Birthing Through The Loophole
Less than 1% of Australian women give birth naturally, without drugs or any medical intervention. The number crunchers amongst you know that-that-there-number is too low to be statistically valid.
Sound shocking? Bizarre? Unbelievable?
Smugly, a couple years ago, I gave birth to a baby girl, without drugs or any intervention and you know… out of my vagina.
So how did I do it?
I discovered the Write-Visualise-Sweat 3 Stage Loophole not commonly revealed to pregnant women.
Firstly, let me throw in some disclaimers. Of course, medical intervention is necessary in some cases and we live in a country where it’s a privilege to be able to access emergency services.
Secondly, let me assure you my pain threshold 2.5 years ago was no higher than yours, my willpower was no more superhuman than yours, and my vagina was no more stretchy than yours.
The idea of a natural labour terrified me. But I knew that it was the right thing for my baby and the right thing for me, so I made plans as if it were the only way the day was going to roll.
But, like the way I do most things, it was a little bit half-arsed…
I started drinking my cups of raspberry leaf tea… but 4 weeks later than I was supposed to.
Trigger Warning: Do not click on the Epi-No link if you get squeamish! It really is a bonafide vage-stretcher!
Stage 1 of accessing the loophole, was to Write a birth plan. After reading Rhea Dempsey’s book Birth With Confidence, I had some idea what to write. I asked (insisted) my support crew of my husband and mother-in-law read Birth With Confidence, and everyone had copies of my birth plan.
The plan outlined my desire to have a Working With Pain Active Birth.
To be clear, this was not from a desire to prove myself, to be heroic, or even actually, to fully step up and into the rite of passage that I had anticipated my whole life.
No, nothing as courageous as that.
My approach was formulated after years of dusty research into hospital interventions and their side-effects. Plus, a terrible experience where my colleague’s mother was permanently paralysed by an epidural.
She will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
My birth team knew that under no circumstances, would there be an epidural.
And my birth team knew that under no circumstances would I be taken to hospital, unless it was a grave, medical emergency. Because you know, that’s what hospitals are for.
Now for Visualise Stage 2 of accessing the loophole – putting in the time talking, writing and visualising my ideal birth.
I visualised a 5 hour labour.
I visualised no tearing.
I visualised no interventions, no hospital visit, no dramas.
I visualised being a dream client and not putting any pressure on my support team, because you know, women have birthed like this since the dawn of time. I’ve got this.
I visualised a calm birth where I breathed through my pain and kept my cool.
Hmmmm… One out of five ain’t bad.
Things did not go according to plan.
The details of the journey were not to plan.
But you know what? The outcome was exactly on plan.
Let me explain…
My labour started at 11.30pm, the night before my due date.
By midnight, I was quietly smug that I had this. I was bouncing on my fitball, confident that I could manage my contractions that were coming somewhere between 11 and 22 minutes apart.
“How bad can this be?” thought Smug Me.
Fast forward 8 hours and I was terrified of leaving the house and travelling to my midwive’s rooms by taxi.
What if my waters broke in the taxi?
What if we were stuck in traffic?
What if I had my baby in the back of a taxi?
I told my husband to ring The Midwives and tell them I Couldn’t Do It, that they had to Come To Me.
This was Sweat Stage 3 of accessing the loophole, and just as critical as the first two. Could he do it?
He wavered. He knew this was not on The Birth Plan. But which wrathful path should he choose?
The wrath of the wife who had written the birth plan?
The wrath of the labouring woman bearing his firstborn?
As husbands the world over know, either way was going to get him into trouble.
Then my mother-in-law stepped in. Let’s call her Jenny. Because you know, that’s her name.
Jenny said, “Let’s stick to the plan. Let’s organise the taxi, start the process, see where we land.”
I looked at her, the woman who had breathed with me through every one of my contractions through the night, and quietly hated her.
I got in the cab.
Fast forward another 8 hours and my birth team were really sweating hard on Stage 3 – holding me to my birth plan.
Because when I hit Transition and the rubber REALLY hit the road and my hormones were shouting;
“Do you really want this? Are you really ready to let go of your old life? Do you really think you can do it?”
Well, I didn’t really want it, I wasn’t really ready to let go of my old life and I didn’t really think I could do it.
At that moment, all I really wanted to do was die, or be taken to hospital to have a c-section.
And preferably die on the table while having a c-section… because this was the dark place my mind took me during Transition.
Turns out, I had recruited a Transition-Proof Birth Team.
The brave souls of my mother-in-law, husband and independent midwife kept me accountable to my birth plan.
They wouldn’t grant me my deathwish, but instead, supported me to deliver my dream.
And at the time, I hated them for it.
And until my dying day, I will always love, respect and be indebted to them for it.
Because by having my birth plan respected and upheld, I became one of the lucky ones.
I got through the loophole.
I got the birth and the healthy baby I wanted.
And I got to assume my dual birthright as a Birthing Goddess and the Empress of My Own Body.
I need to hear more stories about strong women leading beauty-filled and spiritual lives, and so I created Empress Crow and Rabbit. It’s a forum to showcase the inspirational stories of women in uniquely feminine careers. It's also a bridge between what we think we know and what we feel is right. Thank you for joining me – let’s all learn, grow and celebrate the feminine together.
Photo credit: Lucy Spartalis