The campsite is quiet, except from the occasional chorus of crickets. Someone is playing Gold FM quietly in the tent next to us. Elka sleeps deeply, and restfully, her body barely moving. I touch her back to check she is still breathing – she is so sound asleep.
Today was Elka’s second birthday.
New Years’ Day is always a bit special, but two years ago today, it took on a whole new meaning for me, and those close to me. I was sitting next to the pool at the Natural Birth Centre in Lindendale, eating beautiful food with my midwife and birth support when at last, after two tedious weeks of acupuncture-herb-hot-curry-hot-sex concoctions, my uterus began to contract. I was preparing for a gentle build-up, to go and have a lie down in between contractions, perhaps a little bath. My body, however, took me by surprise and hurled me into the pit of fire, before I had the chance to think, or even run a bath.
I had decided not to take any pain relief. Between a consultation with Rhea Dempsey at Fertile Ground and reading Janet Balaskas’s Active Birth, I was convinced a natural, drug-free birth was the right thing for me. I had prepared by doing lots of yoga, leg strengthening exercise and meditation. I felt ready to take on whatever labour held for me. And I did. I kid you not, I was an Amazonian Goddess.
The moon was full, it was blue, it was New Years Eve so fireworks burst as I went through transition. With every pinch and then avalanche of pain, I went inwards, and found my strength. I breathed. I acknowledged. I embraced. The second I resisted, or weakened into it, thinking “Shit, this is the most painful thing in the world…get me out!”, the pain became pain, and the experience went from strong and profound to terrifying. In the relative short time of my labour, I worked out that the more I went with it, and found my zone, the more bearable, and…amazing labour was.
At 3.13am on Friday 1st January 2010, my little cherub was born. She weighed 4.2kg, and emerged red and screaming. Two years ago today.
We are celebrating Elka’s birthday and life in general by spending two days at Woodford Folk Festival and a few nights going feral in the hinterlands of the Sunshine Coast. Today, as a very special occasion, for all of us, we ate cake at a cafe in Montville, a soulless but superficially gorgeous village. I alluded in my last post to the frantic, disorganised nature of our camping trip. But really, ferrying around this evening at 6pm on my daughter’s one and only second birthday looking for a campsite was beyond disorganised. Most people probably would have prepared for the fact that today is New Years’ Day and campsites by the coast are in all likelihood going to be full. Perhaps do not try to find something at 6pm. Luckily for us, the campsite at Yarinda is not overly popular, even on New Years’, so we were able to pitch a tent, feed and bathe Elka and get her into bed before she collapsed with exhaustion.
Running after Miss Nudey Bum on the beach today, I was overcome by her blissful and uninhibited beauty; her love of life and of people (and of sand); her tireless need for kisses; and her current obsession for asking “Mumma, where has [insert name here] gone?”…How can she be so amazing, and so full of love? At two, my darling is perfect, and I wouldn’t change a scrap. I hope your 2012 will be full of love and laughter and good things, and Elka’s third year on the planet will be full of something similar. I love you darling girl…sleep well, on your sheepy, in this quiet town called Yarinda.