My wish: A natural childbirth
When I found out I was pregnant in June 2015, I was ecstatic, afraid, and surprised. I had daydreamed about the day I would see that plus sign, the day that I would find out I was becoming a mama. But what came to be from the moment that I saw that positive pregnancy test all the way to my baby’s birth was nothing like I had imagined.
From the highs of joy and the lows of fear, I felt things I had never felt before. Some fears that came up often were questions, such as, What if I am not going to be a good mama? Maybe I am not ready? What if I make the wrong choices for my baby’s health?
However, there was one thing I had always innately been certain of, and that was my wish for a natural pregnancy and birth. And as my knowledge deepened, by talking to birthing professionals, researching medical journals and learning about the potentially harmful side affects of some of the interventions that come while expecting and giving birth, my choice of a close-to-nature pregnancy and birth became backed by determination. My determination must not be mistaken for lack of flexibility or understanding, because my intention to have a natural experience was tempered by the ultimate desire to keep my baby safe. If there needed to be an intervention to save my baby or myself, of course I would have never objected. There is a place and a time for medical intervention. I know that every birth story is different, and I know that things don’t always go as planned or as imagined, which makes flexibility in a birth plan a must.
I brought together a support team, which consisted of my acupuncturist, doula, midwife, and chiropractor. This dream team supported my husband and me throughout my pregnancy. I read books (see my recommended reading list for a natural pregnancy), I journaled, I meditated, I used affirmations, I practiced daily yoga, I listened to good birth stories and I kindly asked the mamas who had a challenging experience to respectfully keep it to themselves. In essence, I created a baby bubble. For me, pregnancy was a time to connect with my growing baby, to connect to my husband, and to connect to myself in a new way. It felt like a privilege to be pregnant, it felt like something that was to be cherished at a core level.
Giving birth to my daughter was the closest to bliss, the closest to God /Goddess, the most sacred and empowering experience of my life. It transformed me not only into a mom, but into a believer of miracles. I was blessed to catch a glimpse of the vastness and the goodness of our consciousness. Her birth was so much more than I could have ever dreamed.
My due date was March 2 and although I was having some powerful Braxton Hicks surges on that day, there were no signs of true labor. On March 9, the hospital called to set up an induction date, and as calm as I had been throughout my pregnancy, I panicked then. My plan had been to have the majority of the labor at home. With an induction that would no longer be a possibility. You see, according to many natural birth experts, if you get to the hospital early on in your labor there is more time and more possibility for interventions. So, I called my doula. She said, “Take some deep breaths, come back to yourself, and work on upping the oxytocin”—the happy hormone. There was a pause and then she continued, “By the way, sperm helps the cervix relax.”
I laugh-cried. I got off the phone and I allowed myself to process the fears that were coming up. I curled up, hugged my belly and I inwardly repeated my birthing affirmations as I dozed off to sleep.
The power of intention
I woke up the next morning with intention. I looked at my man and I said, “Today we are cranking on this mama’s oxytocin. Let’s shut off the phones and computers. Let’s feel all the good feels today.” My husband looked at me,half scared and half excited. And so it was. By 2 pm, my contractions started to form a pattern:
twelve minutes apart. I felt no fear at all, I actually felt curious. I finished packing our hospital bags and every time a surge would come, I would call my husband over to me to help me sway and breathe through it.
A beautiful beginning
The contractions felt like a really tight squeeze all around the belly with a downward pull towards my pelvic area. They did take my breath away, and I could not focus on much besides my breath and swaying while the contraction was happening. As soon as it passed, at this early stage, I was able to keep on my tasks.
By 5 pm the surges were about ten minutes apart. We were cooking dinner, a vegan rice pudding, (easy to digest, soothing, and provides lots of energy for labor), and we would dance by the stove every time a new surge came o
n. By 6 pm the intensity went up. Gregg lit the candles, lit the incense, dimmed the lights, and played relaxing music. At this point, I wasn’t able to do much in between the contractions. As soon as the surge would pass all I would do was completely relax my whole body. I wasn’t thinking. There was a complete silence in my mind. As the intensity kept rising, we began to chant OM together for the length of the contraction. During my yoga training, I learned about the power of directional energy via chanting. The sound OM is a grounding sound, so the energy moves toward the Earth, especially when chanted at a low tone.
At around 10:30 pm, I went into a rose- lavender-infused candlelit bath. The water felt amazing. I was completely focused on my breath and on relaxing as much as possible. Gregg was holding my hand, gently pouring water on my belly and breathing with me. Once in my bathrobe, I lay on the couch and laughed out loud when Gregg told me that the midwife asked that I try to sleep because of the long haul ahead— “I can super-relax in between the surges, but sleep? I don’t think so!”
As expected—nothing ever goes as expected
At around 11:30 pm, I stood from the couch and my water broke. I said, “Gregg, call the hospital and let them know.” I took a step. Step. Step. I softly and inquisitively said, “Gregg, I feel the urge to push?!” Another step—I yelled, or maybe I grunted, “I definitely need to push!”
With all of my team telling us that we had hours and hours to go before the pushing stage, I questioned my body. Was I feeling an urge that was not real? My doula hadn’t even started to make her way to our house, the hospital wasn’t expecting us until early morning, and the plan was to deliver at the hospital. I began to scream toward the ceiling. I thought, “If chanting OM in a low tone toward the Earth can help the baby come down, maybe if I yell at a high pitch toward the ceiling I can help her stay in until we get to the hospital.” Gregg was frantically trying to collect the bags, all the while helping me through the surges that now were only two minutes apart.
I asked for an ambulance. Not because I thought I was in danger, but mostly because I wanted Gregg close to me and the thought of sitting down in a car seemed extremely unpleasant. In they all came: firefighters, police, and the medics. They showed up with a wheelchair.
“You take that away from me, I am walking!” I said.
At this point, my surges were strong and, because of the chaos, I wasn’t able to relax as much as I had been. Once I made it into the ambulance, the paramedic had me lie down, and proceeded to attempt to place an IV on my hand. I waved the IV away and I looked at him in the eyes and said sternly, “No meds!” Believe me, at this point polite was not an option, and that’s ok. The strength of a woman in labor is way underestimated in our society.
Never doubt your body
Once we made it into my delivery room, there was the team of nurses and my midwife waiting. I could sense skepticism. The midwife positioned me to check my cervix, and said, “Let’s see how dilated you are….Hmm. Well, Diandra, I think you need to listen to your urges. Baby is ready to join us.”
“Really? I can push? I knew it.” I said.
I am so powerful
One and a half hours into pushing, I felt a sense of exhaustion coming over me. I was having a hard time finding the relaxed space my husband had created in our home. I started to think, “What if I don’t have the energy to continue?”
I said to my husband, “Oh, no! I am getting tired!” and he whispered in my ear, ” You got this love. Remember, you were meant to do this.”
“Diandra, do you want to see your baby’s head?” the midwife asked. At this point I had my eyes closed as I was focusing on my breath and on my connection to my girl, so I said no.
She said, “Do you want to feel your baby’s head?”
I nodded. They took my hand and placed it on her head. At that moment I felt a lightning bolt of pure energy run through me. Feeling her head was instant love, presence and determination, but a kind of determination that I never felt before. I felt unstoppable, connected and so so powerful. I had her out so quick that the midwife barely had time to put on the top to her scrubs.
Heaven on Earth: Our angel is here
Feeling my daughter emerge was the most beautiful experience of my life. This was the most sacred moment I have ever experienced. Time felt still. I was so calm when they placed my baby on my chest. She was calm and I was calm. The love was real. In that moment, in that instant for the first time ever, I really felt that only love was real.
As she lay on my chest and she fed from my breasts, we waited until the cord stopped pulsating before my husband cut the cord. She was weighed, measured and then, while the team took care of me, my husband had skin-to-skin time with our precious girl. Our lives have been blessed by an Angel in so many ‘words wont’t do it justice’ ways. We are blessed that she chose us.
Having a strong support team is a must!
I could not have not had the experience I had if it weren’t for, first and foremost, my husband. He made labor seem like a romantic date, I felt like a Goddess from conception to birth with him by my side. My doula, my chiropractor, my acupuncturist and the midwife team were essential to my educated choices and for the support. The thought of taking drugs did not cross my mind once, and I credit this mostly to my team, the hypo-birthing training, book, and meditations and my daily yoga practice.
I feel deeply grateful and blessed to have experienced a close to nature pregnancy and a natural hospital birth. It doesn’t happen for many, and I don’t take it for granted. I loved being pregnant and I loved her birth so much that I get giddy at the idea of us having many, many, many more children! Are you ready Mr. OmsheLife? Ha ha.
You will be seeing many more posts about my pregnancy and motherhood. In the meantime, if you know someone who is expecting a baby, is a mom or is looking for inspiration for natural childbirth, please share this post with her. Feel free to reach out and ask any questions in the comments below.
It is my wish to help as many women as possible to achieve a natural birth, if that is what they want to do.