This weekend marks 36 weeks of sheer bliss and pregnancy (haha or absolute exhaustion and torture). To say that I am excited to birth this little rascal is an understatement and I mean that in all seriousness. You see, birthing Isaac was a wonderful experience and I look back at the day fondly. This time around though, having experienced labour and birth once already, I feel less anxious about the things that consumed my mind last time which has made room for my feelings of excitement and anticipation of what my body is about to do to fill the space.
Since having my first child, as is the way with a lot of things in life, I have heard many stories, and learnt about the many different paths that birth can take. Like when you buy a red car and then all you see on the road are other red cars. I almost feel like there becomes this invisible attraction to all things baby and birth. Some stories were incredibly sad and devastating although, most were overwhelmingly empowering and ended with mother, baby and father safe and sound. Either way the one resounding feeling they all left me with was the desire to understand what my body was going to go through and to be better equipped to handle the different stages so I could have another positive, yet different, experience with this birth; different being the only guarantee I had.
In order to achieve this I decided that Mylo and I would attend a Hypnobirthing course. I had been listening to the Australian Birth Stories podcast for quite some time and a resounding commonality across a lot of the positive stories that involved couples who had completed this course and as a result had a wonderful experience, not all the same, some in hospital, some at home, some ending in caesarean, some ending on the front lawn . Now of course there were others and they were phenomenal too and there are many other courses out there but I just felt this was the one for us. Upon looking at the Hypnobirthing Australia website and searching a practitioner near us I actually gravitated heavily towards one woman Natalie Andrew on the Northern Beaches. For whatever reason I just felt that Natalie was the woman we would respond to well and that Prepared to Birth would be the place where we would learn more about how to remain calm and positive during birth no matter what turns it may take.
Before we go further it would be of value to note that Mylo was mildly sceptical about this course to begin with but once I explained to him the importance it held to me he was all in and ready to roll. Natalie was more than prepared for this and assured me that by the end he would be an advocate and she wasn’t wrong. You see, this birth I had chosen to leave the Private System (as wonderful as it was) and go to the local Public Hospital which is literally two hundred metres from our house. With only four rooms in the birthing suite it is similar to that of a country hospital. Given that Isaac was a pretty straight forward birth without complications (more or less) I was keen to be under the midwifery driven care and felt really good about where we would birth our next child. I did however, feel there to be a need for Mylo and I to be a stronger team, for him to be better equipped to “coach” me through things and for him to be able to advocate for me throughout the process. I also felt I needed to know what the hell was really going on during the whole thing so I could be less fearful of the experience.
We ended up with a private course, by absolute chance on our part, and some changes to client needs on Natalie’s part. Mylo and I appreciated this greatly, being small business owners ourselves we can sympathise with the possible financial implications of this situation. We felt so special and the genuine sense of care and passion for education and us from Natalie was further cemented. We talked at length about what a “positive birth experience” was to us, what our fears were around birth and everything in between. Mylo and I had the opportunity to work through some things that neither of us knew we each had concern for under the gentle guidance of Natalie and by the end of day two we felt both equipped, resolved and most importantly an incredible sense of excitement to birth our babe.
This course wasn’t about having a drug free, natural birth in the bush whilst wearing a flower crown despite even my own first misconceptions, but rather about knowing what it is that we wanted out of our birth, knowing the different options available to us and understanding what it was that the female body goes through when it births. Most importantly we left the course having the same confidence in my body to birth this babe as we did in it to grow the little tacker. As was pointed out by Natalie, we don’t question our body’s ability to grow a whole human in forty weeks and yet we feel so nervous that we would be able to evict the little life we’ve created when the time comes (she said it much more eloquently than that but you get the point). We doubt our body’s ability to know the right time to bring the babe out of the oven, we doubt our body’s ability to get the babe out safely.
Now, please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying as a stab at modern medicine, I fully understand that every day thousands of mothers and babies and saved from very dire situations originating from either the gestation period or birth of a baby and I am so thankful for the minds that study and explore these areas and are so able to do that wonderful work. I do however, believe that as a society we’ve begun wearing the births we experience as a sort of war story and possibly, that’s fair enough. Have we talked down the wonder of birth so much over the years as something that is just expected we should do and handle as women and lessened the both wondrous and arduous experience that is birth that. So much so that now we feel we need to remember and retell of the experience as one of pain, fear, suffering and trauma in order to gain the recognition we deserve for doing something that yes, we are perfectly designed to do, yet also the hardest thing we will likely ever do. That is unless you’re also climbing to the summit of Everest or running an ultra marathon in your life time, two things I know personally I probably won’t be doing. Even if you did, I still maintain that birthing your babe is in a league of it’s own. It is something that you can mentally prepare for yes, but essentially you have to trust in your body, have the right support around you who also know your body, can read you, know you as a person and believe in you and your said body. There are so many variables at play in a birth and it takes you really trusting that your body knows what it’s doing, trust it knows the baby it is bringing forth and working with it as well as giving it the time that it needs to achieve the end goal.
Anyways, enough of my musings… the point being that I don’t know how my birth will go but what I do know is I am eagerly awaiting the experience. I am pumped to feel more of what my body can do and even though I know it’s not going to tickle and it will be super intense I am looking forward to it. I don’t have a plan to avoid pain relief and I’m not opposed to whatever medical intervention I may need. I am going into this with an open yet strong mindset that my body will do what it needs to do and I will listen to what it is telling me and respond accordingly. I am beyond confident in Mylo and I as a team and cannot wait to tell you all the story of how it unfolds.
PS – If you’re keen to do a Hypnobirthing course I highly recommend Natalie, she’s a gun.