By: Sian Maria Pilkington
The spring and summer of 2014 marked a time of great transition in the life that I call my own.
My menstrual cycle eventually returned, 19 months postpartum, to the tumultuous time of the Full Blood Moon of that April month; I cried. I didn’t know why other than that all the feelings. It was intense. I was emotional and yet such sweet release physically and emotionally left me invigorated… Bleeding with a full moon signals that magic is afoot, from an astrological stance.
I was intrigued by this.
Soon after, I was attuned for the first time in Reiki and my whole being entered into a realm of clearing out everything in life that did not serve me. It was a process that I could note, though subtle for now.
A few months later, as I stepped onto the coach headed for a retreat in Golden, to become a Sacred Pregnancy instructor, my stomach flipped with excitement.
It was palpable that something huge was about to happen.
Arriving in that British Columbian town, backpack and small case in tow, I sat on the edge of a sidewalk waiting for my ride to the retreat lodge and at my feet, a gigantic ebony raven flew.
I looked at it.
It looked at me.
It stayed there for a minute or even two, just tilting its head towards me with black shiny eyes and hopping around.
I’m pretty sure that I said ‘hello’ before fumbling with my phone to snap the obligatory Instagram picture and checked to see what Raven Medicine brought with it.
I posted to social media:
“A raven has been around all the time hovering over my back garden and now it won’t leave me alone here. Looked up the totem animal meaning:
Magic, Healing, Creation
If a raven totem has come into our life, magic is at play. Raven activates the energy of magic and links it to our will and intention. With this totem, we can make great changes in our life; the ability to take the unformed thought and make it reality. ‘The raven shows us how to go into the dark of our inner self and bring out the light of our true self; resolving inner conflicts which have long been buried. This is the deepest power of healing we can possess.’ “
Magic, yes. It was afoot.
And over the next few days, nestled within the wilderness of wild grasses and mountainside forests, trailing off beaten tracks to glacial waters where the earth thumped and our naked bodies dipped, as we laughed, cried, learned, held space, released and swam in ponds with dragonflies swarming around our heads, as I found 13 others sisters of my heart and learned what it is like to be explodingly full from friendship, magic occurred.
I was clearing away hurt and mistrust.
I was making way for new spirit and life.
I was making room.
And when my salted hair and sunburnt skin made its way back to my family, my heart had pulled away from anything which dragged me down. My soul was soaring.
Of course, as a beam of freshly open bright, effortless light, I would be a conduit for more of that very same thing.
It was a month later when we travelled to the Saskatoon farm of my husband’s family to celebrate the life of his grandmother Jeanne, who had passed away leaving behind a legacy of many many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The weekend was as it should have been: beautiful, sunny, joyful, reflective, lots of chatter, drinks flowing, long days and late nights.
I felt different.
I felt anticipatory.
I had no idea why.
We returned home.
It was no more than a week later when the five of us drove out of our housing estate on a hot August afternoon and my eyes widened suddenly and my heart jumped.
I am not sure who said that…me, my soul, a guide, an angel, my gut, God….I don’t know. But something said it and I choked on it.
Because, you know, I knew not to question it. I knew that this revelation was brought to me by my knowledge with conviction. And I knew that I had the thought, maybe even wish, of having a other child enough in my mind that I had left that door open and welcoming. A bright light…a beacon that said ‘womb this way.’
I was sitting in the car beside a man who I loved but who did not desire to have any more children and behind me were three other kids who I was trying to parent as best as I could. But even amidst the shock of this idea, my heart and tummy fluttered with a thrill. I thought about my menstrual cycle and considered that it would be super unlikely from a cycle stance that I could be pregnant. Especially unlikely that I would even know this quickly.
But I took a test, by myself, without mentioning a word and there….there I saw it.
The faintest line.
But there, nonetheless.
I took a picture and sent it to my newest confidante, a soulmate in many ways. Lacey had attended the Sacred Pregnancy retreat with me in Golden just a month before and our friendship was strong.
‘Do you see that?! Or is it just me?’
A minute passed.
‘I see it.’
MY GOD. Was this real? Pregnant? A positive test? It was no more than 14 days since my last period.
I didn’t mention this to Jeremy. Instead I took a new pregnancy test the next day but I was left baffled by the lack of line.
I was a jumble of feelings. With each negative test, my heart pounded with guttural rebellion because my spirit was shouting BUT YOU ARE! BUT YOU ARE!
My pendulum swung a definite yes, each time.
Another friend, Liane, placed her hand upon my stomach when I mentioned that I thought I might be pregnant, and gasped, pulling her hand away wide eyed and clasping those hands to her mouth. She felt the energy of a baby.
At last, I went to Debbie. She is like a mother to me in many ways. As a shaman she has taken care of me energetically in lots of manners for years. I was, by now, frustrated. My human self needed this stupid validation…it needed the line on the test.
I am still unsure why.
She journeyed and came back to me with a Facebook message: ‘I don’t feel that you are pregnant’.
By now, with negative tests and her remark, altogether with the fact that it was still around 7 days before my cycle would even be ‘late’ I was doubting myself.
I had heard it said that when we are in the process of creation within life in general, we can feel pregnant energetically with ideas and new ventures.
I was certainly taking on a new direction with my career as a Birthworker and energy healer and this would add up.
A day or two later, I lay down on my bed for an afternoon rest with Ivy to nurse her to sleep. I decided to do a guided shamanic journey by way of meditation that Debbie had recorded and so I put in my earphones and began.
I’m most certain that I was about to go to sleep along with the rhythmic beat of the drums but as my consciousness slipped into this new realm, I got the flash of an image in my minds eye.
A white horse- the profile view of its head and neck appeared so very vividly.
It was still. Its eyes were black and intense. Its mouth did not move and yet there I heard it…strong, deliberate words.
‘This child is stronger than you are.’
With the end of those words, the journey was cut short abruptly as the sound of the text ringtone blared into my ears via the earphones.
I jumped and glanced at the text message.
Debbie: “I just checked in with your guides. You were right, you are pregnant. You are to just rest.”
Ivy suckled at my breast a little more in her sleep, the sunshine poured down over us through the window and in that moment, if I could have looked at the image of us, I’m sure we were glowing.
I was awash with peace of mind. I was worried about my husband, Jeremy, but I was peaceful. It was all slotting together, the fragmentation between my intuition and brain was diminishing. I was becoming whole and confident, again. I was proud of my earliest intuition.
When he arrived home, I told my husband what my feeling was, crying a little with worry for his reaction and he looked at me without any worry himself. He didn’t believe it…I could tell. And there was yet to be solid proof. I think, though, that the thought of it marinaded in his psyche because a few days later still, on August 22nd 2014, I rose early with the family, including Jeremy. It was three days before my menstrual cycle was due to begin.
I took a pregnancy test with a very calm demeanour, brushed my teeth and hardly cared to look.
But I did look. And as the sound of the shower faded in the room where Jeremy stood behind the closed bathroom door, I knocked gently and he opened.
‘Pregnant’, I smiled, nervously.
And his eyes widened, he smiled back.
And then he hugged me.
And I knew that everything was going to be ok.
Baby had chosen us because we were perfect for this role in its existence.
I named the baby within, Pip, on a whim. For it was a seedling full of ancient knowledge and it was sprouting inside of me, providing me with wisdom.
The name caught on quickly with the little girls who were told about it over Jeremy’s birthday supper at a restaurant a week later.
Sickness came for the first time as a pregnant woman but ebbed as the three month mark edged close. My baby felt strong. As the months rolled on, I became very aware of the heightened senses that this Pippin baby brought with it. My Reiki sessions were crazy. It felt like a new dimension within me was activated and sometimes, with that, came an overwhelming fear.
But for the majority of the time pregnant with this child, I felt so incredibly vibrant and alive. Peaceful. Happy. Grateful. Beautiful. Glowing.
I wanted to share my inner glow, but yet I became introverted too.
I did not feel like socializing too much, preferring to take long naps whenever I felt like It and doing everything a little more slowly.
Everyone around me guessed the gender of the baby….I changed my mind frequently.
But we could only settle on a girl’s name and I was in love with this name, too.
Hazel…it rolled off my tongue as smoothly and with as much delicious aftertaste as luxury ice cream. Goddess energy. The idea of four daughters exhilarated me.
Isabella in particular idolized this baby already, she sat with me reading about babies and holding my tummy for hours. Each morning before she left for school, every day from 5 weeks of pregnancy, she kissed my stomach and said ‘goodbye Pip.’
I grew rounder and bigger and the nesting flowed in, in the form of creating beautiful space.
I gathered crystals, shells, wind chimes, plants and the dream catcher, all from my Blessingway, and smudged the bathroom and house daily. I was not interested in buying baby clothes or even cleaning home…I only needed clear air and pretty surroundings. Salt lamps were placed in any room that did not yet have one.
The baby clothes were few and mostly used, and there was no dedicated room to this new being but my home was fresh.
I would take off to the woods with my kids in tow. Snowy mountain walks in the winter and then when the ice melted and the plants began to show signs of life once more, I took off my shoes and placed them upon the forest floors as the little ones played around me.
I was seeing less of friends and a hint of guilt came with that but mostly tranquility.
Being non-committal was everything.
April 29th, the estimated date of arrival, was getting closer.
Around 17th April, I awoke early feeling shaky. My stomach was in knots, my hands trembled my jaw chattered and I felt like my skin was crawling. I literally buzzed. Inconsistently yet often my entire midsection seized tight in a gripping contraction, not painful but violent.
I felt the way that I imagined a panic attack would feel and I called my midwife in confusion. She told me to just try and eat and rest for the day but I could do neither.
I spoke with my friend Candis, telling her how I felt and she invited me over. Handing me an iced drink and taking me outdoors to the gloriously sunny back deck, she suggested that I take my shoes off and plant my soles onto the grass.
It was almost instantaneous. My nervous buzz began to dissipate. The sun kissed my chill away. I could breathe deeply. My Braxton hicks contractions dispersed, melting into softer, gentle waves of inconsistency.
I realized what had happened…the fears of what lay ahead had tiptoed in. The anticipation had gained momentum and coiled it into a spiral of heightening anxious energy. It had nowhere to go until my feet released it to the ground.
My entire being settled. I slept and drank so much liquid that I thought I would sink in the daily bath that I took. I stayed close to home and swept floors slowly and methodically and really quite joyfully. I did not dust or vacuum or clean bathrooms but I cleared every piece of laundry that entered the basket as soon as it was in there. My home and mind was clutter free.
It was unseasonably hot and I sat on the grass of my house, with a book beside me and I rubbed this huge belly full of baby.
My final midwife appointment on Wednesday 22nd April was beautiful as Isabella joined me, listened to the baby’s heartbeat like a miniature midwife herself. I was in no rush by now to birth a baby. I was so loving this time. We enjoyed the quiet and then met with the rest of the family for a late afternoon ice cream and got into bed to have an early night.
On Thursday morning I woke fresh and happy to a sunny day and a sense that a baby was stirring inside of me. Contractions did not come but I bled just a little every now and then. That evening, We got the three children to bed and I laid out my birth necklace beside my sink, set out a bikini top, read a little and went to sleep.
I would toss and turn a little that night, disturbed somewhat on the darkness of midnight by a pinching and pulling sensation low, low, low in my belly. I rolled over many times, sending myself back to sleep,
Sometime after 4am, I dragged my knees up to my belly, curling around my stomach and holding my breath with a complete lack of control over what was happening in my body. It left with no trace of anything ever have happening and I did not feel ok making this dark hour my get-up time and so I breathed in and out hard, and then relaxed my head back down into the pillow.
10 minutes later, it happened again.
I got out of bed, unable to remain stationary for the kind of sensation again, and walked right to the bathroom. I peed and noticed more blood. It was 2 or possibly 3 minutes since the last contraction and yet here it came again. Tearing over me. Dragging downwards. I stood up and swayed my hips fast, side to side, bending my legs some. I hovered over the bathtub, grabbed the taps and turned them on. Looped the birth necklace around my neck, slipped off my t shirt and underwear and put on the bikini top. Braided my hair.
Jeremy was ruffled from sleep by the sound of the tub being filled and stood before me…watching as another surge came and I rocked back and forth, for the tub was not yet full.
‘I’ll call the midwife? ‘ he half asked and half announced.
I did not protest.
I was now in the tub and, just as every other time before this, the warmth and buoyancy of the water lifted pressure and any lingering threats of panic from me.
There I sat upon my knees, aware of the downward pressure of this baby who would be arriving very soon, with or without a midwife.
The house was silent. The girls slept on and the lights remained low or non existent.
Jeremy wandered in and out of the bathroom, not staying, as he knew that I needed to be alone.
I revel in that solitude in childbirth. I give my subconscious self permission to be primal when there is no audience.
Around 5:30am two midwives came up the stairs with Jeremy and a sleepy-eyed, bed-headed Isabella. They quietly set up their things in my bedroom a few steps away and listened to me deep breathing through each wave of contractions.
I had been bearing down a little for a while. Never an active push but with each surge, something raw was pulling down for me.
As I sat upon my knees I felt the familiar pop of the amniotic fluid releasing and with that, in one smooth transition, the head of my baby moved over my tailbone and to my perineum.
The midwife called for Jeremy who was downstairs making tea, knowing from our history together that this water bag releasing marked the swift descent and birth of my baby.
He ran upstairs, I sat back onto my coccyx and felt down to the bulge of this baby who was so ready to arrive.
My hand to her head, I said very strongly “FUCK!”, as Isabella watched her mother working hard, my husband sat poised and the midwife said “You can do this”
I did not open my eyes. I sat there with my hands where they needed to be and I simply said, with true conviction “I KNOW.”
The crown of the baby stretched me and her scalp moved into my hands.
Isabella, Jeremy and one midwife moved close to me, hovering over the tub, and Jeremy reached his hands down, as we had planned. His hands cupped mine. Her head emerged into the paleness of the water where the glow of the salt lamp shone and he supported his child’s head as her body slipped out of me. My hands, his hands, the midwife’s hands, all hands inside this water which held such precious new life. And I lifted her onto me.
Slippery, naked, newness was upon my stomach, now deflated, while little nails grasped at my skin. And the smell, oh the smell, of her purity cascading from her crown and filling my every single sense.
Isabella smiled with a smile I have never seen before or since and my space was once again my own as everyone moved backward and I lay in the bathtub of my home in such ecstasy.
I could feel her genitalia.
Hazel had been born.
Within a few minutes the golden halo of Esmee’s sleepy head was at my side and then Ivy too.
My four daughters were together with me and their daddy, witnessing the miracle that is Birth.
I am a mother and a doula. I have lived so much of my life for the journey that is Birth and I have been so incredibly gifted with experiences that have helped me be aware of how stunning these moments can look.
I am not sure exactly why Hazel Rose Pilkington, with her high vibrational spirit body, her gracious fetal body and perfectly incarnated body chose this family but she fits.
She knew that she would and she felt the need to let us know that she was to be expected from a very early stage.
My story will not ring true for everyone and for some they will wonder why so much of the pre-conception and pregnancy is included in what should be an account of the day that a baby was born. But there is relevance; I am thankful for many things in life but to this child, I am thankful for the lesson and proof that when you clear away the crud, you make way for so much good.
When you spring clean your garden beds, you harvest richly.
You make way for a magical experience.
I made way for Pip.
Sian has come to this Earth to work with women in all capacities; as the mother of 4 daughters her beautiful birth experiences propelled her to design her life work around sitting with woman. Birth Doula, Sacred Pregnancy instructor, a mother roaster who is trained in the postpartum arts of ceremony and bengkung belly binding, a practitioner of the healing arts, she believes that Creator aligned her with daughters so that she would take this path with the divine feminine.
Contact her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram @sacredpregnancyyyc