Reflections on my empowering birth

I trusted and believed in myself and allowed and accepted others to help me. I listened to the inner voice and following that. I also learned to be open minded and acceptant as things don’t always go according to the plan, and when change of plans needed to happen, being at peace with it…….

This couple shared their personal reflections of the birth experience and their preparation leading up to it….read on

My husband Shane and I met Erika for the fist time at one of her birth ready workshops that we signed up for few weeks before our baby was due. At that weekend, both of us realized what is actually about to happen when it’s time for our baby to be born. At the first moment, I think we both panicked a little and then after a chat on our way home we realized that we really liked Erika and the idea of having her as a doula at the birth.

Our philosophy was that parents to be usually spend huge amount of money on “baby stuff” and for us it was more important to keep the memory of our first baby being born as the most amazing experience of our life. So from there on we got to meet with Erika and learn more about each other. We shared what’s important to us during the birth and where we see her as the biggest asset during this process. I’m sure for many first time mums who went through labor there could never be anything to prepare you for the intensity and strength your body gets to experience. I was no different. When the “Heavy” times came, having Erika right there with soft kind words, knowing what to massage and press to make the experience little bit less intense was amazing. Encouraging my chanting, breathing and even singing at one point, which was helping me to get through some strong contractions. Being able to accept fully that kindness and support has been huge personal step for me. Also empowering Shane to be fully present and there for me the whole 20 hours cannot be put into words.

We were never more in love as we are now and have never had more understanding and respect for each other during our entire 10 years of relationship. You played a huge role in this thanks to your support and presence at Jake’s birth. Simply, Erica you are incredible in what you do as well as human being and anyone should have you by their side. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I’m forever grateful.

Their feedback about the journey with their doula:

1. What are you proud of with regards to your birth preparation and birth experience?

I’m really glad that I continued my yoga practice during my pregnancy that allowed me to become so much more aware of myself and my body and teaching me how to be in touch within myself. Also following my instincts to decide what vitamins or supplements my body needed to grow this precious little life inside of me. Sticking just to pure natural product like spirulina and very healthy diet was all I needed to bring a healthy beautiful boy to this world. Plus Coconut Oil for the tummy was a miracle as there is not a one stretch mark on it ☺

2. During this process what new skills/aspects about yourself have you learnt?

Trusting and believing in myself and also allowing and accepting others to help me. Listening the inner voice and following that. I also learned to be open minded and acceptant as things don’t always go according to the plan and when change of plans needed to happen, being in peace with it.

3. Is there anything you would like to do differently next time you are pregnant / give birth / parent?

Take the pressure of myself for wanting to be perfect and do the perfect things at all time. Just taking it bit more easy and having more “me time”

4. What were the benefits in having doula support?

For example: As being said over many conversations having you Erika as our doula was the best decision of our entire relationship existence. The support, calmness, peace and guidance you brought to both Shane and I was priceless and will forever stay with me and I’m sure Shane feels the same way. Helping us to make decisions when the crunch time came, explaining things and suggesting ways to move forward, non of that would be without you. Knowing that Shane had your guidance and support as much as I did was really important to me too. Also your contributions with advice and meditations before the birth of our little baby I found really helpful and priceless. I’ll talk about doula services to anyone who will want to listen as I can’t imagine doing this without you. In preparing for birth At the birth In knowing my options and making informed choices For my partner Regarding preparation for life with my baby.

5. 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)

It was all pretty awesome! Don’t change a thing

Their birth experience:

How did you feel in anticipation of becoming a parent? Excited, nervous, not really knowing too well what to expect.

What was your birth philosophy and intentions/plan? Keeping it as natural as possible and give my baby a chance to come to this world in the most peaceful and natural way

What work had you done in preparation for labour? Keeping healthy and active during my pregnancy, practicing yoga and meditations, chanting. Also finding out alternative ways of giving birth as suppose to stick to what we were told in the hospital. This gave us better understanding of what to expect and how the system works.

How did labour start? What were you doing, thinking, feeling? My labour had to start with induction as our baby didn’t really want to make the move 16 days past his due date. I was very anxious about the whole process of induction. I was feeling scared and helpless. Fortunately this changed as my labour progressed and I wasn’t forced to use synthetic Oxytosin to bring on contractions. So at least that way I kept some part of natural birth. What happened during your labour and birth experience? After sleepless night once being induces and experiencing numbed right side of my body from bottom into my legs and pain in my stomach my labour started in the early morning. During the day the intensity of the pain increased a lot. I was trying to stay active and move around as much as possible. Drinking a lot and not much food was. Erika came to join us around 2pm when my contractions became quiet strong. Thanks to Erika, Shane, breathing and trying to stay in my body I managed to get through the pain. Showers, chanting, massages and soft talk from both helped so much. By midnight however I felt so exhausted that when it came to the pushing stage I didn’t find enough strength to get our baby out on my own. Vacuum was used to help me out.

What where your thoughts and feelings at particular points along the way? It was an emotional roller coaster from thinking that I can do it and being positive and in my body to giving up and begging for pain relieve. At the end I ended up using some gas.

Who was there and how did your birth team support you or not support you? Shane was incredible support and so strong and there for me the whole time as I needed him. Erika was amazing, calming, experienced in how to sooth pain, meditations, kind words, her wonderful presence …

What personal challenges did you face along the way? Being totally dependent on Shane, Erika, and the medical team at the end to get to the end of my labour. Loosing my fate that I can do it as some instances.

What personal strengths are you proud of and want to acknowledge? Staying with my breath as much as possible, using what I learned in my yoga classes to stay in my body. Being able to be very vocal without giving a shit. Being proud of accepting help and getting the medical team do their job when I was no longer capable. Were there parts of your birth that you are disappointed about or have questions still unanswered regarding yourself, others, the environment, options One question would be why my labour didn’t start naturally but I guess there is no answer to that.

What would you do differently if there were a next time? Not sure, I feel Shane and I were both happy with our choices at the end How might your baby have experienced the birth? Quiet peacefully until the very end when it all turned and he had to be pulled out and had breathing problems which ended up with huge number of people rushing around him, making sure he is ok. This must have caused him a lot of distress and being in special care from there on for 3 days wasn’t what I wanted for him. At the same time, it was the right thing to do and we both made sure we were around him as much as possible from there on.

What was that moment like when you met your baby? Seeing him being out for the first time was just incredible and so relieving. I couldn’t stop crying and holding onto Shane really tight. And then the doctors took over. At that stage I felt quite calm as I knew they are doing what needs to be done to make sure he is ok. I felt so proud of Shane and I for getting life to this incredible little creature.

How do you and your partner feel towards each other by having shared the birth experience? Like being in love all over again with all much more intensity. There is so much more love, understanding, appreciation and respect for each other. This surely was the most challenging and amazing thing we’ve ever done together.