Three weeks ago today I gave birth to sweet little J.
I am going to share something rather personal here. I pondered if it was a good idea for a while. But being a Yogini on the spiritual path, I decided to go for it and share my experience. Even though this is about birth, it could really apply to any situation.
From the day I found out I was pregnant, I had this very clear idea of how I wanted my pregnancy and especially the birth to happen. I would continue to do Yoga 5 times a week, adjusting my practice to my body’s needs, I would meditate daily, eat healthy, stay active but slow down and adapt my pace to this new human being inside me. I would have a very mindful pregnancy, yes, still working and being busy but at the same time being in touch with my little one.
As for the birth, it would be an all-natural birth, no medication or anything induced, simply the baby and me helped by the breathing and relaxation techniques that I practiced daily. You know, I had my plan, this is what was going to happen. There was no reason for me not to have it my way. I read very few books, just two really: one on the day to day evolution of the baby and my body and one Kundalini Yoga book on pregnancy. I took one online pregnancy Yoga course that helped me adjust my practice. Other than that, I made sure to listen to myself rather than to well-meant advice from others. I refrained from googling every sign or question that arised. I wanted this to be my experience after all and not base it on what other women had lived. Sounds good? I thought so. And then…
Around week 30, little J was still with his head up (he’d been that way all though the pregnancy so far), in breech position. That is when my OB Gyn mentioned the C-word for the first time:
With time passing, it will become more difficult for the baby to turn. It’s not too late but if he doesn’t turn, we will schedule a c-section.
I was absolutely mortified. A c-section. Until then I had never even thought about that possibility. It had never occurred to me that I would have anything else than a natural birth. Still it was early days, not too late for the situation or rather the baby to turn around. We went on holiday, my maternity leave started and at week 34 I was back at my doctor’s to find out that still the baby was with his bum down. I started to stress a little more. My ideal view started to crumble. And I did what I always do when I encounter a challenge: I did all I could to find ways to change the situation. I read about Yoga poses that could help the baby flip around, about somersaults at the swimming pool, acupuncture. I became really frantic and panicky.
I started doubting myself, wondering what I’d done wrong. I did the Yoga, the meditation, the healthy food (ok, I admit I was not 100% clean on the sugar front, but still…),… I read stories about c-sections and only saw the negative implications. I was convinced I would not be able to bond properly with my baby if he was born this way. I was convinced he would have a really bad start into his life if born via c-section. For a crazy moment I even considered stopping Yoga for good (because really what’s it good for if in the end the baby will be born through surgery?).
And then after a day spent mostly waiting at a hospital to get this special kind of acupuncture, I decided this had to stop. I was a nervous wreck. And surely that was not going to help in any way. So instead of running around like a headless chicken, I tried and relaxed, enjoying my time off work and without a baby to care for 24/7, meeting with friends for lunch and coffee, reading and even simply doing nothing.
I remembered how lucky I was to have a healthy pregnancy with no complications whatsoever. For 9 months I’d been able to enjoy and embrace this unique time without any ailments and limitations to my everyday life. So instead of crying over one detail (yes, a not so small one but still…), I took up my « being grateful » practice, focusing on what’s good and counting my blessings.
At week 35-36, still no sign of little J flipping. By now, I was still upset but I’d started to become more acceptant. I was calmer and felt less doubtful and guilty.
The midwife that came to see me before the birth pretty much brought it to the point:
You have this very romantic view of birth. But births are rarely perfect. Even natural births involve pain and can get very messy. Not all of them of course, some are easier and smoother. You simply can never tell beforehand.
She explained the c-section procedure to me and how this was in my case the safest way to get the baby into the world. Whilst I sat there crying my eyes out, scared (mostly of the fact that it was a surgery and involved lots of heavy medication that I did not want in my body) and unsettled (was I still going to be a good mum?), I slowly made peace with this reality.
When at the next appointment, my doctor confirmed that the baby was still in breech position and gave me the date of the planned c-section, I was fairly calm and I was able to respond and ask questions without losing it. All this time I’d thought that if I did all the (in my view) right things, everything would go the way I wanted it. Why would it not after all? I had never considered the idea of the universe having other plans for me. That, yes, all I did during the pregnancy was great and good for me and the baby and yet that my idea of this birth was not necessarily the « right » one. That really I would get what I needed rather than what I so desperatley wanted. And that it would still be perfect. That all this time all I needed to do was surrender and trust the higher good. Trust that all would be well, no matter how, what and when it happened. That there was a plan for me but that it was not up to me to design it.
The c-section was scheduled for November 25th. I was supposed to go to the hospital early evening of the 24th for a last check up, preparation for the procedure and then spent the night there. Early morning of the 24th I started having contractions. At first I thought it was the usual exercise contractions I’d been having for a while. After all the actual due date was only at the beginning of December. However around 6 am, I had contractions every 3-4 minutes. My husband decided not to go to work. So I got up, took a shower and we drove to the hospital. That was around 7 am, the worst possible time to drive into the city. Thankfully my husband took an alternate road and we made it there by approximately 7:30 am. The midwife on duty probably thought it was a false alarm… until she examined me and told me that I was at 5 cm and that she could not feel the amniotic sack.
Long story short, all went very quick and our little J was born by emergency c-section at 8:29 am. He is healthy and has been striving ever since.
So in the end I quite like the story of my boy’s birth:
– He chose his own birthday and wouldn’t have anyone tell him when to be born. Shows he’s strong-headed and knows what he wants. Already quite a personality.
– I had part of a natural birth after all even if not all the way through. My body was ready and went through the stages of a natural birth.
– I could bond with little J straight after his birth and nurse him and spent all the important mummy-baby time with him.
All is well!
As John Lennon put it:
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.