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My experience with natural childbirth all started when I was expecting my first child. A good friend of mine, who was also pregnant at the time, told me about some anti natal classes that she was attending at Blossom Maternity Centre. We decided to go along. It was there where we met Laura for the first time. In the weeks leading up to my birth I felt more and more inspired by natural childbirth having received so much useful and practical information about it.
Emily, my daughter was born at hospital 3 years ago. She came breech and even though her birth was considered “high risk” and the atmosphere that surrounded us was tense and stressful at times, I was able to block out what was going on around me and focus exclusively on myself and my body allowing Emily to be born naturally, without medication. I believe one of the keys to natural childbirth is the ability to go into yourself and switch off to what is happening around you, allowing your body to follow its natural path.
When I fell pregnant with my second child I knew straight away that I wanted to have a home birth. My first birthing experience had given me absolute confidence in myself and totally convinced me that everything I had learnt with Laura about natural childbirth was in fact true and it was just a question of having faith, listening to your body, using breathing techniques, but above all just letting your body take over and keeping your mind quiet of thoughts.
Throughout my pregnancy I felt more and more sure that having this baby at home was going to be the right thing to do. When the day arrived, a week early things started very gradually. You might be wondering how I felt, if I was nervous, scared, apprehensive? Far from it! I was excited and utterly prepared for my little boy’s arrival at home! As I mentioned things started off very gradually, my contractions were very bearable and came every 15-20 minutes allowing me plenty of time to recover in between. I recall in fact thinking on a few occasions; perhaps this is only practice labour!
I called Laura after my first few contractions so that she was aware things had started to happen. At lunchtime Agoney prepared the living room. It was quite simple really; he closed the shutters, lit a few candles, burnt some incense and put the birthing pool in its place. In the meantime I was still getting contractions regularly, but felt very much under control and totally calm and serene. We then decided to do some meditation to try and call the baby and speed the process up. For almost an hour we sat next to each other in the living room chanting “ohm” over and over again. As a consequence Nowa was obviously listening and my contractions started to speed up! Now they were coming strong and fast every 5-7 minutes. It was 4pm and Agoney called Laura, she decided it was the right time to come up.
Laura arrived at 4.45pm, by which stage I was in full on labour, in fact I was already quite oblivious to what was going on around me. I was inside my bubble, concentrating on my breathing, moving my body to ease the pain. However despite being in my own world I’ll never forget her arrival. She discretely opened the door to the living room and crept over to where I was, she leant over and kissed my forehead, it felt like my angel had arrived! Shortly afterwards, Olga, another wonderful midwife who assists home births together with Laura arrived. But the truth is both Agoney and Olga at this moment onwards were quietly observing at a distance, allowing me to continue this magical journey with Laura guiding me on my way. When I think of this amazing experience the word “respect” always comes into my mind. The 3 beautiful beings that were around me throughout my labour were totally respectful of my needs at every moment. Laura massaged my back when I most needed it, she clipped my hair out of my eyes, and she breathed with me and let me lean on her when the contractions were strong. But at no time did anyone make conversation or interfere in any way, they simply acted on instinct.
Laura had arrived at 4.45pm and at 5.50 on all fours on my living room floor I felt an enormous urge to push! It suddenly dawned on me that I still wasn’t in the birthing pool! I quickly stripped off and got into the water, that was when I suddenly felt like a goddess! Laura splashed warm water on my back and patted my face with a cool flannel, it felt amazing and to think at this stage I was only minutes away to producing my baby and I felt genuinely at my strongest! Soon after getting into the pool I had another big contraction and my body told me it was time to push, so I did. In less than 5 minutes and 3 pushes baby Nowa was born! We were totally overjoyed at his arrival.
The hours post giving birth were equally as special and unforgettable. Nowa and I weren’t separated at any time; he went from the warm water straight into my arms where he stayed for the rest of the night, on my chest, warm and protected. He didn’t cry at any stage of the day, slowly he came round, at his own pace with no rush. Laura and Olga left us joined by the umbilical cord for at least an hour after his arrival. I also didn’t give birth to the placenta until an hour later. Everything just seemed to go with its own rhythm, nothing like my hospital experience!
I feel so much gratitude to these wonderful people who helped guide Nowa into the world in a peaceful and respectful manner. In the weeks that followed I also received endless amounts of guidance, love and support. All in all before, during and after giving birth I experienced the best time of my life.
To round up my story, my memories of giving birth to Nowa are only positive. It would be untruthful to say that childbirth didn’t hurt, however it all depends on how you manage and deal with the pain. In my experience the word “pain” that is so usually connected to childbirth not once has it entered my mind. Quite the opposite. When I think about his journey into the world I think about respect, love, light, strength and courage. I encourage all women who wonder what it is like to give birth at home to do it, to believe in all the good things you here about natural childbirth and to believe in yourselves, we were made to have our babies in this way…..enjoy it!