Birthing: My Personal Story & How To Get Prepared For It

Let me take you on my personal journey and share a few things that might or might not help you through your own...

Birthing: My Personal Story & How To Get Prepared For It

Birthing is such a personal experience that you will forever remember, no matter what. And everyone experiences it so differently.

This is why I am not going to attempt to give you any tips because this is not something I could do.

Also in that moment, your body is going to take over your whole being, so even if I try to give you some tips and you try to apply them, it’s just not going to work. Your body will be in charge here, not your brain. So let it do its job. It knows best and you won’t even want to think about it anyways…

What I know for sure, on the contrary, is that we all have some fears and doubts creeping in before the birth. So what I’ll try to do here is to share my own story, hoping that you’ll be able to relate to it and see that – even though all birthing experiences are different – doubts are perfectly normal and that there is nothing to fear.

Pregnancy was an amazing experience. The last months were the best for me because I wasn’t sick anymore, I had my energy back and – as I didn’t put much weight on (only 4.5kg in the first 7 months, 7.5kg in total) – I was still very active and mobile. In fact, I was feeling so great that I wasn’t longing to give birth at all (like someone who is stuck in bed could be for example). 

I went to gigs a couple of weeks before my due date and could walk for hours. I really enjoyed those last moments of pregnancy. With that said, feeling that great was nice but didn’t prepared me psychologically for the birth.

When you’re 9 months pregnant and think that what’s been growing inside you for all that time will have to get out of your body at one stage, it can be pretty scary! So I preferred not thinking about it too much – see below my list of anti-stress homeopathy remedies.

The birth itself was an awesome experience and literally sent me on another planet.

I was also very lucky here because my active labour and delivery only lasted a few hours (about 3 to 4 hours). The passive labour started in the morning but I didn’t pay much attention to it and went for lunch with a friend. This is when I started to realise that something was going on as the contractions were quite regular.

Well, not a big deal I thought. I had a coaching session when coming back home and looking back, I think I was clearly denying the fact that I would have to go to the hospital on that day.

This is only when the pain started to be unbearable that evening that I thought “okay, I won’t be able to manage that kind of pain by myself. We have to go to the hospital.” This happened when Nico just finished pushing a project live and was totally exhausted, ready for a relaxing weekend to recharge his batteries before the birth (Théo arrived 4 days earlier than his due date)… So instead, he just went to the closest shop to grab some Red Bull – emergency plan in action.

We were at the hospital by 9.30pm, my water broke around 11pm and at 2am, Théo was in my arms.

It was super quick but the pain was way stronger that what I could ever imagine.

I have to say that I wanted a natural birth, no drugs or anything like that. I just wanted to relax in a hot bath to help me go through the pain, which they had prepared for me. But the pain was so strong that I couldn’t even find the way to remove my clothes and get myself in that f*****g hot bath. All I could think of at that time was EPIDURAL! Please someone give me something… I was literally crying for it.

Even though I got prepared for it with a midwife for a few months before birth (which I recommend to everyone), this was so intense that the pain was taking over my whole being, physically and mentally. No way I could detach from it with breathing exercises or a birthing ball. It was so strong I was half unconscious and thought I would end up vomiting everywhere, just because of the pain.

But I wouldn’t change a thing.

Looking back, I actually loved feeling such an intense pain. It was like I needed that to accomplish the birthing process both emotionally and physically.

The intensity of the whole experience is what I missed the most after the birth (we can safely say I am totally crazy). I could compare that to bungee jumping. It’s freaking scary before you jump, then the experience itself is super intense and when it’s done, you just want to do it all over again because it was too quick and super cool despite the fear and the pain.

Well, it was my own experience…

On a side note here, it seems that women who experience a quick birth (like I did) go through a much more intense pain – as it’s the hormones that create the pain (contractions) that push the baby out – the more of these hormones you have, the more painful and the quicker it goes. The trick in that case is to focus on the fact it won’t last long, which I clearly didn’t. On the opposite, women who experience a longer birth might experience a less intense pain but they have to go through it for a much longer time, which definitely is another type of challenge.

Then, in the first few days and weeks after the birth, your whole world changes. Your body changes, your relationships, your couple, your routine, your priorities, your sleep, your pace… everything changes! As per all changes, it can be challenging at times and that’s why I would recommend all new mothers to be super gentle with themselves and taking all the time they need to adjust. I’ve written in more details about early motherhood here.

So, here are a few things I did that might or might not help you go through your own birthing experience:

Homeopathy remedies

I worked a lot with homeotherapy just before and after the birth. The remedies that have helped the most are the following:

From week 36-37 onwards to prepare your body and soften your pelvic floor:

  • Actaea Racemosa 5CH – 5 pullets per day
  • China 9CH – 5 pullets per day

When you’re leaving to the hospital for stress relieve:

  • Gelsemium 15CH – 1 full dose

During labour for back and unbearable pain:

  • Kalium Carbonicum 9CH – 5 pullets every 30min
  • Chamomilla 9CH – 5 pullets every 30min

 

Getting prepared with a midwife before and after birth

I cannot recommend this enough. Working with a midwife (or doula) to prepare you to the birth can be greatly beneficial for you and your boyfriend / husband.

We started working with a great (and very funny) midwife around week 22 to learn haptonomy – the science of Affectivity – which is a holistic way to bond with your baby in utero. Haptonomy was magical. With a few basic principles, you can communicate with your unborn baby. Simply by touching (creating heat), talking and pressing your belly (creating little waves), you’ll start noticing that your baby is responding to your messages.

This is not only an incredible experience but has also been shown to help the birthing process and make the baby feel safer and more confident. It also helps the dad-to-be to be more involved and communicate with his baby too.

Your midwife will also teach you the different stages of the birthing process, the signs that you have to pay attention to, what you can do to help the baby in this transition as well as some breathing techniques that will help you to get your baby into this world.

You can also ask your midwife to visit you at home just after the birth. Because believe me, you’ll get one million questions to ask her. Ours came every second day for the first week, then every week for about 2-3 weeks and then once 2 weeks after. She came to check on me and see if my health was ok, she answered our endless list of questions and also weighted Théo to see if he was not losing weight.

I totally recommend this! This is priceless.

 

Do prenatal yoga

I have to admit that I went to 2 classes of prenatal yoga only. To be perfectly honest I didn’t like it.

You all know that I love yoga though (I am a yoga instructor after all), but being stuck and not being able to move through my normal practice was a bit frustrating for me, so I just did a few exercises at home.

I am suggesting this because, being able to breathe properly has helped me A LOT. And I leaned this by practising yoga.

Breathing will be crucial, not that much to control the (uncontrollable) pain but more to be able to push the baby out. If you can’t breathe properly, it will be much more difficult. Your midwife or doula will teach you the breathing techniques anyways but if you’re already familiar with them, it will definitely help!

 

Make sure to pack some water with you

If I missed something during my stay at the hospital it was definitely water.

Breastfeeding will make you thirstier than you’ve ever been! You’ll need plenty of clean fluids. Nico had to go back home to make me huge batches of green juices and I asked everyone to bring me glass bottles of my favourite mineral water (I was in Belgium and they have this delicious water named SPA. I couldn’t get enough!).

So – even if you’re planning a home birth – make sure you’ve got what you need to avoid having someone going back and forth to the closest shop for you (yep, you won’t be able to leave the room and go shopping in the first few days after the birth).

Check healthy alternatives for baby’s formulas

If you don’t want to or can’t breastfeed for any reason, you might want to have a look at healthy alternatives for baby’s formulas.

Once I started researching the topic of baby’s formulas, I was a bit shocked by what I found. I don’t want to scare you or go into too many details here. I think formulas can save some babies’ lives and it’s a very personal choice but if you want to do some researches and prefer using a healthy, natural, homemade option at one stage, here is a the recipe I chose to make as an alternative when Théo was about 13 months.

Make sure your Maxi Cosi is ready

If you are going back home by car (if you are not at home for the birth), make sure you master the Maxi Cosi thing beforehand.

It might sound stupid but this was a little detail we didn’t take into account, thinking that it was not rocket science to get back home with a baby in a Maxi Cosi. Well, it turned out that not only it’s super scary to put your newborn in a Maxi Cosi after 2 days of life but if you’ve never used a Maxi before, it might take you a little while to figure out how to put the seat belts correctly and secure the whole thing.

We spent an extra 45 minutes in our hospital room, watching YouTube videos to make sure everything was done properly before leaving the hospital.

 

Be prepared to feel like you just got hit by a train

Be prepared to feel weak for a while. Once again everyone has a different experience but chances are that you’ll lose a lot of blood, and still lose blood for a while after the birth.

Most women I talked with didn’t feel their best just after giving birth. It was certainly not my case. I had low blood pressure and felt super weak for weeks. Once again it might sound obvious but on my side, nobody warned me about this, and for someone who usually has heaps of energy, it was a bit painful to feel so low for so long. Let’s not talk about hormones and post-natal depression here. My point is this: you probably won’t feel that great for a few weeks after the birth.

I thought I would feel great after the birth, ready to enjoy our new life as a family and make the most of this special moment I’d been waiting for the past 9 months. In fact, it takes at least a whole month to start feeling like you’re back on your feet. Be patient… you’ll for sure be running after your little one soon enough 😉

 

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Share your insights in the comments below, and if you too, you’d like to share your birthing story, we’d totally LOVE that!

Feel free to share it below, this is the perfect place to help and inspire others, who definitely need that extra support to get prepared for this special moment!

xox

Pauline

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