Renee and James Chose a Holistic Approach to Pregnancy & Birth
Before I fell pregnant, I was in the process of changing my diet. I had started by eliminating dairy then gluten and was feeling pretty good. I was generally eating pretty healthy, but would have a cheat day here and there. When I fell pregnant, I realised I wasn’t just eating for me anymore, I was eating for the fast growing baby inside of me. Everything that I ate would help my baby grow. I was ultimately responsible for my babies health.
I then decided the only way to produce a healthy baby I would need to eat only natural foods. That meant eliminating all the chemicals, additives and preservatives in my diet. It is so much easier than you think! Fresh fruits and veges, grass fed meat, and nothing that contained ‘numbers.’ Although packaged foods have usually been processed to some degree, it is my belief that as long as all the ingredients that went into it were pure and whole, it was ok to me.
I’m a firm believer in ‘food is medicine and medicine is food’. So when looking into the details of pregnancy, I found that it was extremely medicalised. Scans, tests, and endless amounts of pregnancy medication and vitamins. I decided to do things a bit different to the norm. Throughout my pregnancy I had only 2 scans, 1 to determine the pregnancy (8wks) and 1 to check the progress and development (20wks). I didn’t take any medication or vitamin supplements as I would be getting all my nutrition from the healthy food I was eating. I did however have about 3 blood tests on my request, to check and all my iron, folate etc. were at a healthy levels (which they were).
Being in control of my pregnancy was an empowering feeling. Why should I have to listen and follow the instructions of a doctor who is only interested in textbook pregnancies?
Every pregnancy is different and needs individual care. I found a personal midwife to keep me on track and a HypnoBirthing instructor to prepare me for labour. Both were amazing in their fields and helped me tremendously. Both helped me believe I was truly in control of my pregnancy and made me feel ready to take on whatever labour had to throw at me.
The Birth of Leonardo Phoenix
On Monday 17/08/2015, at 7:30am in the morning, I woke to a strange sensation. Had I just pee’d myself? I held onto my muscles tight and still felt a wet sensation flowing. That must be my waters! I jumped up quickly to sort myself out, and a sudden gush all over the carpet clarified it definitely was my waters breaking. HOW EXCITING! Off I went to the bathroom to clean up, while deciding how to wake James and tell him the best news! Back in the bedroom, and a quick kiss on the cheek to wake James, I stepped back with
the biggest grin on my face. My waters just broke, I told him. Suddenly awake and very excited too, we cuddled in bed savouring the moment before a big day.
2 hours later at 9:30am, my surges had started. Nice and easy ones at first and gradually building. Time to call my best friend Sarah so she can plan her day to get down here. She was working until 3:30pm, but I knew it was plenty of time. Time to call my midwife Melinda, with everything looking normal and steady we decided to wait until I felt like it was time for her to arrive. Time seemed irrelevant at this point. My surges were building, but breathing through them seemed easy enough. I was down on all fours at about 2pm, still breathing (and groaning) through the surges. James decided it was time for Melinda to arrive. We were in the bedroom when she arrived and it was time to see how I was travelling. 5cm dilated, ok, time to go! While James packed the car with our hospital bag, baby bag, music, food and placenta container (more on that later), nausea flowed through me. Luckily nothing came up, time to go!
The car trip was horrible. Not feeling very relaxed or comfortable made the trip feel twice as long, but we got there in the end. I was asked if we should park the car or go straight to the emergency entrance. Silly question really. We arrived at the emergency entrance at 3:30pm. My surges had intensified and so Melinda had to wheel me up to the birthing suites in a wheel chair while James parked the car. Finally, we are here, I can relax. James arrived shortly after and ran the shower for me. I stripped off all my clothes not caring too much at this point and sat on a chair under the warm water. This isn’t as pleasant as I hoped. I was shaking through my surges and everything felt wrong. James suggested we try the bath. Melinda ran the bath for me and I was in it in no time. Much better. The water was warm, the electric candles were ‘burning’, salt lamps on and my meditation music was the final touch. This is perfect. Leaning on the side of the bath, breathing through the ever growing intense surges, only one thing would make this easier. Time for James to join me.
The mood in the room was growing stronger. I was leaning back on James’ chest, my feet pressed up on the other side of the bath and holding both of his hands (squeezing them through surges). Things were moving along quite quickly, though I still didn’t have a concept of time. I had believed that practicing hypnobirthing would eliminate the ‘pain’ of labour. But to be completely honest, I still felt the intensity of every contraction. What HypnoBirthing did teach me though was to enjoy it. And I did. Although I didn’t voice it, at times of weakness, the thought of painkillers did sound very appealing. But I quickly reminded myself that I am a woman and my body is designed to do this. So I released my mind and let my body take over. That is the best painkiller anyone can prescribe. Second best was to have James behind me speaking words of encouragement into my ear. What a beautiful memory to have.
After a train and many bus trips, Sarah arrived just before 6pm and straight away I told her I didn’t want it filmed as I had planned. Photos would be enough and I just wanted her to support and be with me. Each surge powered through me but as mentioned before, I had to let my body do what it was meant for. I kept breathing through each surge and relaxing in between, almost going into a trance. However what I didn’t realise was that I was probably 10cm dilated already and could have been pushing. I realised this when at the end of each surge the overwhelming sensation to push washed through me. This is it!
Almost time to meet our baby!
Almost right at that moment of realisation, James spoke up and mentioned he needed to use the bathroom! I guess we had been in the bath for hours now which was understandable. But now I have to move! It was the last thing I felt like doing. It had to be done though. Up I got and James went to the loo. However when he got back there was no way I was moving again. James returned into the bath but only sat on the step to the side and held my hand. Sarah was on my other side holding the other hand and it was time to push. What a perfect environment I was in. My 2 best friends were with me as I pushed my baby into the world.
Pushing was an exhausting task. I don’t know what I thought it was going to be like before but it was hard work. Never in all my gym days had I worked my muscles so hard. A pattern was developing. With each surge, it felt like all the energy within me was growing stronger and stronger, giving me the strength I needed to push out my baby. I felt my body begin to shake as the energy erupted like a volcano. After the shakiness, came the pushing. However, bub decided to play peek-a-boo and at the end of the surge bub slipped
back in. I was happy to wait though for I knew I would be meeting my baby soon and my body knew what needed to be done.
Melinda held up the mirror under the water for me to see the head of my baby entering the world. With both Sarah and James beside me, and positive talk of seeing bubs head buzzing around, I knew it was nearly time. The time between my surges had slowed down by this point allowing my body to recover and build up enough energy for the next surge. Bub played peek-a-boo for about 5 surges. This is when the HypnoBirthing teachings helped the most. I was so relaxed in between surges that I almost fell asleep! But with all my
might, I pushed so very hard on the second last surge and POP! Out came the head but the surge was over. This was it, now that the head was out I knew that I only had one more push to go! I waited and waited and waited. That last break seemed to go on forever. But finally at 6:52pm I pushed my baby into the world.
James was ready, he lifted our baby out of the water and onto my chest, pronouncing he was a boy. We had a son! (I knew it!) What an amazing feeling that followed. Nobody was joking when they said that you forget everything as soon as you are holding your baby. He was absolutely perfect, making perfect little cute noises and just being perfect! After about 5 minutes, Melinda suggested I try to feed him.
We had decided to do ‘delayed cord clamping,’ so while he was attached to the placenta still inside me, I fed my baby. Another amazing feeling and experience. 20 minutes after birth, we felt the umbilical cord and it had stopped pulsating. Time to detach. James was given the task of cutting the cord, which also meant he could hold his son for the first time.
Sarah and James were sitting down admiring and loving this new little soul, however I still had one more task to finish. Birthing the placenta. This was the last thing I wanted to do,but it had to be done. I was still in the bath and trying to push the placenta out but nothing was happening. Melinda suggested I stand up and let gravity help. So very awkwardly I stood and pushed the slippery placenta out and Melinda skilfully caught it in a container. I had done it! This unknown experience of labour had been completed. I now
felt like a woman and a warrior! What an amazing experience!
The next couple of hours were consumed with phone calls, more feeding, checking bub was healthy, weighing him, filling out paperwork and staring lovingly at this magical being. At around 11pm we were reading to go home. We said our farewells and thanked Melinda and headed for the car. Now for my favourite part. In all the excitement and rush when arriving to the hospital, James couldn’t remember where he had parked the car. So Sarah and I waited, and waited, and waited while James ran around the 8 story car park at 11pm
at night trying to find the car. After 15 minutes our driver had arrived. We left the hospital and made our way home, ready to start our new life with the biggest smiles on our faces.
*** Proud moments***
- Not calling Melinda too early and understanding my body
- The birthing environment (warm bath, salt lamps, candles, dim lighting, meditation music, loving supporting husband, life-long best friend, and a humble familiar midwife)
- No medical interventions, no medical painkillers, being in control, allowing my body to perform the task it had prepared 9 months to do
- Birthing a beautiful HEALTHY baby boy after going through a completely natural pregnancy, no artificial multi vitamins, no pharmaceutical medication, 100% natural remedies and natural diet
- Encapsulating my placenta for hormone balancing after birth
- Using the hospital as only a venue for birthing, and returning home after 4 hours
- Staying true to my own beliefs
Renee & James did HypnoBirthing Classes with Kate Martyn. Click here to Read James’s story
Kate Martyn is one of our wonderful HypnoBirthing® Gold Seal Practitioners from Gold Coast, QLD.
Kate is also an experienced Midwife.