I had a good first birth and the superstitious secret side of me thinks it might not happen again when we decide to have another bambino (Anxiety? Yes, and I’m acknowledging the hell out of it). I’ve shared my birth story some months after Leonardo’s birth and I was all hormones and tears. We had the birth beautifully captured on video and I remember watching it over and over and feeling my eyes swelling with tears each time I felt the deep, grunting breaths that accompanied my surges. Why am I rewriting this then? Because as well as a positive birth story, you ought to know that we all share fears and need for support specially first time around, that it takes preparation and knowledge.
I reached my due date pretty confident it was not going to happen on that day. My midwife had prepped me and I was feeling relaxed knowing that the baby would come out when it was ready to. Many people have asked me about having a private midwife. I didn’t have a private midwife as such till the very end, when probably to appease a sense of anxiousness or first timers pressure, we felt like having her with us was like taking out travel insurance. You never know! Kemi was originally our hypnobirhting teacher who just so happened to be a ridiculously experienced midwife and is a massive advocate of physiological birth. To me she is like the guardian angel of moms to be and childbirth. So to answer the many people who have asked, it is a very personal decision to make and as I am laying down all truths here, I was worried that somehow I could have felt that Luca was not supporting me or giving me the help I needed as I was struggling through labour. Not because he doesn’t usually; I just worried that it was a new setting a new situation and I didn’t know how both of us would handle it. Of course, I couldn’t have been more wrong, Luca was great; he ran that marathon right by my side. But knowing that Kemi was there, as a buffer, as a lifesaver, as a “get my husband out of here, I need a woman with a vagina who understands the depths of what is happening to me right now!” scenario, really helped me feel like I would be in good hands. Again I was wrong and a bit mistrusting, because the care we received by the midwives working the shift on the 27th April at St Mary’s birth centre was amazing too.
I want you to know that giving birth is nothing like we are led to believe through the media. Nothing. There are many different ways of giving birth, many lengths of time of giving births but it’s a much quieter and introspective experience then what I could have ever imagined. In that moment I felt I could really tap into an innate wisdom and power I didn’t know I had. It’s not something that happened to me through someone telling me when to push, the body made it happen, the breath made it happen. The midwives made it happen by just sitting back quietly and allowing. Just allowing.
And don’t think it’s just a story of strength; endurance and miracles. There is a lot of in between that reduces you to bare animal nature. If you are not comfortable with bodily functions when your partner is around, you will either not give a crap (no pun intended) by the time you are in labour or start getting used to it now because that may happen. And it’s gruelling, your partner will see you in the most vulnerable but yet powerful state they’ll ever see you in, and when you come out of it you will never be the same again.
The mental conditioning played a paramount part in our birth and hypnobirthing was a psychological boot camp for both of us. I cannot recommend it enough. It made us confident, it made us strong and a little more prepared, or as prepared as you can ever be on the day your life will change forever.