Russell had tears; Xanthe looked a little surprise, full of wonder and asked if I was ok. I looked her firmly in the eye with a big smile and said, “Im ok, sweet heart. Heres your baby sister”. Xanthe said, “Shes so cute”. I hopped out of the birth pool to birth the placenta, which I think was the worst part. For a while Xanthe danced around before walking to the bakery with Russell to get me a jam doughnut (just what I felt like). All in all, this was a healing experience for me as a woman, the relationship with my body, and for my family. I broke the pattern of my own family: mother and sisters. My body feels a strength I never realised was there and I have a new found love and respect for my body. I also have a deeper connection to Spirit and have a spiritual practice that my life is solidly built upon. After the birth, I had a shower and the four of us curled up into bed: my loving exhausted (ha!) husband, my two beautiful, beautiful girls and myself. Later that afternoon my mum brought around a birthday ice cream cake. We all shared the cake and my natural high and eternal gratitude continued. My family means everything to me, as did starting a new pattern. I didnt know what the “best that could happen” was, all I know is something far greater than I could have ever imagined showed up. As for having Xanthe at the birth, it was perfect, once again better than I couldve ever imagined. I did not want her to be left with ANY of the feelings or ideas that I had experienced from her birth. I was adamant she would be present and be left with the knowledge that birth is a beautiful, empowering part of life. She still talks about it and tells everyone Grace came out “like a little swimmer”. I am mindful of how I tell Xanthes birth story, as I know she is always interested and always listening to the undertones in my voice. I talk of the good things (these are my favourites): • That Daddy was soooooo excited when my waters broke (talking too much and almost jumping/dancing around) I had to tell him to calm down! • That when she came out she gave a little cry and Daddy with wiping tears said “that is the most beautiful sound Ive ever heard”. All the photos show how smitten he was. • I tell her that she got to stay in a room together with her little mates, hung out, and listened to Il Divo while they slept! Beautiful! • Daddy got to give her the first feed – which amuses me to this day because the first day that she was born was the only time she was bottle-fed. Ever meal after that was strictly breast milk. • That her grandparents were so excited that they had a grandchild – the first on Russells side. • The nurses in the ward with Mummy were some of the nicest, caring people Mummy has ever met (not the midwife!). • One of the lovely nurses helped me with breastfeeding Xanthe which consequently set me in good stead for breastfeeding both her and Grace. • I took home the placenta and planted it under a tree. This too was healing. I have moved forward from Xanthes birth and grown through the experiences of both births and pregnancies. After all is said and done, I remind myself very clearly that its not all about my experiences of birth – the focal points are my daughters and their birthdays not my births. Xanthe and Grace at 15months and 4 years have a loving, special bond thats blossoming. We have been truly blessed. I am forever grateful.