“Annika and childbirth – these two things just don’t go together at all,” said one of my family member. I thought the same. However, I gave my best in order to bring these two things together in order to have a beautiful memory, not a terrible trauma. So, what I did?
First of all, I took a number of lectures and physical exercise classes. This knowledge and experience reduced my fears. What is the greatest fear – it’s unconsciousness! I got the knowledge of how to cope with the pain and how to ensure that delivery would be natural, fast and healthy as possible.
Secondly, I took a hypnobirthing method approach, according to which we should all associate delivery with positive thoughts only. You should not listen to other people’s bad stories. I didn´t take the full-length hypnobirthing course, I am planning to take it in the future. I would really like to know how it’s possible to overcome this kind of pain being so relaxed at the same time.
Thirdly, I chose the best team. I took a private midwife Siiri Ennika. She is a fantastic person whose natural approach matched my wishes very well. Another important person was my husband, who was very interested in supporting me. We took a great practical lecture from Ökobeebi school. They give much better lectures than the hospitals in my opinion. I didn’t consider it necessary to take a doula because I felt that Siiri Ennika’s professional assistance was enough.
Did you know that the doula is one of the oldest professions? Doula also known as birth attendant offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. See more at https://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/doulas-what-is-a-doula/
In some countries, the role of doulas has become very popular. They teach you to relax, help you with the delivery and even help you to do some cleaning and cooking at home if you want.
HE WAS IN A HURRY
It was the morning of 14 March. I woke up and realized that something was different. My Ovia mobile application said that we have reached the 37th week of pregnancy and the baby can be born without being premature. I experienced the first signs that indicated the start of the delivery. I told my husband: “Honey, something is going on with me!” We are both surprised and amazed.
I decided to wait a bit and then make a call to Siiri. The mood was extremely exhilarating. Soon I couldn’t wait anymore and I called to Siiri. I described the situation and wanted to know whether I have misunderstood something or it is time. She suggested to prepare the spirit and get used to the idea that the baby is about to come to us soon! I couldn’t believe it! I had a note on the calendar that he could come since that time, but I’m surprised that he decided to do it exactly on the very first day. For some reason, he was in a hurry and I accepted his wish. I made an agreement with him that we will cooperate and everything will go very well.
THE LAST PREPARATIONS
The following hours were indescribable. Just in case, I mention to my readers who haven’t come across any topics on delivery – it’s not like in movies when a woman shouts: “OMG, my water broke!” and then a panic hurrying into the hospital begins. Basically, I had one day. However, it went so fast. My husband rushed to finish the last duties he had, and I packed my hospital bag that was not that ready at all. Interestingly, I read about the hospital bag the last thing before I fell asleep on the previous day!
I tried to create a zen atmosphere at home so I put on a lavender essential oil into the diffuser and played very calming music. The song called “3 hours of Deep Sleep Frequency-Relaxing Music” played all the day long so when I arrived at the hospital, I was still hearing it in my ears. It really helped to focus. I really recommend.
In the evening, I went to see Siiri at the hospital. These notorious contractions had not started yet. We met in a real delivery room. It was an awesome feeling of being there, but at the same time calming, because fortunately, it was pretty quiet there was no hospital smell, and the environment seemed very calm. She asked if I was very surprised in the morning. Of course, I was, but I took an attitude that it’s a party – I go to my beloved son’s birthday, so I have to go there very joyfully! I didn’t feed any fear.
She sent me home to wait for the contractions and suggested drinking the thyme or raspberry leaf tea.
I went home and at the same time, I felt more and more these lovely contractions. When my husband arrived home, I had pretty intense contractions, but they were still okay because of the considerable pauses. I used the mobile app to see when the process will become regular. The long-lasting regularity is the reason to go to the hospital.
ON OUR WAY TO HOSPITAL
I had more and more painful contractions and ordered my husband to pack his things as quickly as possible – I felt that I didn’t have any more time. I also lost the ability (and the point) to use the mobile application, because the pain got very intense and I didn’t have any pauses between the contractions.
Did you know that during the labor, the uterus muscle carries a lot of work? Men do not have as big and powerful muscle as women’s womb.
My husband was supporting me during the contractions, but during the short breaks, he ran around the room and tried to pack our bags. He also offered me a lot of fluids, as was strongly recommended in lectures.
Did you know that the lips, neck, shoulders, vocal cords are directly related to the “delivery floor”? Drinking the liquids helps to relax the neck while swallowing, so that the process progresses more quickly. It is therefore very important to keep these parts of the body as soft and relaxed as possible. If you are tensly holding these parts of the body, the lower floor is tense too and the child can not move forward.
Unfortunately, drinking four different drinks was not a good idea. Thyme tea, orange and peach juice and water together ended up badly as I vomited. Therefore, the recommendation would be to stick to one drink, which probably should not be very acidic.
It all got more and more painful. My husband received instructions from Siiri by phone. I was sure – I have to get to the hospital ASAP!!! At 1:15 at night, we finally got out of the doorway and this car ride to the hospital was the most terrible of my life. Siiri recommended going to the back seat of the car. Indeed, I wouldn’t imagine it otherwise, because it was so painful in every position. For this moment, the situation was like in a movie – I knew that I was in a hurry and there was not much time left. Eventually, we arrived at the hospital and I still can’t even believe how I was able to get myself to the delivery room.
The advantage of a private midwife in Estonia is that the patient gets directly into the delivery room and don’t have to wait in queues. I have seen such situations when the hospital is crowded and women have to wait in the corridor while having severe pain. I decided not to have such a situation.
The private midwife also gives recommendations through the phone and tells you when to go to the hospital. Getting to the hospital too early may slow down the process of delivery. It has been proved that safe and cosy environment affects women positively during the labour. Seeing medical devices usually creates unsafe feelings and tensions, which in turn impedes the process. So the goal is to stay at home as long as possible.
However, the delivery may took very long time, and during this time, you may meet several different midwives. You will never know if you get a midwife you like. Also in our hospitals, one midwife can deal with multiple deliveries at the same time. A private midwife is the person you meet before and who is with you since the beginning to the end – no matter how long it takes. Of course, he doesn’t have to be in the same room for the whole process, but no other doctors will be in a room when the delivery is normal.
PLANS VS REALITY
We went there during the baby boom. We just managed to get the last vacant maternity room, but unfortunately without a bath. My wish was definitely to go to the bath to relieve the pain and make the child come to this world as natural and soft as possible. However, I quickly got rid of this idea, because actually, the only thing I could think about is how to survive. I also knew that women should be flexible and go along with the flow, rather than stick to their plans. How many times have I heard that women are planning delivery in one way, but it will be completely different? I also had to forget about my delivery plan. Among other things, I planned to make the delivery room cosy using a darker lightning, steam diffuser and calming music. I didn’t have any time to even think about that.
It is true that in this situation it is very difficult to perceive your surrounding. I imagined that being in this bubble is calm and beautiful during pauses, I can hug my husband, he can give me a massage he learned, I can move around so it could trigger the production of endorphin and the formation of oxytocin, which in turn relieves pain naturally. I didn’t have time for even that.
Did you know that endorphin aka lucky hormone, is more effective and powerful analgesic than morphine?
If a woman is worried before or during childbirth, the natural delivery may be obstructed, the body goes into stress, the “fight-refugee” reflex will be triggered, and the hormonal balance required for giving birth is disturbed. The uterus produces excessive tension and increased pain, as blood and oxygen are directed to the protective muscles. It is therefore necessary that the delivery would be conducted by natural love hormones oxytocin and the analgesic endorphin. (Hüpnosünnitus, 2018).
Although according to WHO recommendations, the proportion of Caesarean sections should be 10-15%, unfortunately, in many countries, it is much higher. It is 40-50% in developing countries such as the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, China, Mexico. Developed countries such as Finland, Iceland, Norway, have very low Caesarian proportions. Surprisingly, the proportion of US Caesarean section is much higher than recommended – 30%. One reason is that attitudes toward giving birth are very different in different societies. In the United States, the delivery is viewd rather a medival event and women rather see it as something very horrifying. (BellyBelly, 2018).
Therefore, many US women are planning -section, although there is no medical reason to do so. On the other hand, in the Netherlands, for example, maternity is regarded as a very natural thing, which is why the popularity of home births is among the highest. (Expatica, 2018). Statistics are undoubtedly influenced by legislation. In Estonia, making a C-section without any medical reason is not allowed.
I totally believe that it is possible to experience almost painless and pleasant childbirth naturally, but unfortunately, my delivery was too intense. The hormones that triggered the delivery did so powerful job that I didn’t catch up to the process. I just did not have time, because everything was too intense and quick. My body worked at full speed. Later I heard from my mom that my brother was also born very quickly and exactly three weeks earlier. Therefore, there is a bit of truth in the opinion that the delivery may be similar to your own mother’s experience.
THE MOST DIFFICULT MOMENTS
When I arrived at the hospital, I was dilating 4 cm. I was already totally dying because I just had no pauses to rest. I went to a shower in order to relieve pain. Unfortunately, the echoing bathroom amplified the already powerful sound even more. My husband held one ear with his hand and a shoulder and shower with another hand. In result, he is still having a pain in his shoulder area. We joke that he has more complications than me.
I left the shower because I felt that I couldn’t stay there anymore. Apparently, I dilated pretty fast. I remember from the lectures that the hardest moment is usually when the transition period begins – after full dilation and before the end. Some women want to jump out of the window, some will start to swear, some will just go crazy. I remember that I begged Siiri and my husband to help me out and save me. I also wanted to have laughing gas. This was the only non-natural thing in my delivery because usually don’t bear the pain like other people. For example, a mosquito bite is painful for me. I am not joking! However, my concept of pain has changed a lot for now. Unfortunately, it didn’t help and I couldn’t use it too much, because it was also difficult to breathe through it. I remember Siiri saying that the best painkiller is the birth of a child. At that moment, it was equally difficult and motivating to hear that.
Did you know that the more abnormal (eg. epidural injection) interventions in the delivery process, the more likely there will be more to medical interventions (vacuum, C-section) is more likely to increase? Medical intervention is really the last option, because natural delivery is the most beneficial for you and the baby.
I tried to implement what I had learned – to breathe deeply with a voice. I mainly used U and O sound intuitively. If my husband was trying to help me with sounds, then I often shook my head and used a different sound – just what y body needed at that moment.
Recommended sounds are A, O, M, and U. You should breathe in through the nose and breathe out these sounds through the mouth definitely on a low, not on a high voice!
A should be for general well-being, O should relax a diaphragm and U is for opening the cervix.
You should definitely avoid the sounds of E and I, and just screaming. Hence, Hollywood films have once again wrong here.
My husband reminded relax the neck and shoulder region as it’s directly associated with the progress of childbirth. I also tried to keep my legs in a parallel position, not the toes outside, because then the child can come quicker. It’s a good idea practise that position because often it seems that the legs are parallel, but actually they are not. In this case, a support person can see and help. It seemed that the contemporary dance experience helped me – the parallel position of the legs is the basic thing in this style. Thus, the position of ballerina’s legs is not helpful here.
ARRIVING AT THE SEVENTH HEAVEN
The finish was soon there, which felt even great, despite the fact that it felt like someone stabbed me alive. I knew that this stage could last for several hours! At this point, it was important to listen to the instructions of the midwife and just give your best. Fortunately, I didn’t have to suffer for a long time anymore because…
This long-awaited moment was there!
Our angel arrived and took us in the seventh heaven!
Jonsi & Alex “Boy” is the song that symbolizes this birth to us. This is a very special ambient song written on a frequency of 432Hz.
In one lecture, it was said that sometimes it’s very special to experience the moment when the baby looks into your eyes right after birth. It is such a beautiful experience to be remembered until the end of your life. So I watched this moment carefully. That moment arrived. He was put on my chest and began staring deeply at me! I was enchanted! And those hands and feet and a little face – everything was just so perfect. I was ready that the newborn may pretty ugly – blue, purple, slippery, wrinkled, with a cone-shaped head, but no – where he was – pretty and pink, so everything was suddenly so beautiful.
Did you know that the newborn has the ability to get smaller? Babies have a fontanelle and also may have a very weird looking head when they are born or even a long time later because in the case of a vaginal delivery, one bone moves slightly to the other to move trough the birth canals. Therefore, after a baby’s birth, the baby’s head may be slightly cone-shaped, but it will go back later.
Siiri repaired me and gave a shot of a shepherd’s purse. I wrote to a delivery plan that I don’t want an oxytocin injection, because, in addition to my needle phobia, it doesn’t belong to natural childbirth. Typically, this injection is done by a midwife after giving birth to stop the bleeding. Fortunately, my good midwife, Siiri was so smart to offer a natural alternative. Once again I realized that nature has medicine for everything! how amazing is that?
Capsella bursa-pastoris or shepherd’s purse is basically a weed. At the beginning of the 20th century, already during the First WW, it was noted that it’s much easier for women to give birth when using this herb. Later, several other good features were found. It is an excellent internal bleeding inhibitor, probably the best of our natural plants. For example, it stops the intestinal, uterine and pulmonary haemorrhages, but also has a simple and normal nosebleed. It’s also used to treat open wounds.(Tartu Ülikooli Loodusteaduste õpikeskkond, 2008)
Altogether 7h and in the delivery room for only 1.5h is a fairly good achievement for the first delivery. The average is 16-18h. All in all, giving birth is a rather robust procedure for me as a human being for medical reasons, but the end result is really beautiful and all the effort and suffering is worth it!
Of course, I feel sad for the members of my team who supported me. My husband’s ears were aching a lot and Siiri wondered how such a voice and force might be hidden in a woman with such a small and modest voice. I was surprised too. In fact, it’s very interesting that in every woman this there is a mother lion in every woman. The mother who feels her instincts and can be confidently strong.
Many women don’t want men to be at their delivery, and also the opposite way too. My husband, however, surprised me. He claimed that he didn’t feel sick and he already advised his friends to do the same. He said that otherwise, a man won’t imagine what is behind the birth of his child. Of course, men are different, and some will faint too. The presence of a man can also be delayed by the woman because she can not be released. Hence, there should be great and true trust between a husband and a wife. It’s also important to praise and recognize your wife after such painful suffering. Once again, we will come to the conclusion that all very beautiful and good things in life will never be easy.
I hope that now didn’t terrify women who will give birth in the future, but on the contrary – I encouraged to do it naturally and maybe even with more knowledge. I have heard that the worst woman can do is to go for delivery without any knowledge.
Anyway, the arrival of an angel was a divine experience, which we never forget. I also came to a cliché that the arrival of each angel is, on the one hand, natural and ordinary, and on the other hand, such an unusual thing!I