Kat attended Janet’s pregnancy yoga classes. Here she shares the incredibly powerful story of the natural birth of her beautiful baby girl.
I went into labour at 37+0 days. My midwives advised that it was Braxton Hicks and I hoped that to be true as I felt anxious she’d be small. In my heart of hearts, I knew I was in early labour.
By that evening, contractions were stronger but still manageable. I’d looked after my toddler, shaved my legs, rested and did some housework. When I said goodnight to my son, Harry, he said “the next time I see you, your tummy will be smaller”. So sweet and psychic!
I couldn’t bear lying down anymore so got up at 2am and the midwife arrived around 4am. By now contractions were stronger so I’d get on all fours during and then lay down to rest between. All through my contractions I just remembered what I’d learnt in Janet’s classes: stay with my breathing, unfurrow the brow, keep the mouth soft. I’d tell myself over and over “I can do this, I can let go, I can stay soft and open, I know how to give birth, my baby knows how to be born, I can open up big for my baby, my baby fits my pelvis perfectly”. I found humming and ooooh and aaagh noises very helpful, like a force of nature was moving through me through these noises.
The midwife checked me at 4am and I was just 2cm dilated. I was so disappointed. It had been 26 hours already! We both felt this could be a really long labour and discussed how we’d transfer before I got really tired. I worried about that as I didn’t want to go into hospital so I kept going: all fours, resting between, affirmations, breathing and noises. Primal and instinctive. As fears arose, I’d voice them and I guess, looking back, that helped me let go and move on.
Two hours later, birth ball, tens machine, all fours were no longer helping and things were getting intense. Affirmations, massage, breathing and noises were the only things that eased the pain. I needed Harry to leave as I wanted to make more noise and I knew that very soon, I wouldn’t be able to speak. As soon as he was gone, I was able to really let go – pacing mixed with flashes of anger and desperation. I ripped off the tens machine because it felt like it was doing nothing. Looking back, that was the transition.
My midwife suggested setting up the birth pool when my husband Chris returned. I needed something immediately and couldn’t wait that long. She suggested the shower and I don’t think she’d ever seen a labouring woman move so fast! Once there, with the water running on my sacrum, that was it! The roaring began. It was primal. I was on my knees and holding onto the shower cord, pulling on it for leverage and power – like the image of a woman in a forest hanging down from a branch. A pushing from within so powerful, fuelled by the roars and groans. I never knew sounds like that could come out of me! All the while telling myself I could do it, stay soft, open up. Janet’s affirmations swirling in my mind. It felt exciting and productive. Even though it was extremely intense, I preferred this stage to earlier labour. The power and sheer speed of it felt so magical and creative. In early labour thoughts would creep in and questions as to “how much longer” would harass me. Now there was no time for that. I was present, in the moment.
I felt Artemis move down, then as the contraction faded she’d go back up ever so slightly. Ebb and flow. I felt a bulge, it was my waters, a sudden splash. The waters broke at 7:05 am. “Where is Chris?!” I shouted. Midwife phoned him to get back ASAP and he arrived at 7:20 am. Moments later, her head was born, and the midwife told me to stop pushing, which I did immediately – I didn’t want to tear! Unfortunately, I did tear when the midwife turned her after her head was born. Artemis was born at 7:30 am and passed to me through my legs. BLISS!My beautiful girl was born. I’d done it. I felt invigorated, powerful, spiritual, proud. All in all, active labour and birth lasted about 2 and a half hours!
Thank you Janet for teaching me to listen to my body, to trust my body, to know it and to love it. I am eternally grateful.