I had a dream pregnancy right up until 28 weeks. Everything was going right. My obstetrician (OB) was incredible. So cool, calm and collected and every appointment was quick and easy. Until around the 30 week mark. My iron started to become very low and so did my platelet count. My OB sent me to see a specialist as I had a condition in the results that he had never seen before. For about 4 weeks, I was going in to see him 2-3 times a week. I had to continuously do 24 hr pee tests and every 3 days I was to get another blood test. The whole time though, I was feeling completely fine. No pain, energy levels were good and I was sleeping fine – my results were showing otherwise. So after a few weeks of testing my OB made the decision to induce me right on 37 weeks.
As I have read many times, no one can prepare you for birth. To be honest, I didn’t read much at all. I didn’t want to hear about other people’s birth stories. I wasn’t interested in watching videos to see how it all happened. Although I did know that I wanted to try a natural birth. Meaning no epidural. I was going to be induced which meant that my waters were going to be broken and I was to go on a drip and my contractions were going to be controlled. Some say it’s harder to do a natural birth when you’re induced as your contractions come on a lot harder.
My best friend had a natural birth and she told me that she listened to a mediation track every night for 6 weeks. So I did the same. The track is Hypnobirthing Australia – Surge of the Sea. I have never practised meditation – although I have been a big yoga fan for 10 years. So every night I would listen to the track before bed. Around 2 weeks leading up to the birth I would listen to it in the car too on the way to and from my acupuncture appointments. Speaking of acupuncture, because I was being induced, I wanted to try and bring on my labour naturally. So I did acupuncture at 35 weeks, twice a week, for 2-3 weeks. I loved it. I had never been before but definitely think it is the reason my labor progressed the way it did.
We checked in to hospital the night before I was being induced. During the later stages of my pregnancy I was getting really strong braxton hicks. They were not painful, just really FULL ON. My tummy would go SO tight! My husband couldn’t believe it. My tummy would look as though it was going to burst. Anyway, when I got to hospital I was examined and my midwife mentioned that I was already 3 centimetres dilated. She couldn’t believe it – especially because I was showing no signs of being in labor. I strongly believe that was the acupuncture that made that happen! My OB wanted me to have a full nights rest before they were to break my waters. So the next day came and it was time to go into the birth suite. The nerves started to come on – although, something I have always practised when I get nervous is to repeatedly say to myself quietly ‘I see the confidence in you Laura, I see the confidence in you Laura’ – it helps me remain focused and calm – something I learned at my yoga teacher training in New York.
I set myself up in the birth suite with my mediation track playing on repeat and I was sitting on a swisse ball with a tens machine. I was connected to so many machines being induced – this is something that I wasn’t expecting but knew that I couldn’t let it bother me. Now that I think back – the art of getting through a pregnancy without an epidural is to not let your mind be distracted by anything and I mean ANYTHING. If something annoys you, practise letting go. So many distractions come up in hospital – that’s why many choose to have it at home where you are more comfortable and relaxed. As it’s key to maintain a relaxed state when contractions come on. The tens machine helped me use something to distract my mind – it was awesome for me. It gave me something to do. I would time it well with contractions.
My husband sat quietly the entire time. I couldn’t speak with him. I had my eyes closed for 4 hours and I pushed through my pain on a swisse ball. One of the hard things, was going to the toilet. I had to time my contractions so that when I walked to the toilet I didn’t fall to the floor because of the pain…
After 4 hours, I heard my husband ask the midwife how long I had left. At this time I still had not been examined. To this day, I am not sure why they didn’t examine me. I think it’s because I was showing no signs of pain. I didn’t scream or make eye contact with any one.
I heard the midwife say that they were going to examine me in another hour or so. At this stage, I was feeling the pain. The contractions were getting so strong. I let go of the tens machine as it was useless by this point and only became annoying to me. I said to myself on the next contraction I need to try a different position to see if that would ease the pain. I stood up and leaned over the bed. A contraction came on and I screamed. I immediately lost control mentally. My husband called the midwife and said you need to examine her. She asked me what I felt like doing and I said PUSHING. She was like, ok, get up on the bed. By this stage I was trying to calm my mind although, it was SO hard. The contractions were coming on so fast. One ended and the other one started. The midwife said ok, I can see a head, you need to start pushing. The pain was so intense – I tuned in to the mediation track, trying to calm my mind. As I was pushing, I was letting out this huge roar. My OB finally got there to save the day. As soon as he came in to the room he said ‘right Laura you need to stop all that screaming and use that energy for pushing’. Grab on to the pressure and push like your pushing out a poo. So I did and it wasn’t until I stopped screaming that I gain controlled of the pushing. I don’t think I would have got through unless he told me how to get control of the pushing.
So after 4hr20mins my little man came into the world. Note that I lost control of the pain at 4 hours and 20 minutes later he was born. They all say when you lose control and can’t go on, you’re just around the corner. I trusted my body and also my OB. My husband was so amazing and calm. He just squeezed my hand the whole way through.
The best thing about going through birth with no epidural is that when the head pops out, it’s like, life is back to normal. Not long after, I got to get up out of bed and shower. My husband couldn’t believe how normal I was acting when he came out. He couldn’t believe that moments before I looked as though I was going to burst with the pain but then as soon as he was out, my body felt completely fine!
My advice to those trying to have a natural birth – practise meditation. Practise calming the mind. Focusing on the breath, sitting still and trusting yourself. You don’t have to be a yogi or a meditation guru. You just have to believe in yourself and control the mind through the pain.
It was such a beautiful experience to be able to be so mobile after birth.
My name is Laura and I am a full time Mum. Prior to this I was the marketing manager at an Investment Firm in Brisbane – I have spent 5 years living and working in New York.