Aobha’s Birth Story
Surrendering to the power of birth
It’s just gone midnight. I remember waking with a strong surge, I must have made a loud noise as my partner came into the bedroom to see if I was ok, before I had gone to sleep with my rainbow meditation in my ear I had been having irregular contractions, but I just figured I’d get some sleep, and rest when I could, so with the hypno birthing running continuously in my ears, I drifted off.
When my partner came into the room I decided I wanted a bath, and I started to pay attention to the time between surges, this became really fascinating in the water as I could watch my belly harden and release , all the time I was practicing my hypno breathing , and still had my meditation on loop, in fact I may well of had the earphone still in my ears when my daughter took her first breath. I remember really enjoying the feeling of the water and being amazed at how the only feeling I was experiencing was the tightening and relaxing of what I know to be my uterus, I had no pain!
This was my second birth, and sadly because of how painful and traumatic my first birth was, and how terrified I was of labor I had felt the need to under go a lot of therapy to prepare myself for my second birth. I was afraid of lots of things, being so traumatized I’d reject the baby, or suffer with postnatal depression. I was so afraid of the pain after my first birth, I truly believed I would never do it again. I was afraid of feeling inadequate if I screamed, or loosing my power as I became just another face, just another virgina to the midwifes and doctors. The fear was real! The fear was relentless, but of course when I got pregnant a second time, I knew instantly I would keep her, just as I knew her sex, her spirit and the color of her hair.
I was very blessed to have an amazing friend who was a hypnotherapist, she also had used hypno birthing for her 3rd birth, and was happy to instruct me, and my partner on the process. It was very in depth, involved many sessions, with my partner and some one on one, it involved the practicing of new language (for example using the word surge instead of contraction), breathing, education, meditation. It was easy for me to commit to this as my fear was debilitating, never knowing if what I had learned would actually serve me in the end, but I was willing to believe.
I remember being in the bath a couple of hours, regularly topping up with hot water, my partner getting itchy and restless, encouraging me to get out of the bath and start heading to the hospital, it was the year of a great freeze in Ireland it lasted weeks and the ground everywhere had a thick glassy ice sheet, and the hospital was an hour away in good driving conditions, my partner was eager to call our friend to come over and mind my son so we could go.
I was resistant. I’d been having strong surges every 10 minutes, with a very small one in between which was so slight I hadn’t been counting them, thankfully my partner sensed I was further on than I thought and hand sneakily rang my friends.
It was 2am when my friend knocked on the bathroom door, and assertively told me it was time to get out of the bath, I was cantankerous, and agitated at being told what to do, so after I got dressed I told them I had ages to go, my surges were 10 minutes apart, and I started cleaning the house, blocking out the concerns of my loved ones with my faithful meditation.
At 3am I felt I couldn’t hold off my partner any longer, he was insistent we leave for the hospital, and I reluctantly gave in knowing the roads were very dangerous.
I had underestimated how long and challenging the journey would be, looking back now I recognize the drive was the hardest part of my daughters birth, if the car didn’t stop as I was having a surge, assuredly the car would hit some perfectly placed pot hole, and send a sharp stab through my body, but of course the roads were like an ice skating rink, so were dangerous and really, really difficult for my partner to navigate, but he was a skilled driver, and luckily well used to the icy roads, and as I discovered after the birth he instinctively knew I was very close, and was terrified I would give birth in the car… so amazingly even with the stopping and starting we arrived at balinasloe a+e at 4 am . At this point my surges were almost on top of each other, I realize now that I didn’t count the small surges, what I thought was 10minutes apart was actually 5minutes. in other words I was closer to the end than I thought.
When we pulled up outside, my partner double parked, we had a heated exchange, I wanted him to park properly so we wouldn’t get fined, he wanted to drop me in first…. of course pregnant woman wins every time, I think back on this now with humor, it must have been a wonderful sight, a woman minutes away from giving birth, arguing over a parking space, but I guess this is a testament to the power, the preparation and practice I had put into the birth. I had already nearly birthed my baby, but it had been so easy in comparison to my first birth, I truly believed I had hours to go. So grabbing my stuff I stubbornly walked into the reception, partner grudgingly in toe.
The receptionist took one look at me and asked if I needed a wheelchair, I snapped no! At her just as another surge threw me to the wall, I gave in and accepted the lift, this allowing me to focus all my attention to my breathing. Its important at this stage to say, that throughout the entire journey I had successfully managed to stay in the zone of my meditive state, becoming irritated only when I was forced to come out of it, I was an incredible, assertive, subconscious force.
When we arrived into the maternity, it was quiet, we passed only one busy room where the screams coming from inside threatened to unnerve me, luckily I thought I had hours to go as my first birth was nearly 60 hours, and at this point I had only been in labor just over 4 hours.
A very relaxed midwife came to great us, pointed us in the direction of a birthing sweet, I gave her my birth plan, and asked if we could set up our things, stereo, lights, oils, she looked at my calm, quiet, relaxed demeanor and told us to work away, she would be into check on me in a few minutes, and confirming my belief told me to “settle in u have a way to go”
We went in and whilst my partner put my things around, I changed into my nighty, the midwife popped in for a second to ask could she see my pad, which she took with her to discuss with someone else.
Just as she left I bucked over, I had the most intense surge, I whimpered slightly as it left me, both hands pushing into the bed.
“If its this tough now what will it be like in a few hours”
That there, was my only moment of weakness! a tier flowed, and for a second the fear escaped.
My partner helped me onto the bed, as he helped me put my legs up he stopped, “Tash I think I can see the head”
Immediately he rushed to the door calling for the midwife, leaving me in a rather precarious position, one leg up, one leg down, steadying myself with my unwavering, breathing the baby down technique.
I’ll always remember the midwifes rolling eyes as she came into the room, with my half read birth plan, her face saying, here we go, another hippy couple that think they know it all, her voice saying, “come on love lets get you onto the bed, do u mind if I have a look”
Me nodding as she takes a look, and yells to the other midwife awaiting just outside the door, whose face I never really see “get me a birth kit”.
At this moment I remember the euphoric, almost orgasmic feeling as my baby slips into the world, the midwife grappling like she’s trying to catch a slippery fish, barely grasps her in time, the shock on all the faces as my eyes close in relief.
Welcome to the world baby Aobha!
Pretty impressive considering its only 18 minutes after we arrived at the hospital!!
The couple of hours after this are a little blurry; I remember a couple of very painful stitches, in fact the worst pain of everything! But luckily it was brief, and nothing like the 40 stitches inside and out of my first birth. I remember the laughter and joy on the midwifes face, as she recounts that, she thought I had hours to go, and she hadn’t finished reading by birth plan. And how did I do that? And she is going to tell all the patients about hypno birthing. I remember the relief on my partners face, and the sheer exhaustion of the journey written in the creases of his eyes, as he is wrapped in a love bubble with his new daughter. And I remember her, this wee woman whose strength I had felt from the first kick, her mop of raven colourd hair, her sweet baby smell, and the beautiful pink hue, that the midwifes admired, they told me it doesn’t happen often that the baby and placenta are so pink , and it meant that baby had lots of oxygen. This makes me even prouder, joining my already intense feeling of self worth, connection and overwhelming pride; this is what it feels like to be a woman!!!! Ill never forget that!
It was more than the joy of meeting your baby for the first time, it was the feeling of achieving the highest purpose in life, and doing it whilst holding onto my power, my mind and my respect.
Unfortunately this also came with a little awareness and sadness, of the loss of this incredible experience, with my sons birth. Part of me felt robbed of this! There is nothing I can do to get that back, for my boy, or myself, but I hope by sharing my experience I can encourage, educate and support all woman. Every one of you deserves a chance at a birth like mine, to feel the very essence of life become you. I hope u will all deepen your knowledge, hold your power and surrender to the most truly majestic experience of your lives. I hope you find the support you need from hypno birthing, doulas, friends and so on, be open to it all!
Know that with the right support, birthing partner, and preparation u can literary have the birth u desire.
And for you my dearest Aobha, know that u were the proudest day of my life, you lent me enough strength to soar.
Written by: Tasha