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  • Writer's pictureShani Yeend

An Empowered Birth Story - Meet Rocky

Fitbirds, meet Rockford (Rocky) Wiel van den Borst Born Sunday 21st November at 1745, Lewisham Hospital, London A squishy 10.8lb at 41wks + 3 days

If you are here I hope it’s because you are a birth story junkie like myself. Perhaps you are simply intrigued or here to educate yourself on the biggest gift in the world. Grab a cuppa or a glass of wine birds…

My birth story second time around is filled with so many beautiful emotions. Since Rocky arrived I’ve been a beautiful mess of tears. Feeling all the feels of birthing a baby, feeling Minnie’s emotions rise up hard & fast. Feeling Josh’s vulnerability & equally his power of becoming a father of two. Is this because I am already a mama to Minnie? Or because I got my dream of allowing spontaneous labour to arrive? Perhaps a bit of both.

Nothing in my “birthing wish list” changed from my first pregnancy to this one. But with Minnie (read Minnie’s birth story here) Covid hit hard & we felt the pressure to welcome her in (42+3), home births & water births had already been banned. The next was to be birthing partners removed from births. This time around I would patiently wait for our sons arrival politely declining all interventions which are “routinely offered” by the maternity units here in the UK.

During my pregnancy I was constantly being informed of the 'high risks', such as: Rocky was measuring 'big' I’d previously had a c-section I was getting some high blood sugar levels Home births were not advised due to shortage of midwives Routine sweeps from 38wks Induction was recommended at 38wks C-section was recommended at 38wks

I was constantly been called, emailed & booked in for extra scans. Been informed of the risks involved in taking my 'big baby' to full term. FULL TERM is 42wks as far as I'm concerned. Don't get me wrong, I am all but grateful for the NHS & the maternity services offered to us here in the UK, but I feel almost responsible to share the importance of questioning these interventions & doing your own researching before accepting their 'offerings' and taking YOUR birth out of your hands. I feel privileged to be surrounded by a community of educated women, my doulas included who offered me the other side of the story. The risks involved in intervention & giving me the courage to simply say 'no thanks' to weekly scans from 38wks. Even without any of this support, I have always had a powerful knowing that to birth a baby is the most natural journey in the world. Of course we are beyond lucky to have the assistance of medicine & medical professions when needed, but stats show all this intervention is causing more trauma to mamas than assistance.

Birth story to my son, taken from 'Rocky's Journal' My spontaneous labour dream came true. You gave us your official sign you were coming Sunday 5am with welcoming but sharp contractions. Your intuitive big sister, only 19 months old woke at 5.30am to support me as we began to welcome you.

Breathing slowly & controlled in bed with Minnie hugging me. Against all odds, we got our doula party! Sarah & Jo arrived soon after to hold the space & set the zen zone. Into the bath, Minnie affectionately pouring water over my arm. I told her you were coming & Minnie shortly slipped into our wing bird, Charlie’s arms for her date.

Our doulas quickly turned into angels. Angels with a constant touch to reassure, gentle words to guide me. Cold compresses, physical pressure to ease the contractions. This is the way birthing should be - supported by strong, courageous women who understand & in Jo’s words “could feel my labour in her womb”. Doulas, I have no idea how you do it, you must be beyond emotionally & physically exhausted at the end of a birth!

Your dad, an unspoken hero. Never far, quiet & calm, supporting & witnessing you make your home run.

My eye mask glued to my face, I was going inwards. On my knees hanging on to the radiator, standing hanging off my angels or your dad. Slow controlled breathing turns into howling & moaning. The pain was intense, contractions coupling & no respite between each. I was ready for an epidural. 8cm first VE. Ok I’ll stay, I can do this. Into the pool dry retching into the bucket. I was waiting for the sign to start pushing, but I had nothing. No changes in feeling where you were positioned, I couldn’t feel you moving down the birth canal as much as I was trying to visual you. For what felt like hours later - still 8cm, it was clear to me I wasn’t going to progress any further. I was ready to be transferred to the hospital. I started the first pain relief on gas & air while waiting for the ambulance (my first ever ambulance ride!) suddenly wasted off my nut in a happy place.

Our doula party was to be broken up after around 10 hours of home birthing magic, a moment filled with so much joy, gratitude & emotion. Jo & I embraced, both filled with tears. I apologised for not 'birthing her first baby' during her first birth as a doula. To which we both laughed through the tears!

Arriving at the hospital your dad & I both knew an elective c-section was going to be our path. A gentle air-lift out the sunroof, the way your sister came into the world. A few hours later I was in theatre, spinal tap of dreams in (see ya f$£ken later contractions!!) and a final VE - I was still 8cm. It turns out you were never headed any further south son. A few moments later at 1745 you were in my arms, dad cutting your cord after you received our placenta blood & a fabulously squishy 10.8lb. As my bestie said 'I’m happy for your fanny'.

Birthing you Rocky was the most empowering, primal experience of my life. To have your dad, your sister & the doula sisterhood by our side, in the comfort & peace of our home was nothing short of magic.

If you wish to be surrounded by positive birth vibes my number one gram account to follow is the incredible @kemijoybirthstory.

To my doula angels @theplayfuldoula & @sarahbdoula our family holds you close to our hearts forever. Thank you for guiding us through our pregnancy, birth & fourth trimester, you provided us with the perfect support, education & gave us permission to own our birth.

To my husband & to my daughter Minnie, I’m crying as I write this: You are my world & now we have our Rock.

And lastly… To you my incredible Fitbirds community. I felt your support, strength & positive birthing vibes throughout. Your messages, hugs, shoulder or cry on. Your ability to listen as I vocalised every tough corner on pregnancy. Your openness to share your birth stories with me. Your deliveries of food, mama supplies & love towards Minnie.

It takes a village birds. Make sure you let your village in. Shani x


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