Aisha’s Pool Birth
Birth Story of the Week comes from Aisha who is sharing the story of her beautiful daughter Stella.
“The days have turned to weeks and then I lost count of weeks so I measured in months and finally I have sat down to recall the moment I was born as a mum and my baby leapt into the world. I wanted to write it down for you. So here goes…it was Saturday morning when it started. Getting up for a wee in the early morning at 3am and I first felt the beginning murmurings. I was worried I wouldn’t know it when it happened but you somehow just do. So I looked over at my boyfriend and decided to let him sleep and I just ebbed and flowed with it in between snoozing. At 8am I called my osteopath, Astra, who I had asked to act as my birth partner and doula. I was having a home birth and I wanted to know I had my team to support me and also to look after me if I transferred to hospital. She came over and gave me a massage and I got to get some more sleep in.
The day continued with having surges every half an hour and I tried to rest, did a bit of colouring in and watched my boyfriend cover the lounge in plastic and make sure we had things at the ready. By 5pm in the evening the surges were getting more regular and I was starting to get a little more wide eyed. At 8pm Astra came and basically helped me to start moving about to get things going although in my head I was thinking that with surges coming every four minutes I would probably have the baby in a couple of hours so I wanted to shout ‘come on people, lets go’. So we called the homebirth midwife team and they wanted to wait a little longer before coming out so I did some dancing, breathing, yoga on all fours, moving on the ball and enjoying some buzzing from the tens machine. It was all in my lower back and it felt incredibly intense. My code word for pain was ‘purple rain’ and I kept thinking that maybe I was doing something wrong because all the hypnobirthing videos had been so calm but I was thinking wow this is strong and intense and I feel I am going to be reaching into every peaceful thought I’ve ever had to ride this. All the preparation and hypnobirthing practice had helped me to be with the intense experience of what was happening rather than jump into the fear of thinking ‘I can’t do this, what is happening? Is the baby okay? It helped enormously to take each minute as it came and relax in between even if only for a few seconds.
The midwife arrived and with Astra, my birth partner, and Barnaby, my fiancé, I was in full flow moving with the surges and dancing while holding onto a bar over the door to increase the cervix moving back. Now don’t get me wrong this all sounds so idyllic and I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that is so comfortable in their body and can just face every challenge with a calm face. But literally I knew that staying calm and connected was my ally and it was a choice I was making every minute to stay with this friend and not jump on the back of any crazy thought that had a ticket to freaking out because I might not return. I just kept breathing and doing everything I could to bring on the hormones that would help me birth this baby. It was a great relief that when the midwife examined me I was at 5cm and I could get in the pool. I had read in books that you are never alone in birth because you and your baby are doing it together. I was really aware of this when the midwife took the baby’s heart beat reading and each time it was remaining measured and rhythmic. I kept saying thank you inside knowing that if baby stayed calm then I could and if I did then baby would. It was a narrative that connected us and encouraged me to plunge into the deep breathing.
Settling into the pool was a gorgeous feeling and I really relaxed. I felt huge and round while moving lightly and with ease which helped each surge as one of my birth partners pushed on my lower back and I sang a note, breathed or growled out a moan. I felt empowered. I had bought a disco light for the pool which made the room feel surreal and underwater. Don’t get me wrong, it was not all soft focus and smooth running and I can’t really describe all the moments but I just remember that I felt I knew where I was. I knew when the waters broke and I felt a pop and release, I knew when I needed to breath downwards and for myself it felt right to push. Baby’s head was crowning and then going back inside which was taking so much effort as I held baby so low in my body. I tried everything I had the power to consider. I reached into every corner of myself for strength, I called on the love and support of my friends time and time again listing their names and reminding myself of their courage in their lives, I thanked my body for pregnancy and I was calling out to my baby that I loved them and they were welcome. There wasn’t room for a negative thought because I knew that I had a choice of how to use the energy I had and I couldn’t indulge in anything which didn’t serve me in that moment. I just breathed, moaned, pushed and opened and yet baby was still held inside.
My energy was starting to reduce, I was taking spoons of honey to give me another moment of strength but I was aware that the oxytocin was ebbing away, I was feeling deep tiredness and my surges were slowing. It was at that point that I knew that I had to dig so deep inside myself to do this, I met that part of me that felt exhausted and yet I had to summon the final or many final moments of birth. I kissed my fiancé to increase the oxytocin like we were on the closing credits of a black and white film and there was no one else in the room. I was helped out of the pool as the two midwifes gathered round me, Astra stood behind me and Barnaby held his hands below me and I roared inside as the surge flooded my body and once the surge had ended I kept breathing downwards. I kept on and on and on. All of a sudden baby came out with a wet jangled release from my body and into the many hands waiting. The cord was swiftly lifted from being wrapped around their tiny neck as we passed our baby through the step ladder to the pool and then back towards me as I looked down and saw she was a girl.
She was a she, a girl, I had a daughter and she cried immediately and then locked her eyes on me and looked at me, deep into me and we looked at each other as I was helped to a seat. I was so grateful in that moment for the support I had been given by those in the room, for the midwife who watched, who measured, who encouraged me and fanned me as I got hot in the pool. I was grateful to the bright wisdom and constant reassurance of Astra my birth partner and to the awesome love and strength of Barnaby as he held me and breathed with me. It was like I had my Oscar and was fumbling through my heart felt speech. But also there was just us, me and her, looking at each other and me saying ‘hello little one, we did it’.”