Birth Stories - It Wasn't How I Thought It Would Go...
...but it was so amazing: A Birth Story

It Wasn't How I Thought It Would Go...


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...but it was so amazing: A Birth Story

As a doula I am very privileged to be there when many of my friends and family give birth. It is that extra bit special when I am with someone that I have known for a long time and also have a relationship with. It has been so beautiful watching my dear friends and family become parents. That moment when their baby is born, the incredible emotion, the relief, the shock, the bliss. I love the look on their faces as all of this unfolds. This is the story of when my best friend gave birth.

We've known each other since we were twelve. We've been through so much of life together and finally, the day was coming that she was about to become a mumma. She had been waiting for this day for a long time and we had spent many hours talking about this blessed baby that would one day arrive.

Throughout her pregnancy, we discussed what she wanted for this birth experience. We looked at all the angles of what an empowered birth means and all the options of what might happen and how she would be in the experience. I asked her straight,

“What do you want for this birth?”

She said to me, “I just want to show up. I want to face myself and be present and not run away when things get hard. No matter what happens – I want to turn up.” 

“Beautiful,” I said. “You know that turning up may look ugly and be hard and not what you think it should look like? You know that this baby is going to choose its path and your job is to be open to whatever unfolds?”

“Yes,” she said, “I am ready, I am saying yes to the whole experience.”

This beautiful little baby was very happy inside. The day came when my friend agreed to start the induction process after stretching it out as long as she felt comfortable. As we started the process, my friend was blessed with the most amazing caregivers. Midwives who really saw and heard what she was wanting. Doctors that respected her wishes and as much time as she needed to get the labour process moving.

After being on a syntocin drip for a few hours, the laughing and chatting started to fade, the hard work and the breathing was happening and at one point my friend looked at me and said,

“We are going to have to discuss this drug option."

I smiled at her and assured her that we could talk about it, she was doing beautifully and to stay with her body. She breathed and moaned and started to face the tough climb. Her partner was by her side, offering encouragement, helping in whatever way he could.

When things started to get tricky we suggested getting in the shower. The magic of warm water soothed her and again she found a rhythm until it got hard again. There were words of doubt and how long will this take and more encouragement and reassurance that she could do it. That well-known “crisis of confidence” that we had talked about started to rear its head. And then, amongst all the doubt and the fear, a sweet look crossed my friends face. She looked up at us and said, 

“I’m alright, I’m doing OK.”

And in that moment I witnessed a mother being born. That look will be etched into my mind. Something moved inside her and changed on a deep profound level. It was where my friend stood up and said, “Here I am, I am present, I am facing myself, I can keep going.”

And she did! She kept going for another seven hours (which on a syntocinin drip is no mean feat) and she did all that we suggested, she worked with her body and gave it her all. It became clear that her beautiful baby was in a funny position and all this hard work wasn’t making much difference to her cervix. After trying some pain relief and giving her body an option to relax more, there was still no change and after lots of discussion, she chooses to have a caesarean. As she was getting ready to go to the theatre, we got so excited, we talked about meeting her sweet baby, and we celebrated all she had achieved. She felt triumphant!

When I walked in to recovery and saw my dear friend holding her sweet boy on her chest, I could not have been prouder. Her rather big boy (over 11 pounds) choose a beautiful way to be born. And she got what she wanted. She wanted to show up, to face it, to be present.

She said to me, “I am so proud of myself."

And that, that is what an empowered birth looks like!

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