I’ve always prided myself on being able to achieve any goal I set my mind to. So when I fell pregnant with my first child I decided their delivery would be a calm, drug-free water birth, preferably commenced spontaneously maybe a week or so before my due date with minimal to no damage to my lady bits.
My baby would come out perfect and lovely and feed beautifully and we’d all live happily ever after.
Sure, no worries. Right?
At thirteen days overdue I could stave off those medical types no longer. I was induced. I had the gas. I had an epidural. I had a failed ventouse extraction. I had an emergency c-section.
Not exactly what I had in mind. Although my baby boy was perfect and lovely and he fed well. And really, in the end, that is all that matters.
Or is it? Was the manner of which he was birthed insignificant if he was born healthy?
I felt cheated that I didn’t go into labour naturally and ashamed that I couldn’t deliver my baby without all sorts of medical intervention. Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe the blow to my ego and sense of self that I failed to do the very thing my body as a female, is born to do. I failed and I could not forgive my body for denying me the rite to birth another human being. So when I fell pregnant with my second child eight months later, I was adamant that I would experience a natural labour and birth.
I hired a private midwife who I saw for all my ante natal appointments and who was to be there during this birth. I kept fit. I trained with a personal trainer, I walked and I went to the gym 2-3 times per week. I studied hypnobirthing and practiced it’s techniques most nights. I began ante-natal yoga. I ate right. As my pregnancy progressed I began reflexology. I drank four cups of raspberry leaf tea a day from 35 weeks. I did squats. I rolled and rocked on my fit ball like a crazy woman. By 38 weeks there was acupuncture, Chinese herbs and homeopathic remedies. By the end of my 40th week of pregnancy I was getting desperate for this kid to make their grand entrance! My midwife was great, but the obstetricians at my hospital were talking about booking a date for an elective caesarean ‘just in case’. I tried one last trick. I saw a fantastic, holistic chiropractor. The next day I went into labour, naturally.
I felt that my main hurdle for having a natural birth was getting the chance to go into spontaneous labour and once I got there I was elated! The pain was manageable, I felt in control. I was breathing and rocking my way towards meeting my baby. My midwife came over to our house and it was decided that we would head to the hospital. Because I was trying for a VBAC the hospital had me hooked up to monitors, much to my dissatisfaction. But I kept breathing and rocking and things were progressing. Until they wanted to ‘check my progress’. During the check they accidently broke my waters and next thing I knew there were frantic people everywhere; I started to freak out and was given gas; there was a drip being inserted into my hand and papers for me to sign as I was being wheeled down to theatre for a ventouse extraction.
Van was born by emergency caesarean by the same doctor who delivered Barney. There were issues, obviously, and that was just how it had to be. Surprisingly though, this time I didn’t mind. I felt proud that I had gotten so far by myself. That I had laboured with him, unaided.I was overwhelmingly thankful that he was ok and that they had got him out in time.
I may not have had my VBAC, but I did have another perfect and lovely baby who fed well and somehow, I felt Van’s labour and birth healed the negative feelings I harboured from Barney’s birth. I no longer felt like a failure as a woman and as a mother. And as for my unscathed lady bits? Beautifully framed by a big, uneven, keloid scar 😉
Did your labour go the way you planned?