My Birth Story
I am very fortunate to have had an amazing home birth with my son. I’m a yoga isntructor who was taught a specific breathing technique for my labor. I began practicing from the seventh month of pregnancy. When the big day came my labor started out gradually with a vague backache that turned into mild cramping through the night. During the third trimester I had not been sleeping well at night, but on this particular night I wasn’t able to sleep at all because of the cramping. I remember looking over at his father and feeling jealous that he was sleeping so peacefully. So, I nudged him and told him, “I think this could be the start of things.” He replied with a sleepy, “Uh huh, ok,” and continued to sleep. Lol!
By the morning I realized that this was it! I was thinking, “These cramps are stronger and they are sticking around; my baby is going to be here soon!” My cramps felt intense and I thought I had better start using my breathing or I would not be able to handle the pain! Though I was having contractions, we hadn’t been timing them yet, therefore, I couldn’t tell you how far apart they were. Most of the day I labored in our tiny apartment, moving around a bit, spending a lot of time in the bathtub relaxing in the water, and on the couch- on top of the shower curtain just in case my water broke.
I focused on the breathing the entire time throughout my labor. This technique was so subtle it looked as if I was half asleep and very relaxed. My partner brought me mangos and coconut water, for that was all I was craving. I remember being in such a heightened state of awareness. I was hypersensitive and felt everything, literally. For example, when my partner was washing the dishes, I heard the clanging and I felt like I had become the dishes- I was being knocked and banged around. The dishwashing noise was too harsh in that moment. I needed things quiet and subdued so I could concentrate on the breathing. I shouted to my partner, “Stop!” He replied, “I want to clean up before the midwives come”. I told him the midwives don’t care about the dishes and that he had to stop and he did. Whew. . . I could relax again.
The funniest thing about the contractions was that we couldn’t figure them out! He would begin timing one and ask me when it ended, and I would say, “Ok, it’s gone now.” I clearly remember him pointing at my belly and saying, “No, its not, your belly is still contracted!” He was right, I was still in the middle of the contraction, but I no longer felt it. I had the sensation of the contraction releasing inside of me, though visibly you could see my stomach was still tight and contracted. It was equally as difficult to time the start of one contraction to the next contraction. The breathing technique had changed my experience of the contractions completely. It really worked!
When I had a contraction, the focus of my breathing would sometimes take me far, far way. I felt like I was in an altered state; it felt great. At other times, I felt as if I was connecting with my baby and my body, feeling the sensations, but in an ecstatic way. After the contraction, I would open my eyes and see the beautiful women in the paintings on the walls and the orchid in bloom on our entertainment center. Then, I knew that I was back in our living room. When a wave of a contraction came on I felt as if I was in a trance or somewhere far, far away.
It was nighttime now and I must have been in transition because there was something very different about the intensity of my birthing waves (contractions). I told my partner to call the midwives and I clearly remember him saying, “ But it isn’t time yet, your contractions aren’t close enough together.” I said, “Call them anyway.” I went in the bathtub one last time and he was on his knees outside the tube holding me so that I floated on top of the water. It was great being weightless and all of a sudden I fell asleep! (Sometimes in transition women take a power nap so that they get a short rest before pushing the baby out). He freaked out because he thought I had passed out! He shook me awake fear in his voice . . . and I remember being angry because I just wanted to sleep, but not being able to communicate that because I was so tired all of a sudden. He was persistent, therefore I came to. I moved from the tub back onto the couch and the midwife arrived.
She came in and assessed the situation and could tell that I was fairly far along in my labor. First she checked me and found I was fully dilated. Then she told me to go to the bathroom one more time and try to urinate. I sat down on the toilet and my water broke. After, I went back to the fold out couch. I felt “pushy” and I started moaning softly and then to my great surprise my body began to push my baby out all of it s own volition. I was lying on my side and I remember being fascinated by the noise that came out of me. It was not the grunt of exertion, it was a primordial sound that escaped my lips as my body pushed. It was strong, deep and incredibly loud coming from somewhere deep within, but I wasn’t doing it. The baby’s head came out on the second push. I remember the midwife trying to slow down the baby’s head from coming out too fast because she didn’t want me to tear, but I had no control over the strength of my contractions. I remember that right after his head came out the midwife saying, “Ok, push now.” I replied, “No, no, no, wait!” I was trying to catch my breath as my pushes also forced all the air out of my lungs. I waited for my body to push when it was ready and it did; he came right out on a wave of an orgasm. Imagine my delight.
I was very lucky to have the experience I had. I was at home in my own space in deep mediation during labor, drinking fresh coconut water and eating mango. I somehow instinctively knew it was time to contact the midwife. She came, my water broke, and my body pushed my baby out on the wave of an orgasm.
I share this story because it is the reason I became a doula and childbirth educator. Up to two years prior to getting pregnant, I swore to my mom that I would never have a baby. I don’t like pain and I wasn’t going to have a baby because it sounded way to scary and painful to me. Soon after that declaration I read a book called “Primal Mothering In a Modern World, ” by Hygeia Halfmoon, Ph.D. It changed my opinion about birthing and pain completely. The author had figured it out. If she could do it so could I- never mind that it took her three births to figure it out. I also thoroughly enjoyed Ina May Gaskin’s books as well.
It was a combination of the theories in these books and the breathing technique that allowed me to have the orgasmic birth that I desired. I thought to myself if I can do it anyone can! At this point I was fascinated with the birthing process and wanted every woman to know she didn’t have to face her birth with fear and trepidation. I became a doula and straight away began teaching my clients the breathing technique. Some of them got it and some of them didn’t. It was frustrating seeing my failures . . . everyone should have had a comfortable birth. Sometimes, the information got lost in translation or the birthing mom didn’t practice enough, etc. I researched several childbirth education classes and found one that would provide a better foundation for women to count on, as I knew it was possible to birth a baby without pain. I wanted a class that would provide woman with the opportunity to have an amazing birth experience. I got lucky and through a lot of research found Hypnobabies.
When I discovered Hypnobabies classes, I encountered a fusion of all of my core beliefs, experiences and doula practices around the process of birth. I feel honored to be able to provide a means by which families learn to empower themselves in ushering forth a new soul. While no one can guarantee a replicate of my experience (and no one should), I feel that Hypnobabies provides the best opportunity for mothers to be both empowered by and to surrender to the mysteries and awe in birthing their baby.
May your baby be born in the gentle beuaty of love,