Lyra's Birth Story
I went into labour on the 20th September 2010 around midnight. I had been having niggly back pains for a week or so and knew that our baby was going to make an early appearance. A couple of days beforehand, I had gone walking with the dogs. I love walking and really think that it helped jostle the baby into a good position, keep my blood pressure low, prevented swelling. As I was walking along, talking to my baby, saying affirmations out loud. I had the most amazing sensation that with every step I took, roots were growing down into the earth. I felt strong and incredibly earthed. This was a really powerful experience for me, I knew then that my feet were firmly on the ground and any fears I had about spiralling out of control during the birth were gone.
For the first few hours of my labour I was incredibly sick, now I know that Hypnobirthing mothers aren't supposed to be sick but my God I was ill! My body completely purged itself and in a way this helped me through the early stages as it was distracting me from the contractions. When I was empty and no longer felt sick I decided it was time to try my Tens machine. We kept upstairs dark and warm and I found a position on the floor that worked for me. I kept moving, adjusting myself instinctively finding the best way for me and my baby. Chris was downstairs filling the birth pool and I was in labourland. By this point I felt I needed some female support. My contractions were coming thick and fast, they were very strong but I knew this was for the best as they would be good and efficient. Elke arrived with her assistant Jerrilyn just as I was in the middle of a particularly powerful contraction, and waited until it had passed before checking how dilated I was. I felt reassured by Elke's presence and was even happier when she informed me I was 6-7 cm dilated. This was a real boost to me as I knew I was making good progress. I surfed each contraction like a wave and moved freely, swayed my hips and gently nudged my baby down. They helped me make my way downstairs as I felt like getting in the birthing pool. We had arranged the pool and a mattress in the conservatory, a glass room that was usually home to our dogs! For some reason it was the only room in the house where I felt like birthing my baby. I could see out easily and could even go outside if I felt like it. I had been told beforehand to find my labour space, as an animal would prepare their special space.
I managed to climb into the birth pool and for a few minutes the warm water was completely blissful, unfortunately that feeling didn't last very long. My contractions were still very intense and the water wasn't giving me the pain relief I was expecting. It was still hurting but now I was wet as well! I was only in the pool for about 30 minutes before I wanted to get out and feel my feet back on dry land. In retrospect I think I was in transition as I entered the pool, maybe if I'd have got in a bit earlier I would have felt more benefit. Elke had brought a wooden birthing stool with her that I must confess having looked at previously with scornful horror. Little did I know then how helpful I would find it. I continued to change position frequently, my eyes were shut tightly the whole time, I was extremely focused and didn't want to be distracted. Chris tried a few gentle prompts and affirmations but I soon made it clear to him that I felt no need for them. Any outside conversation would have brought me out of myself, and I was doing very well where I was. The only sounds made were a few gentle moans, deep from within , my midwives joined me in this ancient labour song and that was very comforting. I felt extremely well supported and loved during the labour, all I needed was a strong hand to hold and the occasional word of encouragement (and the odd swig of Lucozade Sport!)
The whole birth lasted 12 hours and at 12.00pm exactly our daughter Lyra was born weighing 6lbs 10oz. She was born in her own time, gently and quietly with no medical intervention or medication. My midwives said it was a beautiful gentle birth. It was the most powerful step into the unknown I have ever taken, but I knew what I had to do and so did Lyra. Hypnobirthing certainly helped enormously in strengthening my beliefs and removed the traces of fear and expectation I had previously held. The midwives said it was as if I had gone to another place entirely, a place where my body knew just how to move, a slight adjustment here and there, and a deep listening to an old and very wise wisdom that every woman carries within her.
What a wonderful feeling it was to be able to go upstairs to bed as a family. Riding that amazing surge of pure love and amazement. Elke and Jerrilyn settled us all in and then we were left happy in our own home to get to know our daughter.
Polly, West Cork