01 Jun Jai’s Birth Story
When my husband Ashish and I decided to start “trying” to have children we spent a lot of time researching and watching documentaries on what we wanted to experience as well as how we would bring our children into this world. Ash made me watch an amazing documentary called “The Business of Being Born” and considering my yoga background having a natural birth with midwifery care was the only way for us to go.
We were lucky enough to conceive right away! My husband was over the moon the moment we got a positive test result. I on the other hand began feeling anxious and apprehensive about the whole thing. I didn’t even know how to react to a positive pregnancy test. I was pregnant, already becoming a mother, a whole new role I didn’t know I was even ready for. Don’t get me wrong, we wanted children, we decided to have them but the whole idea of having another hat to wear and be completely responsible for another human being just suddenly seemed extremely overwhelming. I got over it, but only after some counselling and some serious support from my husband and our families. I’ll get to those feelings at a later time.
So, we were going to be parents, we were hell bent on having a natural birth and had to get a midwife but how was I supposed to get through the actual birthing process? After talking to my sister in law who just happened to be pregnant within 7 weeks of us we decided to take a hypnosis birthing class. Probably one of the best decisions we ever made. The classes really gave my husband tools and ideas on how he could help me through the birthing process as well as really hard wiring us to relax and let nature take its course. The classes truly resonated on how we felt. It was important to us that we bring our children into this world is the most peaceful way possible. So we got our midwives when I was almost 5 months pregnant which is pretty much the last possible moment we could even get a midwife and we took our hypnobirthing classes.
After a long 9 months of me having excessive nausea and vomiting on a regular basis the time had finally come. The end of October, beginning of November I started being woken up around 5:30-6:00am with Braxton Hicks contractions. My nesting instincts had gone into overdrive and everything was ready for this baby to come. Ash and I were practising our hypnobirthing techniques and I began to realize I was ready for this baby whenever it was ready to be born (we had no idea what we were having at this point in time).
Thursday morning 6am I get woken up by what I think are my usual Braxton Hicks, so I go about waking up Ash to get ready for his day, head to the bathroom and take my usual morning pee, thinking I can’t wait to get back to my nice warm bed. My baby had other plans for me. We weren’t expecting to have the baby until the first week of December, it was still towards the end of November. So I find out I am bleeding and felt so elated all of a sudden, it was time. I get up and call for my husband, he gets out of the shower and I tell him he should call his boss as he will not be going to work today.
We shared a look of quiet excitement, started timing how often the pressure waves were coming. At about 9am we decided we should call our midwife and figure out what to do next. I already had a regular check up scheduled later that day. I could easily talk and move through each pressure wave, they were coming about 10 minutes apart and only lasting maybe 30 seconds. Now let me be clear, western cultures idea of “pain” and childbirth is absolutely nothing what it actually feels like. To be honest I just felt like I was getting my period. I was cramping and achy in all the same places, lower back, lower abdomen, movement made me feel better and that annoying PMS type feeling just kept coming and going. Also there was no big dramatic gush of waters breaking or anything of the sort, nothing like what you see in the movies. Our midwife said to come in for our regular check up and be ready as we would be having a baby in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Throughout the rest of the day I showered, watched a movie while cuddling on the couch with my hubby, listened to some of my birthing day affirmations and to one of my all time favourite prayers. This was pretty much my birthing playlist for the next few days. Throughout the day, closer to 4pm, I started hitting that point my midwife called “4-1-1”. Basically it means I was having pressure waves 4 minutes apart for a minute long for one hour. When Ash and I got to my appointment it slowed down again. So we go in and I asked to have my cervix checked, more for my own curiosity than anything else. I was 3cm dilated and my cervix was beginning to feel soft. My midwife said enjoy the time I had now, eat some carbs and take it easy. She also warned us that it would be normal if my birthing time stopped temporarily overnight. In the mean time Ash received an email from the Doula we were thinking about hiring.
We called the Doula when we got home and said there was no point as were just starting our birthing process. She felt horrible for the delay and said if we were still willing to meet she would be at the birth centre with one of the moms in my midwife group. Ash and I discussed that we would already be there for another checkup to see if there was any progress and decided it couldn’t hurt. If I didn’t like her, or didn’t feel comfortable, then nothing was lost. Thankfully the moment Jenelle (our Doula) and I started talking I felt comfortable and was more than happy to have her around.
I kept going back and forth from that space where I should be transitioning into active labour by 4pm the next day. My pressure waves would get intense enough that I couldn’t move through them but I could talk. My midwife suggested verbena, a natural herb used for inducing and some homeopathic pills to get over my little hump. I figured it would be better than going back and forth and help move things along. Ash, Jenelle and I were kept in a back room at the birth centre to see if the herb would take effect fast enough to keep me there until the baby came. The room was cold and uncomfortable for me while Jenelle and Ash were doing everything they could to make me comfortable. They helped me rock through my hips, massaged my lower back but nothing would work at that point in time. Finally around 6pm my midwife said stop timing the pressure waves, go get something full of carbohydrates to eat and call us when things really change.
As we left the birth centre I started needing to moan through my pressure waves. I also decided I really wanted some pasta from this little restaurant just down the street from the birth centre. By the time we made it home my pressure waves were tolerable again so we decided to get comfortable and eat. Jenelle happened to live in the same neighbourhood as us and said to call her if we needed anything. In hindsight the best decision we ever made was to hire a Doula. It gave Ash a chance to nap and rejuvenate so he didn’t feel he had to be taking care of me 100% of the time and it gave us an extra set of hands we both really needed. Anyway by the time I was halfway through our meal we called Jenelle back. Ash was mentally exhausted waiting for this baby to come and he had no more ideas on what would make me comfortable.
Jenelle came over around 8pm on Friday night. She suggested I get in the bath tub and relax for a bit to help me go through the pressure waves. By this point Ash felt comfortable that I was being taken care of and fell asleep on the couch. I became very aware of a pulling apart sensation through the inside of my hips and suddenly feeling bouts of downward pressure at the same time. It was becoming increasingly harder to talk and move through the pressure waves at the same time. Intuitively my mind went back to my yoga training and I started using Ujjayi breath to help me get through the pressure waves. At about 10pm Jenelle suggested I try and get some rest, she was wonderful in setting us up on our couch with a nice hot pack for my lower back as it was constantly achy at this point and gave me some tylenol to relax and sleep through the pressure waves. I probably got about 3 hours of sleep before things suddenly changed.
At about 1:30am I woke up feeling so uncomfortable. I tried to wake up Ash but my pressure waves were coming faster and closer together and I could no longer move or talk through them. The only thing that would give me some relief was chanting Om as the wave passed. Ash finally heard me and immediately called our midwife. She could hear me moaning in the background and said this is what we have been waiting for, we will meet you at the birth centre. I needed Ash to help me walk down to our parkade which probably took us twice as long as it normally would since I needed to stop every few steps to feel through a pressure wave. The sensation of my hips being pulled apart and the downward pressure were becoming much more intense. We finally made it to the car and were on our way. About half way there I begged Ash to pull over so I could lean out of the car and throw up a few times. After I managed to pull myself together the best I could, considering the circumstances, we finally made it to our birth centre.
I asked for my tub to be filled up right away with some nice hot water, stripped down to just my bra and climbed in. The downward pressure was almost immediately relieved due to the extra buoyancy the water gave my ballooned tummy. Ash, Jenelle and my midwives jumped into action, dimming the lights, putting on my easy birthing day affirmations and pushing baby out. They also gave me some cold water to drink and a nice cool cloth to press on my forehead and shoulders. My body had exhumed so much heat I didn’t even notice the water beginning to cool down. I tried switching positions and at one point as half hanging on to the side of the birthing tub in a squat position. I remember just feeling so exhausted and feeling like there was no end in sight. I remember holding on to Ashish’s hands and saying I don’t know how much more I could take and overcome with emotion. He squeezed my hand reassuringly reminded me that I could do this and my midwife reminded me to relax and just let it happen. Finally found my perfect birthing position on my hands and knees. I was overcome by this need to push but my instincts told me something wasn’t quite right. I asked to see if I was fully dilated yet and if it was going to be okay for me to push. I managed to flip onto my back and as my midwife checked my cervix I felt my water break, I was 10cm!
At about 5:30am, back on my hands and knees the sensation to push took over completely and I began feeling through the pressure wave to push. It was by far the best feeling at that moment, the only relief I could get from the downward pressure was to push. So I pushed with every consecutive pressure wave until I realized I needed to relieve myself. I remember saying I need to pee! The response was just pee! from my entire support group. Seriously once you give birth, any possible sense of shame you had is completely out of the window. Anyway once my bladder was empty I felt the baby’s head drop right into my birth canal. Back on my hands and knees I began to push. As I pushed I could feel the head coming through and a sense of burning as the head started to come through. Yeah that thing they call the “ring of fire” totally true! Anyway two big pushes and I felt the baby’s head come through, literally felt it there between my legs. My midwife coached me to stop and take a few shallow breaths. I didn’t know it at the time but the baby’s hand was resting on its cheek and had partially come forward with its head. My midwife said the next pressure wave and push would bring the baby out completely and reminded me to sit back right away so they could bring the baby into my arms.
I felt the next pressure wave and urge to push one last time. That was it! My baby was out, I stood there on my hands and knees in shock, the baby was no longer inside of me! My midwife gently pulled me back by shoulders and had me rest on my back against the birthing tub. As I got settled they brought my baby into my arms. I was seeing my baby for the first time! It was a boy!! just as we predicted, he was so alert and calm. He was perfect! Jai Ashish Utarid graced us with his presence at 5:46 am Saturday November 24, 2012 after 2.5 days of labour! Our midwife and doula waited off to the side patiently while Ash and I sat in awe of our newborn son.
I started to feel the sensations of a pressure wave coming on and communicated that to the midwife. She helped me hand Jai off to his dad and pulled me into a squatting position. My placenta was ready to drop. Things took an odd turn at this point because we were not prepared to have me bleed so much once I had birthed my placenta. My doula to the rescue once again! Midwife and doula helped me to the bed, while Ash kept Jai warm. I felt like I was going through my whole birthing process all over again, the pressure waves kept coming and gushes of blood kept falling out of me. My blood sugar had dropped quickly as well and I couldn’t stop shaking. The midwife gave me some Advil and apple juice to help me relax and get my shaking under control. I started feeling really cold and felt the need for a hot shower. I had zero energy and no ab muscles to speak of. Jenelle jumped into action and helped me shower and warm up. Finally I felt well enough to make it back to the bed without wanting to pass out. My midwife went through checking my cervix for tearing and double checked the placenta to make sure no piece was left behind. Everything was great! No tears, placenta had come out in one full piece and the umbilical cord had stopped pulsating. Ash did the honors in cutting the umbilical cord and we were left to bond as a family as our midwife got our breakfast ready.
I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. It was by far the best feeling to be able to bring my son into this world with little to no intervention. He was so calm and alert the moment he came out and to this day has a very easy going temperament. Our birth gave us time to bond as a family and it was brought together with the most wonderfully understanding people in the world. I couldn’t have done it without my birth team, my midwives, doula and especially not without Ash.