I have been blessed to have two angels. The contrasting ways they arrived in our world does nothing to differentiate the love I have for them. They have set me on my life’s journey as a woman and mother. But the differing ways they arrived I think shows the brilliant effectiveness of the Gentle Birth Method.
Our son Wolfie was born on 1.1.11 by emergency C-section after a difficult 18-hour labor. The scan I had at 40 weeks + 4 showed that he was not fully engaged in my pelvis. In labor the midwife told me he was back-to-back with me and I “wouldn’t make it” without pain relief. After an epidural and a doomed attempt to drag Wolfie out using ventouse, he arrived by way of the ‘sunroof’. I received a letter explaining that this was necessary as Wolfie was OP. I was hot and shaking so ferociously I could not hold my newborn son for the first few hours after he arrived let alone feed him. I ran on co-dydramol for the first few days and adrenaline for the next few weeks. I battled demand-led breast-feeding and miraculously at 12 weeks he slept 7-7. Conversely, I became an insomniac for the subsequent months, reeling from the shocking change of life and the way it had come about. I did not revisit these emotions again until I became pregnant again 2 years later.
Isis was born on 7.7.13. Gowri extolls the virtues of (birth) preparation. I was determined to be physically and emotionally prepared for this birth. My obstetrician agreed that I had presented with “extremely favorable birthing condition” for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy. She felt that the cervix was soft and the baby’s head was engaged. Gowri and her team in the final 2 weeks had kept doing more. Working harder to keep improving my chances of a better birth. Gowri contested the idea that Isis was engaged at all and she could feel that Isis was turning OP like her brother. I had been eating the right foods, wearing the wrap, walking, going to micro-movement classes with Francoise for 6 months and seeing GBM team bi-monthly. In the days leading up to Isis’s arrival I had treatments almost every day. I walked, slept, oiled, stretched and took pills from every continent on earth. I had the most amazing cranio-sacral therapy in water with Gowri, I felt for those moments totally and utterly in tune with Isis in my womb. Francoise also took me into the pool. I know she showed me how to persuade Isis further down my pelvis. When I got out of the pool I was giddy with endorphins, Isis and I were in bliss. Perhaps so much so that in one sense we did not want to let each other go. Isis was 9 days over her due date when it was decided my waters should be broken.
Given Wolfie’s birth there was still part of me prepared to accept that all the preparation may have been in vain. Debbie and Gowri were with me in hospital with a skeptical Ferdy who I think was secretly hoping I would opt for an elective C-section this time around so as to avoid another trauma. After my waters were broken I was told by my obstetrician to go for a walk in the park and come back around 3pm to “review”. I never made it into the park but I would happily have given birth on the traffic island in the middle of the Marylebone road had it not been for Ferdy’s determination that I must at least have our daughter in hospital. I was oblivious to the traffic and almost to the tourists wishing to call me ambulances. I was in the zone. I did not think it possible but I genuinely willed every contraction, I was open to the pain, I was urging Isis out and she in turn was making a safe exit. The fetal heart monitors I was so concerned with during Wolfie’s birth were in the way rather than a reassurance, I knew we were ok. I felt safe. When I felt like the pain was almost over-powering I believed it was temporary and I wished Isis out further. I had been so well prepared by Gowri and her team. I think I remember Francoise saying that the mother needs to find their inner wave when they birth. I absolutely knew what she meant. I still remember the strength of the cranio Gowri gave me as I was pushing Isis out. She arrived at 3pm. In Ferdy’s words, it was “magical”. We watched Andy Murray win Wimbledon and went home that evening.
Gentle Birth Method is familiarised by mothers in the playground as the gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar free pregnancy lifestyle. I was 80% good at staying on that very straight and narrow diet. Wolfie was made out of sugar and all things nice. I gained more than 40kg’s eating the grand diet of Mars bar ice creams and treacle tarts. Isis is yet to taste these treats but I felt much better and more energetic as a result and did not crave nearly as much food while pregnant with Isis as my body seemed to be working so much better to formulate its own energy despite the fact that I was chasing after Wolfie around throughout Isis’s time inside.
Post-natally I was not bed ridden and able to return to spending time with Wolfie very quickly after Isis arrived which has undoubtedly helped reassure him during this time of change. Isis is a calm person, unfazed and unfussy. She has very little colic or digestive discomfort and no breast anxiety. From her birth she has been feeding and sleeping well and I believe this is due to her quick gentle arrival. My stomach shrunk in record time thanks to the wrap, the post-natal bars and the pre-pregnancy diet. I am still living off Gowri’s post-natal Indian takeaways. Gowri’s nut balls get me through the most tiring evening breast feed before supper and the diet suits me so it will probably be in the back of my mind informing my food choices forever even if I relax the rules. Sara and Debbie have been giving me the most amazing massages, which energise me in the day and help me sleep soundly in my (broken) sleep. To be looked after like I was looked after by Gowri and her GBM team was the best investment in our family that I have ever made. I had to dig deeply inside myself to put my unending faith in the method of another person. For it to have worked was, for me, life changing. From the bottom of my heart, I just want to say sincerely thank you.