a thoughtful thing to do, to provide new readers with a link so they can go straight from here to the next part of the story.....  So here it is.  To read the next installment go to the link below….

The Story Continues

P.P.S.  If you're one of the hater minions, come to get titillated about the sentence "taking Currawong off into the back room for a quick fix of sex and semen", after having visited the anti-life, anti-diversity, anti-everything pages that are so fixated on their smutty assumptions that Currawong and I were having sex whilst I had 'an umbilical cord hanging out of me'………I was trying to be polite by putting it like I did above, but if you really want the graphic details………me and Currawong went into the back room and I gave him a blow job, because as midwives have known for a very long time, there's an agent in sperm that brings on labour.  Hence the advice since time immemorial to have sex to bring on birth.  In fact, this sperm trick is so potent, that Picotin, which they give you in hospitals to induce labour, contains pig sperm for the very same reason.  Now if you're gonna call me a freak because I preferred my lovers sperm (and it doesn't matter how it's ingested, hence the blow job) to that of a pig that I hadn't even made the acquaintance of……..then I'm happy for you to think me a freak, cause I think anyone that prefers pig sperm to their partners is a bit freaky myself.

How about you go out and get yourself a life that you love instead of spending your energy trying to let people know all about your secrets and shadows and how in denial of it you are? 

P.P.P.S.  And if you're not a hater minion…..hope you're enjoying the story :) 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Unschooling for everyone....


Having some amazing unschooling moments recently....now I've got over myself as being the 'teacher', I'm learning as much as they are about the things their interests are leading us all too! Balthazar using his potty for the first time becomes learning about positive reinforcement, reading a kids book about a snow plough turns into a discussion about lighting the methane gas in the permafrost in Siberia.....and walking on the beach becomes a physical demonstration of the weather patterns in a mountain range in Argentina. They're comparing what they see in documentaries with what they see around them all the time, comparing the liquid of air to the liquid of water, to the liquid that moves really slowly of the earth....

They play and make things everywhere they go, and create fun wherever they are.







No props needed, no text books or tests, just life experiences and comparisons and input.    A day spent trying to work out drainage on the driveway, become a huge example of how the two rivers of the Amazon come together and blend their different colours.






Having a big argument turns into a conversation about what we can make from the things we find in a small radius on the ground, which becomes building a village – the process of which was incredible. First Lilly made a garden with a bark fence, dug up soil, and leaves stuck in, and all roads radiated out from that, then Spiral made the pit for the pit toilets and put in the water tank, which was an upside down pot, then we all made houses and dwellings from bark and sticks, and Griff made a dwelling for the elders out of stone, then we all moved on to the hole in the ground under the grass tree that we decided was the hole of the bunyip, so Griff made a sign that said 'Alfie the bunyip lives here, please respect', and we dug a swimming hole with a bark bridge over it. Currawong came along and made a mountain out of leaves and bark, more roads were put in to get to it all, and Griff designed a dwelling that led to some serious discussions on the community about potential building concepts, which pleased him no end.










And we're starting to record our stories and what we're learning in a big black book, and the kids are right on the money with making it real and factual and truthful, remembering details that might have eluded me.  We've had a tremendous and huge amount of joy visiting the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide, spending whole days observing and experiencing the park in parts.  One day was spent smelling all the roses, and oohing and aahhing about the colours.  And another was spent in the Cactus Garden.











And they've also been learning a lot about animals, and in particular chickens.  They've taught themselves how to pick them up, and encourage them to sit on shoulders, and find every thing about them a complete delight.






And sometimes all they need is some clay or mud, and they can make a game out of that too.





When I leave them alone to learn, I'm astonished about how their minds work in so many fresh ways. How their lateral thinking seems to have no bounds, and their creative solutions to everything they come across is endlessly amazing. How everything they see triggers memories of similar things they've seen before. I know I keep labouring that point, but it's really struck me that all the very best things I've learnt for myself in my life have been learnt from a combination of life experience and comparison. We read our kids stacks of books, but there is a huge difference between the attention they give books, and the attention they give us when we're telling them something 'real', or a story from our lives that applies to what's happening at the moment. Being left to their own initiation, I'm amazed at how purposeful and driven they are to create and learn! Self motivation is a wonderful thing to observe....

And it strikes me that it really is unschooling....not so much for them as for US! Learning to let go of what other people think, the ways that we've been taught to learn, thinking that we're more knowledgeable, or should be in a heirarchical position and 'teach' them. Thinking they have to have 'outcomes' or ways to prove to other people their intelligence, which is what they do naturally in every conversation they have. And the big one of course, letting go of needing to run with the pack of mainstream culture, and really taking pride and delight in our path less travelled and what it teaches us all on a daily basis...