By Rebecca Mar Young
My second birth was hotly anticipated. Would he come earlier than my daughter, being my second? I was taking no chances. Since my daughter was eight days over, I decided to tell everyone that our son was to be born two weeks later than expected to take the pressure off. It turned out to be a very good idea indeed!
Eight days came and went with no sign of our new arrival. Not a twinge, not even a pang. I was getting a little worried at that point. I had learnt so much from my first birth and took it all with me to prepare for our second. I changed my support team to include my sister who was training to be a midwife and who I was emotionally connected to, my hubby would be by my side and I completed another childbirth education course (this time with my sister). It was inspiring and explained why I should go off gluten and sugar to minimise gut inflammation: something that I had during the first birth. I read countless positive birth stories, listened to uplifting music, meditations and watched films. There was this one particular clip out of the film Orgasmic Birth that really took hold of me. It was a lady in a birthing tub having an orgasm as she was birthing.
That notion of it being so incredibly pleasurable was exciting. Could I actually enjoy birth? Could that be my story? I didn’t know but I felt a wave of confidence envelope me. Something had been lit that couldn’t be extinguished. I knew it was possible as there were so many stories out there of it being empowering and amazing. I wanted that more than anything but also knew I had to let go of that too. Deep down I was still worried and concerned and I wondered, could I feel those feelings at the same time as holding my feelings of excitement and pleasure – was that going to work for me? Only time would tell.
I started mildly contracting at a friend’s BBQ in the afternoon and it continued at the engagement party of my cousin. I was ripping up the dance floor with my three-year-old and really enjoying myself. I knew that this was the beginning of pre-labour but that it could go on for days – as that’s what happened the first time. The more I danced the more they came on. Later that night they petered out and the next day I was not in labour. Monday afternoon I visited the hospital to have my second sweep, I was 2 cm. This was progress I thought, considering last time it took such a while to get to that stage. I was happy.
The hospital staff were worried though, because I was now ten days over and they were keen to induce me. I had very recently had my waters checked and they were fine. I had an ECG done again and was told that my baby was stressing by the very mild pre-labour contractions so they kept recommending I be induced immediately. I started to panic and cried. I wanted to do the best by my baby as well as me. It was such a delicate balancing act and it seemed like my chance at a drug-free birth was slipping away.
I asked for another doctor’s opinion. I rang a midwife friend who said that if my baby was distressing now, how would it be when the contractions ramped up in an instant with the drugs. This made sense to me and so I decided that I’d like more time. I knew that the research showed that more monitoring of babies didn’t equal better outcomes for mothers and babies. I said that to the Doctor who agreed that was true. I was given until 730am the next morning to be in labour.
Labour started again that afternoon. We put the music channel on the TV, which was playing many of my old favourites. I was dancing away, getting those contractions going, with my hubby and my little girl by my side. It was a good feeling. But by 7pm I could tell it was all starting to taper off again. I called my dear friend who runs the Red Tent Mums Clinic with me and asked her to make the journey to my house to give me acupuncture. She came and gave me the strongest treatment. It worked. I had been getting acupuncture every other day by this point but this was the treatment that sent me over the edge. My hubby and sister were using acupressure on me which felt amazing. In between contractions I was also lightly massaged to increase those feel-good endorphins.
It was such a great feeling to be in labour and managing it and enjoying it. Every contraction was bringing me closer to my baby. I used my voice a lot, singing “mmmmmm” and “ommmmmmm” through each wave. As it became darker, candles were the only light that remained and it felt just right.
After roughly four hours I felt I couldn’t go on. I started to panic and didn’t want to continue with it all. I was breaking down, crying, really letting go…. Could this be transition I wondered? Or am I just making that up?
It was transition! Soon I felt the urge to push and that was the moment we bundled me into the car and I literally roared like a lion out the window until we got to the hospital.
Our gorgeous baby boy was born an hour and a half later at 230am (just five hours shy of the induction date and time). Phew!
He was placed on my chest and it was the best feeling in the world (just like it had been to hold my daughter for the first time). I was on a high and didn’t come down for weeks and weeks. I remember thinking “yeah – lets do that again!” Was it an orgasmic birth? I’d have to say – without a doubt – yes!
Rebecca Mar Young is director of Red Tent Mums Health Centre and Red Tent Mums online education for mums and midwives. She’s hosting a free online conference from March 23-28. It’s called Bumps Births Babies – Holistic Health Conference. The Red Tent Mums will be interviewing me on how to move from pain to power and the power of positive birth stories.
If you’re interested to find out more come sign up HERE.
It’s filled with 15 experts from all around the world on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. There are free gifts just for signing up and… you’ll get to hear a birth story I shared that had the Red Tent Mums in hysterics with laughter. – Debra Pascali-Bonaro