Choosing to be positive: a lesson in being kind to yourself
By Lolly Stirk
Be prepared and open-minded
It’s clear that preparation and open mindedness are key factors when it comes to a positive outcome when giving birth. This was obvious when Valeria, Francesco and baby L came to tell their birth story at my class on Wednesday evening. Valeria came regularly to my yoga classes and she and her husband Francesco both came to my Active Birth/Hypnobreathing workshop. They were interested, asked questions, read about birth, hired a doula and felt ready and calm as the time came closer.
Her labour began, and confusing the mucous plug for waters breaking, they went into hospital nearby to be checked. Intact membranes were discovered, but so was very high blood pressure. They were sent home as surges were regular and strong and it was thought they would be back at hospital soon.
Early labour in control
A chilled afternoon was spent eating, watching movies and resting in between surges with Francesco massaging her lower back. During surges Valeria felt compelled to walk and breathe through the waves. ‘I felt as if I was in control. I know I wasn’t, but it felt that way when I was going with it through walking and breathing.’
Back at the hospital it was found that Valeria’s blood pressure was still very high so she had to be put on medication and was told she could no longer opt for the Birth Centre. To their delight the midwife had read her Birth Requests and prepared the labour ward with twinkley low lighting and the room was warm and spacious. Constantly monitored with wireless monitors Valeria continued to walk and breathe listening to her music.
C-section can be a positive experience
Later when her waters broke, meconium was found and it was discovered that baby L was back to back and that Valeria’s cervix was swollen. ‘When the doctor and midwife suggested a c-section, at first I was surprised and disappointed. But we had prepared for all options and a c-section was one of them. In no way did we feel pressurised and after discussion between me Francesco and my doula, we decided to go with the c-section. Baby L was born 15 minutes later and we were elated!
Valeria has noticed people feeling sorry for her or say how traumatic it must’ve been when she tells them she had a c-section. ‘I don’t feel that way. I’m really happy and proud of my birth journey, and I felt a deep connection with my baby: we were in it together and it was so deeply powerful and beautiful – I’m glad I was able to ride the waves with walking and breathing, I always felt present and calm.’
Valeria makes a great point here. Although she had prepared for a ‘natural birth’, she had also prepared for other eventualities, knowing that things can sometimes happen that aren’t part of ‘the plan’ and due to this, she was able to accept and stay positive despite things changing course during her labour. She now looks back fondly on her journey.
Photos by @sarahstirkphotography