My waters started to break on a Thursday evening while out at dinner with some friends, once we got home, the waters had stopped leaking so I decided against calling our doula or midwife in favour of going to bed – I was convinced that nothing would happen for another 12 to 24 hours!
I woke refreshed after a really good night’s sleep and told my husband to go to work as I really didn’t think anything was happening – I didn’t even have any cramps. Wisely, he decided to stay! I decided to run a bath and the minute I got into it I started to feel the contractions, but the bath felt “wrong” at this stage so I got out. From the first until the last, the contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart with a good 3-4 minute break in between, so I told my husband that this couldn’t possibly be anything to get excited about as it would probably be like this for hours until the contractions were closer together.
We called our doula and she arrived within an hour. The contractions were fairly intense, and I was starting to feel like bearing down. I knew that I shouldn’t be doing this too early in case my perineum swelled up. However, our doula was pretty experienced and said we should call the midwife straight away. The contractions were not painful but intense at this point so I asked my husband to attach the TENS machine, which was set at 3.
The community midwife arrived and though she respected my wish to be left completely alone for the duration of my birthing, she asked to perform one vaginal examination. I agreed and to my amazement, I was already at 8 cm – hence my urge to start pushing! At this point I was able to get into the birthing pool, so the TENS machine came off and it felt fantastic to be in the water. Within half an hour I was fully dilated and able to start pushing. The pushing stage was a little longer than we all anticipated as I had foolishly not eaten all day and was getting a little tired by this point, but after some Caullophyllum and a drink of sugar water, I was ready to push for real.
The feeling when our son emerged was surreal and amazing – so empowering. The support of everyone around me had been wonderful, and above all I valued the fact that they had all respected my wishes to birth alone, until the last moment when my husband came to support me. The midwife and doula were quietly in the background.
It was only after I had given birth that I realised that it hadn’t even occurred to me to ask for gas and air – I had completed my birth without any further need for pain relief, I was so “in the zone”. I had simply focussed on the breathing techniques from my regular yoga practice.
Kasper Oliver Rohan weighed in at 8lbs 8oz and was 54cm long with loads of hair. We were left alone as a threesome for some time before my husband cut the cord and I birthed the placenta while he held Kasper skin to skin.
I can honestly say that giving birth was the most beautiful and peaceful experience, and one which I hope to use to help the many women with whom I work as a therapist, healer and birth doula.
Ali Norell MAR, MICHT
Reflexology and Complementary Therapy