Pregnancy is a time in a woman’s life where you become selfless and very vulnerable. You may also become empowered by the very fact that you are growing a whole new person, like it was with me. I’m going to talk about giving birth to my fifth child.
I was not expecting to have any more children so when I became pregnant, I decided to be in full control of this birth. This was my third homebirth, after all. I was going to with the mood, the tempo and prepare for the after birth healing for my self and my new bundle of joy.
All was set for birth. I had ordered the pool as I wanted a water birth this time. I had my playlist, sage smell was in the house (I had burned a dry bundle of sage leaf as the smoke helps to get rid of all sort of stale, negative and over reactive energy). The night before my contractions started I had some Braxton Hicks that I had been having for the past few weeks, so nothing to worry about.
As I was burning some frankincense resin I did notice that the smoke would help to ease the tightenings and allowed me to fall asleep, ready for the next day.
My daughter’s due date was the 18th on a Friday, for some strange reason I thought that it would have been on Wednesday and that she would have arrived in the middle of the night. On Friday some light contractions started. Then I remembered what I was to endure for the next day and I came into realisation that I wanted this pain to stop soon, as I was not going to drag this at all. I got my husband to set up the pool but he was reluctant, being from the Caribbean where water is used outside and not in the room. So around 10 am the contractions where more consistent so I got into the yoga teacher’s mode and started my breathing control which was really helpful. Then they got stronger so I got hold of the frankincense resin and burned it and the smoke helped me to take the edge off.
I then took advantage of calling the midwife to inform her of the situation and then was told that my homebirth midwife was on holiday that day and two community midwives were on their way. I knew from then that I was on my own as I was not going to put my trust in two random individuals!
Thankfully, I was ‘all about mind over matter’ so as long as I was in control of my mind I was fine. Midwives finally arrived and it was about time. I was done dealing with this pain alone, I really needed the gas and air.
As the midwife walked through I was in the kitchen on all fours and using sound therapy by exhaling with the ‘Ooo’ sound in a very high key, which also helped to alleviate the pain.
So one midwife was setting up while the other was doing my check up. At the same time my husband was taking his time to slowly fill up the pool with a question mark kind of look. Once the midwife had finished the check up it was about noon and she had told me the worst news: I was only 1 cm dilated! “What!?” I said. All this pain and only 1 cm? I had to be strategic as there was no way I was going to spend another five hours in such pain. To make matters worse, midwife said I could not go in the water or have gas and air as I was just at the beginning. I could have cried but that was too much wasted energy.
Knowing I have no other options I decided I was going to birth my girl as soon as possible. So I got on all fours and rotated my hips, with every contraction I would squat and contract my abdominal muscle. Yes, it was so painful but with additional breathing control I was set and in a flow of my own.
The midwife would ask me question as soon as contraction would come but I would ignore her until it was over. She would say: “Hello Katia, are you okay?” I am just birthing my child and am in pain. What do you think? Anyhow, I was on this flow for the next half an hour which was amazing! I would change positions and get into yoga poses, like the pigeon pose which is good for hip opening. The midwife was confused about what I was doing. It worked for me so I was not that bothered on judgement.
I did go from 5cm to 8cm in a space of 45 minutes! The next 2 cm were really crucial, I had my playlist playing in the background, children humming, massaging my back on and off. I really zoned in and it worked. The midwife checked me after 20 minutes and she could see baby crowning. She was in deep shock and so was me.
The pain was coming to an end I will finally be able to be me again – run, jump and, most of all, sleep on my belly again! I was in a full squat holding onto my sofa seat for balance, doing the ‘breath of fire’ – fast breath in and out through the nose to help control the pushing. Pop! My princess went on my yoga mat followed by a gush of water and all was over finally!
The midwife was trying to yank the placenta out to which I said: “Please don’t, it is very sensitive! She offered an injection to make it go fast but I wanted ‘all natural’ and within few minutes it was out.
I decided to have a ‘lotus birth’ and keep the placenta attached to the baby until it dries out and pops off all on its own. Midwives were reluctant to do so but got given green light by the doctor.
Baby was weighted and wiped and given to my mother so I ran to my bathroom and had a well deserved hot bath. I was then ready for a brand new journey. I had my meal and by 2pm midwives were all ready and packed up but they left after 3pm. What an achievement! I really could not have done any better with no form of assistance, no pain relief, just the breath and the mind working together. Anything is possible!
Katia is a mum of five from Newham. She is a yoga teacher, singer, song writer and creator. Katia calls herself a ‘natural birth goddess’ and blogs about homebirth, yoga and healthy eating. The story above relates to her fifth baby, born in March 2016. Katia is now pregnant with twins and is preparing to have a twin homebirth.