This was the only moment during labour I became fearful

“I woke up around 11:30pm with light surges, so I went to the bathroom and then headed straight back to bed before my excitement could keep me awake.

At 1:30am I awoke again and the surges had gotten stronger, another trip to the bathroom revealed I had a bloody show. This was the moment I knew she was coming! I laid back in bed and wrapped my husbands arm around me and spent the next two hours smiling and breathing through increasing surges while timing them.

I passed right over the 5-1-1 rule my birth centre had laid out for us and was having surges every 3-4 minutes, but only for around 45 seconds, and they were still manageable at this point. I decided to wake my husband, and then take a bath with candles lit. This was my “safe space”, almost every evening of my pregnancy I took a warm bath with candles. Turns out, I hated labouring in the water! After only a few surges I got out because I was so uncomfortable!

Nevertheless, I carried on, the surges became more intense to where I could not talk through them and at 6am I asked my husband to call the birth centre because they were every 2.5 minutes for a minute each time. They said I could come down to be checked, especially since morning traffic would be starting soon.

The drive to the birth centre was very difficult for me. I was feeling my surges primarily in my back, and the added pressure of sitting made the intensity increase. I put in my headphones and listened to my labour playlist I had created with my eyes closed and breathing for the 45 minutes it took to get to the birth centre.

My best friend met us there and when we went in they said they would examine me, but they assumed I was at a 3cm or maybe 4cm open and still in early labour. Once another surge passed I laid back to be examined and the midwife actually shouted “WHOA”. I was at a 7-8! She couldn’t believe how calm I was – this was why they assumed I was still so early on in labour! I laughed and this really gave me confidence that I was going to be able to bring my girl into the world unmedicated as I had planned.

From there, I laboured for another 2.5 hours while being massaged by both my husband and best friend – wow did counter pressure help on my lower back, and having my neck rubbed really helped to keep me calm. Everyone was reading my affirmations to me and telling me how strong I was. I felt so empowered.

Finally, my body told me it was time to push. This was the only moment during labour I became fearful because it felt like such an abnormal sensation to me. Almost as though my body had been taken over by something else and I had no control. After I was able to lean into this feeling rather than be worried by it, I was holding my beautiful baby girl within just over an hour.

I was able to do this unassisted by any sort of pain management other than the breathing techniques and almost continuous massage.

I can’t thank The Calm Birth School enough. I was able to use the tools and resources they gave me to remain in a state of calm nearly all the way through, and to return to it quickly when fear did kick in. My birth team was also amazing and supportive and empowering. From my husband who watched the course online with me, my best friend (who is also a licensed massage therapist), the midwife, midwife student and birthing assistant. I felt safe in such a transformative time”.

Harriet Jane Norkunas

Born April 8th, 2019

9lbs 3oz & 20” long.


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