When you were planning to give birth, how many choices of location did you consider? 1, 2, 3? I am always reminded of my dear friend and colleague Roberta Scarer’s quote, “if you don’t know your options you don’t have … Continued
I coped so well through that labour. I was lying in bed but comfortable, totally in lala labourland. But at one point a nurse came in and tried asking me some questions. I was so in the zone that I could only answer with a slight nod of my head. "She must know better than me..." She then told me “I know you wanted to avoid the epidural but if you can’t even speak with me now how on earth are you going to push a baby out?”.
I woke up around 5am due to a light ache in my belly. I knew that it was a beginning and I felt very quiet. I just knew that we would meet very soon and decided to continue sleeping and give Arturas time to rest. Every morning we had the same things: fresh papayas, oatmeal with dates, sesame seeds and peanut butter, but this time it felt different. It was a strange feeling overall, I felt slow, everything I did was slower than usual, thinking, moving around, almost like taking time to experience every moment in full. I felt like I had a secret which no one saw or knew about. But there were special processes within me - the little one was coming into this world.
I felt strong and capable. There was little left, and after some pushing, Tereza's little body also came out. Guinho took our daughter, took the cord ring and handed it to me. I took my big, slippery baby in my arms. I looked at her face, I smelled her smell, I cried, I cried with joy.
I fell back to using my hypnobirthing practices, telling myself to breathe through each contraction rather than letting myself get upset and tense. I genuinely feel that this mindset is what allowed me to have such a peaceful and wonderful birthing experience. I climbed onto all fours and leaned my top half over a beanbag for support. My body told me to sway my hips back and forth and I gave in, listening to every cue that I was being given.
I’m pretty sure that you were conceived just before Christmas and during one of the craziest storms I’ve ever experienced. I was supporting someone as their doula at the birth centre here in Ubud, and Daddy was in Java working. The energy from the birth combined with that of the storm made for a crazy night. I was taking a quick breather outside the birth room in the middle of the night, when one of the midwives walked past and said, “I didn’t know that you were pregnant”. “I’m not” I replied. Suastini looked at me funny. I later learned that she has an innate intuition for knowing when people are pregnant. Sometimes, it turns out, even before they do themselves. You were also born during an epic storm on the night that the following rainy season started. It rained through the roof of our house and in through the ceiling of the room we were birthing in. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Daddy and I were swimming in a lagoon off of Tsoi Lik, when it occurred to me that my bleeding was almost a week late, which never happened. In fact, after almost three and a half years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, we were near to giving up hope of having a baby. Grandma had come to Papua New Guinea on holiday and the three of us were adventuring in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea’s most remote. Floating in that magical lagoon, I took deep calming breaths. I could be pregnant. I told Papa.
So I began to envision my upcoming birth. I wrote a detailed birth plan – things to resolve, changes to make and an experience to embrace. Even without taking one test or sonogram during pregnancy, I remained positive about my body’s natural ability to birth my baby. I began a process of undoing some of the fearful thinking that had prevented me from experiencing motherhood on a more blissful level. I also began internalizing the belief that birth – as with other aspects of life – is very much a self-fulfilling prophecy. My state of mind will determine its outcome. Friday night the week spring arrived, I lit Shabbat candles and began feeling signs of labor. I sat on the couch reading a newspaper as my almost-five-year-old daughter played in the empty birthing pool my husband had pumped up earlier. We wouldn’t fill it with water until I was ready to get inside so that the water would be warm.
For many years I had wanted to tell my story to someone who would totally understand and "get it" and that person was Debra Pascali-Bonaro. After sharing my birth stories with Debra in Bali, I have never felt so validated and heard before, it was such a beautiful moment to share together and will remain very special to me forever. Debra affirmed my experience, with celebration, gentleness and so much love and understanding, and it was such a pleasure to feel that I could be true to the truth of what happened in those moments of my life.
When I learned that I was pregnant to my second child the first thing that came to mind was “How am I going to give birth this time?”. My first birth although being quick and healthy was still a hospital birth and I felt very far from good during the whole process.