Martina participated in one of Debra’s birth doula workshops in Austria- here Martina shares the story of the birth of her second child.
Submitted by Martina, Austria
For 2-3 days I had felt some abdominal pain and the night before birth I had already spent in hospital by reason of some premonitory pains. So finally, at midnight of 1st of October I awoke with some pain. I realized that this pain must be the beginning contractions – only 4-5 minutes breaks in between. My mother-in-law was on stand-by for babysitting of our 21-months-old sleeping son Oskar, and my husband Peter called her up at 0:45. She had a 50-minutes-way to go by car. So we had still about one hour time.
I went to have a shower and the contractions continued. So we called our doula, Helga, who also lives about half an hour away. She arrived immediately. Helga had been my colleague in the doula training 2012 and is a mother of two children and a grandmother of two grandchildren. It was great having her with us!
For me, these first minutes after her arrival, were very exciting (as if we were preparing for a big trip together). We had a laugh at home in our kitchen, enjoyed the beginning contractions and getting ready for hospital.
When my mother-in-law arrived, we left the house and drove to the hospital (the contractions continued on the way, though they were not too painful by that time). It was only then that we called up our midwife and she arrived shortly after us in the private hospital especially for women (a former birthhouse of a midwife), at about 2:30 am.
She put the cardiotocograph up and this is what made her a bit worried. The baby’s heart beat (measured in the umbilical cord) was mostly around 100-110, dropping at about 90 during the contractions. Normally it should be constantly over 120. We had already had our first birth with her, and she is a midwife for homebirth, too. (Our first child was born at our home in the bath tub). She has a lot of experience having already assisted over 3,000 births, and reading this CTG she decided to ring up the doctor. It was about 3 o’clock by then.
The gynecologist arrived 20 minutes later. Then they decided to give me some oxytocic to see how the baby’s heart beat would react under higher pressure… as they assumed that the umbilical cord might have wrapped around the baby’s body and prevented the baby from moving deeper down and getting enough oxygen. The doctor explained me that he thought the oxytocic could be useful in order to avoid a cesarean (which I didn’t want at all!), but he said he couldn’t guarantee that it would work.
Fortunately, it did!
The baby’s heart beat did stabilize and so the doctor was relieved. At 4 o’clock he decided to go back to sleep and drive home. The cervix was still completely closed. I asked to stand up. The bed I had to sit or lie on for the cardiotograph writing was way too small and above all, sitting or lying on the back was the most uncomfortable position I could think of. Attached to the CTG machine and the infusion with the oxytocic, I could barely move. But at least stand and lean on the bed – which was the best position for me. Peter helped me with pressing the pelvis and sometimes Helga helped him out.
We all felt better when the CTG had stabilized finally – and after the doctor had left, we had some enjoyable moments: suddenly I felt hungry, obviously I needed some energy. The cafeteria in the house was open and they suggested to bring me something to eat, but I didn’t like a banana or bread, and would have like to have a sausage. Normally I never eat sausages, and this was funny. Instead, Helga gave me some chocolate she had brought and I was happy with that.
Peter changed the music and I chose the special Austrian Doula CD with beautiful birth and circle songs… especially the Yani Yoni Vachuene song, with which Mathilde was born. Others were “For each child that is born,” “The river is flowing,” and “Birth is where my heart is.” If you do not have these songs yet and would like to order them, ask Angelika Rodler for the disc, because she was the one who has given it to me! Before these songs, we put a disc with Hawaiian songs (somewhere over the rainbow…) on, but this didn’t really work out for being the right one for our daughter :-) I remember the sting disc “fields of joy” for my first birth, and tried it for the second one too. But Mathilde absolutely wanted to wait for this lovely, African song Yani Yoni!
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I listened to this disc very often before to prepare for birth… I chanted and sang while I felt the baby moving and this helped unbelievably. Moving my body and pelvis was so good, and I felt so much better than before on the uncomfortable bed. Singing was the most important thing for me during labour. It relieved the pain, as the “long-lasting”, slow breathing during the contractions did. Finally I could relax and let go.
Half past 4, our midwife asked to check the cervix again. I agreed reluctantly, knowing I would have to sit on the bed again for the checking, which caused some additional pain. Then she was very surprised: the cervix had opened completely! Within less than one hour! She told me that she had already felt the baby’s head, being right there down in the pelvis! And that very soon the little girl would be born! She got really busy, preparing a little birth chair and a blanket on the floor. I had the urge to kneel down on the mattress and then the amnion opened. Still I was singing while feeling the strongest contractions, and this helped our baby coming out.
So I asked Peter to put a towel below my body as I felt the baby coming – I still had three bearing-down contractions (the second was when I felt the baby’s head being on the maximum opening, what a strange feeling!) and then, with the third contraction, our little girl Mathilde was born, crying a bit, healthy and unbelievably gorgeous. At 5:24 in the morning. With the African song “Yani Yoni Yachuene” (which means: come out lovely baby, the world is so wonderful!). She had so much hair! I could not believe my eyes. Such a nice being I had been carrying in my womb for months. And she looked a lot like me when I was a baby. What a luck! What a joy! We were and still are so happy that everything was going well. No cesarean needed. No episiotomy, no scissors. And above all, no damage for the baby. Oh my god! Cute and sane she was lying there, right below me!
The umbilical cord was (compared to my first birth) very thin, like my little finger. So this might have been the reason for the low heartbeat measured by the cardiotocograph in the beginning. The gynecologist arrived only shortly after birth: just in the moment when the placenta was being born!
Having a doula with us was a great support. Not only did she contribute to a relaxed atmosphere in the room. Peter and me would have been much more nervous without her. During labour she provided me with drinks and food and put up candles. After the birth, she took some beautiful photos of the placenta, did an imprint on a paper and put it into the freezer. We plan to bury it at a special place. Mathilde was born on Peter’s father’s 66th birthday. 33 is Peter and my special number in our relationship. So something about Mathilde’s birth was really *magic*!
I guess that the hypnobirthing techniques I practiced during the labour had helped a lot not feeling too much pain- especially the breathing methods and some relaxation affirmations. Actually I too was surprised about the baby’s quick arrival. The first birth caused much more pain (…in my memory), though it was a rather “easy” and relatively short birth too (4-5 hours). As all available group hypnobirth trainings had been booked out already, we had decided to go for a private training that turned out to be really effective. Maria, our trainer, visited us at home on three mornings, so we could practice some techniques together and with our doula Helga at home in a kind atmosphere and enjoyed it. We worked with the book “Hypnobirthing” of Marie Mongan, and in addition to that, Maria gave us another CD for with hypnobirthing relaxation affirmations and meditation.
During the last 8 weeks before birth I listened to them as often as I felt like it. Also, I did a very good practice described our hypnobirthing folder about letting go general fear (not necessarily connected with childbirth), as this could possibly prevent the birth from proceeding easily. Moreover, I pinned up several pictures of an opening rose in our house, as well as a drawing of a child leaving the mother’s womb, in order to stimulate the subconscious. The proposed breathing techniques by Marie Mongan were the most difficult part for me to practice, but I can say, these served me a lot during labour.
Concentrating on breathing, I felt less pain and each ache seemed to pass by more quickly. And I got much more oxygen, and the baby therefore too. Especially during the last contractions (when it was kind of difficult to breathe), hypnobirthing breathing techniques helped me a lot to stay calm and to put all the strength I had into my body to let it do what nature provides: letting the baby come out, easily and safe! Hypnobirthing is a good way to regain our natural strength and trust in our female bodies. We do not have to be afraid of anything despite all stories we might have heard before.
Our bodies are perfect to receive, to grow and to give birth to our little babies! I would like every woman in the world to recognize this and to have more trust in themselves, their minds and their bodies, more than in doctors, medical techniques and pharmaceutics. In fact it is always our bodies to perform birth, and all other things should only help if necessary.
We are so glad, happy and thankful that Mathilde has come to us in such a good and safe way. Thanks to God she is healthy and sane. She seems calm and satisfied. And we wish her a wonderful life and fulfilling moments to share with people she loves.
Thank you everybody for reading this and sharing this special moment of our daughter’s birth with us.
P.S. After the birth, for 2 days, I had quite strong afterpains. It stopped only after a part of the amnion peeled away (by itself) that had still been inside my body… Apart from that, I did not have any complications after birth!
Also big thanks to all people supporting us: midwife Christa (who suggested the hospital’s birth due to the heavy bleeding after my first birth), the sensible and professional gynaecologist, hypnobirthing trainer Maria and our doula Helga and all the doulas from the austrian doula training 2013 and 2012 for their mental and emotional support with special thanks to Angelika, who leads these trainings, and the austrian doula choir for the beautiful songs!
Learn about all the tools for your gentle birth in the Pain to Power: Orgasmic Birth Online Childbirth Experience