What important parts of myself did I discover during my birth?
That I am stronger than I like to think I am!!!!
Greta shares some reflections about her preparation and experience of birthing her baby boy at 36 weeks gestation at the Royal Women’s Hospital. I felt a huge honour to be witness to her birthing process and to be a helpful person in the midst, and to see her partner by her side, devoted and un-waivering in his support.
I went into labour unexpectedly at 36 weeks, and given that I felt like I still had a lot of preparation to do (mental and physical) I think I did really well. Next time, I hope to be able to trust myself enough to follow my gut, no matter what it is in relation to.
What do I want to acknowledge myself for about my birth preparation and experience?
I went into labour unexpectedly at 36 weeks, and given that I felt like I still had a lot of preparation to do (mental and physical) I think I did really well.
I did prenatal yoga weekly from 20 weeks up until 35 weeks. Every Friday morning I connected with my body and baby.
I spent the entirety of my labour in the hospital. I had a lot of monitoring and suggestions for intervention. Despite this, I handled the contractions really well for most of my labour. And I avoided a lot of intervention! The intervention I did have, I don’t regret. I don’t feel like I was robbed of a ‘natural’ birth experience. I feel proud of what I achieved.
After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 31 weeks, I maintained a really healthy diet and exercised daily. I think the daily walking that I did (usually 40mins / day) helped increase my fitness and stamina which helped get me through my long labour.
What important parts of myself and birth did I learn about during my time with Erika?
That I am stronger than I like to think I am!
Is there anything I would like to do differently next time I am pregnant / give birth / parent?
Yes! I would like to focus more on relaxation throughout my entire pregnancy, and connecting with my body and baby.
On a practical level, I would like to do more visualisations on the pushing stage of labour. I did lots of visualisations throughout pregnancy but focused on the contractions – i would imagine the contractions coming on, and breathing through them and imagine being able to be strong throughout them. I think this really helped me get through the first stage of labour. I think it would also help with the second stage.
Finally, and most importantly I want to trust that gut feeling. I experienced it when I was persuaded to have antibiotics during labour. My gut said it wasn’t right. Erika even asked me “what does your instinct say?” but I over road that feeling. Next time, I hope to be able to trust myself enough to follow my gut, no matter what it is in relation to.
What were the benefits in having doula support?
I truly felt that Erika truly believed in my body’s ability to birth naturally. In preparing for the birth Erika offered lots of practical tips on birth preparation (massage, relaxation) and also provided emotional support for that exciting yet scary time before birth!
During the birth I felt that Erika supported me the whole way through, for example by offering food and drinks when I needed them, and suggesting different positions during different stages of the labour, and most importantly, providing valuable advice when intervention was being pushed on me by the hospital staff. I didn’t feel at any stage through the labour that Erika was trying to push any ‘agenda’ on me, it truly felt that she was there believing in me and supporting me (and thom!).
Is there anything I would like my doula to offer, or do differently, that may improve her support for me, or others? (refer to the list above)
Nothing that I can think of. I feel that the support you gave me was spot on for us.