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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

To Birth. "A fresh, perfect gift; closing & opening a chapter in a lifetime."



Helen has allowed me to share her beautiful and intense birth story and pictures. If you would like to share your story here, drop me a line at Wildbirth@outlook.com.

Two days away from 42 weeks pregnant I had that ‘fully baked’ feel. Manoeuvring around had taken on a whole new pace and there was very little I could do in a hurry. Pieces of pineapple, plates of curry, long walks along rough, shingled beaches, even a taste of acupuncture with the moxa scent and vibes after….nothing seemed to inspire this little baby into life on the other side. He was clearly comfortable.

 Knowing the call to induction was fast approaching I called on a doula friend with vast experience and a solid track record of helping women start labour naturally. I knew I had to put my full trust in her as I was keen to avoid any nudges or manufactured ‘starts’ from the hospital. So I dived in; full mind, body & spirit, to the session with her.

 Autumn felt like it was truly closing up….I had watched the leaves change tones all the weeks before, a fresh experience after years of living abroad and missing the seasons. But this was it, a morning late in November that she arrived at our door, ready to bring on the alchemy of inviting the child in & breaking through any last defences or shields to the process that I might have been carrying.

 That afternoon I felt lighter, as though a load had lifted and there was a ‘bring it on’ feeling as I fell into a deep sleep. Not long after midnight I woke up with a sharp feeling in my abdomen, like menstrual cramps, it felt intense but was quickly over. I even went back to bed, in the dead of night, hazy minded…after so many months it was almost disbelief that my baby might really be on his way. But in minutes there was another one, then another, strong enough to pull me to the bathroom somehow thinking I might manage things better in there. I called out across the corridor, finally realising this could well be the beginning.

 I had enjoyed the gap and absence of my menstrual cycles and I felt excited that these hits of feeling were at a whole new level. By the time I had got downstairs though, literally a few minutes later, another wave came but this one had me bent over. There was a sense of ‘fast and fury’, as though the little one had finally had enough of waiting. I called the midwives on shift just to help get a sense of where we were at. Things has started pretty suddenly and were moving so quickly they were keen we made our way there straight away. The next part was a blur, I saw the splashes of blood run down my leg & just collapsed into the softness of the sofa, knowing that my doula was on her way, later telling me that there was no way she would miss this. She arrived at the same time as two paramedics. It was already so far away from the home birth by the fireside I had envisaged & I hadn’t encouraged their arrival, but all my inhibitions had already dissolved & barely dressed we moved out in to the night.

 It took me by surprise how resolute I was, but feeling I had waited a fair while, holding off on interventions & the hospital’s suggestions, nothing in me was going to back down now. From my first refusal of the gas & air, to my firm decline of a scalp electrode, it always felt clear on the inside that we wouldn’t need meddling with. All my energy seemed engulfed by the rolling contractions but somehow in between I managed to fix on pieces of clarity, gleams of information I could hear from the midwife, that made firm my faith to decline extra suggestions from the doctor.


 I had energy for the waves that pulled through me, to stand off interventions, speak out against them, & ultimately to drop into the music, but nothing else, nothing extra. It was as though life was crystallised, into now, the moment, just the vital pieces that would spur us on, but anything unfinalized, still yet undecided, fell to the wayside. It was me, my doulas, the kindness in my midwife’s voice, the shiny glow she brought to the room and my baby, warm & determined, on his way.

 Some describe labour as a labyrinth & much of it is, as it turns and weaves in its own directive. Mostly I remember the stillness of the pool, its peace. It had taken so much to get there; reading from months ago, knowing which drugs to avoid, what I needed to refuse so that we could make connection with the water. To feel the free float. To drop into submersion.

 Apparently we were in there nearly six hours but to me it just felt like a timeless zone. By then all the fear had melted away….As the midwife fretted that the CTG had lost connection I could already feel him and I knew all was well. I started to refuse the other things she wished to measure & record. Once I felt him in me like that, so calm, so ready, so at peace, that was stronger than all the labels, the uniforms, the readings. They all fell away. I kept reassuring the staff that all was fine, that he had his own timing. As though his voice from within.

 It was an epic journey from start to finish, the initial shooting feeling in my bed at home, like an internal firework, to the euphoria of feeling him wriggle & squirm inside, then rush down my birth canal on his way out. Drug-free, I felt present for all of it, every twist and turn. My desert baby. All the way from the Empty Quarter, the largest contiguous sand desert on Earth, he came through safely with a proud cry as he rested on my breast. A fresh, perfect gift; closing & opening a chapter in a lifetime
   





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