Giving birth to a new journey
â€œYou are measuring bigger than thatâ€, â€œYou will definitely go earlyâ€, â€œIt looks like it has dropped, must be coming any dayâ€. I had heard these phrases constantly during the later stages of my pregnancy so when I hit 11 days past my due date and was woken up with pains at 3am, I desperately hoped this was going to be it.
I had been having pains on and off for two weeks, so I was somewhat pessimistic. In fact, I was due to attend the birth clinic that morning at 9am to be induced so I knew today I would give birth, but I was feeling really down about the induction. The birthing suite and a whole lot of medical interventions was not how I had planned or how I wanted this birth to take place. My first childbirth had been full of these things and it had all felt totally out of my control.
I had been having pains all evening so when they woke me at 3am I gave up on sleep and ran a bath. I was feeling disappointed that the birth would need to be induced but I was also excited to meet this child inside me. As I walked through the house in the wee hours of the morning I looked outside and caught a glimpse of the most amazing full moon I have ever seen. I knew then that everything would be OK.
I spent most of the night in the bath with pains and eventually woke my husband at 7am to tell him we should go. We organised my other daughter, dropped her off with a friend and made our way to the family birthing unit. But as soon as we arrived my contractions seemed to stop. My disappointment started to immediately creep back as the induction began to look like a sure thing. The midwife asked if we would prefer to go home, but we decided to go for a walk and then decide.
My husband and I walked around the hospital and I remember communicating with the child inside me and asking it to give me a sign of whether or not what I was doing was right and how she or he wanted this to go. I didnâ€™t have long to wait for an answer as my contractions came on fast and strong as soon as we got back to the unit.
At this point I started to remember the way things had gone at my last birth and I was determined to be in control of this one. I began visualising my baby and what I needed to do to help it into this world. I got in the bath and with each contraction I felt more and more in control. I focused my mind on the job I had to do and worked with each contraction to visualise the birth canal opening up to make way for this amazing child my husband and I had created. With each contraction I felt myself sink under the water to block out any noise, so I could focus my mind even more. As the contractions became stronger and closer together, I remember feeling excited and overwhelmed with love and peace for I knew very soon we would be beginning a journey with another life, our baby.
I started feeling sick so I got out of the bath and returned to the room, when it all started to happen. That feeling of wanting to push began but I instinctively knew it wasnâ€™t quite time. Again, all I felt was an overwhelming love for my husband and a thrill to soon be meeting this child of ours. It wasnâ€™t long before it really was time to push. Thinking back to my first birth this was the time when I felt like I lost control of what was happening. There was the medical intervention, the uncertainty of the babyâ€™s health and for my husband, the fear of walking out of the hospital with neither his wife nor his first child.
The act of pushing this baby out became one of the most focused, most magical and most precious times of my life. With my husband holding my hand and doing exactly what he needed to do and the midwives being so encouraging, I focused once again on the job I needed to do and I felt a shiver. I got a very strong feeling that someone was communicating with me. In my mind it was the baby. I felt as though it was reassuring me that everything was OK and that she or he was aware of the trauma to come but that it was OK and they were ready for it. With this amazing contentment I was able to harness more energy than I have ever had in my life to push the baby out. I could feel every movement of the baby and even knew the cord was around her neck without seeing or being told. Even with this knowledge I still felt certain everything would work out.
As every mother will tell you, the first time you see and hold your baby is the most amazing experience of your life. It really is hard to put into words. The first thing I said as she came out was: â€œLook what we did.â€ In the minutes that followed I was overwhelmed with more love, excitement and joy than I have ever felt before. I felt similar waves of emotion with my first daughter, but these were mixed with feeling that the experience had been taken out of my control. But this birth felt like the most natural thing in the world.
We are so blessed to have two gorgeous girls who truly are the loves of our lives. When asked by someone soon after the birth what it was like compared to the first, I said: â€œLast time I felt like someone did something to me, this time I felt like I did something.â€
I feel that to be in control of your own birthing experience is not necessarily to have a strict birth plan that has to go a certain way, but to be open to the experience and whatever it may throw at you. To stay connected to your body, and most of all your soul, and to focus on the love you already have in your life, like that for your other children or your partner. Most of all, stay confident in your own abilities and know that no matter what happens, you are about to experience a most amazing thing â€” becoming a mother.