'Giving birth was one of the most beautiful, intense and changing experiences of my life. Feeling your body take over in beautiful harmony with the baby is simply amazing and the strength we have as women is incredible.
If I could go back and give myself some advice, it would be:
Trust your body, close your eyes & switch off your mind. Every wave got so much more painful when I had to make a decision or was in a different position that what my body told me.
It can go a lot faster than what the birth prep says. Instead of opening 1cm per hour, I went from 4cm to full opening in 1,5 hours even though it was my first labour.
Slow and deep breathing - tell your partner to remind you. I forgot everything I learned about breathing during the push phase, so being reminded helped me stay calm and regain more strength.
I gave birth at 39+1, after an acupuncture session and a pregnancy yoga class the day before, making me feel so relaxed and prepared, also during the pregnancy already.
So at 4 during the night, I dreamt that my waters had just broken all over the bed and woke up. Luckily this wasn’t the case… Nevertheless, I went to the bathroom, where it suddenly started dripping. Could this be my waters? Light cramps started and something was definitely happening.
I dimmed the light, turned my meditation playlist on and took a shower, to see if the hot water would stop the cramps. However, they became regular quite quickly, coming every 5 – 6 minutes. Light pressure, very manageable. The hot water was so relaxing and standing up, slightly moving my hips felt the most comfortable. Still not sure if this was really labour…
At 8 in the morning, it all started to pick up quite quickly. My husband, who was rushing back from his last business trip, would be there any minute, so I think my body knew it could start. The waves came every 2 – 3 minutes, uncomfortable but not as painful as all the movies make it out to be.
Our midwife came and confirmed that I was 3cm dilated. Time to go to the hospital! She had to call hospital to find a room, making me a bit worried and the waves became a lot more painful all of a sudden.
When we finally found a room and got there, I immediately closed all the curtains and turned off all the possible lights. Went back to the shower, where my husband kept massaging my lower back with a hot washcloth – such a big help.
The next hour became quite challenging with painful waves every 2 minutes. I was so relieved to learn, that I was almost at full opening after only 45min. I went to lie on my side on the bed and my body had a strong urge to push. Even though I started on the side, I ended up pushing on my back, as it felt more effective and comfortable. Not going to lie, this was not easy and I completely forgot about my breathing…
I felt her coming down more and got to see the top of her head after 30min and knew it wouldn’t be long anymore. And then after the final push I got to lift her up myself onto my chest. She was finally here after 9 hours of labour and without any pain medication. Perfectly healthy, now making us a family of 3.'
Lena joined weekly prenatal yoga classes throughout her pregnancy, in person in Amsterdam and via Zoom