It was a tale of two births….
This is the awesome birth.
Often people are quick to share their stories of birth if they haven’t gone well. I understand this, it’s good to talk and release, it can help us to heal and we need to heal and show ourselves compassion.
However on the flip side those people that had a fantastic birth experience shy away from telling their birth stories, fear of coming across as smug perhaps? Concern over sharing and making another women feel negatively about her birth. It’s a tough one because we need to hear and reinforce the way birth can be for a woman in a positive way. We have different experiences based on our individual circumstances and in my case I had two very different births.
I’m going to start by sharing my second birth which was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Yes THE BEST. Better than my wedding day, better than standing under a waterfall at Milford Sound in New Zealand. THE BEST.
I knew what I was capable of. I prepared and planned. I gave it a lot of focus because my first birth experiences was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done and did not go well.
My contractions started around midnight, I thought I’d try to sleep still but I couldn’t so I told my husband I was going downstairs. When he casually said “OK. let me know if you need me” and stayed in bed I took my first empowered action and said “Yes, I do, I want you with me”. I wanted a very different experience to my first and I needed to know my birth partner was with me, physically and mentally. If he’d stayed in bed I would have felt alone and unsupported, this birth needed to be different in every aspect.
We put a comedy on TV to watch to pass the time and keep my oxytocin flowing, in between I’d be breathing through contractions, hubby timed the contractions. I was pretty tired so I put my headphones in and started listening to one of the KG hypnobirthing relaxation tracks I’d been listening to every evening for the second half of my pregnancy. Within a few minutes lying on the sofa I was asleep. Waking up at the end of the audio 50 minutes later! I’ve no idea if I was contracting or not, I was in a deep sleep however I suspect my whole body rested. As I woke up and started moving around contractions started again.
I was very aware that I wanted to remain moving, again something else I teach in my classes and I was also very aware that my son, then 3 years old was in bed asleep. I didn’t really want to give birth whilst he was in the house so I was quite happy with the pace labour was taking which was slow and steady.
After a while my husband suggested playing scrabble. I am a geek who loves scrabble! Haha! My oxytocin (love hormone) must’ve had a good surge at this point. “Yay! My hubby is a genius he must know me so well, I feel so loved, etc etc” So I continue to feel loved and like he’ll do anything for me… the best mindset to be in when it comes to our birth partner. Labour continued, I’d pause playing the game when a contraction came, I was mostly on all fours using a dining chair to lean on, I would relax my entire body and breathe the gentle and powerful Golden Thread breathing technique I teach in my classes. I felt very in confident knowing what my body was doing and why and I had no doubts about what my body was capable of.
I’d like to note on record that despite being in labour I still won the game of scrabble and the words on the board seemed to be a reflection of the vibe I was channelling! 😉
This is the actual game! (N.B Womb, exit, quiet, golden, grace, jaws and hubby’s contribution – Tits!)
After scrabble I wanted another nap so again I put my headphones in and had another 50 minute nap on the sofa!
When I woke up, contractions became more intense I recall speaking to the midwife on the phone to say I’m going to need someone here soon. I’d tried to use a tens machine I’d borrowed only hubby had brought the wrong pads so instead of helping me like they had during my first labour I was getting an electric shock! Not helpful hubby, NOT helpful! Haha! Luckily I went back to using my breath and I focused on my vision board, images and affirmations designed to encourage and help me. I also had been gifted with a birthing pebble and a birthing necklace which was part of a ceremony and had a lot of significance. This gave me knowledge of the connection I had with other women, those that had birthed before me and those that would birth in the future. I appreciate this bit may be a bit woo for you! Anyway it made me feel loved and supported, grounded and strong.
When I was entering transition and starting to get apprehensive, I made use of an homeopathic childbirth kit which someone had kindly lent to me, I’d looked at the kit a couple of times before and made a note of a few I thought I may need and why. I started to take these based on what I was feeling, for example, fear or sudden doubt or worry about mine and my baby’s safety in labour. It’s a great kit!
My son woke up and I was relieved because in the nicest possible way I wanted him out of the house so I would feel less inhibited. I was holding my own progress back because I didn’t want to be concerned about him whilst in the last stages of labour. The plan was for hubby to drop him off with family so they could take him to nursery. Lucky for us they live a couple of roads away. Hubby told him his baby brother was coming today and that I was downstairs. He came down the stairs and said “Mummy is my baby brother coming today?” I said something like “Yes Sweetheart.” whilst breathing through another contraction. He said “Ok, I love you mummy” and came over to give me a kiss. Man, my heart melts just thinking of that moment!
When hubby returned home 10 minutes later I told him he needed to start filling the birthing pool. He doubted me and thought it was too soon. I was very firm and told him it wasn’t too soon and he needed to start filling it NOW. I KNEW. I KNEW WHAT MY BODY WAS TELLING ME. No one else can feel what you feel, I felt it was nearly time. It takes a while to fill a birthing pool and I wanted to him to get started.
When the midwife came an hour or so later I was dehydrated as I hadn’t drunk enough so I drank water and within 30 minutes I went to the loo two or three times. The last time as I was crouched over the loo, an almighty ROWRRR sound came out of me, I felt myself fully dilate and I panicked thinking I was about to give birth to my baby in the downstairs loo!! The midwife made a quick call saying something that must’ve been code for “Someone get your arse here now or I’ll be delivering this baby on my own!” She was excellent, so professional and calm as my husband and I did the slowest shuffle into my dining room where the birthing pool was set up.
In the pool my head was mostly resting on the side as I was on all fours. Occasionally I had a wet flannel on my head to cool me down and a sip of water through a straw. I feel like the time I was in the birthing pool was about 20 minutes however it was over 2 hours. My husband was a constant support, telling me how amazing I was, telling me I could do this, I was doing so well etc
I’m not sure how to describe this time… it was intense, it was powerful, it was gentle, it was slow and calm, it was strong, it was hot! It was incredible. I can’t say I gently breathed my baby down like some people might, yes I did “push”, it’s what my body wanted me to do. Other than the one primitive noise I made when I’d fully dilated the rest of the time I was just focused on my breathing, in through my nose and slowly out through my mouth.
The second midwife arrived at some point and was there right at the very end. Perfect timing. The first midwife told me when he was nearly out and asked if I wanted to touch his him but I didn’t want to at that point, she said how wonderful he looked and how this was such a gentle amazing birth to watch. Shortly after he was out and I turned as he was scooped up and onto my chest. He cried in my face and it was the best sound I’ve ever heard, I laughed and I cried. I had done it and he was here. I loved him instantly, all the hormones were there I’d not had after my first birth. We had done it. I knew this was really special, I knew this is the kind of experience more women should have.
This was two years ago. 4th August 2016. This was the birth experience that had healed my first.
I’m incredible proud of myself and the journey I went on before this wonderful experience. It’s all brought me where I am now and it has truly made me appreciate even more how women are courageous and how we have more power than we realise. Not just in birth but in life.
So, wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people shared their empowering, positive, “I rocked my birth” kind of stories. What impact could that have on other generations of women that will give birth in the future? Instead of fearing birth we’re ready to embrace it alongside the knowledge we’ve sought to support that belief. We have innate wisdom yet we also need to tap into the ancient knowledge that our women folk would have passed down from generation to generation which we have lost in more recent times. We are designed for birth. We are gentle warriors with so much untapped power.
Thank you for reading and I hope this inspires.