Our birth story…
What I learnt throughout this birth of our first child Émanuel (Manu for short), was that for the rest of my life starting now, things may not go as I plan because there is another spirit on this life ride with me.
I felt very strong going into my labour knowing I had prepared myself in such a powerful way:
1 – We are a partnership that meditates together so I was carrying no feelings with me to labour that were not useful. 2 – We practiced hypnobirthing like champions from perineal massage to breathing exercises daily.
3 – I felt healthy and strong.
4 – I had a kick ass doula team.
5 – I was full of Ina Mays positive birth stories and my meditation was surrounded with images of pink flowers blossoming. 😍
In the end these elements of preparation saved me and my labour because parts of birth were harder that I ever imagined.
Day one was beautiful — I felt the contractions begin in the night and kept sleeping to contain my strength, but the excitement made me smile in my sleep. By 7:30pm I felt my water break and was so thrilled to experience this part as well — so was my dog haha. Then the contractions got closer and closer (1 min), like textbook and my doula came over and intensity rose and we went to the hospital — ps that was the worst car ride ever. Unfortunately I was not dilating — only 2 cm. So why were my contractions so close together and so painful? How much longer could I do this for? They offered me induction and morphine — we dug from our preparation kit the strength and knowing that my body and my baby were in control (although I was hoping they would hurry up) and we went home.
The ultrasound I had to get next day (because my water broke) told me the baby was posterior — even after all I did to ensure great positioning. My contractions were still 1-3 minutes apart and this is now going on 30 hours. My thoughts are that my uterus was trying to shift my baby because he was not in the ideal positioning for birth. My doula brought a tens machine to relieve my back pain and that is when I realized what a contraction actually felt like — I could feel the sensations in my tummy now and not my back. What I thought was a contraction was actually back labour and I felt like a part of me was having the experience of labour taken away from me — I could tell with thoughts like that, that I was getting defeated — no sleep — intense pain — tired.
Then the baby turned and amazing — contractions felt like contractions, back labour was gone and we were on day 3!!! yikes I know, but shockingly doable —
In the end it was 67 hours of contractions that ranged from 1 minute apart and lasting a minute to subsiding on day 2 to 8-12 minutes apart. This normally would have scared the crap out of me as a pregnant mom if I was hearing this story — but holy hell are you a powerful person when labouring. I cracked jokes the whole way and constantly felt proud of myself for being able to do what I was doing.
Labour was here and we were back at the hospital — I used my hypnobirthing for the first 2 hours that I was 10 cm dilated and my room was cozy and dark with tea lights, a salt lamp, my playlist, hubby and doula — how supported! But my uterus was tired and not working so well anymore — he wasn’t moving down my path and I needed to push hard or they would interfere — again I feel defeated — they want to vacuum him out — hell no I thought and with my doula and amazingly patient doctor – DR Johnson — we tried multiple positions for another 3 hours and I got him out just as he wanted to come, and my bottom in tact — not a tear, thank you perineal massage and endless visualization of my blossoming birth path. And here is my boy, just as he intended to come.
I had to have my placenta manually removed after that, when my uterus quit completely — that was awful and the drugs they put you on even worse. But by far the most dream crushing was that I couldn’t hold my baby yet — the long labour sent him to NICU to assist stimulation and I was too drugged up to get to him until after this placenta delivery. This was only an hour or 2 — but it was the hardest part of the last three days.
A few hours later I was able to hold my son and kiss him and feed him and love him and begin the routine of wanting to be near him forever and ever.
I spent weeks after Manu was born wondering what I could have done to make it easier — I wanted it to be so beautiful and yet I was left feeling sad that it was so long and difficult and that my uterus was such a bum. Why didn’t I work harder on getting him in a good position? Why couldn’t I have just hypnobirthed until he was out? Why did I have to push so hard at the end? Why didn’t he just move down? Why did my uterus quit? Why couldn’t he have just stayed on my chest? Did I do something wrong?
Now I know this…
I prepared myself in the best way possible. I readied my body and my mind to be strong and to lay witness to just how powerful my body and my baby were going to be during labour and to know I am just a vessel that is keeping all this power safe on its journey. Was I strong enough to do that? — yes — and did my baby come as he intended a healthy and strong baby boy? — yes.
I know I am thankful for the medical system who was able to assist my labour in ways my body couldn’t and how that didn’t interfere with birth. I may have missed the initial hour of skin to skin time with my baby, but who is kidding, as a breastfeeding mom who refuses to wash that many baby outfits we are basically naked all day long together anyway — until company comes over — so we have well made up for our missed hour of skin to skin.
My story may not be one that eases many minds about labour, but what I hope all women know when labour begins is … however hard it is… you are just, and I mean just, that tiny bit stronger and therefore you remain so very able to labour and birth your baby.
My first feelings after I held my son and bawled my face off, was … I am amazed at just how doable that was — it was my max, but never more than that — women are legit superhuman.
💪 + ❤️ = 😀
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