Giving birth was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. How could it not be? It’s a woman’s right of passage. It brings us into our animal self. Forces us to let go of control and just be in the moment. When I think back, I never actually felt “pain”, just huge rushes of intense energy. It was amazing that my body just knew what to do. I feel lucky that I can actually say that I enjoyed the entire birthing process.
When I found out that I was pregnant, my life got turned upside down. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for almost four years and were in the middle of an adoption process when we found out. It was so hard for me to believe that after all that time it had finally happened. I felt immobilized. The first week I didn’t want to do anything, I was afraid our baby would simply just drop out of me. I spent a large majority of my first trimester in this place of fear. I had dreams about miscarriages. Sometimes when I went to the bathroom I half expected to see blood in my panties. Somehow I didn’t believe that something that I had wanted so badly would actually happen. The four years of trying to get pregnant had really weighed on me and emotionally.
I decided that I needed support. I went to yoga classes. Tried to get centered. Surrounded myself with other mamas and listened to their experience, strength and hope. I realized that I was not alone in my fears.
As my pregnancy continued and my belly grew, it became more and more real. I still had a lot of fear and as the birth grew closer I found myself getting lost in the details of what my birth would look like. At this point we had planned to do a hospital birth with a midwife and doula. As I would walk with my pregnant friends, we would talk about what was going on and I kept hearing myself say that I didn’t like my current midwife and that I was dreading going to the hospital. But I was so afraid not to go to the hospital. My mom had had an abruptio placenta during my birth and she and I both nearly had died. If it hadn’t been for the speedy actions of the doctors taking care of her, I may not have been here.
Towards the end of my second trimester my husband and I started taking a hypnobirthing class. Hypnobirthing is not for everybody, but it was right for me in this birthing experience. The class didn’t’ go over too many details about how much your cervix is going to dilate, or what type of procedures the hospital will do if something goes wrong.
Hypnobirthing focuses on using positive thinking, breathing, guided imagery and confidence that our bodies would know exactly what to do when the time comes. For example, the word “contraction”, a world that insinuates tightening and closing, the very opposite image one wants when giving birth, is not used in the hypnobirthing model. Instead, they are called “surges” or “waves”. We learned how to breath long, slow and deep breaths, as opposed to the quick and rapid breaths women are taught in Lamaze classes. We watched birth after birth of mamas quietly birthing their babies in a deep trancelike state. This classes helped me let go of my of my fears and focus on what I really wanted my birth to look like. How cool would it be to be one of those calm and meditative birthing mamas? While I knew that I had no control over my experience, I also knew that I could make preparations to make my birthing experience as comfortable as possible.
It was being surrounded by this positive energy that really changed my perspective of where I wanted to give birth. I knew deep down that birth was a perfectly natural thing. That I “was not sick” so therefore why do I need to go to a hospital? Still, looming over my head, was a fear of “what could go wrong” and I new that if I was in a hospital, I could be tended to.
So I began to research. I found loads of statistics that were in favor of home birth for women that had healthy pregnancies. I spoke with other mamas who did home births. I called midwives and asked questions. I even rented a movie about home birth. Then sat with myself and decided that if the only reason I wasn’t doing a home birth was because I was afraid, that this was not a good enough excuse for me. I did not want my daughter to be born into this word from a place of fear.
At that point I was 33 weeks pregnant and thought to myself, “if the universe sends me a midwife who we like and trust, then so be it! We will do a home birth!” And then it happened. It turned out that our beloved Doula was an apprentice midwife to a woman who had an opening! We met with her and decided it was going to work! I felt such a sense of relief. Although I was nervous, I also felt so empowered about my decision. I was finally excited to give birth! I began to prepare the birthing room.
Our bedroom is bright orange. It actually is very womblike. It was the perfect place for me to prepare. I hung mantras all over the house. I got all the supplies that my midwife told me to get—ice packs, receiving blankets, a plastic sheet for the bed, straws, my gosh it was a long list. I created a birthing box and put everything in it. Now this box, which is decorated with ribbon and Serafin’s initials, holds her memorabilia. The weeks were passing and I was beginning to feel ready, or shall I say, ripened!
Our midwives and doula would come to our house each week and do all the “usual” stuff. Check my blood pressure, check for protein in my urine, and answer all my questions. As we approached week 40, I remember her asking me when I thought I was going to give birth. “This weekend” I told her. I new it was going to happen. I felt it in my bones. Low and behold, our sweet child was born that Saturday, June 20th, 2009.
Pregnancy and birth was an unforgettable experience. I am grateful to all those around me, my beloved husband, my parents, my other family and friends, and my sweet animals; they all gave me the loving support that I needed through a time of fear and uncertainty. I am also grateful to my higher power, my strong will and body, and my sweet daughter. Somebody once told me that “courage is fear that has said it’s prayers”. I am grateful that I found the courage to follow my heart as well as let go and let the process of birth unfold.