Part One of Baby Mermaid’s Birth Story here.

I stopped speaking for a moment.

Then said to your daddy:

My waters just broke.

Are you sure?

I smiled, nodding. I stood up, and as if on cue, there was another rush of water, soaking my chair, soaking my silver-lilac dress.

We grinned giddily at each other.

I guess this is it!

We called our doula Rachel. We called our parents.

The call to my mum and dad was particularly hilarious. They were at their neighbours farm – after the cyclone that hit them that weekend, there was no power, so they were at the neighbours to make use of their generator, use their water pump and have a shower. Dad answered the phone.

Hi Dad, it’s Leonie.

What’s happening?

Not much, I just wanted to let you know my waters have broken.

There is silence, and then I hear him yell “Marrrrilyn!!!” and begin running down the hill to where my mum was standing next to the water pump.

Leonie’s waters have broken!

I hear him say.

My mum replies:

No, the water hasn’t broken. The pump is working fine!

NO! LEONIE’S waters have broken!

There is a pause, and an Oh, she gets on the phone, breathless and teary.

We giggle and murmur and share for a little while. Mama wishes us luck, and we hang up the phone.

We wait for contractions to start. We are giddy and excited. An hour later, around 7pm, I have some lower back pain. I smile inwardly with the ache.

We double check my birth bag is ready to go. We make final preparations.

I check my emails for the last time, bending over our foot stool, belly low, keeping good positioning.

We go to bed, knowing there’s a long night ahead of us so we need to rest. I expect to be woken during the night with contractions, but instead I fall into a deep sleep. In the morning I wake, a little disappointed that labour hasn’t begun yet. I’m excited and want the adventure to start.

I call our doula, and we talk about how they may start back up again now it’s daytime, and that really, it’s a good thing that I’ve got a good sleep behind me.


Dearest darling one, can I tell you now that there is never any use worrying about anything – because you never know what will happen until it happens?

Your birth taught me this, over and over again.

We hang around home that day. I make a huge vegetarian lasagne – my own version of “groaning cake” – the cake you make in labour.

I keep expecting for contractions to start at anytime. But they don’t. There is just stillness, like a breath before a storm comes.

At 7pm that night, I get more lower back pains. They are strong enough just to capture my attention and hold it still for a while. We begin timing them, and they grow stronger and shorter.

And yet, in them, I sense that I’m forcing them. That if I don’t concentrate on them, they will go away. That for whatever reason, it is just not their time.

I fall asleep again, and sleep deeply. I wake up at 3am.

There are no contractions at all. It is now 32 hours since my waters had broken.

I wake Chris, crying.

He tries to calm me down.

Can you feel her still moving hon?

And I cry more.

I don’t know. I think so.

We call our doula.

Can you feel her moving? What is your intuition saying to you? she asks me.

I don’t know. I think I can. But I just don’t know anymore. It might be slight contractions. I don’t know. Everything feels so different now. And I don’t want to just rely on my intuition. What if I screw it up? It’s too big a thing for me to screw up.

She asks me what I want to do, and I decide to call the midwives. I hadn’t called them up until that point because I didn’t want to pushed into an induction too quickly.

I knew most hospitals only allowed 24 hours after waters breaking to induce labour incase of infection to the water bag & baby.

I knew from research that waiting 72 hours didn’t significantly increase the chances of infection, and that 95% of women go into labour by then.

I decided it was time to call them.

I wanted a natural birth, yes, but above and beyond the stars, I wanted my daughter, safe and healthy.

{I’m crying as I write this.}

I called my mum for one last pep talk.

With her soft, soothing voice she said to me:

This is the right choice Leonie. You just want your daughter here. Remember there is God in everything, in birth, and in medicine too. God works through the hands of doctors as well.

I called Ellanita to let her know we would probably be induced that day.

So at 3 am that morning, we found ourselves driving to the hospital.

As we walked in under the starlight, I drew a cross over myself and asked all our ancestors to be there with us, to help us have the birth that you needed.

We met Rachel our doula there, and our midwife ushered us away from the Birth Centre up to the hospital. Now that my labour wasn’t considered normal, we were unable to give birth there.

A little while later, Ellanita turned up. She was too excited to sleep and decided to join us for the hospital adventure check-in.

We went up into the maternity ward. Our midwife checked us over, and warned us that we were likely to be induced at 7am. I prayed again for the best possible outcome.

And he arrived in the form of a doctor. One who looked strikingly like one of my favourite cousins, and had the same gentle, kind energy.

He spoke with us and left the room for a moment, and all of us spoke about how beautiful he was.

He came back and gave us an ultrasound, and we breathed a sigh of relief as we heard your familiar heart beat, steady and strong. He checked our water bag, and you still had plenty to dance in.

Then our doctor said something that was so good, I hadn’t even believed it was a possible outcome.

You and baby are healthy and happy. I believe in you two. I’m happy to let you go home and leave you another 27 hours to see if labour starts. Otherwise, come back in tomorrow morning at 7am and we will induce you.

I am so grateful to that doctor for believing in us, for wanting to give us the most amount of time he could to see if we could have a spontaneous birth.

A month after you were born, we ran into that beautiful doctor again. He cooed over how beautiful you were and I gave thanks to Great Spirit again for blessing us with him that morning. He gave us a big beautiful miracle of time, and of faith that was outside the realm of What Hospital Procedures were.

We drove back home again, scarcely believing our luck.

As dawn broke, I called my mama to let her know. That day, I spoke with my other favourite mama goddess Pixie. I felt broken hearted that birth wasn’t working out the way I planned, and that somehow I was failing you because it wouldn’t be without medication.

Mama, it’s not about the medication,

said Pixie.

This is about bringing a new soul into the world.

Her sage guidance pulled me back into my core. It’s not about the medication. This is something holier and bigger than that. Birth was really about you, dearest one, and trusting that this journey was yours to take.

Pixie went on a journey for me that night,  while I rested and took blue & black cohosh homeopathic remedies.

In her journey, she saw this vision…

I saw you in a traditional hospital lying back, but really angelically, surrounded by your peeps… There was a very faint beeping in the background, which I can only assume was a monitor of some sort… I saw a complete circle around you of people in very flowy clothing all chanting the native words for birth. It was so magical that I joined in and sang and then I fell asleep in a cloud of sage and sweetgrass for about an hour!

Her vision of being surrounded by angelic and ancestral support totally aligned with other visions I had had.

In one, moons earlier, your Daddy and I were standing on the earth, and you were coming down out of the stars, riding my horse Rebble, being helped by your ancestors – my brother, my horse, your great-great Uncle John. And around me and your daddy, there was a horseshoe of all the people who loved us on this planet, and their love for us and for you lit up like runway lights, guiding you down to us. The vision left me dew-eyed with tears at just how loved and supported you were by so many.

And two weeks before my waters broke, my friend Fabeku, a sacred sound shaman, did a distance sound healing session for us. He told me as he did the healing, he saw me & your daddy sitting in a field. Above us there were thousands of stars – and every single one of them was a helper, guide and angel, supporting us and helping you come into the world.


Dearest one, I don’t know how or why, but I know we had thousands of souls helping you be born. Souls on this planet, souls who have already made their rainbow journey, and so very many angel souls. As I hold you in my arms, typing this, my heart fills with the biggest, most luminous swell of gratitude. I don’t know why we were helped so much. I only know we were given a miracle that is you.

Later that afternoon after speaking to Pixie, I managed to get a last minute appointment for acupuncture to see if that would induce it. I couldn’t see our usual lovely blue-eyed man, and instead we had a sweet Chinese girl. She held my wrist calmly.

Baby isn’t far enough down. (And you weren’t – you were still only 3/5ths engaged.)

There is an energy block there. I will help. I don’t think we will be able to get you to go into labour, but this will make it easier tomorrow for you.

She placed needles in my arms, feet and legs. And again you danced, as you always did when we had acupuncture. I was so grateful to feel you so strong and happy inside me.

We drove home, and I told your Daddy that I was at peace. That I had done everything I felt I needed to do. Now it was time for me to let go, and let God.

It was time to trust you were coming into the world the way YOU needed to.

I knew I wouldn’t go into labour that night.

I knew, instead, we’d be going to the hospital to be induced the next day… At exactly the same time and date your Daddy had written in his diary months before.

7 am, Wednesday 24 March 2010.

Read Part Three of Baby Mermaid’s Birth Story here.

love beyond the stars,