Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Journey to a Birth

After sharing the last decade with you I thought I'd really like to share Yuna's birth with you.
A kind of completion. A letting go. A wish. A journey.
This is the very first edition of Yuna's Birth story. I wrote it a few months after she was born and died. It was healing to see it written on paper and out of my head. I still have so many different perspectives of the birth but this was my first impressions. The most important I think.

I have since rewritten it because I had to present my story at the Australian College of Midwives Conference as a member of the Maternity Coalition. I'll post this version in a separate post. It was accompanied by a slideshow which I really want to include. I'm still working out how to get it from there to here.

~Journey To A Birth~

We had arranged for just the two of us to spend the day snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and spend the night at a hotel for DP’s birthday. We got back from our day out and had a bubble bath amongst other things before we headed out to dinner. I’d had quite a few drinks and was feeling pretty good. This was the night our third baby was conceived. I knew almost instantly but still got a surprise when I officially noticed I was pregnant. We were definitely not expecting another baby so soon! A blessing all the same.

This was an opportunity to really jump in headfirst and tackle my feelings about birth and how I had experienced birth with my other children. This pregnancy was so completely different from the other two, which were quite similar. I was also so excited to be having a spring baby. A few weeks in and I was as sick as a dog. I was prepared for such an easy ride third time around. I was in for quite a shock. I suffered hideous all day sickness and migraines that lasted well past 16 weeks. It was such a relief to be free from that.

I had decided very early on this was going to be an awesome birth. I was going to do everything I could for my baby and avoid the trauma I had experienced in my other births. I worked hard emotionally to be at a place of peace before I birthed. I looked after myself and was super excited to be welcoming another baby into our family and the opportunity to do it the right way. I was blessed to have such wonderful support.

My pregnancy this time after the initial hurdles was pretty uneventful, just the way it should be. I learnt to let go and just enjoy it. I focused on my responsibility to myself and to my growing baby without all the external influence. It was such an empowering feeling to be totally autonomous. I did my research and began to prepare for the birth. I was so in touch with my own body and my intuition. I felt so wonderful to be so close to my baby. I had always handed that over to someone else. I felt like I really knew this baby.

I eliminated negative energy from those surrounding me and just went within myself. This was my birth. It was an intense few months of accepting and taking responsibility for myself. It was difficult letting go of that medical model even though I knew it served no purpose in my life. I was so used to being in that sort of environment with work, so I gave it up. This in itself was a wonderful step.

As I neared the end of my pregnancy I was so sure this baby would be born on a full moon and my birthday, exactly 39 weeks. The same as my other two children. That day came and went. Nothing about this pregnancy was predictable.

I was so ready. I had everything from my numerous lists. I had a place for everything. DP was ready and excited. DS was thrilled he’d get to swim in the pool soon! So now it was just waiting and waiting and waiting…

I thought I was in labour at one stage but it turned out to be nothing so back to waiting. I was drinking ‘wild woman’ tea like it was going out of fashion.

I was 41+4 or 5 and the kids were driving me bonkers. DS was home on school holidays and extremely bored. I decided we should go to the beach for a play, with the intention of wearing them out completely! I met up with a friend who was also going to be at the birth for support. We let the kids run wild whilst I munched on rice crackers and looked out to sea. I had that familiar ‘cant sit still’ feeling. I was so used to waking up everyday and still being pregnant I thought I might just stay that way.

I had planned on making honey joy’s that afternoon. I was craving them, turns out I never got to make them! We headed home and just relaxed. I was wandering all over the house with butterflies in my stomach I was so excited. I had some more tea and came to the conclusion that I was definitely in labour. It was all so calm. Such a different experience. I was blown away with the feelings of excitement and achievement even before I’d really done anything. I think it was also a place of acceptance. I remember walking around the house thinking, “I’m going to have my baby here, I don’t need to go anywhere!” I was in touch with DP who said he’d be home fairly early. I chatted with the friend I’d spent the day with and she offered to come over and help set up. I am an organisational freak, truly! I had a place for everything.

It was about 4 in the afternoon when I declared myself in early labour.

She arrived and I was just so excited, almost child like. It was really happening. She started washing the pool out and I pottered around inside putting my crystals and herbs out. We put my birth posters up all around the pool, set up the couch with blankets and made the place ready for a joyous birth.

DP arrived home to see us out the front in the driveway with the pool. He looked excited! There was a real buzz in the air. My parents were looking after the kids inside and getting them ready for bed. I came inside and did some rocking between contractions. I watched the children playing around me and it all seemed so normal. This is what it’s all about. I was preparing to give birth and my children played happily around me.

DP and my father talked hoses and attachments at the sink while I sat on my ball. Things were heating up now. I have no concept of time from about this point. I was just so relaxed. I know it was dark but not late enough for the kids to be in bed. J

My salt lamp glowed and I just took it all in, breathing deeply. My friend sat near me and just watched. That’s all I needed.

I don’t remember when we started filling the pool, possibly soon after DP arrived home but I do remember it was absolute bliss and ready exactly when I needed it. Ahhhhh the joys of hot water on a heavy pregnant belly. I always thought it was a bit nutty when people said the pool is really good pain relief. Now I know why!

I was rocking along, in and out of the pool just going with it. Surrendering to birth. I was open and relaxed. DS was eager to get in with me so he gets his towel and slips in behind me with his underwater torch that flashes 3 different colours. He had a great time shining it at my bum! After he gets bored with this he goes off to bed, very content that he got to swim in the pool!

It was getting late and another friend had a pretty long drive to get to me so she was called and asked if she’d like to come.

I tried the ball, which was working in early labour, but it didn't feel right. I decided to get back in the pool and that feeling of submersion is awesome. I was a royal queen in that I had someone fanning me, placing hot towels on my back and serving me water. This was how birth was supposed to be!

I don’t know when but things started getting tough. I needed to focus.

I was tired and hot and cold and uncomfortable and these contractions take you someplace else. I spent a lot of time in the pool on my knees using the side for support. DP and my support team were really getting me through. I was getting to the point where you think what the fuck am I doing? This is insane! They held me, looked me in the eyes and gave me the reassurance I needed.

I could feel everything and my body was surrendered to powers beyond me. That was an overwhelming feeling. I know I’m probably forgetting so much but I’ll add to this I’m sure.

I felt pushy, you know that feeling of the baby moving down? You just want to grunt. I kept looking down waiting for something to happen. No mucous, no liquor, nothing. Then all of a sudden POP! It was amazing, I laughed! I never knew your waters really did pop! I glanced down to check the colour and the pool was still clear so I continued to grip the sides and try to get through it.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that many times I said to those around me that I didn’t care anymore and wanted it to be over. The beauty of strong support people and transition.

I remember clearly for a moment stopping and just taking a deep breath it was almost like everything slowed down. I rested my head on the side of the pool and took a moment. I gathered my thoughts and said to my baby “we are doing this, c’mon lets do it” Everything then seemed to pick up the pace and I was ready. I could feel the fuzzy walnut! OMG I’m having a baby! It’s really there! Despite knowing that yes you are indeed having a baby, nothing beats that feeling!

I stayed on my knees and used one arm for support. My mother who hadn’t really planned on being there got out of bed and was so honoured to be boiling the kettle! She looked so excited. I’ll never forget that.

Then came the burning. I looked to my friend and said “ooooh it’s burning! Oh that must be the head! Oooooh! LOL it’s so funny now because it was the first time I was experiencing it for myself, not just hearing other women’s stories. Almost like being initiated into the gang!

She smiled, nodded and kept me focused.

The burning sensation ceased and I could feel a whole head with masses of soft dark hair. DP slipped into the pool at this stage to get a closer look. He whispered into my ear that it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen! I was doing it. I was really giving birth!

I was pushing hard, I couldn’t control the feeling. It felt like an eternity. Then sure enough a baby was born. I scooped HER up out of the water. I had given birth to a daughter out of my vagina! Three children and my first real birth!

1 comment:

  1. Oops. I know I read this, could have sworn I commented, but nup.
    I feel shit that you've shared something so huge on here and no comments, that's so not cool.
    So here I am, I wanted to let you know that I have read it and to say thanks for sharing.
    And I think you're amazing :)
    Much love to you xox