In his article Kolya described everything so wonderful that I couldn`t gather my thoughts long. And I didn`t know what to add. That`s why my story will be may be chaotic, sometimes too frank and physiological. People with prejudice, nervous men and hypocrites perhaps shouldn`t read that. Actually if Kolya`s article is written for men, let my story be devoted to women who gave birth or just plan it. During the last few days after the childbirth about a dozen of people who were interested in home birth experience have already written to me. In the process of preparing I almost couldn`t find description of real childbirth. I found only one video where one lady was describing her solo birth – and for me this information was very useful. I hope that my short tale will be useful for somebody too.
Although the theme of home birth begins to gain momentum in Russia, it is nevertheless widely banned and at least causes widespread surprise and too unnatural wide-eyed staring. I can`t speak for all countries of the world but in some European countries, in the USA and Australia it hasn`t been long a nonsense but a full-fledged alternative to childbirth in a hospital, quite legal and not surprising.
I gave birth to my first child quite “traditionally” in the hospital and with all accompanying medical “gifts”. I already thought about home and water births but 10 years ago the absolute Stone Age was predominating in this question and I was too immature to bring the idea to the end. I calmed myself that I chose partnership birth (even this was a novelty that time) and I was satisfied with my “progressiveness”. Me and my first husband visited paired training courses for childbirth. We had our personal pre- and postnatal ward, my husband was like controlling all procedures by the medical stuff etc. I was satisfied. And at the first sight the childbirth was quite normal. At least for 10 years since that time I had been thinking that everything went well until I began to study this question more seriously.
The first suspicions settled in my head 2 years ago when our friend was pregnant and was about to give a birth… at home in Goa. It turned out that it was absolutely normal there (here I want to mark that it isn`t “Indian standard”, Indian childbirth assumes cesarean section almost in 100% of cases if you aren`t from a poor family). Many women come to Goa intentionally to spend pregnancy period in well climate and ecologically livable habitat, to give birth to a child with dear husband at home (with a midwife or not) and spend the first months of her child`s life at sea in joy and warmth. And it turned out that there were a lot of such Russian pregnant beauties and it became clear that it can`t be “exception” to the rule. This is the same norm as childbirth in the hospital. Just those who have the courage to make an informed choice, make it not in favor of hospital because of numerous objective indicators (which I found out later). And then I saw my beautiful friend who was riding on the bike till the day of birth inclusively, I knew how easy and soulful was childbirth at home with wonderful midwife, mother and close friend, I saw pretty calm baby attached (that was novelty for us that time) to umbilical cord and placenta during two days after the childbirth. I saw how the child was developing, how not whiny and adequate (it`s very rare phenomenon for modern children) he was. And of course I couldn`t compare this childbirth with mine. Certainly the difference was obvious.
Perhaps some of you are asking now “is it obvious in + or –?“ Probably the existence of the modern techniques, anesthesia, 30 people of medical stuff around seem mega-advanced and look like peak of all dreams. But I don`t think so. I`m sure that the less modern medicine is in our lives the better it is. I don`t exclude it completely. Sometimes I take medicine, sometimes do medical examinations, sometimes consult with a doctor. But I do it moderately and only in a case of emergency. When the body can cope on its own or it`s possible to use natural remedies, I make choice in its favor.
So, conclusion №1: “Childbirth is not an illness!”
Pregnancy and childbirth are absolutely normal processes where the nature invented everything for us. What for is a doctor then? There are certainly exceptions sometimes: complications, incorrect presentation of the fetus, sudden hypoxia of the fetus etc. But those are exceptions! And the rule sounds so: a healthy woman can give a birth to a healthy baby on her own and without medical intervention. It was ordered by nature! If it wasn`t so, the humans would had died before they took up the club. And I consider unfounded the statements like: “In the past women gave birth at home and were dropping like flies” – the past is not now. We have a number of modern ways to diagnose pathologies and opportunities to cope with them. If there are any, you can go to the hospital. If the child lies across the birth canal, the only way is to make cesarean section and nobody in our time will be lying at home waiting for death. But I repeat again, this scenarios are the exceptions that require certain measures and it doesn`t apply to home birth.
The experience of hospital birth with the first child
So, what are the medical “gifts” I mentioned and what was so bad about my first childbirth that I wanted to “cover” this experience by more positive with all my heart?
Расслабленный малыш на руках отца сразу после появления – наглядный аргумент естественных родов
If I ask the question now to those readers who have already given birth: “Was your birth stimulated in any way: puncture of amniotic bubble, oxytocin, gel etc.?”, then I`m sure that 99% will answer “YES”. The question is “For what?? Where to hurry in this processes and why? Everything has it`s time. I was stimulated too. And the argument was (literally): “You have 38 weeks, the baby is mature enough to not occupy the bed”.
As a result, puncture of amniotic bubble (scratching meanwhile by the crochet the head of nothing suspected baby who wasn`t ready to leave the warm place). 9 hours of contraction, exactly one big contruction without interruption for recovery (now I know how it must be). Attempts that I didn`t feel, that I didn`t understand and I just had to listen to the doctors who forced me to push (now I understand that you don`t have to do it at all – the womb pushes exactly at that pace and with that intensity how it should be to avoid injuries and ruptures).
Cutting the umbilical cord just after the birth (and most of us even don`t know what a irreparable harm it is for a child, we took it on faith that it`s norm but this is a real genocide against humanity because in a monstrous number of cases it causes mental retardation, bunch of neurological diseases and even physical inability). The baby was attached to my breast for 1 minute and then they began traditional torture like weighing, rubdown, swaddling. Placenta was just pulled from me for the umbilical cord what causes bleeding and possible further cleaning of the womb (and so it was) because in such a barbaric way pieces of placenta and so on stay there in most cases. And what`s more, a couple of stitches, a couple of floors of the hemorrhoids, abdomen full of blood that is “squeezed” with the best intentions by the “educated” nurses.
And after all this torture they give you time to “relax” taking away your newborn child who needs mom so much in this difficult time of his new life – for 6 hours (!!!!) in a separate ward where they feed him with some muck that is impossible to do in any case! By the way in France the practice of the “separate” wards for mother and child after birth ended even in the 50s of 20th century (as inadequate and inappropriate)!
Besides, just yesterday I watched video where an orthopedist was telling about the most common disorders like torticollis etc. standing in the ward for newborns. But that’s not the point. In the background a hundred of children`s voices were screaming and screaming – that were kids in the first hours of their lives. And this scream wasn`t stopping for a second during 10 minutes of the video. Nobody tried to calm those children and bring them to mothers. And that was one of the most advanced maternity hospitals in Saint Petersburg. I don`t want even to imagine that my first child spent her first hours of life the same way…
After that we had a week in maternity hospital without fresh air and bathing. And then our experience was finished with 20 days of lying in the hospital with jaundice under the quartz lamps and with drop counter in the little child`s head. And now it turns out that there is no need to cure it, that this disease is physiological and after 2-3weeks it goes away, and the harm from quartz lamps is much more than good etc. And I sincerely thought thereafter that my first childbirth was the peak of all dreams…
Of course when we began to insight into the subject deeper and deeper my hair stood on end more often. How clever and wise the nature is and how stupid is the human who sad that stimulation is good but the umbilical cord prevents the swaddle. The birth process in Russian (may be not only in Russian, I don`t know exactly but this article is devoted to Russian doctors) maternity hospitals is structured so that it could be comfortable only for doctors taking birth. Nobody thinks about woman in labor and especially about the child. Stimulation is good… for doctors: they did job quickly and went on their way. Not to mention cases when cesarean section was made not according to the testimony but “to make it faster” or “I make cesarean section to everybody, I can`t stand when woman screams in labor”. The last are real words from the mouth of the real doctor…
Conclusion №2: I can and I must (!) to choose how will be my childbirth
I will be back to the intimacy of the process later. And now I would like to talk about the choice. About the right to choose. If you think about it you`ll discover that we take for granted a huge amount of things without even trying to call into question the feasibility, correctness and the relevance of all this things. Our habitats, our food, our clothes, fashion trends, government, social norms – right after the birth they drive involuntarily (and sometimes intentionally) into our heads that everything what is surrounding us is the only version of reality. It`s not true. And you should ask yourself the question, why do I eat exactly this? Is it tasty or healthy or right? Or it just happened so? The answer will likely this: because our parents and people around us eat so (act or think – underline what is necessary), isn`t it? But it doesn`t mean absolutely that is the only right version. Other people and other parents have other norms and it`s important to realize which norms fit to exactly to YOU!
And so it is with childbirth. I suddenly asked myself the question: WHO said that childbirth in maternity hospital is the only variant and this variant is right? It is considered in other way. Thousands of years women gave birth at home and the first maternity hospitals were build for prostitutes and homeless having no financial opportunity to give birth under normal home conditions.
But to make a final choice in favor of home birth I had to answer a number of questions. Namely: How I would like to carry out this amazing and may be the most important and thrilling process? But at the first instance I answered the question “and what exactly I wouldn`t like”?
My personal list of “NO”:
I wouldn`t like to see around me shabby hospital walls, smell “diseases”, be dazzled by the light of cold “luminescent” lamps, put on this moronic shirts, go to this public restrooms, hear the yells of other women in labor, feel myself as the carcass on cutting conveyor that must be “handled” faster to take on the next. And I really wouldn`t like that it was the first thing which my baby saw in his new life.
- I wouldn`t like to see strangers in my childbirth.
I wouldn`t like to have unnecessary inspections of my vagina during pregnancy and childbirth. It`s my very private space and any outside interference immediately leads me out of the state of rest and relaxation, vitally important in childbirth. I don`t want to do needless tests and listen to opinions of doctors about it. I wouldn`t like to be nervous for nothing in general.
I wouldn`t like to be anesthetized – that create effects (later about it), to be stimulated (again effects), I don`t want they influenced the physiology of my birth (effects), imposed childbirth poses on me, turned the head of my child on output (effects), cut the umbilical cord (effects), touched, carried, weighed etc. (psychological effects), teared us apart.
Forming a picture of the ideal home birth
And little by little we began to study the literature on the theme of home birth, talk with “experienced” mothers and fathers, watch videos, consult with midwives. And I began to get a picture of how ideal childbirth should go. Ideal in my view. I want to clear at once: I do not impose my vision on all women, I don`t claim that our choice is the only right. I`ll just show the variant, one of thousands of possible variants, but absolutely real.
It was important to me to have full information. But I calm those who are far from science – you don`t need a lot of information – the Nature is far from demagogy –everything is simple and logical in childbirth, you just need to shake out all prejudices and fears from your head.
I was endlessly inspired by classics of midwifery Francois Labaye`s “Birth Without Violence” and Michel Auden`s “Birth Reborn”. That`s the literature №1 absolutely for all pregnant women regardless of how you plan to give birth.
So pregnancy gained momentum and my future childbirth began to take shape little by little…
After the example of the birth in Goa, there was no longer a choice of “hospital or home”, but the question “with the midwife or without” remained. At first I even didn`t know that there is variant of the conscious choice of individual birth or it is fashionable to say now – the “solo” birth. I just didn`t have such version in my head (к вопросу о рамках). I even didn`t know such term. And of course my brain didn`t admit first such opportunity as everything unknown, which means terrible and dangerous. Is it familiar? But asking questions we discussed before helps here too. And why not? WHO said that it`s impossible/bad/dangerous. What exactly is dangerous? Etc. Asking sincerely this question you understand that it`s not so terrible… But for the final decision-making in favor of solo birth the destiny gave me food for thought. It was demonstrative. I was lucky to be a witness of one more birth in Goa as a photographer and cameraman. Childbirth was held with a well-known midwife. And always having my own opinion on everything)) I didn`t approved, so to speak, many actions and decisions in the process of this birth. I wouldn`t like my childbirth went in the similar scenario. And the question disappeared by itself. If I want that everything went as I want)) – there must be no strangers at all.
I told my wishes to my beloved husband. And to my surprise it didn`t cause him fits of fear and panic. Our whole life consists of little impulses and processes that follow them if we don`t resist and go against the stream. And such approach always leads us exactly where we should be. And we`re always grateful for that! Our not yet born son chose birthplace, chose the way of arrival. We have heard them at time and worked together coherently. Letting yourself go, relaxing the brain, freeing it from unnecessary fears, we destroy plugging and obstacles and everything happens by itself in the best way. The most we can do is not to interfere. And think positively no matter how tritely it may sound. Our reality is a result of our “Not-interfering” and positive attitude (or lack of it).
The final conclusion №3: we create our reality.
I knew that my childbirth will be wonderful. I knew that it will be light, beautiful, without complications and difficulties.
That`s why I can`t talk for everybody and impose home solo birth on everybody. I don`t know what do you have in your heads. If you are full of fears then they will certainly find you. If you are afraid of pain it will overwhelm you, if you fear complications – then you`ll have to use doctor`s help. If you think that it will end with cesarean section – certainly it will! And so on. The fear forces you to scroll picture thousand times and the reality has nothing left but fulfill your “wishes”. So the only thing, you need tobe scared, is your own fears.
Even Kolya asked me once if I was afraid. No. Childbirth is a job. It`s wonderful and entirely tense female job within the bounds of possibilities, it is the culmination moment of love manifestation and a vehement desire to meet your baby as soon as possible. If a future mother thinks how to help your baby to enter this world fluently, quick and quietly and doesn`t think only about her future “suffering” then everything will go well. There is absolutely nothing to fear. But to my great regret I hear very often woman telling about the future or past childbirth how she was suffering/or is afraid of future torment. It`s sad, why doesn`t she think how scary and painfully feels her baby in that moment, she doesn`t think she can make every effort to alleviate it`s suffering – suffering of the small baby who doesn`t understand unlike his mother what is happening, for him birth is like a death. That must be the first thing to think for adult conscious expectant mother.
The last preparations
Pregnancy came to the end. We were completely ready, mentally and physically.
We have changed our habitat seven times and stayed in Brazil. We found an excellent city for living (Paraty), wonderful house that we made as our cozy lair.
Our beach in the morning before the birth (Jabaquara, Paraty).
We bought the pool for water birth, I made a burrow according to the three main Auden`s birth principles. Warm, quiet, dark. We did the final ultrasound to be sure that baby took the right cephalic presentation and everything is going well. We prepared herbs from Russia to do infusions for the birth and postnatal recovery. There was ice made from a decoction of oak bark in the freezer for the case of bleeding. We even bought special basket for placenta (we planned “lotus birth”). We were waiting. I confess, the last month of waiting was hard for me. I don`t like to wait at all. And that was some test of our patience: everything has its time to come.
May be it`s worth explaining some items from the last paragraph.
1.“Warm, quiet, dark”.
Three main criteria of natural childbirth according to Auden. Nothing must disturb woman in birth, nothing must distract her. On the one hand it seems obvious but none of these items are followed in the hospital. These important components are explained not only by the whims of expectant mothers. It has quiet scientific explanation: the birth process moves hormone oxytocin – the hormone of love and joy! It stimulates the contractile activity of the uterine muscle at the time of delivery and mammary glands during lactation. After the birth and in the next postnatal period the oxytocin is controlling the emotional relationship between mother and child. This hormone becomes active when the fetus is still in the womb. After the birth the oxytocin reduces the anxiety of the baby and his fear of come reality, elates him and develops attachment from mom to the baby. It directly effects the psycho-emotional sphere of the body causing positive attitude to life by men and women.
As it was said in one of the read books: try to make love in the light of the hospital lamps surrounded by medical staff. Will it work? For childbirth woman needs comfort and romantic calm atmosphere, probably music, candles, aroma, flowers etc. Then nothing will disturb the production of natural oxytocin and birth will go how it was planned by nature. In maternity homes in the process of intervention, inspections and bustle woman`s body produces adrenaline which is the antagonist of oxytocin, it slows down birth activity and production of beta-endorphins, natural opiates causing thus an unbearable pain.
In natural conditions when there is enough oxytocin and beta-endorphins pain is physiological and bearable (not to mention the cases of orgasmic birth). The whole hospital environment works by definition against woman. And it turns out that future woman gets into a vicious circle: actions of medical stuff and the whole hospital environment reduce priori oxytocin and endorphins causing pain and inhibiting the birth process. Doctors don`t like to wait and begin to stimulate slowing down childbirth with artificial oxytocin that finally reduces production of the natural hormone, misleads the brain who injected oxytocin strictly in the desired quantity, regulating the birth process the best way. Adrenaline suppress endorphins causing pain, doctors give analgesic.
Here are some consequences of medicinal interruption:
- Using opiates increases five times the risk of addiction in children born that way.
- Epidural anesthesia prevents production of prostaglandin, which contributes to the elasticity of the uterus, causing trauma. In this case the birth process significantly lengthens.
- Artificial oxytocin increases the risk of after birth bleeding.
- Contractions caused by any kind of artificial stimulation are not coordinated with the natural blood supply of the uterus, and the child is often subjected to prolonged hypoxia.
Also, stimulation leads to a huge number of injuries of both the mother and the child, because it forces the fetus to pass through unprepared birth canals. This leads to edema of the brain in the child, bruises, hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy!
And so on and so forth!
These are only the very tops. Thus, disrupting the natural course of childbirth with medical intervention, doctors have nothing left to do but to respond to the launched pathological process with even more medical intervention.
2. The pool.
Yes, I wanted to give birth in the water and have never once regretted my decision. The water always calmed me. And it is proven that water is the best pain reliever of all-natural. It doesn`t mean that you need to sit in the pool during all contructions, as you wish but at the stage of pushing it`s better to stay in the water because it makes child`s output smoother reducing the risk of injuries. Plus, it’s very clean: you do not need to cover the floor and bed with oilcloths so as not to get stained with blood and so on. Drain the water after the birth, and you don`t need to clean the house.
Yarrow, nettle, shepherd’s purse – postpartum tea (to reduce the risk of bleeding or reduction thereof), leaves of currant or raspberry to stimulate contractions. Prepare sea salt for disinfection of the pool water.
4. Basket for the placenta. «Lotus births». Umbilical cord clamping
We decided that we won`t take the placenta from the baby until the moment of natural drying of the umbilical cord. These are the so-called “lotus births”, just gaining popularity in Russia and quite an ancient practice in a number of countries. And here it`s necessary to say separately about the cutting of the umbilical cord.
Tamerlan with his faithful companion – placenta in the basket
The fact is that most of us think it’s quite natural that the umbilical cord is cut right away as soon as the baby leaves the womb. And it’s not surprising: in all films they show exactly that way, we know this from the words of women giving birth, our mothers, etc. And again, it is worth asking the question: “Why such a rush, what is” bad “in the umbilical cord, that it must be cut off so urgently?!” And you can`t answer this question!
Moreover, this shouldn`t be done in any case!! Anoxia (hypoxia) is a lack of oxygen in the body. Our nervous system is extremely sensitive to this kind of starvation. The baby in the mother`s womb breathes through the placenta, or rather, the mother breathes for him. At the time of birth, blood is sent from the placenta to the young lungs. It happens smoothly, so that the child doesn`t experience stress, so that all systems work properly. Air, filling the baby’s lungs for the first time, produces a burn effect. Therefore, nature, as the most caring mother, continues for the first time after birth to feed the baby with oxygen and through the umbilical cord, and gradually (!) through the lungs to reduce pain and prevent hypoxia of the brain. A child who has experienced shortage of air gets an irreparable brain injury. The baby should not experience a lack of oxygen for a moment! Early cord clamping is called one of the main causes of encephalopathy and the development of mental retardation.
“…To make this transition happen slowly, gently – or suddenly, in panic or fear, that the birth was the awakening from a pleasant dream … or a tragedy – it depends on us “ (François LeBoyer)
Moreover, to make the baby`s passing through the birth canal easier, most of the blood from his body is distilled into the placenta. The cord clamping immediately after childbirth deprives the child of up to 50% of the blood. The clamping for a minute – up to 30%. At the time of birth, up to 60% of the red blood cells are in the placenta, and will reach the baby within the next few minutes. Early cut-off of the umbilical cord is a huge blow to the health of the baby. It is necessary to wait for the “closure” of the umbilical cord, that is, when the blood vessels of the baby take all the blood from the placenta, and the umbilical vein closes, and the excess blood will flow back as a result of contraction of the uterus.
But we decided not to cut the umbilical cord at all and wait until nature herself decides on this matter. Lotus births are especially popular in Bali, where the placenta after the birth is treated in a special way for several days, until it gives, by belief, all the strength to the baby, becoming herewith a small dry lump, and falls off itself.
The “X” hour
So, everything was ready! Training contractions became increasingly frequent, pelvic bones ached more and more. Despite all my dreams to give birth earlier, fortieth week came to the end. All photo sessions were held, yoga classes ended because of discomfort in the pelvis two weeks before. I dreamed of a fast birth, believing that all the second births are faster (in theory). But the other atypical and as it turned out the perfect variant was waiting for me in the end. I noticed some periodicity in contractions on January 29, closer to evening, sitting in the sea. The sea relieved tension very well, and in the water I seemed to be a fairy, not an elephant. In the morning of that day there was also another symptom of the forthcoming births: I got up early (what is not usual for me at all) and after a short reading I began to work assiduously – it seemed to me that the brazen ants trampled the whole floor in the kitchen! As the scientist say – instinct of nesting is working)))
Later the birth pains became more frequent, but they were rather painless and not strong. We went to bed but no such luck. The clock on the phone showed a periodicity in 7 minutes. Stable. After waiting a little, we were so thrilled with excitement that it was no longer possible to sleep. The time was 11 pm. Kolya went down to puff and fill the pool, I did my hair and make up, Amely dragged diapers and other belongings into my “lair”.
I was thoroughly cleansed, a decent piece of slimy cork came off – everything was as instructed! So it took half the night. The interval was reduced to 6 minutes, but the contractions were quite bearable and, in general, almost without pain. Seeing how Amely was nodding, I sent her to sleep, promising that she won`t miss anything, and then I sent Kolya to the kingdom of Morpheus, because there was no use in him at this stage anyway. I walked a bit and went to bed. Something told me that I didn`t need to fall asleep, but I had no power – I really like to sleep.
And slept for an hour (somehow the contractions didn`t really bother me), waking up, I realized that my birth decided to wait. Dawn. There were nocontractions. None. I must say I was upset. Well, you see, the mood, make-up, the water in the pool is cooling down, the candles had to be extinguished. One thing was gladdening, that, probably, the births will be in the daytime – light, photos, well etc …
And since I “woke up at dawn” for the first time in my life and exactly the first time for 2 months of life in Brazil, I wanted to go to the beach to meet the sun and make photos. Kolya didn`t look cheerful, but he couldn`t refuse me of course – we went out to force contractions after all!
Dawn on the ocean in our “village” of Jabaquara..
Lonely yacht in the morning
Early “fisherman” in the boat
Photographing was perfect of course, and the sea was beautiful at dawn, and birds and sailboats … but the contractions seemed to have forgotten the way to me. I was a little worried and happy at the same time. I knew that this often happens. The birth activity begins and stops when it wants to. The body was preparing. But I didn`t know how long I should wait. And I was glad that I wasn`t in the hospital, for there it would definitely be considered as a “weak labor activity” and they would stimulate me!
Nevertheless, I felt that there was no way back: the uterus was constantly aching like during the menstruation. Ok, we were waiting again.
The water in the pool was cold. The mood was worse than ever. But at night, when I went to bed, I was sure that I`ll sleep that night. And that made me happy! I really wanted to give birth in the afternoon refreshed. And only at dawn I began to understand through a dream that the periodicity of the labor pains reminded me again of itself. I tried to sleep as much I could but the pain was clearly stronger. There was no clear interval, I didn`t time it, considering the bad experience last night. There is no reason to get upset for nothing. At some point it had been problematic to sleep. I went downstairs, walked around, ate. Then Kolya came down searching for me. And we went back to “walk” the birth pains according to the fulfilled scheme.
I wasn`t at walk as cheerful as on the walk day before. We had passed so to the end of our beach and back, entertaining the public with such obvious contractions. Then we decided to take Amely out of the house and go swimming. But Amely refused for some reason. We dressed bathing suits, took a couple of apples – our “bag for maternity hospital,” and began to “bath up” contractions. And here I want to draw attention to the total “lack of seriousness” of the crazy characters, who we are talking about here. We had been preparing carefully for childbirth for two months, that for a couple of hours before the X-hour (as it turned out later), we, having left the house for 2 kilometers, took with us only 3 apples and even laughed, saying, well, we`ll give birth on the beach, wrap the baby in a T-shirt, and placenta in a bag from the apples. Looking ahead I`ll say that it took 30 minutes from the moment of returning home before the baby appeared – we had all the chances to use the bag from the apples.
Oh, of course, now it’s nice to savor this moment, and probably most readers will agree with me that we are quite not “healthy”. But, I vote for “lack of seriousness”! To take life seriously is to stop being children, to become stale and satiated, lose interest in life, lose spontaneity and ease, flexibility in movement and joy in perception. Be unserious – it is funny at least!
We reached the end of the beach for the second time (well, someone came and somebody crawled), thereby breaking all my “pregnant” records of walking – we have never walked so much for 2 months of life at this beach, so why not do it in childbirth, for 2 hours, for an hour, half an hour before the birth of a baby! We sat in the water, Kolya was not so calm as I was, and he began to detect the interval on his internal clock. And he was right. When the internal clock began to show 4-5 minutes between the labor pains, we decided return home not in a hurry. I climbed up the board, and Kolya slowly towed me back. The rest of the way to the house I went as if the head had already appeared. Nevertheless, this whole playful atmosphere and a lot of distracting factors made quite a long period of my contractions completely inconspicuous. I didn`t suffer from pain at all until the last minutes of births. I mean, certainly, the contractions were painful. But, when I could walk kilometers, swim, talk, have fun, talk with neighbors and sympathizers, I guess I didn`t suffer much.
My advice: do not lie in labor, be as active as possible and “vertical” – this is the best stimulation.
All vertical poses in childbirth are highly effective and physiological. Lying posture, still widespread and adopted as the main one in our maternity hospitals – is convenient only for doctors. The body, if not under compulsion, will never take such a pose at the moment of the appearance of the baby.
When I came home, I went to the shower and washed off the salt. And there, my water broke. Eureka! Probably, only at this moment I believed that I was giving birth! Kolya began to fill the pool with hot water, which was previously half emptied. I corrected my makeup and hair on overworked scenario. I put on my underwear and wrote to my sister that I probably give birth (I promised before that I don`t distract her unless I am sure of it exactly), and began to put on a skirt, believing that the birth will may be last some longer time, and it will be necessary to be elegant. But, by this time, the cervical dilatation reached, judging by the pain, to climax 8-10 cm, and the skirt was left undressed, being stuck somewhere in the middle of the way.
Here all the breathing techniques worked out beforehand failed – I just couldn`t breathe, and so I couldn`t immediately tell Kolya that the skirt needed to be taken off from me now. All in all, somehow coping with this overwhelming task, not without the help of my darling husband, I got into the pool.
Actually, technical description of my story can be considered with this as completed. Another 5-6 contractions with a terribly strong pain (no, here it is difficult to call it physiological and bearable, and I was far away unfortunately from orgasmic births). But! That was about 10-15 minutes of suffering. And even then, the mind is becoming sluggish, eyes are rolling up, in general, consciousness is lost. And thanks to it for that. Sufferings were completed by the fact that the camera of course (!) refused to work at that moment, it happened to it before, but very rarely by the time of birth (problem in contacts). Amely says Kolya about this, Kolya asks to wait for her and turns around to cheer me up in the next contraction, and I shout in response with an animal roar: “No, go and repair the camera!”, realizing that we have literally just a couple of minutes. With some kind of higher forces and a grater for heels, the camera was fixed. Amen.
By the way, I spent the first birth in silence, full silence(considering my “male” nature, extreme lifestyle, recent single ascent to Elbrus, I couldn`t afford me to show weakness and show that it hurts me – another misconception of youth). At Zlata`s courses in Goa, we learned to “sing” the labor pains because the relaxed throat helps to relax the pelvis. It was uncomfortable to sing the sound of “A”, it was much more convenient to sing “U”and “E”. But, when in the births I was suddenly getting overwhelmed, I couldn`t remember those letters, and the only thing that managed my memory was to reproduce the first letter of the alphabet. And I really tried very hard, singing it, as it seemed to me .. But when I asked Kolya and Amelka how they liked my singing, they looked at each other puzzled and embarrassedly squeezed out of themselves: “Ah, that`s what it was” )))
And… exactly 4 pushes. Unlike the first birth, I clearly understood in what moment I “matured”, and when the head entered the birth canal. The first push is promotion, I don`t push the muscles of the press, I breathe oftentimes not to stimulate or push – let the uterus do its work in only her known tempo. Second – the head appeared. I no longer feel pain at all, the sufferings are over. The adrenaline action was beginning, which appears precisely on the tense period. My thoughts were clear and definite, I was feeling everything, I was understanding everything. Kolya asked me to touch the head, but I was already feeling that she appeared, and the pose – sitting on the knees apart, leaning back in her arms, didn`t allow me to raise my hand and touch the baby. I continued to breathe in order to avoid pushing in any case to not create unnecessary pressure and not to tear. A long pause, and here on the third push came the little face. I was feeling the little boy stirring his shoulders inside me (an absolutely unforgettable feeling), he turned his head – neither me nor Kolya did anything for this. And on the fourth push the baby came out completely.
I gave Amely`s birth also in few pushes, but I didn`t feel then anything from this. I was executing the doctors’ commands to “push” as a pioneer and pushed the child through with my iron press in two counts. It`s not good. Long before the second birth I`d asked myself “Do I need to push in addition if the uterus pushes itself?” I didn`t find information on the Internet and our dear and beloved midwife Zlata – our consultant in Goa – said that at the time when the head appears, you don`t need to push. But I didn`t do this from the first moment of labor appearance. The result was the absence of bruises and hematomas by the baby, and the absence of fissures, breaks and hemorrhoids by the mother. At all! I wasn`t tired, I wasn`t devastated. The work of mom and baby was over.
Our son slipped into the water, then Kolya and I have a failure in our memory – we don`t remember who held the baby, but when it was in my arms, the baby was groaning slightly, then screamed a couple of times and got quietly on my knees.
Concluding the technical description of the birth, I add that I gave birth of placenta after 2 hours. It was my mistake as a midwife for myself. The fact is that right after the birth it is necessary to pee so that the bladder doesn`t block the exit of the placenta, I forgot about this on occasion, and “remembered” it only when Kolya began to google what to do if the placenta doesn`t go out on its own. But after carrying out the forgotten procedures, the placenta was born a couple of minutes later. There was no bleeding, and in general there was not enough blood. In the day of childbirth and after. I calmly got dressed, put myself in order and already 3 hours after the birth of the baby I was ready to make a photo session which I actually did to the surprise of Kolya and Amely.
When I`m asked how long my second childbirth lasted, I can`t answer for sure: if you count from the beginning of the first contractions, then 45 hours. If you count from the beginning of the second period of labors, then 9-10 hours. But for me personally my births began from the moment when the waters broke in the shower after returning home – and lasted 20 minutes – this is the time when I couldn`t think of anything, couldn`t do anything else, and was completely engrossed in the birth process. And now I understand that it was very mild and smooth process, that during all these 45 hours I had actually the same way of life as always, I could eat, sleep, walk, watch and discuss films, etc., but the cervical dilatation went on little by little, the cervix flattened, “without asking” and “not straining” me, and I was “involved” in the process only in the final. My wildest dreams didn`t come true, because everything was much better than I even could expect.
With this I finish my technical report. I can only say that after such births the body, in my opinion, doesn`t need recovery at all: for several days only hip bones and back muscles were felt, but the uterus contracted quickly, the abdomen(though not in cubes yet) decreased completely after a week, on the sixth day I began to visit yoga classes, and after the postnatal swaddling of a woman (information is on the Internet) conducted carefully and painstakingly by my husband, I was completely, mentally and physically fit as a fiddle.
Moral and emotional report
And now it’s not about pools, cervical dilatation and contractions, but about the atmosphere, love and care.
Until now, in my 30 years, I have never received some kind of positive response from a friends to the question “Well, and how did the birth go?”. Most often this was “Don`t ask me better”, “Don`t remind me”, “I won`t give birth to more children”. Friends, for me it was one of the most wonderful and exciting experiences in my entire life! No negative emotions. In addition to epithets, meaning the chest bursting in delightful emotions overwhelming you, there are no other words. And, if on the traditional question of nurses in maternity homes, usually spoken with an obvious mockery, “Well, what about the second?”, I looked at them as they are insane, they say, who will think about the second child until all these tortures will be forgotten, then by the evening of the day of water births for the first time in my life I thought that maybe we should not confine ourselves to two children, you can give and give birth in THIS way …
It was just our day. The peak point of our love, an event that rallied us even more: Amely, me, Kolya.
Together we passed this unforgettable path
The same emotions and together lived experience make us real family when you don`t need to get with a microscope into the soul of a loved one, to understand and find something in common – but when you created this something in common, and you know by every fiber what was experienced by your native person, because you went through the same thing. And the more is such experience in your life together, the more often you can just stay silent, sitting side by side, with a happy smile on your face, keep silent about the most important thing, since words are no longer needed for you.
- What the most fashionable hospital can be compared with your nest, which you created with all the family to accept the most important guest in it? Your own cozy corner with romantic lighting, soft bed, specially selected relaxing odors.
- What the most professional hands in gloves can be compared with the warm hands of your dear husband, gently protecting you, supporting, caressing, accepting your baby, bathing him just after birth for the first time in his life in herbal infusion carefully made by the same hands?
- What trained nurses can be compared with your daughter, who holds with her slim hands the one and a half kilo camera, heavy even for the hands of adults, while she carefully gives you water or tea in breaks?
- What emotions of strangers can be compared with the tears of daughter at the time of baby’s head appearance and the tears of your husband mixed with almost perceptible pride for me and the admiration of the moment?
- What exactly on earth can be compared with those indescribable emotions when you are holding your newborn son in your arms calmly and slowly, gently touching his skin, feeling how smoothly the air is filling his lungs, how calmly he enters this world without fear and pain, how his cosmic eyes are opening for the first time …
First moments together
You are drowning in these eyes, drowning in love, so tightly condensed in your and only your space, in only your small and at the same time such huge world. Then you gently bathe the baby, giving him the opportunity to relax and to get used to your hands. Then the first breastfeeding, again and again the whole living energy is flowing between you. No one hurries you, no one touches and carry you, there are no sounds, no fuss. You enjoy this moment exactly as much as you require. You don`t owe anything to anyone. You are free in your space, you are free to love and show your feelings, without looking back at anyone! These are unique, unrepeatable and strongest moments in your life. And we all have the right to choose a place and those who share these moments with us.
I can long and tenderly describe every hour that followed birth until today, but I will end with the first family dinner in the new compound and the first dream in my bed. The baby is quietly snuffing nearby, and you are sitting at the table eating not state-owned food, but a lovingly prepared dinner, a muffled cozy light, odors, you speak quietly, still being in the power of the magic that has fallen on your family, you are calm, relaxed, happy. You are not alone, you are all together. So was the first night – everything is close, no one wants to break this thread. Inhale-exhale, inhale-exhale. Long live Life!
I`m grateful to my daughter for her calmness, incredible steadfastness, invaluable help, the demonstrated talent of the photographer and videographer at such a tense moment. I couldn`t even dream of a more professional “doula”. Thank you, my love!
I`m grateful to my Kolya for every second spent together in general and in particular in days of pregnancy and childbirth. And I can`t describe in letters all the priceless that you gave me, what you surrounded me with, how you helped me. I try to pick up words of gratitude, but I can only cry) Thank you, my Love!
I`m grateful to the whole Universe and to her little part – to my son Tamerlan for choosing us and gifting us such indescribable happiness in which you can suffocate, drown, how tangible and all-embracing it is!
Thank you, my Love!