When I heard Olgas story of her amazing natural childbirth it stirred something inside of me and I had to share it with you! Here is a woman who like many others fell victim to unnecessary interventions that left her feeling traumatized. And you know that saying, “ there’s no where left to go but up from here?” Well she rose back up in a powerful way and with the birth of her next child she set herself free!
Read this story and I’m certain that you will be just as inspired as I was by it! Enjoy!
(Thank you Olga for sharing your story, it is an inspiration to women everywhere!)
My Natural Childbirth
By: Olga Naden
I want to share a birth story of my second baby, Sylas Victor Naden born at home unassisted at 39 weeks and 2 days.
I had been preparing myself for the upcoming birth thoroughly, during the whole of my pregnancy I practiced Natal Hypnotherapy by Maggie Howell and read multiple natural birth books, like Ina May Gaskin’s ‘Guide to Childbirth’ or ‘Childbirth Without Fear’ by Grantly Dick-Read. I have watched many natural birth documentaries and videos and all episodes of ‘One Born Each Minute’ – to remind myself what I DO NOT want my birth to be like.
“After having a traumatic first induced birth, I vowed to stay at home this time, to avoid any unnecessary interventions.”
I feel very strongly about the importance and beauty of natural birth and feel that women should be given their primal powers back in this important time.
How I Prepared Myself for Natural Childbirth
During pregnancy we tried to stay as low-tech as possible: declined dating ultrasound, most blood tests and all Doppler testing. We had only the 20 weeks ultrasound, which revealed that we were expecting a baby boy – which we were very pleased about as our first child was a girl. Our consultant recommended conducting multiple growth scans, as per previous small baby, which I politely declined. Consultant then confirmed that my pregnancy was indeed very low risk and was happy for me to go ahead with my home-birth plans. Pregnancy continued relatively uneventful, though after bad hyperemesis I developed pregnancy SPD which left me in pain for most of the time.
Getting Closer Now
It was Tuesday, 5th April 2011. I still had 5 days left till my due date and was getting quite uncomfortable and impatient to meet my new baby. I was getting period pains for the previous three days, some of them contraction – type. I was reading up on natural induction methods and as much as I believe that they will work only when baby is truly ready, decided to try breast pumping to move things along.
I had used my double electric pump for 15 minutes, soon after my husband set off to work. During that time the period pains had intensified. After I had finished pumping, I woke up my daughter from her afternoon nap and realized that those period pains had become quite regular.
Is This the Real Thing?
It was 3.15 PM. I had decided to time them and they were lasting one minute each, three minutes apart. I was quite confused as to whether the sensations I was experiencing were meaningful or not, as they didn’t seem very painful. I didn’t expect them to be labour pains as I have never heard of contractions starting three minutes apart from the onset.
I made an afternoon snack for Freya and we started watching Toy Story 3 together. For some reason I couldn’t sit down so I started walking around the living room, timing the pains and rocking from side to side leaning against the table during them. I texts my husband that I had some sensations, but wasn’t sure that they meant anything.
By 16.15 they were still coming every three minutes, but started getting longer – lasting up to two minutes at the time, so I called Christian to come back home from work.
After one visit to the toilet, I found a jelly ‘blob’ of clear mucous, but dismissed it as nothing, as it didn’t have any blood in it. All that time I still wasn’t convinced that I was actually in labour as contractions were easily manageable – all I had to do is rock from side to side and breathe through them.
When Christian arrived at 5PM, I decided to have a shower as I felt quite hot and sweaty. I stayed there for about 30 minutes and noticed that the pains were getting slightly stronger. At 5PM I called my brother Victor to come round and look after Freya as something might be actually happening. At about 5.30 I asked Christian to put on my Tens Machine and started using its Boost mode during contractions, which felt great.
I was still convinced that I was only in early stages of labour and was quite happy leaning on my birth ball during contractions, visualizing cervix opening and ‘breathing in golden light’ – techniques from Natal Hypnotherapy.
I Began to Withdraw into My Own World
About 6PM pains were increasing in intensity and frequency – they lasted for two minutes, two minutes apart.
By that time I have become very withdrawn, didn’t speak to Chris and practiced hypnotherapy techniques most of the time. I have noticed that Christian has started to set up the birth pool. I felt very calm and detached from everything, withdrawn into my own world. I remember Christian asking me some questions and I couldn’t give him a logical answer and ended up mumbling incoherent words.
Finally I Realize that I Might Actually Be in Labor
At 6.30 my waters broke and I started moaning during contractions. Only at that point I have finally realised that I might actually be in labour.
J Victor arrived at 6.40 and immediately took Freya to the park for a walk. Christian then called midwives at 6.45 and they confirmed that they’re on their way.
After having two three minutes contractions that came only one minute apart, I went into transition and remember thinking ‘I bet that when midwives arrive I will only be three centimetres’ and that I would not be able to cope if that was the case, as it was starting to hurt by then. Those two contractions are the only ones that I could describe as painful; otherwise they just felt like warm pressure opening sensations.
Got in the Water and it Felt Great!
I got into the pool at 6.50 and it felt great! It was only about half filled, but warm water relaxed me a great deal. Christian started to pour hot water down my back, which was one of the best sensations in my life! I was hanging of the sides of the pool, in deep squat, with my pelvis wide open. My first contraction in the pool felt different, like everything was opening wide inside. During the next contraction I had to cling onto pool walls and shot up into half-squatting position with a loud roar, realising that my body has pushed the baby’s head out.
The Head is Out
I told my husband ‘The head is out’ – he couldn’t believe it but soon reached down and felt baby’s head. During next contraction the body slid out and at exactly 7PM I have scooped my son up from underneath the water into my arms.
Meeting Our Baby- As a Family
He was tiny but perfect, with ideally round head. He started crying straight away and was a lovely pink colour. Both I and Chris were in shock as we didn’t expect the baby to come so quickly and effortlessly. I sat in a pool staring at my perfect baby, holding him in my arms after nine months of anticipation.
We left the cord to stop pulsating for over forty minutes. Christian called Victor to come back from the park and he and Freya were the first to see newly born Sylas. Freya was very excited to meet her baby brother.
Here Come the Midwives
Midwives arrived at 7.15 PM and started filling in their paperwork. In a way I am really glad that they didn’t make it on time, as they would have most certainly disrupted my hypnotic state and natural birth process. I know that they were just doing their job, but I found their presence intrusive.
One of the midwives actually admitted to me that she was terrified of natural birth and decided to ask for elective cesarean section if she ever became pregnant. I am really glad that a midwife with an attitude like this didn’t participate in birth of my baby.
I loved the fact that nobody but family members got to hold Sylas during his first hour of life. Afterwards he was weighed – 2720g – 6lb and had his first breastfeed soon after. He was extremely alert and took to breastfeeding like a pro! Midwives have checked my perineum, which was completely intact – which they haven’t apparently seen before. Blood loss was minimal
“I felt like I could conquer the world. It was a true freebirth!!!”
I really loved my birth experience – it was much better than I could have ever dreamt of. Though I was toying with idea of unassisted birth during my pregnancy, I didn’t want to make that decision consciously. I am very happy that it turned out to be unassisted though. I now feel that this moment was too special to share it with strangers – our baby was welcomed to this world only by his loving and caring parents.
I also gained lots of confidence as a women and it was an amazing experience for us as a couple. The amount of love and power it gave us is beyond description. Both my husband and myself remained confident and calm throughout – we were not afraid at any point.
“I feel truly empowered by my birth, which now has completely healed trauma of my previous hospital birth.”
It is such a shame that more women don’t get to have an experience like this and are robbed of this almighty feeling forever.
It is very interesting how I experienced ‘Foetus Ejection Reflex’ as described by Niles Newton. I didn’t know it was possible until it happened to me –
“My body just ‘pushed the baby out’ without me having to do anything – truly amazing!!! “
I am also very pleased that I practiced hypnotherapy during my pregnancy – it has helped me a great deal. I was able to block out the pain – contractions felt like pressure, but weren’t really painful.
Most important factor was letting go of my fear and accepting that labour is something that female bodies are designed to do and have done for thousands of years, all we have to do is let go and let nature do its job. And it did.
“ What a miracle our bodies are and what a truly empowering experience natural, undisturbed labour can be!!! “
I understand that homebirth isn’t for everyone, but I wish it was offered to more women. In our culture birth became over medicalized, it is now seen as a dangerous emergency and women are expecting agonising pain.
The fact is, if women are left alone in their own environment, the whole process can be very calm, safe and empowering. Natural birth doesn’t have to mean that you’re a martyr and go through unbearable pain, but is an important rite of passage that empowers you to be the person that you want to be – nothing is impossible anymore. Just like Nietzsche said ‘What doesn’t kill me – only makes me stronger’.
Please don’t feel sad or like a failure if your birth experience was far from ideal. I know – I have been there. I believe that we always make the best decision with all the information available to us at the time. Medical staff can be intimidating sometimes and we feel pressured to do something that we didn’t intend to do and regret it afterwards. I was bullied into accepting induction for my daughter, without sound medical reason. The birth ended up being horrific and all that I didn’t want to happen happened.
We all learn from our mistakes, I hope this story will show that your dream birth is possible, but you really have to take charge of your experience – otherwise decisions will be made for you, and they might not be decisions that you would be happy with.
Thanks for reading…