Rebekah's story - jumping through the ring of fire!
At the time when my second son, Michael, was born, 24 years ago, I had been on a spiritual path for many years. I was in the habit of meditating regularly and had learned to trust that sense of ‘guidance’ that I received in deep meditation. During my pregnancy I went to yoga for pregnancy classes with an amazing woman called Francoise. Francoise was an anthropologist who had spent years living with a tribe in the Amazon jungle where she had learned a lot about spiritual midwifery. Francoise really supported us to connect deeply into our bodies during meditation at the end of the class.
Two days before my due date my waters broke. I rushed home and waited for the contractions to begin. They didn’t come. Nothing at all. After several hours I called my NHS midwife and told her what had happened. Quite crossly she said to me, “Oh for goodness sake, go to the hospital immediately, you’ll have to have an induction.” I put the phone down and thought for a bit. Then I called my sister-in-law who is a GP. Again, the message was, “Go to the hospital, you’ll have to be induced.”
I did not like the idea of an induction. When I was a child, my mother and younger brother had nearly died through a badly administered induction – my little brother’s heart stopped beating and they had to be rushed into an emergency caesarean. I did not like the idea of clinical medical intervention in a situation, which was not yet a serious problem. Upstairs in my house, I had a little room set up with a circle of candles and crystals and I went up there to meditate.
Once I reached that place of deep inner stillness, I felt confident that everything was OK. I had a strong sense that my baby was fine, he just needed more time. I went back downstairs to join my mother and my best friend who had come to support me and told them that I felt confident that it was OK to wait and let the birth start naturally. We waited together, the hours passed, every time I got nervous I went upstairs to meditate. Another good friend phoned and again, was insistent that I must go to hospital and have an induction. I knew that this friend, a dear woman, had had an induction with her last birth and it had been quite hellish – days of labour. I knew that all these people were well meaning and cared about me but I knew that I could not rely on their fear-based opinions. After that I told everyone that I would not receive any more phone calls. We tried, several times, to call Francoise but she was out of the house assisting at another birth, (no mobile phones back then!)
As a professional astrologer, I knew that there was a powerful alignment of the planets happening that night. Most importantly, I knew that the Moon had entered the sign of Scorpio and that it was moving in the skies towards a conjunction with Pluto. Pluto is the planet that rules pregnancy and birth but Pluto is also, of course, the lord of Death. I knew that the Moon was going to make the conjunction with Pluto at 8.00 pm and that this period when the Moon was moving towards Pluto was very likely to be challenging.
My mother had been doing her best to support me but in the end, at about 7.30, she burst out with, “Rebekah, what if this baby is choosing to die?” I could see that everyone was feeling afraid and I lost my nerve and said, “OK, I’ll go and get my bag, I’ll go to the hospital.” I went and got my bag, but this all felt terribly wrong to me. I burst into tears and then I suddenly said, “Wait – just wait another 30 minutes, wait until the Moon has got past Pluto. If nothing has happened, then I’ll go to the hospital.”
I went upstairs to my little room, glowing with candlelight but also lit by the presence of a greater light. I sat down to meditate and in my meditation I received a powerful vision. I saw a young man standing in front of a big wheel of fire. He was trying to get up courage to leap through the circle of flames but he still needed more time, he just needed more time…
I sat quietly in the candlelight as the minutes passed. At exactly 5 minutes past 8.00, as the Moon started to separate from Pluto I heard the phone ring. It was Francoise!! When I told her what was happening she said, “Don’t do anything, I am on my way.”
In twenty minutes Francoise arrived. She listened to the baby’s heartbeat, which was fine and steady. To re-assure everyone, she recommended that we go to the hospital to get everything checked out, she would come with me and make sure that I would not get pressurised into doing anything that didn’t feel right. At the hospital a doctor and a midwife did a few checks and said the baby was not in distress and it was OK for me to go back home.
I went home, had a fairly good night’s sleep and woke up – still no contractions. I pottered around making breakfast and suddenly, very quickly, there they were – those intense pains of contraction. My previous birth with my elder son had taken 12 hours so I didn’t think there was any need to hurry. This was very different! We all hurried into the car to drive to the hospital but by the time we got there I could barely get out of the car! I managed to walk into the maternity ward and then suddenly dropped onto my knees – absolutely no choice, had to be on all fours! Everyone else got down on the floor and a nurse crawled along beside me asking questions and trying to fill in a form with my name, address etc.!
With both my births, the key to release was making sounds – and some astonishing deep sounds came from me during Michael’s birth. This was an extremely quick birth, probably less than 3 hours from the start of contractions. Once he got up his courage to jump through that ring of fire, Michael came like a bullet! It turned out that he was posterior – like doing a backwards dive instead of a forwards dive. With a posterior birth, it is extremely difficult for the baby to get out unless the mother is on all fours. If I had been induced I would have been wired up to a drip and unable to get on all fours. Similarly, if I had been in a country like the USA where women are required to give birth with their feet in stirrups, labour would have been a nightmare.
I spent one night in the hospital, in case of any complications. A woman in the bed opposite me had a little boy who was born at almost exactly the same time as Michael. She had been in hospital for a couple of days, had been induced and had an agonising 24 hour birth. The baby was fine, she was now fine, we all get over these things as long as mother and child are healthy. But I was extremely glad that Michael and I had done things our way.
When Michael was 6 years old we went on a trip to the south of France. We pic-nicked by a little mountain pool where all the kids were taking it in turns to jump off a low cliff into the water. Michael was the youngest of the group and I watched him standing on the cliff, trying to get up courage to match the others and jump off. The other kids were very friendly and supportive but Michael ended up howling with frustration because he so wanted to jump but he didn’t have the nerve. I really did not know what to do, how to help him. And then suddenly he jumped! His little face surfaced in the water below absolutely beaming with delight. And immediately I saw it, I saw this energy pattern of a boy who just needs time, just needs time to find his courage and jump. And, of course, as an astrologer I see this in his chart. But it was such a great affirmation of the need to trust the baby – the baby needs to initiate the birth and, if possible, they need to be allowed to do it in their own time in their own way.
I just have a little more to say about this. When Michael was 7 years old I enrolled at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and trained as an energy healer. So I recognise that at the time of Michael’s birth I already had a highly developed sense of inner connection with ‘guidance’. In my decisions to avoid medical intervention I was not coming from my head, this was not an act of defiance or rebellion. If I had sensed that my baby was in trouble I would have gone straight to the hospital. No, this was an act of trust, in my body, in my baby and in the light of ‘The Goddess’ who was there, guiding us through the birth.