Saturday, 21 April 2012

Dance Me Over The Threshold - Art Of Birth Workshop

This is what we read, and what we created in our Art of Birth workshop today

Dance Me Over The Threshold

We have been waiting for this dance, you and I.
Holding our breath,
Biding our time,
Waiting for the right moment,
The right music,
The right night.
Listening for the first few quiet notes to tell us that the dance has begun.

May I give this dance?
To take your hand.
This will be for you and I alone, The music only ours.
And so we dance,
Softly at first, the rhythm gentle, the music quiet.
Our first few tentative steps into the unknown.

The tempo builds slowly,
I roll my body in time with our music and you lie spell bound, rocked by the waves of our dance.
The music plays out like an orchestral masterpiece, the different parts, the rises and falls, the cues, the crescendos, 
And I dance and sway and sing, and am swept along by the music and the rhythm and the dance.

I dance ferociously, uninhibited.
I dance the dance of the wild woman, of all those who have gone before me.
I dance for life and love and the great mysteries of the universe.
I dance for the past and the future and the very moment of the dance.
And I dance until I am exhausted, and I feel like I can’t dance another step,
But the music continues.
And the women, the wives and daughters, the mothers and lovers, all those who have danced before that I might be blessed with my own dance,
Those who have danced hold me up,
And breathe gentle kisses onto my tired limbs and whisper secrets of the universe into my open heart.

And you take my hand and lead me back to the dance,
And now we really dance together.
The music so loud and the rhythm so strong that I am powerless to refuse.
Our bodies dancing as one in the final moments, until we dance so beautifully and so powerfully that we become two.
And I dance you over the threshold of life.
The universe holds its breath,
And we are suspended, you and I, in the space between worlds.
Set free by the music, released by the dancing.

Then we breathe, and sigh,
And I take you in my arms and know that we danced a good dance.

Josie x 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kate's Free-Birthing of baby Ocean

Josie meets Ocean

In her own words...

On Saturday i asked Mum to have the girls overnight so that we could go walk on the beach, and hopefully get things moving.  Well, 35mins walking at James' speed in the freezing cold wind was enough to do me in!  I went home to bed and had a fantastic nights sleep. The girls came home the next morning and as Freya was feeling ill we had a a quiet indoor day.  Rest, rest and more rest, it felt perfect.  I think inside, by mid-afternoon I knew that the baby was going to come that night.  I was having regular tightenings but no pain, and I made a conscious decision not to time them or pay too much attention to them as I didn't want to feel like I was 'in' labour until my body was really ready to do something about it.
The girls went to bed early and easily that night and I felt like you do just before an exam. - There was nothing more I could do, no more meditating, journalling or researching unnassisted birth would make a blind bit of difference. Instead I kicked back to watch junk television and eat biscuits, I went to bed early.

At 2am I went for a wee and even before I got there I knew it had started, although i'd still felt nothing.  I did a wee, stood up and felt a trickle.  I smiled.  Hmm, what now?  I went downstairs and sat on the edge of the sofa for a few minutes wondering if I should light the fire, or wake James.  I felt a surge and stood up, no, I'm just gonna ride with this.  I liked the dark and I felt that doing it on my own was what I had really planned deep down inside for a while.  I wanted to own this birth completely and not have to worry about what anyone else was thinking or feeling at that time.

For quite a time I stood and spiralled my hips through each surge, singing 'the river is flowing' gently to myself and feeling ecstatic that I was going to meet my baby soon. When they started to ramp up a little i got into meditation mode and called the energy from the Great Mother, grounding myself deeply before asking for healing gold light from the father above and calling in my spirit guide who is at this time an ancient midwife.  I felt ready to move forward.  I got some water and went and sat on my birthing ball leaning on the stair pillar.  I remembered reading somewhere that your contractions can never be bigger than you because they are you, and so I thought I would focus on getting my breathing down to a really gentle level, really relaxing in to each contraction.  This gave me a break for quite a while.  I felt the desire to stand and my waters went with a gush.  I remember thinking 'great, we're really going to get on with it now', and sure enough the next surge was a lot more powerful.  I moved on to a kneeling crouch hanging over pillows in the corner of the sofa and working with each surge.  My singing was getting louder now and i had to work hard to stay in control, I didn't want to wake the family too early and have to concentrate on anything other than what I was doing.  When i felt I needed a poo I got up and had another full on surge.  Walking up the stairs was hard work!

When I got there I had to cling on the bannister and sing.  There was no being quiet now.  This woke Lilly and I called James, he came out and told me he'd been listening for about half an hour waiting for me to call him, he told me he was proud of me, I sounded like I was doing great.  This really helped to reassure me, and i moved in to the bathroom as he went to sort out the girls.
Thankfully having read 'Hello, baby' many times they weren't at all phased and were soon settled down to watch Mary Poppins in their bedroom whilst I was roaring away in the bathroom.  I had tried to sit on the loo and it felt really wrong. 
James came to check on me and i asked him to get the shower going and put some towels down in the bath.  I had felt for a while that Ocean wanted to be born in to water, but having a bit of a phobia of baths I didn't do anything about.  Getting in the shower was bliss, it gave me a few moments peace before i had a really strong urge to push, i reached down and felt I wasn't quite ready but the urge told me to push.  I went in to a full deep squat and the urge to push just wouldn't stop.  I roared and out came the head, but so did a load of blood, I yelled to James to call the hospital to send a midwife as I was bleeding.  ( Throughout my whole unassisted pregnancy my only fear had been hemorrage).  James called them and they and told him to call the paramedics whilst they kept the line open, meanwhile I had another urge to push.  I roared again and out came his little body, with a lot more blood.  I remember looking down and noticing that he had two arms, two legs, everything was where it should be.  I couldn't believe it, i had done it!!!! I'd freebirthed!!!!
I yelled to James and the girls that he was here, but the girls were watching a good bit of Mary Poppins and James was still on the phone.  I got out of the shower with Ocean in my arms feeling amazing, but there was another big spolsh of blood come out.  James ran upstairs and wrapped us both in towels, the paramedics had advised him that i needed to lie on my left and they would be there in three minutes.  They turned up and a minute after that a midwife turned up.  I consented to her checking me and it turns out that although i had some tears there was nothing to major to worry about, she sent the paramedics away and James set about cleaning up the blood (the girls were fascinated by it all and ran around saying there's more blood here, and here, pointing it out to each other).

Jane (the midwife) was fantastic and stayed for a cup of tea and wanted to check that the bleeding settled after I passed the placenta.  I did consent to having the injection (can't remember what it's called) after I had birthed the placenta, just because there had been a lot of blood loss already.  Ocean was here, beautiful, and his birth and placenta had not been affected by any drugs or interventions in any way..

All in all I can say that this was the most powerful experience of my life,  I had achieved everything that I wanted and I felt immense pride and satisfaction that my experience had confirmed to me everything that i had believed and worked toward in the last year.  I completely owned this birth experience, it is something that should be every woman's birth right.  James also feels that he got more out of this birth, even though he was less involved.  Having his role as protector and organiser made him really feel valuable and involved, and the girls loved being here when he was born.

Thank you Josie for all those classes, many times throughout the labour, and the weeks previously I used techniques and information I had learned to help me, Ocean was born at approx 6am on Lilly's third birthday 09-01-2012, our family is now complete.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Hannah's Unassisted Birthing of Freya

In her own words..

Hello, Freya is 3 days old now and I finally have time to write some words about her birth :)

So Friday 23rd my contractions started but it was stop-start-stop-start. The longest break I got was about half hour.

Labour didn't progress much over the weekend but Christmas Day Eve I started leaking fluid. On boxing Day Eve I informed labour ward as the contractions were also stronger. A lovely midwife came out and examined me (my choice as I had been contracting for so long I needed to know if anything had happened) I was 2-3cm but stretchy and between 50-75% effaced. Nothing much happened the rest of the night and I went to bed.

On 27th another MW was on call and she was awful, she wanted me to go in for a pitocin induction and cont monitoring due to PROM but I refused, she stalked me the whole day, ringing constantly, told me not to use birth pool as it increases risk of infection & even questioned my plans to tandem feed!! In the end my labour came to a halt, I knew she would arrive if things kicked off and I did not feel safe to birth my baby. She was still on duty on the Wednesday and I had had a big bloody show but I got OH to screen phonecalls and make excuses for me. She told him all the 'risks' and asked him what our plans were to which he replied 'to stay at home and have a baby'. We went out for a drive and came back to 5 missed calls from her and she had even turned up when we were out. We nick named her stalker madwife.

In the afternoon of the 28th another MW took over, she was amazing, came out to see me, trusted in me. She was happy with me & baby and told me to forget about having a baby, watch a film, order a takeaway & have an orgasm ;) She was the best thing that happened as I really relaxed.

Thursday 29th I woke up to a big contraction but went back to sleep. 10am I had another (OH got up with the kids) and went to the loo to have a gush of fluid - waters had def gone this time - yay!! I realised the leaking must have been a hind water leak.

Throughout the day contractions got stronger but whenever MW (the lovely one from boxing day who I really liked) arrived it all slowed down - think I had white coat syndrome! By 8pm I was in pain and asked her to examine me - I was 3-4cm and no more effaced than Monday! Could not believe it! I sent MW and my Doula home and we ordered Pizza, I was having painful contractions but I wasnt sure if this was it as nothing seemed to be happening!! I was sounding through every contraction and needing to rest on Toby. Toby said the sounding sounded so different when I was actually in labour than when I had practiced.

I called everyone back at 11 as I was in pain. we talked and labour seemed to carry on progressing so I wanted to get in the pool. MW advised best not to quite yet as it may slow labour down so I asked her to examine me at midnight to see where we were. I was still only 3-4 cm but cervix was more central. MW suggested I take some paracetamol and try to sleep, I was devastated and told her I was convinced baby was going to be born within a few hours so could not understand why I was not dilating.

Bed was a bad idea, could not sleep, asked DH to rub my back and he fell asleep mid contraction - I flew out of bed and ran downstairs! I had had enough! I told my Doula I needed more pain relief and she gave me some homeopathy to help back labour, I was upset as baby was no back to back yet the contractions were so intense I could feel them EVERYWHERE. She phoned the MW who said to let me get in the pool & she would be over about 4am. At 230 the pool was ready. Climbing in was a massive relief, the water seemed to absorb my contractions and finally I felt I could cope!

At about 3am I felt restless, I couldn't cope again and was telling myself I needed to get out the pool and transfer to hospital as a cesarean or epidural seemed like a good idea - I now realise this was transition but I had convinced myself it could not be as a few hours ago I was less than 5cm.

Then at 305 I needed to push, Dana (my doula) and my other half heard the noise and immediately called my MW then 999 - with the first contraction I put my hand down and could feel her head, I was told by Dana to get out of the pool (she was talking to emergency services) but I refused, I felt it was safer for me to stay there. Dana jumped in the pool on the phone to emergency services and followed their instruction. Second contraction and the head was born - 3rd contraction and Freya was born at 315am.

I sat back in the pool and fed her, she was awake and alert. 5 mins later paramedics and MW arrived, MW asked to cut the cord as she wanted to check baby over, I let her as I wanted the reassurance she was ok. MW sent paramedics away and I got out of the pool - placenta arrived at 340 naturally and we cracked open the champagne at 345!

I was checked over and had no tears just a couple of internal grazes. I felt on top of the world!

It was the most intense, amazing experience of my life and had restored my faith in birth, such a healing experience after a traumatic first birth.

The only things I would have changed were the vaginal exams, they set me back emotionally which is why I did not recognise transition. I also would not have informed the hospital about the waters leaking and I would have refused to let the cord be cut so early - in fact the only things I would have changed were things involving the medical profession ;)
One thing I will say is that Freya is a completely different baby to Amelia, she fed immediately after the birth, she is more contented and alert. There has been no issues with breastfeeding and it feels like she has been here forever! I also feel differently, I was on a real after the birth and managed to get showered and dressed within a few hours. Amelia was poorly after her traumatic birth, didn;t breastfeed until about day 4 (she was admitted to SCBU) and I felt awful, drained, tired & uncomfortable. I don't know if that is coincidence but to me the two very different outcomes speaks volumes!