Yawn it is morning and Boston is now SEVEN WEEKS OLD! Golly gosh how time flys when you are breast feeding, changing nappies and falling in love. In my last post I gave you the epic that was Bozzies birth and now I want to share some secrets (ahh not really secrets) about the tool kit we had. I can only assume that like others I had pretty limited knowledge about birth before it was actually my turn to do it. After getting over the initial surprise that we were going to be parents and my body had another being inside of it, (a. the surprise will be explored in another blog b. still not really grasping that we are parents) I set about gathering information about pregnancy and birth. I am not one for reading a TONN of information but what I came across started to form the knowledge base I eventually drew upon. Things I found useful were;
The Business of Being Born (2008) – This is a documentary that focuses on the current American medical system and how the majority of birth’s are managed. Even though our Australian system is different this doco gives insight into how one intervention may create a cascade affect. It also highlights options other then a hospital birth and looks back at the history of birth in western society. It is downloadable online or you can watch snippets through youtube.
Your Best Birth, Author Ricky Lake – This book was the product of Ricky’s experience making “The Business of Being Born”. I found it gave a reasonably non biased information on what you can expect no matter what path you choose.
The Good Birth Companion: A Practical Guide to Having the Best Labour and Birth, Author Nicole Croft – This was my favourite book. Once again it took a middle ground view point delivered in short chunks of very practical and helpful information. It also contains a section dedicated to the first few weeks after birth which is vital. You can buy this one on amazon or through ebay, alternately try your local library (my source of books).
www.babycenter.com.au – As far as websites goes I found this one to have very helpful information about an extensive range of topics. They also have a pregnancy app which gives you little tidbits of information each day as your pregnancy progresses (perfect for baby brain). They also put out a book that has great chunks of information called Pregnancy; From conception to birth.
Apart from these all our information came first hand from experts in the field. Who are these amazing people you may ask, well here is my super wicked support team list.
Hypnobirthing – full of great stories and positive affirmations with Anthea Thomas
Joey – my very special friend and midwife who listened to me and answered so many questions with total honesty.
Birth’s I have been a part of – A huge thank you must be extended to Georgie and Claudi who invited me to be part of their birthing experience and in turn shared an invaluable gift. Without seeing their two wonderful boys come into the world I would not have had a real life gague for my birth.
That is all for this blog. I am aware that it is a wee bit on the boring side but I really wanted to share these resources with the mumma’s to be out there. Stay tuned next time for some more creative writing all about hypnobirthing (it is not like stage hypnosis, and no I will not cluck like a chicken when you count to three).
Despite the trepidation (aka slightly poo scared emotions) Boston’s birth is one that I feel blessed to have experienced and love to share. Steve and I had a clear picture in our heads about how we wanted the birth to go….which means we knew the people we wanted there, the ways to deal with pain and the groove* we wanted to create. Almost every parent will tell you the plan goes out the window on the day, so I was more then ready to throw my three page masterpiece in the bin. It turns out, to my surprise, our birth plan became Boston’s birth. So here is the day from us to you (whoever you are), it is a bit of an epic but read as you wish.
Approaching our due date I had been feeling the subtle tightening of pre labour contractions on and off, they would come for two hours then disappear. Each time I wondered if it would kick into the real deal.
Then on Sunday the 15th of July not long after I climbed into bed I felt something a little more intense. I waited…it came again. I slowly slipped out of bed and made my way to the lounge. I am going to describe them as someone did to me, just like pimped up period pain. I could not sleep but I knew if this was labour I would have a whooper of a day ahead so it was keep it groovey mode I went to. I made a tea, put on our birth day playlist (mellow tunes that make me smile), dimmed the lights, lit some candles and gathered some cushions. Sounds romantic doesn’t it?
Time to put hypnobirthing techniques into action, a couple of rainbow relaxations and breathing exercises, resulting in me dozing off on occasion but the contractions kept coming. I woke Steve at midnight to let him know showtime was here, but reassured him the most helpful thing he could do would be to go back to sleep and save his energy for the coming day. Most dad’s would have jumped up to attention or become so excited they couldn’t sleep, Steve just grunted and rolled back over, bless his chilled soul.
My awesome fantastic bestie/acupuncturist Aurelia was on call as birth companion number two. Calculating the Brisbane traffic and my contractions we decided calling her at 3am would be the best plan. By 5am she was at our door step needles and a smile from ear to ear in toe. My first acupuncture treatment followed shortly after which increased the intensity of my contractions causing me to put the foot down, it was time to head to the clinic.
We choose to birth at the fantastic Murwillumbah Midwife Clinic where we made our selves at home with cheese and crackers, Gatorade, drawing the curtains, setting up our music and relaxing into the space (getting our groove on pretty much). Our midwife was there to greet us and check on progress, already 5cm dilated! Holy cow now we are in the room our baby will be born in = EXCITEMENT! Everything was going so well, I was able to breath through my contractions and bring myself back into relaxation with each exhalation. The hypno techniques kept me super duper focused and really did allow me to relax as much as possible.
Steve and Aurelia were doing amazing as my companions, I felt like a queen with two ever dutiful servants. Each contraction was accompanied by light touch massage, encouragement and positive affirmations. I had read about the up side of an active birth, benefits or not there was no way I wanted to lie on my back, I would have had to be tied down. We moved from kneeling to the shower, to walking, squatting, the bath and the birth ball. I even managed to fall asleep between contractions, waking with a start as I began to tip into Steve or Auie. For a reason not known to my self I was dreaming of feeding pigeons (what sort of omen is that???).
The pressure of our baby moving down came, yes it does feel like you are going to poo, and we moved to the birthing stool which looked like a purple space age seat. It was here that my waters broke or as I saw it… exploded. I must admit that although the contractions had become stronger (think period pain added to cramping) and at times very challenging this was the point I felt the most intensity. I was leaning back on Steve, tightly squeezing his hands and I felt him beginning to squirm. I knew his legs were cramping but there was no way he was going to move, I was in the perfect spot and I told him to suck it up.
Aurelia had dreamt about the moment of birth. She had seen the light of a sunset streaming in the window, so as the room was bathed in golden light she looked at me and said “this is it…”and it was. With one last kick from inside the womb our little super star son came into our world. Boston Richard Gow, born 4:40pm on 16th July, 6lb11 and 51cm.
I know we were lucky to have the experience we did. Don’t get me wrong it was probably (aka without a doubt) the most challenging physical thing I have done. At one point Aurelia kept saying “you’re nearly there Nell” and I kept thinking nearly there seems an awful way away, where the hell is the light at the end of this tunnel?? But you’re head does this weird time warp, zone inwards, mask it with wicked love hormones thing that is really amazing.
Maybe it sounds extreme to go natural and have no drugs but in all honesty I didn’t feel like I needed them. Was it the preparation, the hypnobirthing, the acupuncture or just the amazing support I had from two wonderful people in my life and our fantastic midwife??? Who knows…but I do believe it was a combination of everything plus a little bit of luck.
Here ends the epic story of Boston’s birth. There is so much more I could write about, like Steve falling asleep or the shock when our prophesied girl turned out to be a boy, but you could be here all day reading. In the coming blogs I will go into more detail about the wicked tools we used complete with contact details if you are interested. If you have any questions shoot me a comment or a message and I will answer them asap.
It is safe to say a lot of mum’s to be will experience the most wonderful phenomenon that pregnancy creates. Turning you into a giant worm hole at the centre of the universe. Sucking up peoples interest, love and well wishes. It truly gives you a massive boost in self importance, leading to slightly unrealistic idea’s about exactly how awesome you and your morphing body are.
This phenomenon coupled with my good pregnancy has equalled one blessed time. But alas the end is near, and I will attest not too soon as my body is getting just a little crammed for space. With our due date approaching faster then a speeding train I must be honest and admit I have moments of pure anxiety at the thought of giving birth. We have prepared mentally, physically and emotionally with research, yoga, hypnobirthing, acupuncture and building a dream team of support. It still remains that this life changing event brings so much uncertainty and is shrouded in scary sentiment like “the worst pain you will ever feel”. You hear so many horror stories about 20 hour labours and emergency cesareans, I have to wonder despite the preparation will this day become my worst nightmare.
So it is with trepidation that I walk half boldly toward this day. The comforting factor being that it will be at most two days, which lets face it is minuscule in the scheme of life, and that so many wonderful women have gone before me into this journey emerging filled with love and triumph. I wonder if everyone feels this mix of emotions? I also wonder how I will feel when I too, are on the other side.