Mary’s Birth Story
A freebirth at home
I was 5 days over due and I felt that baby’s head must have dropped. It was hard to sit comfortably on any chair and being in the car was torture. That evening I had a visit from a very good friend, one from childhood whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was Thursday and she was due to fly home on Sunday morning. We had dinner, chatted and laughed and went to bed. Jess slept over that night.
The following morning I knew I had begun to birth Mary. I felt mild surges rise and fall and my whole being went into nest mode where I didn’t want to leave my bedroom. My husband informed my mother and Jess about what was going on. We were all at my mother’s house.
Prior to this day my husband and I had deeply discussed how I would give birth. I was not happy about being left in the hands of the doctors, nurses and surgeons of the hospital and for that reason I sought out a homebirth. I was chasing my own tale, going in circles, phone call after email, only to be told that I wouldn’t be able to have a homebirth provided by the HSE. There were several reasons for this, some of which didn’t make any sense and saddened me. The most outrageous excuse was that it was my first birth and they don’t usually offer it to first timers. Home birth is a right and women hold an innate ability to birth, first time or not. It is our bodies that just know what to do. But this is another conversation.
So after getting a lot of no’s I discussed the option of freebirth with my husband, where I would give birth without any assistance or guidance except for my own inner wisdom. He could feel how serious I was and told me that he would support me fully. I also discussed it with my other as we were currently staying with her. She also supported me but was also a little hasty. I began reading a lot of books on the subject to inform myself of things that could go wrong but most importantly how it mostly goes right when there is no intervention and when you are relaxed. We decided that this was the only way.
And when that morning came to give birth I was fully at ease with my decision and very grateful my childhood friend had slept over and would act as a support during this sacred time. The room was set up and a long lasting candle was lit. Worldly music from a play list I had prepared was playing, I was in my own home, fully supported and calm. I had no fear because I knew I was made to do this. I deployed some hypnobirthing breathing techniques when things were firing up a bit. I was completely in the zone, I felt like I was almost between worlds. My mind was calm, I didn’t hear the chatter of my ego. I was just very present with each surge.
Hours passed. I ate nothing and drank water through a straw whenever it was passed to me. I could hear the chatter and giggles of Jess and my mother in the kitchen making tea. Day faded to night and I began to tire. I could not lie down to sleep as it increased the surges. I used the breath to pass through them. My husband and I didn’t sleep a wink.
There was no measuring of my cervix or listening to heartbeats. We just went with it. Daylight slowly slipped through the cracks in the curtains and I slipped further into a meditative state. That morning I had my first moment of doubt. The tiredness was allowing my mind chatter to seep through. It made me feel something was wrong. In what felt like an instant, I was handed a phone from Jess. She had called her friend who was a practicing midwife in Scotland. Jen was a firm believer in not intervening unless very necessary. She reassured us that things seemed to be going normally and so we all fell back into our world of calm.
We decided then to ohm chant, which was a very special moment. Everything seemed to stand still. Chanting relaxes the mind and really helped me to get back in the zone. I leaned against cushions on the couch, Jess singing to me “Mother I feel you under my feet, mother I hear your heart beat….” My soul was nourished in the way it should be and I was cherished as a birthing mother.
Tomas’s shoulders were where I spent a lot of the time during surges. Swaying over and back. They began to get stronger and closer together. I was so happy to be at home, I could change from one room to another without being questioned. A change of scenery really helped. I hopped in and out of the shower… Or should I say carefully climbed in.
It began to get dark once again. Surges were coming faster. I was beginning to get very warm, very quickly and then very cold again. Tomas patiently placed a towel over me and removed it on my command. I no longer had clothes on. I had no inhibitions. I felt everything in slow motion. There was a power awakening in me.
Then something changed. My body started a different set of movements which developed into the second stage of labour. My mother paced the hallway and softly tapped a drum. I just waited. I waited until the energy in my body would rise and on the release it would push the baby down. My waters gushed out at this time. I was on my knees and moving how I felt appropriate. I did not push, my body did that for me. There was no need for me to add force. I submitted fully to what was happening and I roared. And rested.
And again, my body surged, pushed down and I roared again. After some time I was told that there was a small bit of the head appearing. Like a walnut! My husband said. We all laughed, I felt a mother surge coming and this time my baby’s head came out. I remember saying jokingly “oh that’s why they call it the ring of fire”. It burned a bit with the stretching. My body rested a while. Nothing seemed too much, I knew I could do it and I was over the moon that I was in the safety of my home.
Then it started up again. The shoulders were trying to come out. Apparently my babies head was just dangling there, pretty blue. And then the final push and she came out in to the hands of her father. I’ll never forget the feeling of her leaving the womb, everything just emptied out with a whoosh and my bump was gone.
She cried straight away, but not for very long. I held her close to my body, lights were dim and we were in a daze. I had done it and could finally hold this baby that was inside me for 9 months!
To give birth the way we want is a right. We as women have not been given this right, we own it. We are the vessels from which life is born and we should not forget that birth is sacred and an opportunity to be reborn ourselves as mothers. We were born to withstand the surges and built to have a baby pass from the womb, through the pelvis, down the birth canal and finally to come earth side.
Birth is not painful, it is powerful.
Written by: Christine