Verena and Bobby are excited to welcome their first son Jayden Singh Cheema into this wonderful world. He was born on Thursday the 30th of June 2011 at 3:58 am through a natural home-lotus birth at 41 weeks (49 cm and 3 kg). We are very thankful for the guidance, calmness, support and wisdom we received from our midwife Rachele Meredith. Jayden is an amazing, grounded, alert and healthy child and we are so thankful, overjoyed and blessed to have him in our lives.
Verena Raschke-Cheema and Bobby Singh Cheema are living in Austinmer on the beautiful Illawarra coast. Verena has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences (www.drverena.com) and is very passionate about natural health and wellbeing. She knew from the beginning of her pregnancy that a homebirth would be the ideal way to birth her first child.
My husband Bobby and I decided at the beginning of my pregnancy that we would like to have a homebirth for our first child. With the support and guidance of our midwife Rachele Meredith, I prepared myself well for a natural and safe delivery at home by eating organic, living, nutrient dense whole foods, engaging in pre-natal yoga, listening to guided relaxation CDs, educating myself about the birth process and familiarizing myself with pain management techniques. During the nine months of my pregnancy I learned to listen more to the needs of my body and child, which resulted in slowing down my life. To provide our child with a strong and healthy foundation for life we also decided to aim for a lotus birth, where the umbilical cord stays attached to the placenta until it falls off by itself a few days after birth.
I was already five days overdue (41 weeks) when my husband came home from work. He said to me that our child would not come into this world until we would decide on a name and put it on paper. I thought that this was an interesting point he made as we had decided on a girls name but have never been clear about the name we would give to our child if it would be a boy. So we sat down and I brought up the shortlist of boys names we had gathered over the last months. We decided on the name Jayden Singh Cheema for a boy within the next five minutes. I wrote our final names for a girl or boy down on a nice card and put it on my birthing altar. By doing this ritual we sent the message to our child that we were fully ready for its entry into this world, welcoming it with love and excitement.
On the next day, Wednesday the 29th of June 2011 at 4.00 a.m., I woke up with tension and tightening in my lower abdomen. Those sensations came every hour and continued consistently throughout the day. I felt very excited that something was moving. I observed these mild and hourly contractions all morning and decided at around 10.00 am to call and inform Rachele about it. She told me to keep her updated throughout the day.
I then checked my emails and received a message from my aunt in Austria, a highly qualified Astrologer and Kinesiologist, who has always guided me throughout my passages of life. She mentioned that Cancerian children sometimes feel so comfortable in the womb that often they do not want to come out. To assist our child with his journey into this physical world, she attached an affirmation, which she recommended me to read to the little one in the womb: ’I detach from you mentally. You are ready for your life and we are excited about you entering this world. Life welcomes you with love and joy, so that you can transform all your wonderful experiences that will emerge in front of you.’ I really felt that I received this affirmation at the right time. I kept reading it to our child throughout the whole day as I was convinced it would assist me in speeding up my birthing process.
The day went by quickly after spending it with birthing preparations; resting and calling my mum and my good friend Anja in New Zealand whose son Kailash was born on the 29th of June 2009. We were laughing over the phone and said that it would be funny, if our children would share the same birthday.
Bobby and I had dinner together at around seven o’clock. By that time my contractions came every twenty minutes and I informed Rachele about it. I was sure that I would give birth to our child this night or the next day. I felt that it was the right time to put my birthing necklace on which I created from all the beads I received from all the powerful women around me. The necklace felt wonderful and I enjoyed feeling its female energy which would assist me with my transition to becoming a mother.
Bobby went to bed at nine o’clock to get some rest for the big event. My contractions where too intense to lie down so I spent some time sitting on the floor in front of the couch in the living room. I counted and timed my contractions. They were seven minutes apart and I could really feel the pain wave increasing and peaking. I was able to breath through them and continued with reading my affirmations to our child. I texted Rachele to inform her about the progress and went into the bedroom to tell Bobby that my contractions are coming consistently and becoming more and more intense. He joined me in the living room. Bobby timed the contractions, which started to come every four minutes, and I concentrated on breathing through them with squeezing my stress balls together at the peak while Bobby started to set up the birthing pool. I was very excited that our child had decided to start its journey into this world.
At 11.00 pm the contractions were so intense that I could barely talk through them. I called Rachele and told her to come and join us for the delivery of our child. I was sitting on a firm cushion on the floor, leaning on Bobby’s shoulders and breathing intensely through my contractions. They came so close together that I had to really concentrate on managing the pain I was experiencing at the peaks. Bobby was amazing by coaching me through each contraction with his breath and voice and by giving me a sip of his home made labor aid drink in between to fuel me with energy.
At quarter to twelve Rachele arrived. She set herself up very quietly and honored my birthing space. I continued on the floor for another hour with the help of my husband and then felt the need to try out the pool. Rachele and Bobby helped me to undress and step into it. The water was too cold for me and as I asked for a top up with warm water Bobby told me that our hot water tank had ran out of warm water. Rachel and Bobby started to warm up hot water on the stove and toped up the pool. In the meantime I tried to get comfortable. I thought that the water would decrease the pain, however, the peak of my contractions were almost overwhelming. The fluctuation of the water temperature irritated me and made it difficult to relax. Inside of me I knew that I could do this and made this slogan my new mantra. I turned more and more inwards and started to communicate with our child on a very deep level about its descending journey.
Bobby continued to assist me with managing my contractions through deep breathing and told me again and again to relax deeply. Rachele told me that everything was slowing down and she would recommend stepping out of the water. Bobby and Rachel assisted me in getting out of the pool. At this point I thought that I could not continue, as the intensity of my contractions was just incredibly strong. It felt so good to hold Rachele’s hands when stepping out of the pool. Her strong female energy was flowing through my body. I asked Rachel how I am doing and she said: ‘Verena you are doing so well.’ This was not really what I wanted to hear at this stage. A precise answer was more what I was after. I wanted to know exactly at which stage of my labor I was.
Rachele thought that it would be a good idea to go for a walk outside and have a chat with Bobby. I told her that this was the last thing I could do right now. After two more contractions outside the pool, Rachele recommended me to go to the toilet to empty my bladder to speed up my labor again. Bobby assisted me in putting on a shirt and walked me to the toilet after another contraction had passed.
I emptied my bladder and started to feel the urge to push. It was the most intense feeling I had ever experienced. I continued to use my voice and made very loud ‘Ah’ sounds while pushing which helped me to relax my cervix. I was sure that all the neighbors would wake up from my screaming, as it was early in the morning. Rachele told me continuously to breath through the contractions slowly as the urge to push the baby out at once was so intense. I was tied to the toilet seat with my arms pushing towards the walls and after 4 pushes the top of our child’s head emerged. The excitement in me was so high as I knew we would meet our angel very soon. After 3 more pushes Rachele recommended me to change the position. As it was impossible for me to stand up and get on all fours, I squatted down with Bobby sitting behind me and supporting me under my arms. Rachele said that I should concentrate on the next push now and push the baby out. I really pushed hard this time and when the head wanted to go inside again I let go fully.
In the next minute our child was born into the arms of Rachele. My heart was filled with so much joy, pride, love and respect for my body and our baby. We did it! I was a mother! Rachele passed the little one into my arms and I put him towards my heart to signal that the birthing process was over. After a nine-hour labor our son Jayden arrived safely and healthy into this world. I was looking up to Bobby and could see tears rolling down his cheeks. We were both overwhelmed by the amazing miracle that had just unfolded in front us.
Bobby and Rachele helped Jayden and me to the couch where I bonded with our son. In the next hour I delivered the placenta, which we put in a colander to drain well. Jayden stayed attached to the placenta for four days after the birth until the umbilical cord detached itself during an afternoon nap. We are truly thankful for this empowering, enriching and guided rite of passage that we experienced.