The female body is an amazing thing. And our mind is an amazing instrument. With my body producing natural pain relief, I was able to manage the labour pain through vocalization and breathing. I was in the zone, like I was on drugs, natural drugs produced by my body. I had no inhibition. I just went with it and surrendered myself completely. I remember even having a little chuckle to myself of happiness when I had a break from my contraction. I believe surrendering myself to the natural process is what got me through labour.
My Birth Story by Mei and Troy:
My nine months of pregnancy went by very quickly. Our knowledge of the medical/pregnancy/labour landscape was minimal, and we felt that we didn’t really need to know that much as we trusted the “system”. But, I knew that I wanted a natural birth, or a crack at a natural birth. I didn’t know why. I just thought why would I do it any other way?
So, I did a lot of research and attended private birth classes. I did yoga twice a week and swam at least four times a week, which I believe helped with optimal positioning of the baby. As my pregnancy progressed, I started to learn more and more about hospital protocols and how interventions can affect the birth of my baby. It was with all the knowledge that I gained that I knew that it was important for me to have a natural birth, to give my baby the best start to life. We decided to hire a doula to support us, in which she helped me prepare for my birth mentally and physically. And she also drove us to the birth center coz we didn’t have a car. Bonus.
I woke up at 5 am with two very strong contractions which were pre-labour contractions. I tried not to panic and decided that I would continue my day as usual. That morning, I swam as much as I could. Well, I didn’t really swim much. I just floated and walked around the pool. The contractions were not painful but enough for me to know that they were there. While at the pool, I repeated mantras (“cervix open, baby down”) to prepare myself mentally.
As the day went by, the contractions started getting stronger and stronger. By late afternoon, I wanted to take my dog for a walk, but didn’t make it very far as the contractions were more intense by then. Suddenly, I knew I had to get home and eat dinner to help me get through a long labour. Hubby started to cook some dahl and curry. While going through more intense contractions and looking at the mess he was making, I started to get agitated. I told him to stop fussing with too many dishes and just cook the damn dahl and be done with it. I also wanted my dog to be picked up so I knew everything at home is ready to go. At that point, I felt I could progress along with my labour.
My dog was picked up and the kitchen cleaned. Eventually, I had a bloody show and started shaking in fear at the sight of the amount of blood that stained my pad. We were told by midwife that it was normal. I calmed myself. Reminding myself not to be taken over by fear that produces adrenaline. Breathe in, breathe out.
My contractions were not consistent. They were between a minute and a half to two minutes long with thirty seconds to one minute break. It was 8pm when I checked in with our doula and I was still doing fine with the support of my husband. From then onwards, I had no idea how time had passed and I still didn’t feel that I was in real labour. I had all my clothes off and was moaning and using all the techniques I learned to manage the labour pain. I still didn’t feel the need to head over to the birth center as yet.
Until the point where I felt a huge need to really push at around 12 am. And I couldn’t believe that it was happening. At that point, I think husband had already called my doula and she was on her way. When my doula came in, I was going through a contraction where I was roaring like a lion, throwing my head back to front, and left to right. She knew that it was time. So, off we went as I put on whatever clothes my husband can get me into. The car ride was long, it was about 30 minutes. I had four or five contractions in the car and felt that my labour did slow down a little. Maybe it didn’t, I am not quite sure.
When we arrived at the birth center, I really wanted to get into the spa pool to use water to help me manage the enormous pain. My lovely midwife led me to the spa pool where it was dark with a few tea lights. I remembered thinking how serene the atmosphere was and I immediately felt relaxed and calm.
I laboured in the pool for two hours to three hours before I birthed my child. Those last hours were the longest in my life. At one point, I thought if this baby doesn’t come out soon, I am going to get very tired and I may not make it. During the pushing stage, my doula and midwife encouraged and helped me get into different positions to most effectively push.
The female body is an amazing thing. And our mind is an amazing instrument. I remembered repeating my mantras to myself and breathing to help me manage the enormous pain that was just taking over my entire body. With my body producing natural pain relief, I was able to manage the labour pain through vocalization and breathing. I remember repeating mantras to myself. I was in the zone, like I was on drugs, natural drugs produced by my body. I had no inhibition. I just went with it and surrendered myself completely. I remember even having a little chuckle to myself of happiness when I had a break from my contraction. I believe surrendering myself to the natural process is what got me through labour.
My midwife told me to reached down to touch my baby’s head. I did that and then realized that my water was still intact. I needed to break my water to make it easier for the baby to come through. I started to focused on really trying to break the water. Next thing I know, I felt this tight and tingling sensation and knew that the baby was coming. Using each of my breath as effectively as I can, I pushed. And oh what a relief when his head was out!
Then I rested as we gave him time to turn his shoulders. I was told to give a gentle push so I wouldn’t tear to birth the rest of him out. My push was so gentle, it didn’t do anything. So I tried just a little bit harder and out he came. But, wait a minute, my water sack still did not break. My baby was technically born in the caul which is a really rare occasion. The midwife removed it from him, and placed my baby on my chest. He was born at 3.59 am.
I remembered my baby’s eyes on me. He didn’t cry. He just looked at me and then he slowly started to crawl to feed. I cannot describe what the experience is like. But it was the most amazing thing I have ever done and could ever do. My connection with my son is so strong because of this experience. I will cherish it forever.
I really couldn’t have done this without the support of my husband. He trusted me. He had faith that I could do this. And having my doula and my amazing midwife that allowed me to birth in water despite the fact that it was against hospital protocol. I had the best team of people that supported me during my labour.
All the stars were aligned that early morning. It was the most beautiful birth anyone could have and it was better than I had planned. I only tore slightly and required no stitches. I had the water birth that I wanted, with no interventions. Any my baby was born in the caul and is completely healthy, what more could I want?
Mei and Troy