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Birth is an inexplicable, awe-inspiring miracle. Those who are lucky enough to carry a baby and then help it into this existence, know the sheer joy and empowerment that comes with the job. Be it vaginally, via c-section, hospital birth, home birth- you name it. Birth is birth. And birth is great.
But often we hear birthing horror stories. Some true, some exaggerated.
In overcoming my own fears about birth, I needed to seek some positive stories. I needed not to hear the horror. I needed not to hear about the grueling pain and fires of hell.
I needed to feel hopeful and capable.
I needed to hear that in some culture, somewhere, a woman ties a string around her husband’s balls and tugs on it whenever she feels a twinge… Urban myth or not- I just needed something more comforting than the fear!
So I sought out the stories. I read books by Ina May Gaskin. I signed up for HypnoBirthing. I also gently asked my friends who had already gone through the process to be gentle in their retelling.
Recently, a couple of my friends have had ‘amazing’ and ‘unexpected’ birthing experiences and I wanted to share them here and hopefully invite other women to share their special story.
Today’s story is from my friend Anja who was pregnant with her second child. She is a quietly strong and independent beauty, who came through her second birth with the fantastic support of her husband and equally amazing mother. I am stunned at how humble and calm she has been about sharing her story…
“Unfortunately my pregnancy was not easy. I had early labours and as a result I was supposed to “slow down“ which is a rather funny idea considering that I already had a very active one year old daughter… Anyways I tried my best and luckily my mother and husband supported me a lot.
Nevertheless one night, I was 30 weeks along and early labours started again. I was immediately referred to the hospital. The labours were considered “productive” so they gave me meds to stop them as well as (very painful) injections to help the baby’s lungs to develop faster in case he was born early. Unfortunately my body was not dealing well with the meds and my blood results (especially liver and thrombocytes) left them worried. They were afraid I would develop HELLP-Syndrome. At some point around two weeks later, my blood results stabilized and I was allowed to go home, but I was supposed to be on bed rest.
The 30th of January was a Saturday, not unlike any other day. I experienced some back pain, but I was pretty pregnant at that point, so no fuss right?! I put my beautiful girl to sleep and when I came out of the bedroom I asked my husband to get me some Greek takeaway to fulfill those pregnancy food cravings. By the time he got back around 7.30pm, I started wondering whether the back pain was actually Braxton-Hicks-labours…
About 15 min later I started getting nervous, I was not in labour pain as I remembered it from my first birth, just normal constant back pain- but somehow, I was weirdly nervous. So I asked my husband to call my mum, just in case, so she could prepare herself to come and look after our daughter.
At 8.00pm I started feeling a weird pressure. Still no ‘pain’ but still really nervous… At this point, I asked my husband to call my Mum again and tell her to start driving to our house.
Luckily we did.
At 8.10pm the contractions started kicking in and they ramped up really quickly. It seemed that I was immediately having contractions that were just 2 minutes apart. Meanwhile, my husband was running around like a headless chicken, getting my hospital bag, searching for his car keys and looking out of the window to see if my mum was arriving.
As she pulled into the driveway, he asked me to get ready to leave. But when I saw the stairs (we are living on the first floor) I just knew I could not get down there anymore. I just sat down in the hallway. He was really supportive and tried to convince me to get up again. I got up, but I refused to go down the stairs and just went straight to the couch. I somehow just knew. At this point my husband called the ambulance.
My mother was quite surprised when she heard Ben calling the ambulance but I just asked her to help me get out of my shoes and trousers. I was just repeating “I can not do this, I cannot do this” and when she asked me “What can’t you do?” I said “I can not make it to the hospital anymore I am having the baby now” and she simply said “Well that’s ok then…”
At that point I just ‘let go’ and I could immediately feel something finding it way out. Having given birth before, I knew that could not be the head of the baby, but for a moment I was really scared that it would be an arm or a leg and that everything was going to go terribly wrong. It turned out to be part of the amniotiac sac and then my water broke.
Next, I felt the strong need to push, and that was when the baby’s head emerged. I pushed once more and he was born. Right there in our living room!
I felt like a warrior.
The one piece of advice I would give to anyone about to give birth would be:
“Trust yourself and the power of your body!”
**Final note: We did need to buy a new couch afterwards. Therefore, another piece of advice would be to keep a stack of clean towels on hand just in case…
If you have a birth story that you would love to share with other women, please contact me 🙂
Or, if you are looking for a great product that might help you along your journey, click here.