A Normal, Boring Birth

When finding out I was pregnant I chose not to engage with the medical system, since discovering women’s traumatic stories and understanding that I did not want to be subjected to systemic abuse masked as ‘care’ and ‘intervention’. I wanted to reconnect with birth as a rite of passage for women. Me and my partner Carl, took radical responsibility for the birth of our baby, and within that I serendipitously met Ruth who became our doula. Ruth supported us throughout the pregnancy and provided lots of practical and emotional support. I felt that my partner also took great courage, trust and acceptance for me to freebirth in our home which I am eternally grateful for. I felt we prepared ourselves as much as you possibly can for birth and postpartum, choosing to invest in self care and practical home support.

One morning I woke up at 4am on a Friday, I knew birth was coming but was not ready to fully accept it, I got up and cooked a few different meals from random food in the fridge. I felt really optimistic and went to visit Ruth to have one of her amazing womb massages. I definitely felt like I was having some mild contractions and said to Ruth I would probably see her before next week and she smiled and said yes I would, I was naive not to think it would be later that night! I got through the rest of the Friday until about 11pm when my contractions were 11 minutes apart and I could not ignore them any longer. I didn’t want to check timings but it was a useful measurement for me to have another realisation that birth was happening. I rang Ruth and told her what was happening and she said she would come straight over! NO I replied. She said okay give me a call in half an hour. I went and got in the shower, I had to go and mentally prepare myself again and tell myself this is really happening! I was afraid but also excited. I rang Ruth a second time and she came over and got the birth pool prepared and helped to create a safe and comfortable space. Friday night blurred into Saturday and I somehow was getting through the intense waves of contractions, getting in and out of the pool and just going with whatever felt most comfortable and supportive for my body at the time. Ruth was very ‘hands off’ and just let me do my thing. She was really incredible at holding space while I squeezed onto Carl’s hands through each contraction. I felt like I needed to keep saying to myself ‘ I am strong’ ‘I am powerful ‘ I am invincible’. 
 
As time went on into Saturday night and Sunday morning, I was feeling weaker and mentally starting to question the process of birth, doubt myself and my capability which I knew was part of the rite of passage of birth but when you are deep within it you don’t realise it is happening to you. I remember that I would keep telling myself ’nothing is happening’. Ruth would often reassure me that everything is happening and provided me with so much nurturing and love, and often ask me what is it that I need in the moment to help bring me back into my own power. I remember having a really vulnerable conversation with Ruth during my birth around feeling safe and realising that my body needed to be reminded that I am safe, I am loved and I am held for my cervix to fully soften and open. My partner gave me lots of touch to boost my oxytocin too, while also pushing on my lower back when I needed counter pressure! On Sunday afternoon I eventually roared our baby into the world kneeling in the birth pool with Carl holding my back and Ruth holding my hands. I have never felt so powerful in my entire life! What a transformative experience to realise that I am both powerful but also need to be vulnerable and surrender to love and care from others so that I can be soft and open too. I felt so grateful to be a part of honouring the lost traditions of birth and remembering the knowledge, wisdom and power innate to women. I am grateful to Ruth for helping me remember and guiding me to trust in myself. 

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