This post is part of ”Healthy Birth Around the World,” a series of birth stories from all over the world to show how birth can be different, but in many ways, just the same. If you have a story to share, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My first birth was truly positive. I do not remember it being painful. I know people say that we forget, but even at the time, it never seemed all that bad! My first baby girl was born at home and I was surrounded by my husband, two caring midwives and selected friends. Everyone was there for me first. Everything else came second. Contractions started on Dec 16 at 1:00 am and baby was born 44 hours later! Because no one said “your labour is dysfunctional” or suggested that it was not working, I was allowed to labour gently. Labour progressed slowly over the two days and I never felt that I lost control. For that time, everyone took turns massaging me, feeding me and just keeping me company.
At one point, I realized that I was afraid of letting baby come out – as if I would “break.” This fear had never come up during the prenatal period, but all of a sudden, I could not bear the thought and my body tightened. I was remembering stories from my mother, aunts and friends who said, “My body just didn’t open” and “My baby had to be pulled out.” I began to wonder if maybe they felt as I did at that moment and maybe I would not be able to do this either. My dear friend intuitively saw that I was holding back and tightening during contractions. I remember it like it was yesterday… there I was, sitting on the toilet of my 50s pink bathroom. My friend asked me, “What are you feeling right now?” I told her my fear. She and the midwife assured me that I was strong and that they would support my body in every way possible. I felt relieved… I cried, threw up (which apparently can really get things moving in a labour!) and labour progressed beautifully from there.
Finally when it was time for baby to be born, her head was low and she was ready to come out. I did not want to go to a bed and decided to push on the floor of the family room. It seemed like a perfect place to me! Everyone moved quickly to set up blankets on the floor for me. I pushed for 20 minutes. My body opened to let her out and the midwife gently protected my body from tearing. There was no ring of fire, no screaming, just focused effort. Baby came out and was placed on my body. I looked up at the Christmas tree behind me as I held my little gift. I held her as long as I wanted to. There was no rush, even though no one had really slept for 2 days. She looked at me and I named her Rachel. I cheered and yelled out, “I am a rock star!” and “I want to do this again.” My friends cleaned up, put me, my baby and husband to bed and left us with grapes. Those were the best grapes I ever ate!
I would call this a positive birth experience!