Recently I was asked by atlantamomofthree to answer a few questions on my birth experience for an article she is researching. I had such a lovely time recalling my story for her, that I thought I would share it on here too.
My mum had c-sections with my sister and I. Before I was even pregnant, I knew that was the way I wanted to give birth. In my yoga group, I was the only one willing my little guy to remain breech so that I could get my section booked in, I was that sold on the idea!
Luckily, I became more informed about childbirth through my yogi and her teachings, I became less fearful, and more relaxed about the whole event. I then went on to have an incredibly positive experience that I could only wish to go through again some day.
The ability to be fully aware and mobile straight after the birth was something that I had never even considered to be important …now I realise it it was a pretty big bonus.
Here is a slightly edited version for your reading pleasure!
What number birth was this for you?
This was my first birth.
Had you taken any kind of childbirth class or course during your pregnancy? If so, which one? Did you use techniques you learned from it when you were in labour?
I attended a pregnancy yoga class from 14 weeks, through to the week before I gave birth. I struck gold with my yogi, she was an ex NCT teacher, but had an extremely holistic and honest approach to childbirth and pregnancy. The breathing techniques were amazing at conserving my energy for the 20 hours of labour.
How did you feel going into the birthing experience, emotionally? (ex. Excited, fearful, eager, confident, etc)
When you get to know a group of people over such a length of time you explore many aspects of pregnancy that might not be discussed on a crash course…I went into childbirth without fear. I went into it with the strength of all of my fellow yoga mums behind me. I think being relaxed was important for me, it helped me stay focussed, and able to use all of the techniques I had learnt.
Did you have a birth partner, coach, doula, etc? What was their role during labour?
My husband was in the USA for much of my pregnancy while I was in the UK. I gave him a birth partner crash course two days before I went into labour. He was my rock. He gave me ice chips, mopped my brow, and held my hand all the way. My mum was also there, I think she was a bit shocked by the whole process! Honestly, I was so in the zone with my yoga breathing that I didn’t so much use them as much as just knew they were there which was reassuring.
Did you use any pain management tools? Do you feel that they helped?
I used a TENS machine for the early contractions, and some gas and air towards the very end. I had a couple of stitches for which I needed more gas and air than I did giving birth!! I was terrified of the anaesthetic injection.
How did the contractions feel physically when they were regular, but before “transition”?
My contractions were slow and regular in spacing for about 19 hours, coming every 5 minutes and lasting 2 minutes. There was very little change right up to the last couple of hours when they got closer together and lasted a little longer. They weren’t painful, but very energy draining cramps, I had to concentrate on each one and I used breathing techniques to stay in control.
During the hardest contractions, how did you feel emotionally?
I remember getting to hospital and the nurse telling me we could expect baby to arrive in about 8 hours (it was actually 45 minutes before he arrived) at that moment I experienced the strongest and longest contraction yet. I cried. The thought of 8 hours at that intensity was too much to think about. I also thought I would be so bored looking at the walls of the delivery room for that long.
What would you compare the physical feeling of the hardest contractions to?
It was like the feeling of losing my breath for a few minutes, not being able to get a good breath into my belly combined with a really intense cramp. I would instinctively double over to relieve the feeling but it didn’t really help.
Did your membranes rupture on their own or artificially? What did that feel like? And what followed?
This was the best part of my birth! My membranes ruptured spontaneously, a big splash of water all over the midwife! I didn’t feel it rupture at all. The little guy followed pretty quickly afterwards, 15minutes to be exact.
How long was your labour once it got “serious”?
Fast! 2 hours of established labour and about 30 minutes of pushing. The midwife was grappling to get my trousers off while the little guy was making his appearance.
Did you ever feel like you might not be able to continue on without pain meds? If so, how soon after that thought was your baby born?
For a split second when I was in hospital, I wondered how I would do it, not so much that I needed medication but that I was going to be a total wimp at giving birth. Then 30 minutes later, he was born…I think that this bit was the ‘transition’ now I am writing about it.
What did pushing feel like, physically?
Hmm, I have no idea, I was in a strange (non drug induced) parallel universe where I was having a great time. My mum and husband would say different, I made a LOT of noise.
How did you feel once the baby was born? Emotionally? Physically?
I was amazed how clean he was and how beautiful he was. I wasn’t tearful I don’t think. I was quite excited about having a cup of tea with some buttery toast. I was disappointed that my tea went cold, so I was concerned about getting a second cup (that was my excuse for another cuppa!)
What, if anything, would you change about your experience, if you could?
Absolutely nothing, I loved it, I only hope it can be repeated, but I won’t put too much pressure on myself, you never know what experience you will be dealt.
- Pain, Pleasure and Childbirth (playinginharmony.wordpress.com)
- My Monkey Self (birthjourneys.com.au)
- The curse of Eve (cathlutz.wordpress.com)