A birth story written by a mom for other moms to give them strength, confidence and some inspiration for their own birthing day.. Thank you Zyanya for sharing it with us _/\_
This beautiful video and all the photos are credit to Lucrecia Carosi..
The onset of labor..
"Contractions had teased me on and off throughout the weekend and now the week had progressed to Wednesday evening and still no real labor. Each time I notified my midwife that I was having some regular contractions I could feel her knowingly smiling through the phone as she told me that we would just have to wait and see. I was so certain this was it, each time. But she was quite certain we had to wait for something more significant before getting excited. With my first birth I never had any prelabor. The first day I experienced contractions was the day my first child was born. So I was confused that my uterus was having light but true contractions every 5-9 minutes for an hour or two and then stopping again. But she was right. Each time my midwife was right and we just had to wait.
Wednesday night felt different though. These contractions were fuller, stronger. They too faded but I felt like we were finally getting somewhere. I went to sleep and at 4:45 I was woken up by my contractions and I knew these were not going away. I called our birth team. Atish woke up to me on the phone with our midwife. Everyone was getting ready and on their way. Atish got to work on setting up the birthing pool. By 6:30 our photographer and midwife arrived. My contractions were manageable but quickly becoming uncomfortable. At 7:00 our 3-year old son, Rem, woke up. He was overwhelmed by seeing our birth team at the house already and the pool being set up. But he understood what was happening. (We had hoped his babysitter would be available to come and care for him at our home, but with the early start she never made it.)
Siblings around and how to prepare them..
I had dreamed of Rem being present at my labor, or at least part of it. I knew that birth was always too uncertain for any guarantees, but I loved the idea of him being able to experience his brother's birth. I believe so strongly in the need to normalize birth from a young age so that, as adults, we can make decisions based on education, research, and our preferences, not fear.
For months we had prepared him for this day. We read books about birth and watched birthing videos on youtube. He also watched his own birth video. We talked about the sounds I would make and the "hard work" I would be doing. We talked about him maybe needing to go stay with a friend if I needed to get extra help from doctors at the hospital. We talked about how the baby moves from the uterus, through the cervix, and through the vagina. He came to several of our midwife appointments so that he was familiar with our midwife, and he got to help find the heartbeat with the doppler. He self-initiated a lot of fun play scenarios with his stuffed animals, putting them under his shirt and pretending to birth them out between his legs while I pretended to be the midwife, coaching him along. Then we would switch roles and he would be the midwife, telling me I was doing a great job, encouraging me to keep going.
Atish made Rem breakfast and let him eat it in his bed. My contractions were intensifying but I had enough of a break to cuddle with Rem as my only child for one last time. I curled up in bed with him and we talked about what was about to happen. He was clearly nervous but also trying to be brave. We hugged and kissed and I unsuccessfully tried to hold back tears, it really is an emotional transition to see your first-born child become an older sibling. To know your only child, your whole heart, will soon be sharing your love and time with another child.
First phase of labor with some inspiration ideas..
By now I was starting to have to vocalize a bit through the contractions and really focus on my breathing. I had to stop being busy. If I was trying to do something then I would miss that key moment when your body let's you know a contraction is about to begin, that precious moment you have to prepare and clear your mind, to turn towards positivity and empowerment.
I had always wanted to try dancing at some point while in labor. We never remembered to put music on during my first birth. Now I remembered and got my dance playlist on. I was already wanting to kneel over my yoga ball or hold on to something, but I made myself stay standing. The rhythm of the music did just what I had imagined it would. It set a beat for myself to breathe by and count by. With my hypnobirthing practice I was used to counting up and down through my breaths during the intensity of a contraction. Now I counted with the beat. It felt natural. The music led and I followed. I swayed my hips and found that I really liked having my arms free while standing so I could apply pressure to my back where it cramped. I danced through several songs, reggaeton, bachata, Motown. But I didn't make it through that many before I had to stop standing. It had felt so good to dance, but my labor was progressing fast and I was approaching transition. The loud fast music went from being motivating and helpful to harassing and jarring in an instant. I yelled at Atish to turn it off and put on my calmer playlist. This one felt better, the music was perfect. I had a moment of pride for putting together these playlists for myself and for now finding that they were working just as I had hoped. It wasn't long before I was getting in the pool. Up until now I was working hard, focused, but relatively calm. Each contraction required all of my focus to breath, count, relax. I felt capable and it felt familiar.
Transition and what to expect..
But once transition starts everything changes. For me, in both births, transition means moving into a headspace that is very wild. The intensity of the contractions and the wide range of pressures and pulls and twists in my body drove me to fear and self doubt with both births. With each break I sometimes found myself shaking my head "no," fearing how long this would go on for, wondering why on earth an unmedicated birth had seemed like a good idea, doubting if I could do this. When I would resist the oncoming contractions I found it very hard or impossible to continue to use my hypnobirthing techniques. When I doubted myself it hurt so much.
With both births it was my doula and midwives that called me back from that edge. Listening to them, allowing them to coach my breath, filling me with positivity and empowerment. It was when I used my break to reset my mind and feel strong that the contraction was so much more manageable, then I could breathe through it instead of huffing through it, tensing up. I could focus on the end goal, on breathing down to my baby, on opening my body. And the pain was bearable. In both births it has amazed me how the difference of my mindset, of the presence or absence of fear from one minute to the next made such a distinction to how intense or painful a contraction felt.
During this time Atish was next to me, and often with Rem on his lap. A few times Rem brought me my water bottle and told me I was doing a good job. At one point he gave me the sweetest kiss. This also motivated me to a more positive mindset. He was so little and so quiet, watching, and so brave taking it all in. When things started to get more intense I worried my vocalizations would scare him and that began to hold me back so I asked Atish to put a show on for him in his bedroom.
When you meet your baby..
After what felt like ages, but was probably only about 40 minutes, my water broke. The building internal pressure and intensity felt relieved to a great degree and I felt encouraged because I knew I could begin pushing. Pushing felt more in my control. Though still intense and certainly painful, I was no longer having to push away negative thoughts. I knew I could do this, that I was doing this! I breathed deeply to the back of my throat, I would bear down with each push, figuring out how to make them each more productive. I could feel my baby moving down. It is so intense, yet also a satisfying feeling to know you are moving them through your body. Only a couple more pushes and he was crowning. Oh fuck, that always hurts so much. But unlike the rest of birth, it is very temporary. After hours of discomfort, hard work, intensity, and pain, that last pain is sharp, fierce, but so brief. I knew I would tear if I pushed harder against the pain, but my midwife encouraged me. She told me I needed to tear. I think I knew that but I needed to hear it. I could, and I would, and that would be ok. I went for it, roaring him through and his head was out! The rest was easy! One last push and our son was born into the warm water of the pool in our living room. My midwife unwrapped the cord from around him and lifted him towards my outstretched arms. He took a deep breath and cried the moment he came out of the water.
He looked at us curiously with his big dark eyes. In that moment you hold your baby there is so much relief. I think that honestly most women are first processing the joy that labor is over before they process the joy and sweetness of their baby in their arms. I suppose they are in many ways one and the same since we are working so hard for that end goal all along. But then after a sweet pause of relief you breathe in your baby and how beautiful they are, and that is always and forever magic.
Atish and I shared a kiss of joy, love, and pride and he went to get Rem from his room to meet his baby brother. Rem held my hand and told me, "You did a good job mommy!" After this it's mostly all a blur. I'm so grateful I have photos from our birth photographer (Lucrecia Carosi) that captured all the sweet first cuddles for Ravi with myself, Atish, and Rem.
I'll always be grateful for the privilege of two smooth, uncomplicated (and relatively short) home-births. I am forever thankful for my wonderful birth teams. I look back on my births with fond memories full of wonder and pride and gratitude."
Ravi was born at home in Amsterdam February 20th, 2020. I was grateful to be able to join Zyanya and Atish for their HypnoBirthing refresher class, and amazed about the way the two of them worked together throughout the whole pregnancy and parenting journey. Beautiful people <3