My Coconut Baby
Sigh the breath out, the main instruction I remember from my yoga class with Nerissa.
I deliberately didn’t watch any of those one born every minute's... I read Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin…have a peek…and watched one water birth “Finn” on the internet. In anticipation of my lovely birth ( I planned a natural water birth) I had my hair/waxing done... my toe nails painted blue….and my house had been cleaned from top to bottom more than once…it was nearly time.
At the age of 40 I’d been encouraged to have an induction as I was overdue. I persuaded the doctors to let me have another week as I felt fit and well. The week was coming to an end so Janice my gorgeous midwife did a little sweep for me..then encouraged me to go home and do all the nice things: walk...eat curry...romcom and cuddles. Anyway I got home and did a lovely yoga practice..planning on the other lovelies later. I got up gently from relaxation and felt a wee - wet! Hmmm…I thought to myself - I need to do those pelvic floor exercises more! Then ooooooo a bit more! And now yes…that’s my waters broken!
It’s 7pm by now and Rob drives me to the Friarage hospital. I take my overnight bag though I am sure I will be coming home. At the hospital it’s very busy (the Friarage is a little hospital and they only have 6 beds in the labour ward). I am examined by a lovely nurse who tells me “If you go home now you may not be able to come back and have your baby here as we are full, but if you stay we will see to you”
No brainer - I will stay, I really have my heart set on a natural birth at The Friarage. I feel safe and comfy with this hospital and the midwives. I’d visited beforehand to see the rooms, and check out that I was able to move and not be encouraged to stay on the bed! So yes I’m staying put! I am put on a monitor - all fine. Rob will go home and come back in the morning but before he goes I order him to bring me bread and chocolate muffins (strange as I’d had nothing sweet - nada! - all the way through pregnancy…even marmite tasted sweet to me!) Rob obliges and off he goes back home about 10pm.
I have a pyjama party in bed with myself and bump. Tuck into bread and chocolate muffins with a nice cup of tea - thanks nurse! Nurse checks pads, poop in the water (baby’s not mine) so I will be induced in a couple of hours! BOLLOCKS (excuse my French) I don’t want that. I know that if I’m to be induced then it may lead to more pain relief for super strong contractions…I still have my heart set on as natural a birth as possible. Having said that I tell myself you have to go with whatever birth experience comes your way….just be sure to know that whatever happens your body is totally geared up to give birth…lightly.
It’s a small ward…about 6 beds. It’s only me…waiting now untill it’s my turn. I ring my best friend - and new mum of twins - Shona, to let her know I’m going to be induced in a couple of hours….but I really want to go into labour naturally. “Listen Maria,” she says “You can do it...You have all the power, all the strength to have a good birth”. Those words spur me on. I get up out of bed and pace the ward doing my funny camel walk I’ve learnt from pregnancy yoga…I take the time to breathe…fully… deeply…rhythmically…I am determined to rock and breathe my way into labour - and I do.
The hospital is so busy tonight that they cant take me onto the ward till 6am…by which time I’ve heard the first cry of six new babies…and I’m about 5cm dilated. The midwife is happy to let me get on with it. The windows are open and it’s freezing! The bed is hoiked up quite high…perfect for me to stand with my hands holding outstretched for Rob to hold from the other side of the bed as I bear down.
Whhhhhoooooooooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaagggh! This sound comes from so deep within me…primal….it’s so loud, yet its not a scream….and its not coming from pain. It’s coming from somewhere so deep within me...it’s my power…my power to have my baby.
Once the contraction washes away like a wave…of sound and breath…Rob comes round to my side of the bed to push the birthing ball under my bottom. I take rest and hold out my hand for my coconut water….then it comes again.
I stand up ready: Whhhhhoooooooooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaagggh!…Rob holds my hands…I stay with my breath…all the while exhaling my deep sound.
Then the wave washes away, I sit on my ball, I hold out may hand, I sip my coconut water.
And so the cycle goes on and on: I hold hands with rob across the bed…bear down: Whhhhhoooooooooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaagggh contraction….Rob come round my side of bed…push ball under bottom…hand me coconut water……
………I’m not tired…My mind is focused...steady...calm…it’s like I’m going somewhere new but I know the way.
I must be close now as the midwife asks me to get on the bed…I climb up and get on my knees; I face the head board and hold onto the sides with my hands. I don’t want to sit on my bottom as I know this presses my tail bone making it harder for baby to come out. I feel focused and intent on simply birthing my baby. The primal part of my brain kicks in another notch..natrural instinct…a mothers natural instinct…you have it…
The labour feels very intense now; the midwife puts a little lavender oil at the nape of my neck. It’s incredible…it’s like a lovely warm comforting blanket has been draped around me…I feel so calm and relaxed…considering I’m so close to birth!
The baby’s heart rate drops a little and the doctors are called in. They say that they will at this point intervene…..oh no… I want to do this….so I push and I push and I sigh my coconut baby out!
They pass a little bundle to me under my legs, a baby girl…my baby girl… Alaia Luisa born 10.36am on March 6th 2013.