Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Natural Birth

"Deep within each woman, lies the Knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions."
natural child birth

One cold January evening whilst having dinner in front of the telly, we watched animals give birth to their young in the wilderness of Africa. It was a process so beautiful and natural with no indication of excruciating pain that their human counterparts report to suffer in childbirth. I wondered then how these creatures manage to have the smooth and easy birthing while I, at 12 weeks pregnant, was destined to go through a painful ordeal.

Or was I?

Popular culture has often depicted pregnancy and the subsequent childbirth as an experience that would be enough to make any mother a saint (not that they are not, although I'm sure its not just because they've brought us out of this world). It was a belief I wasn't prepared to accept for after all, childbirth is a normal, natural healthy function for a woman. As an author pointed out, could "a God who had created the body with such perfection have designed a system of procreation that was flawed?"

This determination was fueled further by a chat with a friend who has gone through painless childbirths with all of her three children, the last one through Hypnobirthing, a practice that is becoming well-known in the UK. Although I was rather lazy in learning all the techniques, I have pored through the book and became adamant that I will deliver my baby without any pain relief medication and surgical intervention. I was going to breathe my baby out of my womb.

And that's exactly what I did. Two weeks ago, a day after my due date, the world heard our little man's first cry. It happened exactly the way I have hoped for: a natural, spontaneous birthing experience.

The contractions came at four in the morning, with rhythmic uterine surges and a constantly strong need to empty the bowels, signs that my mother has warned me about. They were uncomfortable but not painful and I started practicing my breathing exercises, imagining the gentle unfolding of the petals of a rose, whilst pacing up and down the room or sitting on a bouncing ball all the while recording the intervals and length on an iPhone app. I called the midwife at 7:30 am and was told to call the hospital when the contractions start to become more regular. I told John to go to work knowing that the first stages of labour could take up to 12 hours and the maternity ward is just across his workplace. The intervals became shorter and the contractions longer at around 2:00 pm and when I called the midwife again, I was told to contact the hospital when the pain became unbearable or when my waters break. I went out for a walk, chatted with friends in Facebook and made myself comfortable in the house. At 4:30 pm, I was still doing my breathing exercises and debating with our mothers on when we should be heading to the hospital when I felt my waters break. Even then I wasn't sure whether we should be setting off and decided to go to the shower where I noticed that lumps of blood were coming out and the urge to empty my bowels became stronger. My mother started to panic in fear I would be giving birth in the toilet. We decided it was time to go, by then I felt I was so ready to give birth anywhere.

The traffic lights were not against us that day, we got the emergency department of the maternity ward in record time. A midwife pronounced that I was fully dilated and was wheeled in to a delivery room where another midwife was waiting to help me give birth. John was called up in the middle of a clinic consultation to rush to the maternity unit and he arrived just in time to hold my hand and tell me how to breathe in and out. After 10 long exhales, I heard Isaac's cry and he was quickly laid down on my chest, a seven pound baby who has just spent nine months inside me. There was relief and there was pride, but most of all there was a feeling of being blessed a hundred times over.

John cut the cord while both our mothers looked on and hugged each other. He held our tiny bundle of joy, who was wide awake, alert and calm, while the midwife finished with my stitches. After our baths, we were told that we could go home that evening but we decided to stay overnight and finish with the baby's first checks the next day. After lunchtime the next day, we were on our way home, a young family who have been through a natural birth together, each one having taken up an important role in the process, and ready to take on the next challenge. 


  1. I'm so happy that the little chat we had helped! Thank you for writing your experience down. I feel it describes my own experience. By the way, your baby is gorgeous! Good job!

    1. The chat and the book really helped Teresa! I recommended it to a friend as well who gave birth a week after I did and she also did as well on the day. I'm looking forward to seeing you again and the kids, I'll let you know when we can come round :)


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