Its just past midnight and my babies are sleeping, and so of course I am still awake. I keep reflecting on my experiences of pregnancy and giving birth, and I can very happily say that while pregnancy was pretty ‘meh’, I LOVED giving birth.
I’ll share my birth stories in subsequent posts, but I’m not sure either will convey the pure joy and power I felt giving birth to my daughters. I’m a firm believer in the ability of women’s bodies, that when left to do what nature intended, by and large, they do it quite well. Obviously there are complications, but generally speaking, the less interference, the better.
And nothing could have been truer in both of my experiences. My first labour was loooooooong. 48 hours of back to back contractions long. My waters broke spontaneously and we had a wait before my daughter arrived. When you read my full birth story here, you’ll see that lots of exciting things happened in those 48 hours, and it was worth the wait. I’m so thankful I waited. Many doctors (and mothers) get twitchy when after the waters have broken a mother doesn’t deliver in a certain amount of hours. It’s true, there is a risk of infection, but for me, I felt that the risks of induction outweighed waiting for my baby to arrive. And so, 48 hours after my waters broke, I pushed my little girl into the world, off my face on gas and air (and a bit of morphine that I somewhat regret), and despite the long early labour, it was easy.
It was easy and it was empowering. The need to push was like nothing I had ever experienced before. My body just took over and told me what to do. Don’t get me wrong – it was painful, it hurt like hell – but in a good way. In a productive way, in a way where I could feel every cell in my body trying to do what it was supposed to do and push my little girl out. As it turned out, my body pushed too well, and when G arrived she was a bit shocked… but it still amazed me that it was something I could do.
With V it was even more amazing. I was less drugged up, less tired (this labour only lasted 15 hours from start to finish), and more knowledgeable. I kept moving throughout – I danced, and swayed and sang and walked through all of my contractions until I got into the pool. I’ve always loved water, and it was the perfect place to give birth. Minutes before V arrived, my body took over again – this time much quicker. So quick in fact that she was born in two pushes, and my husband missed the whole experience; arriving five minutes after she was born to see us wet and exhausted sitting in the pool together. But it was the best kind of exhaustion, and any mother will tell you the same – those minutes after you have given birth allow you to feel like you have conquered the world.
For me, at least, there was something basic and instinctual about giving birth. I’m fortunate in that it was something that interested me, so I was equipped with knowledge, I’m young and my body works well, and it seemed to come naturally to me. I never expected the experiences of conception, pregnancy and birthing to be as easy as they were – but they were. None of the experiences were without difficulty, but throughout them it was as if I had an understanding with my body. An acceptance, and a belief that I was doing what I was made to do.
Here are some websites that were helpful to me on my journey through pregnancy and birth.