Although none of the woman who were with my during Jonny's birth were related to me by blood, in every way this was a family birth to me.
Looking up at their faces as each wave washed over me, reaching out for a warm hand, seeing that smiling face walk through my door.
My beautiful woman friends who lovingly brought me food each day, and make me tea... These women are my family.

I've been meaning to write in here the last few days, but never managed to make the time. And now, as I sit here to write another entry in my journal, I hold a beautiful day old newborn on my chest.

Yesterday morning, at around 5:15am, just as dawn broke, I gave birth to this precious little boy. Surrounded by three woman very dear to me, and one little girl.

Earlier that night I'd not been able to sleep. We'd had sex. These lingering braxton hicks were keeping me awake. Nervous energy. At about 10:30pm I went only for a little, just waiting for them to finish.

Again, I'm trying to sleep. And again, coming back online waiting for them to finish. Charlie was quite restless and these braxtons hicks just weren't going away. When I started to feel like I needed to poo, I thought it might be a good idea to feed him, in case I needed to grab Josh to come and lie with him while I went to the toilet.
I think I managed to feed him through two of these braxton hicks before it was just too much to lay down through them. This was sometime around 11:30. I got up to get Josh so I could go to the toilet.
As soon as I reached the toilet, my bowels emptied easily. And as another braxton hicks came on, I found myself rocking back and forth, and leaning back against the wall. I smile.

Leaving the toilet another braxtons hicks had me rocking on all fours. Also feeling a little sick I decided to grab an iceypole on my way back to the bedroom. My comfort. When I got into the bedroom again came another braxton hicks which had me once again on all fours, rocking back and forth and rolling my hips. As I climbed into bed I let Josh know something maybe be happening, but it's probably nothing.
He goes back to bed.

I message Hannah to let her know that 'maybe' there is a chance I might like some company tonight. Shortly after she comes online. So does Penny. Hannah's excited. I don't say too much to Penny yet, still not sure what's happening. Now, as I struggle to type replies I begin thinking it might all be starting.

I complain to Hannah "It's night time, I was supposed to begin labour during the day. To get up and go for a walk, bake a cake etc" She suggests a midnight baking session. I’m smiling again. She’s so lovely.

Another BHs and I'm on my hands and knees rocking. It's time to get Josh. I wake him and let him know things are starting and that Hannah’s want to come over to bake. He informs me we have no ingredients! We've had them ready for weeks and now we've used them and forgotten to by more. Bugger! But Hannah's keen. She's got the ingredients. She tells me "If we just make cake and go back to bed at least your heavily pregnant self with have cake to wake up to in the morning" Just before 12, Hannah is on her way.

I'm getting up. It's too much to be here in bed. I undress, hop into the shower and put in the plug. The water is lovely. I close my eyes and feel the water rushing down my back. Then I remember Hannah is on her way. Hmm, I should get out and wait for her to arrive. A rush comes on. I sink into the water. I can't get out. I grab the phone and call, letting her know to ring as she arrives so I can come and open the door.

It's beginning. As I feel a wave of contraction coming on sink into the water and the close my eyes. My body rushing with energy. One after another. At one point I see the phone light up. It's her. She's have to wait for this rush of energy to dissipate.

I hope out of the bath, wrap myself in a towel and walk to the door. I open the door and let her know that I'll be in the bathroom. Back in the bath and another wave of energy rushes over me. I'm still and silent. Focused as my body contracts and my cervix opens. Hannah just sits there watching me. She has her beautiful daughter one her chest, but as I look up at her when the contraction finishes, she lets me know she's calling Simon back to come and get baby Dawn. I'm not totally sure why. Maybe because Dawn has woken?

We smiled and chatted briefly as wave after wave washes over me. Simon comes to get Dawn, and has offered to go and get Penny. "Yes" I'm really enjoying having the woman energy around me. I want Min here too and between contractions I try calling. She doesn't answer. I ask Hannah to try..

Hannah lets me know Min is on her way.

I've asked Hannah to fill the birth pool and she leaves the bathroom.

It’s quiet, serene. Another wave and I sink into the water.

She’s bringing me bowls full of water from the birth pool so I can check the temperature. Too hot. Another bowl, feels pretty good, I just want to get in.
I walk to the pool. One step in and it’s too hot. Another wave. I’m back on the floor, hands and knees.

At some point Penny arrives. I'm mid contraction and moaning a little through them, I enjoy my sounds. I don't see her arrive, but I feel her there. I can feel the smiles and the quiet excitement. It's nice.

Back to the pool. The room is dark and quiet. Only the warm glow of candles, and the whispers of friends. I sink into the warm water of the pool. It's feels beautiful. Another wave, I learn against the side. They keep coming. I'm getting too hot. I need the fan. Cold cloths for my forehead. My women in front of me soaking cloths in cold water for me. How beautiful. I need Josh. This is hard work. He needs to take away my pain. I'm asking someone to get him for me. Why is it taking so long. I feel another contraction coming. He walks into the room. I tell him I need him to push on my back. Just like last time. But I feel disappointed. It doesn't take the pain away like it did before. Only just a little bit. But I need it. One after another. I hear myself being rough with him. "Not there!" "Higher" "Harder!!" A wave subsides and he sits in front of me. We kiss. It's lovely, but it doesn't help. Soon after I feel the need to go outside. I think of my little boy sleeping in the bedroom, without me. I can't believe he's still asleep. I'm sure he'll wake soon.

I step outside outside. The cool air is just what I need. The feel of the wind through my hair. The grass beneath my feet. This is right. I always knew this was right. These beautiful friends of mine have brought the rug I had been busy crocheting as my 'birthing rug'. Colours of green, brown and purple. I’ve been so drawn to these colours ever since this beautiful baby was conceived. They lay it down on the grass, and I lay on my side.
Another wave comes over me. I lay silent, welcoming it. No resistance anymore. I don't need to move, I just lay there. I want touch. I put my hand in someone else’s. There energy runs through me. I feel excitement. Lying on my rug, feel my uterus tighten, my cervix opening. I open my eyes half way through a rush and notice a caterpillar crawling over the ground, and I smile and tell Hannah. She laughs a little.
I start feeling unsure. Should I be moving? Laying down feels so right, but shouldn't I be moving? Upright? I decide to get up. I have a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, and I walk down the path. I breathe deep. I feel so womanly. So raw. It’s just beautiful. Another one hits. I need to lay down again. I asked Min to gently rub my side. I need to touch. It feels lovely. I open my eyes again and watch the trees. The leaves blowing softly in the wind. I see stars. It's just so beautiful. I feel an ant on my foot. It bites me, so I brush it off. Again, eyes closed. One after another, I just breathe.

Again, this thought in my head. Should I be moving? I decide to go inside. Back into the pool, so I can lean on the side. But it already this is too hard. Why does it hurt so much more? I'm moaning again. Contractions are coming hard. I just have to push against them. Josh is pushing my back again. They peak and I push back at him. Growling. I hear a noise. I ask if Charlie's waking. Not now please. He's still sleeping. Penny in the bedroom with him. Lovely Penny. I'm so glad she's here.

I'm getting nervous. At some point I decided to try and feel my cervix. But it feels so similar to how it felt that earlier in the evening. I can only feel the edge. Doubt. Can I do this? Can my body do this? Beautiful Hannah. I question her. She knows what to say. Even just her eyes knowingly reassure me. My body is working. I see Min and Ange sitting beside the pool. I’m so glad they’re here. I smile. I'm doing this.

I need to get out of the pool. We go into the lounge room. We barely make it before I hit the floor. I have to make noise. My body is singing. Roaring. I'm getting scared again. Nothing feels right but to roar and push against the contractions. They aren't just waving over me. They're pushing me. But what if it's too soon? I think it's too soon. Something isn't right. I'm writhing. Trying to escape them. I need to go back outside.

We step outside. My rug again, laid out on the grass. I have to lay down. It feels so good. So right. Quiet. Waves.

But they're pushing me again. Now I need to be up. Josh supports me as I squat. I'm pushing. Again, something not quite right. I feel inside. I know there's still some cervix there.

Again, as another contraction subsides. I look to Hannah for reassurance. What if I'm not ready? How do I know what to do? How do I know what's right. I just do.
I push again. Can I do this? Why doesn't it feel right? Do I interfere? This baby needs to come out. I have to do this. I hold the cervix through a push, but I'm holding back. Doesn't feel right. Still holding it back, I push, with power. He moves! He's moving down. Come out baby. Each contraction swells, and I no longer have control. No thought. I'm just doing it. they subside and I don't remember whether I yelled, or moaned, or growled.

Charlie's up. Penny has brought him outside, but he doesn't want to stay. They go back in, but he's wimpering. Josh goes inside, and Penny comes out to be with me. My beautiful women. I'm surrounded by such love. How perfect.
Another one. Penny supports me. The energy is amazing.
I'm giving this everything. I can feel him moving down. I feel something smooth and hard inside my vagina. Is that his head? Have my waters broken yet? Still pushing. It's so close. So powerful. So raw. I feel myself stretchy out. I know I should breathe. Wait. But I push harder, I feel myself open and he starts to come out. Stinging, and then a pop. A small gush and my waters break. My baby is not far behind. He needs to come out now. I need to see my baby. Know I can do this. What a beautiful feeling. It's so raw. So real. So powerful. Completely and utterly overwhelming. I feel him enter my vagina. So soft. I need to see you baby. Please. I notice dawn breaking. I remember I'm outside. This is so right. Again I push. Working with my body. He's coming out. I feel him. Just push harder and he'll be here. I learn forward, my hand holding his head as it comes. It hurts, but I just have to do it. One more wave and he enters the world, into my arms.

He is so perfect. So perfect. And this couldnt be more right. Josh and Charlie come outside. Here I am. Holding my newborn baby, surrounded my these beautiful women, and my husband and son. On the earth. Beneath the stars. Tears are welling.
I am so thankful, so grateful for this experience.