In More Ways Than One
I find it quite sad that birth is portrayed in such a bad way: in movies, television, media. When I was pregnant with Marcos it seemed like everyone felt the need to tell me how bad birth is.
I grew up with not even knowing what a caesarean was. My mum had 3 all natural water births, 2 of them at home unassisted with only my dad there with her (1 was planned that way and the other the midwife didn't make it in time.) Being pregnant with Marcos I would share that I planned to have a natural water birth. I was told so often, have the epidural you will need it. Or stories of babies getting stuck, which resulting in tearing/ forceps/ vacuumed or emergency caesarean. This created unnecessary fear and worries that I didn't have originally.
Marcos was planned to be born in water in hospital. At 11:30pm my contractions started after the bloody show. We were told to go to Tweed Hospital as it was closer to get checked before heading to GCUH (I was booked into GCUH). When we arrived at Tweed. I was 3cm dilated. But was told that I could go home if I wanted because seeing as it was my first birth it could still be hours and possibly might not birth until morning. My instincts told me to head straight to GCUH, luckily! I went from 3cm to 8cm dilated in less than 30mins. When we arrived it was just after 1:30am, I was told I wasn't ready to get in the pool, I could still be hours. I told them I needed to push, again they said I wasn't ready. Finally when they said I could get in the pool, it was followed by it was too late now because he was crowning. They were telling me when to push as well. Marcos was born at 2:04am, with Ben barely involved/didn't catch him and I had 3 grazes.
My body/instincts were telling me what was happening/what I needed to do but no one listened, which also meant I didn't really listen. With Nalani that was not happening again. I researched and found a private midwife that would allow me to birth how I wanted. This time I was having an unassisted home birth, with just Ben and I in the pool.
There's so much negative connotation around home birth. We went to the doctors ONCE, when we went to get the blood test to confirm I was pregnant. This FEMALE doctor told me how dangerous home births are; during birth you need a doctor and medical staff, medical options like epidural/caesarean etc. It's safe to say, we never saw that doctor again!! It's sad to think how many other expecting mummas who would have believed her or someone else trying to influence them against what they wanted. Don't get me wrong at times, yes you need medical assistance. But if you look at the birth rates, when there is unnecessary medical intervention, most likely there will be an undesirable outcome. Home births/midwife care have a higher percentage of unassisted natural births vs hospitals (especially private) having a higher rate of caesarean/emergency caesars. It doesn't matter how you birth, as long as it's YOUR choice!! I eventually got to the point where I didn't want to tell people I was having a home birth. When I did, everyone would say how dangerous it was.
Now I'll share Nalani's incredible birth story.
I envisioned and would dream of it being just Ben and I. Calm/relaxed, enhanced by soft music playing, beeswax candles burning filling the room with a sweet honey scent, salt lamp and selenite lamp creating soft ambient lighting and essential oils diffusing. Contractions started at around 4:30am, I played it off as Braxton Hicks at first. We called our midwife, Steph (who we adore and would recommend to everyone!!) Within the next hour the room was prepped, pool filled and my contractions increased. At around 5:15am, I sat on the exercise ball leaning against the bed breathing deep and long with Ben supporting me and gently massaging my back. At around 5:40am the contractions were so intense and I was starting to feel the need to push, I got into the pool. Feeling the warmth of the water was incredible and somewhat pain relieving. I remember saying to Ben that our baby was coming and Steph wasn't going to make it. I felt fine if she didn't, I was confident in myself and I knew my body knew what it had to do. Steph arrived at around 5:50am. (She later told me that when she arrived she thought because I was so calm she felt I still had a while to go.) I asked Ben if he could see the babies head, not yet, I felt exhausted when the contractions eased and said I didn't want to do this anymore... than I FELT IT! When I felt her head it gave me like an adrenaline boost/ inner strength, because I knew it was almost over, I knew I was about to meet our new baby. With no grazes or tearing, staying calm and deep breathing, Nalani Maria was born at 6:06am.
Nalani's birth was exactly how I pictured it would be. Unassisted with just Ben and I (and a midwife there if needed). Now having had a home birth, I would recommend them to everyone. Seriously why wouldn't you? You are in the comfort of your home, don't need to drive anywhere and can just 'be' and await everyone to come to you. Nalani's birth was truely incredible and empowering! Birth hurts, but the pain goes immediately after and the body releases oxytocin which makes you forget the pain. I strongly believe when it comes to labour and giving birth you need to surrender to yourself. Allow your natural instincts to take over. Your mind/thoughts play a very important role. When it comes to the pain and worries about not knowing what's going to happen, acknowledge it but don't allow it to take over. Accept that it will be painful, but know you are strong enough to get through it. Once it's over you will have forgotten about the pain and you'll be holding your gorgeous newborn. Also BREATH!!! Breath long and deep!! It honestly will help and make the world of difference! Try and stay upright and not lay on your back. But more importantly, just listen to your body/instincts.
I have written more than I had planned. I just wanted to share a positive birth experience. Hopefully my experience will empower others to listen to their instincts and birth how they want NOT how they are told they should. Don't let outside opinions create fear in you. I want to empower others not to give in to fear when it comes to giving birth. Also hopefully change the opinion about home birth being dangerous. Birth is incredible! Amazing! Euphoric! I would give anything to experience it all over again.
Feel free to share with anyone you feel would benefit from my experience.
Song I had playing: The Flashbulb-The first rain and you
Midwife- Steph from My Own Midwife GC
Photographer- Eyes of Love Photography