I started to question what I was doing being a so called ‘patient’ for our chosen obstetrician, so after many hours of research on the internet, a month later I was a changed woman. I realized that my philosophies were very old beliefs and that the medical approach to pregnancy and birth had become so ingrained in our culture and was now bursting full of excitement, wonder and awe at my new decision to birth our baby at home.
When I recall back to the early weeks of being pregnant, I am amazed how my belief system and fear had already unconsciously chosen a planned, elective caesarian birth for our baby. After overcoming exhaustion like I have never experienced before, I started to question what I was doing being a so called ‘patient’ for our chosen obstetrician, so after many hours of research on the internet, a month later I was a changed woman. I realized that my philosophies were very old beliefs and that the medical approach to pregnancy and birth had become so ingrained in our culture and was now bursting full of excitement, wonder and awe at my new decision to birth our baby at home.
Serge, my husband was surprised and apprehensive, however he trusted and respected my decision I had literally read hundreds of birth stories and decided I was going to be an active birth giver and not a passive patient. I wanted our memory of this birth to be of passion and accomplishment and remember how we met our baby for the first time.
The more I studied birthing and the deeper I got, the simpler it became. I realized that birthing has been hospitalized, medicalised, brutalised and was very clinical and unfeeling. Hospitals are for the sick and injured people, yet I was pregnant, not sick or unwell!!
A home birth, it made so much sense, I love our home, it is coloured with the rich, vibrant fabric of our lives. It is where I share my deepest feelings and affection for Serge and is where Jasmine was created. The walls of our house protect us from the outside world, it is where we go to come together as a family & just ‘be’, feel safe, relax & sleep. So why would I venture outside of our safe & loving home, into a hospital or birth centre to provide an unfamiliar environment with strangers to welcome Jasmine?
I received so much negative birthing advise & suggestions of intervention from many mothers, sharing their sad and horrifying experiences, it was a little distressing.
Of the few we informed of our exciting homebirth plans, we were very taken back and saddened by their negative and fearful comments and remarks, so we then decide not to inform anyone of our plans which would keep negative energy abay. I preferred to reserve my energy for nurturing myself rather than having to justify our choice.
Our midwife Angela offered us her undivided attention at our regular pre-natal appointments in the comfort of our home. We built up a comfortable relationship and we trusted her professional expertise and guidance. My focus was then to create an uninterrupted and undisturbed process of birthing and to ensure the gentlest birth possible with the warmest welcome. I made a vision board and reflected on it daily.
I changed my pace of life to reflect pregnancy as my body was working hard so I slowed right down to honor myself my growing baby.
I was at the end of the pregnancy now and had been experiencing Braxton Hicks surges from 32 weeks, however, when I retired to bed at midnight, an intense surge overcame me and I knew then labour had commenced. My initial thought was how I was going to survive this labour, I was really tired as I had been up since 5am - for 19 hours, but that worried thought was quickly stamped out by excitement!
I relaxed on the couch in-between the surges listening to music, whilst Serge set up the birthing pool. I was so very tired, yet felt so calm and strong as, I felt safe, comfortable, warm and secure, which left no room for any doubt or fear.
For the first half of the labour, I stood and leaned on a chair rocking and swaying my hips with each surge. They were not at all painful, more so powerful with a lot of energy and pressure. With each surge, I went inwards and really focused on my breath, and time just flew past so very quickly. Serge was so attentive, he did everything he could for me, he was so amazing.
I found the intensity of the surges halved when I got into the birthing pool, it felt heavenly sliding into the warm deep water. The birthing experience was exactly how I had visualized it, we were outside on the back verandah in front of the roaring fireplace. I felt so calm, relaxed and peaceful. I remember hearing the birds in the trees and the sounds of vehicles out in the street, I knew I would be silent during labour, I felt no need to chat or communicate but rather went inwards.
By this time, Angela arrived providing her undivided support, love and attention. Labour was progressing beautifully, however, I was exhausted and I slipped in and out of a focused state of mind and drifted into a dreamlike state of consciousness. Tina, our other midwife joined us to also provide her encouragement, wisdom & support.
After 9½ hours of labour, our baby was ready, it was her time. No pushing was required on my part, my body simply did it by itself with each powerful surge, it was truly a time of self realization as I reached into my soul. She birthed herself in the water and I experienced the sheer joy of welcoming her as I caught her with my own hands. I was chocked with emotion and feelings of holding her against my skin, it was so lovely. I was meant to do this, Jasmines birth was the most profound spiritual connection I had ever experienced.
The first moments with Jasmine were sacred and honored, she felt secure and loved which allowed her to relax in the birthing pool whilst we bonded. Whilst I birthed the placenta, Jasmine bonded with Serge, skin on skin in front of the warm fireplace. Afterwards she snuggled onto my boob to commence her breast feeding journey. We all spent the rest of the morning relaxing and recalling the event over lunch. By mid afternoon, Angela decided to leave and tucked us into bed so we could rest and sleep without any distractions. The house was so peaceful and quiet and Serge and I just lay there on a most incredible high with our baby Jasmine sleeping in between us, it was magical and the outside life just went on. I was so exhausted as by now I had been awake for 46 hours, however I could not take my eyes off her, she was so precious. I eventually drifted off to sleep recalling the exhilarating and rewarding experience, looking forward to motherhood.
So why do I feel that Jasmines birth was so successful?
Upon writing this, I feel both happy and sad at the same time. I am a mother to an amazing little girl who brings so much happiness into my life, however I would love to be able to wind back the clock and re-live that amazing experience all over again as all that remains is my memory of the feelings.
Finally, I feel that birth is about fundamentally letting go, the masks we wear everyday must be thrown aside. Jasmine has been my greatest teacher, I have learnt so much about myself through the birthing process. I am left personally richer and stronger for having surrendered to this amazing experience. I encourage women to honour their babies and their body and birth instinctively.
Thank you Jasmine for coming into this world and changing Serge and I forever.