My Birth Experiences – Calm VS Traumatic
Everyone is different. Every woman’s pregnancy is different, and no one’s circumstances or experiences are the same.
Everyone’s birth is unique and personal and that is what makes it so amazing.
Some of my friends have described their labours as beautiful (with drugs and without), other woman have experienced super-fast labours where their baby shot right out, there has also been plenty of long painful labours, planned c–sections, emergency c-sections etc.
As long as the safety of the mother and baby come first there is no right or wrong way to have to a baby.
My first birth was pretty horrific (well it felt like it at the time) but I want to be careful not to scare anyone here. It’s my second birth story (compared to my first) that I’m hoping you will find uplifting and empowering.
I’m not giving advice here or telling anyone how they should or shouldn’t birth their baby. I’m simply sharing my story with you.
First Time Around
I was adamant I wasn’t going to have the drugs. So many people asked me “Why the hell wouldn’t you want the drugs? Are you crazy???”
Maybe I am crazy, but I’m sure many women are with me here. I really wanted to experience giving birth naturally and without drugs. I wanted to know what it felt like and I wanted to fully experience every moment of it. So I planned for a natural, drug-free birth.
As we know, most births don’t go to plan.
At around 40 weeks, during my evening shower I had a ‘show’, I started feeling mild cramps and my waters broke.
We slowly made our way to the hospital. 20hrs later still no baby and things weren’t really progressing.
The medical team decided it would be best to induce me as my waters had been broken for almost 24hrs and any longer meant an increased chance of infection. I decided to follow my doctor’s advice and agreed to the induction even though I had no idea what that entailed.
Things started moving along really quickly and before I knew it I was begging for the drugs. Because I had been induced I was hooked up to monitors so I had to stay on the bed, lying on my back. I couldn’t move around the room like I had hoped.
The pain was unbelievable. Unbearable. And I was terrified at the thought of not getting those drugs.
The drugs came and they worked and they were glorious.
Finally, it was time to push. And push, and push, and push, and push, and still no bloody baby!
Ok I’m going to need some help with this. Vacuum? Yes please!
Phew, baby was finally out safe and she was the most perfect little thing I’d ever seen.
I was so glad it was all over.
Oh wait a minute. Here comes the afterbirth. And now the stitches. Ouch. When will this nightmare be over?
I described my labour as being a “traumatic” experience. I remember telling my doctor that I was never doing ‘that’ again and that I would have a C-section next time around.
He just laughed and said “No you will not”.
It was love at first sight with my daughter. She was perfect and healthy in every way. I couldn’t be happier.
Until the three-day blues kicked in.
My baby wouldn’t sleep, she cried all night, and at that point I couldn’t stop crying either.
I was sharing a room with another new mum (and her extended family) and all I wanted was to be alone with my baby.
I asked if I could be moved to a single room. “Sorry, none available.”
I asked if I could go home. “Sorry, not yet.”
I asked if my husband could come and stay with me. “Sorry, not possible.”
I felt lost and alone. The nurses offered to take my baby so I could rest but I thought that was being a bad mum.. In hindsight I should have taken them up on their offer. I need the rest more than anything.
Finally, I made it home with my baby. I can’t tell you how different things were from how I imagined they would be.
I couldn’t get my baby to sleep and I couldn’t get her to stop crying. No one could.
Too many visitors and too much stimulation for a new born baby really didn’t help the situation but I felt at the time that there was nothing I could do about that.
So I decided to get some professional help. I gave Whispers Cottage a call.
A nurse was at the front door within hours. She helped me with settling techniques, game me some confidence and came to the conclusion that I had a reflux baby on my hands.
It was a long battle with sleep and reflux but she finally grew out of it and is now a great sleeper and healthy, happy little girl.
A year went by and the horrific birth was forgotten. I fell pregnant again and decided this time around I was going to do things differently.
Second Time Around
I still so badly wanted to experience a natural, drug free birth.
I was fit and healthy and my pregnancies were straightforward without complications so I knew the labour I wanted could be achieved. I just needed to figure out how. So I asked around and did some research and came across the ‘Calm Birth’ course.
It looked like the perfect course for us and when I saw that one of the top educators (Julie Clarke) ran weekend courses from her home in Sylvania I booked us (my husband and I) in straight away.
The course was amazing. It prepared us mentally, emotionally and physically for the birth of our bub and Julie was a wealth of information and support.
There main things we took away from the course were:
– relaxation techniques
– how to use movement and vocalisation to help you birth more efficiently
– empowerment and education that enabled us to change our preconceived beliefs around labour and pain
After completing the course and chatting with my Obstetrician I realised I probably wasn’t going to achieve the labour I wanted unless I made some changes.
I figured I didn’t need a doctor as I wasn’t sick and I had no complications so I left my OB, I cancelled my booking at the private hospital and went under the care of the midwives at Sutherland Public Hospital.
So the big day arrived. It started off much like my first labour but this time I was much calmer and was handling the contractions much better.
When we arrived at the hospital they wanted to send me home because I didn’t look like I was labouring but when they checked me I was dilated enough to be moved into a birthing suite.
An hour in I decided to have a bath. I ask that checks were kept to a minimum and asked to be left alone. I was using the relaxation techniques in the bath and became so relaxed I was falling asleep so the midwife asked me to hop out so we could get things moving.
My waters still hadn’t broken so the midwife broke them for me and things started to progress quickly. I started pushing, and pushing.. yep here we go again. A lot of pushing goes on.
This is when things started to change. Little man was a bit stuck and I didn’t think I was able to push him out.
I started to really lose my shit. Ok, bad choice of words. I started to completely lose control.
The midwife gave me a stern talking to, I gathered myself and ended up pushing the 4kg boof head out.
Wow. I did it. And what a beautiful baby boy. Again, perfect in every way. I was one lucky mamma.
He fed and slept and fed and slept. He was calm and content, and so was I.
I believe the calm birth contributed to him being a calm baby but who really knows. Maybe it was the fact that I was a calm and confident mother (being my second time around) or maybe that was just his nature and how he would have been no matter the circumstance.
Whatever the reason I didn’t care. I now had my pigeon pair 🙂