The practice of Calm Birth gave our daughter a peaceful beginning. Not only did Calm Birth help us on the day of her birth, but also during my pregnancy and the days following delivery. It has become a way of life for us. I was a few days overdue and to my frustration an induction was planned. More than anything, I wanted to have a natural birth and while I knew certain variables were out of my hands, with what I had learned I knew I could control how I handled the situation we were in. Adrienne, our instructor, helped my husband and I feel that we had the power and control over what our delivery could be, and that even if I ended having to be induced, with what we learned in Calm Birth, we could still have a peaceful birth.
On Saturday evening, I noticed I was having a little more discomfort, but didn’t think much of it. After all, we were 40 weeks and change…it was going to be a bit uncomfortable. Around 4 am what I thought were my “Braxton Hicks” contractions were coming at about 4-5 minutes apart. I was too uncomfortable to be in bed so I made my way to the kitchen to clean. It never occurred to me that I was actually in labor! I was excited to finally have some Braxton Hicks to which I could practice my breathing to. Never once did I feel concerned or alarmed. I always felt at peace. Around 6:30am I had a pretty big contraction in my bedroom. During my contraction my husband woke up and said, “you´re in labor!” I thought they were still Braxton Hicks and 4–5 minutes apart. To entertain him, we timed my contractions and realized they were 1–2 minutes apart lasting about 1 minute each. The intensity of the contractions really sent me to the floor, but I just used my womb breathing and felt good.
At this point, I thought, “okay, maybe this is the real thing,” so I let Charles call the doctor. I did re-emphasize to him that I was not going until I had to, not wanting to be tied down to a hospital bed for hours on end. Knowing that the time to go was drawing near, I made my way to the shower. I took my sweet time, enjoying the hot water, doing my womb breathing through the contractions while singing Jimmy Buffet. I have to reiterate how in control, natural, and at peace I felt. We made our way to the hospital, and upon our arrival, the contractions were really getting intense. I was concentrating more and the womb breathing helped me find a rhythm and stay in my zone.
I was checked into the OB ward and to my relief found out that I was not a pansy, that the contractions were real and not Braxton Hicks. I was 9 cm dilated with my bag of waters bulging! I walked to the labor room and was asked to get into bed. The philosophy of Calm Birth really helped my husband and me at this stage. We were now in unfamiliar territory and the birth was upon us. This is when we really needed to rely on each other and what we had learned to stay calm and positive. We made the room a comfortable environment by dimming the lights and putting on Jimmy Buffet and Reckless Kelly. When the time came to have Lucy, I thought I´d want some more relaxing music or my Calm Birth CD, but I really wanted to listen to Jimmy Buffet and do my womb breathing to that!
After an hour of intense pushing on my back, I was getting tired and flustered. I really wanted to use the other positions that Adrienne had taught me, but I was scared to ask. Luckily, Charles read my mind and asked for me. Our doctor was amazing. She was not from my practice, so I didn’t know what she would allow us to do, but she encouraged me to change positions and called the nurse midwife in. From there, my labor began to progress again. I no longer felt vulnerable, but felt empowered! I was in all fours position and really starting to be able to work with the contractions and push effectively. I was eyeing getting out of bed and our midwife encouraged me to do so. I got out of bed and continued to use my womb breathing. I felt like I was having the first dance with my baby. Womb Breathing helped me feel connected to her and my body. I embraced the contractions and squatted. Thirty minutes later, Lucy was born.
However, she did aspirate and was monitored in NICU for a few hours. Those hours apart were brutal, but still the practices of Calm Birth helped. We used the practice of Giving and Receiving and I felt it helped us stay connected to our baby through those few hours we were apart.
Calm Birth truly helped us to feel confident in our birth process and to be connected as a family. I will always be grateful for this practice. We were able to have a peaceful birth, despite Lucy´s difficulty breathing. I feel that this peaceful way of coming into the world helped her to overcome this challenge. I will always view our birth as our first dance together. I am so grateful that I do not have thoughts of pain, frustration, or fatigue when I think of our birth. It was natural, peaceful, and what we as a family needed and wanted it to be.
I am so thankful to Adrienne for her guidance. She helped me to feel so connected to Lucy during my pregnancy and to learn to not fear labor but to embrace it. It was an awesome ride!