After that was done and dusted, I returned to doulaing, the yoga course I was doing at the moment, all was well. I returned to my personal practice at the time, asking Life, Ma, the mother to show me the meaning of surrender because I want to be in flow with the flow of the universe not against it. Going wherever the wind of life blows and not constantly in a battle or fight with it. Ahhh She must have been laughing at me and saying, Really? Ok, here you go!
Then my period is a few days late...and I'm like, "it's ok, just a few days". Then days turn to a week (note, my periods are always on point and very rarely late), a week turns to 2 and then panic hits. Holy shit!!!! What if? Oooh no, it can't be. I took the freaking pill! It can't be. On one hand, I'm still praying, Life/God/Ma please show me the meaning of surrender.....and on the other, "oh i hope i'm not f*#°ing pregnant. No...I can't be! I just can't be. 3 weeks later, I'm balling my eyes out.....why? Why? WHY? Oooh noo it can't be.
So I swallowed the gulp in my throat, sent this image below to hubby and just felt empty. Not angry but just empty and defeated. It all came rushing to me, I'm not ready for another baby, I'm on a three year yoga course and I have a year remaining. Now I'm not gonna finish!!!!, I haven't even healed completely from my first birth and now this?, what am I going to do? We don't have enough money for another baby? what am I going to do? Why me?.....aaaaaand, well you can imagine the rest.
That night the tears rushed in and it was by the bucket load. Talked to hubby....how I really did NOT feel ready as I was still healing from my first birth. And he said, "well, you could have waited for a long time to heal or you can do it now and fast because, baby is coming whether we like it or not".
You know sometimes, that's all you need to hear. He was just amazing! (More on that later). So, more tears and again and why me? Why me? And then....hold on a minute, all this time I've been praying to know the meaning of what it means to totally surrender and flow with life and now I've been thrown the curve ball, I'm doing everything but surrender. i.e, I'm basically moaning. Then light bulb moment, ahhhh I'm so sorry my Lord, my mother. I see. No more tears, ok let's go. (actually there were more tears later on but none for now at least. I've never cried so much in my life as much as I did for the nine months I was pregnant with Uma). More on the tears later. Now I was on a mission to clear the path for this new arrival.
The first thing that came to my mind and something I've always wanted to do was my birth afterthought and find out what really happened at Luna's birth.
What is birth afterthoughts you ask? Well, after you've given birth to your babe, you can call the hospital and retrieve the documents they keep in their records and go through the whole thing to see what happened. This is a free service provided by the NHS and it's really great. So I called this number for Southampton'ers: 02381206834. The link and some information on birth afterthoughts is here.
So we arranged a date and a midwife came to my house, with all my records and pregnancy notes from 3 and half years ago. She went through everything with me. It's so detailed and after the meeting, you get to keep the file. Let me park this here for a bit and give you a background of how I felt for my first birth and then comeback and tell you what the birth afterthoughts actually recorded.
My first daughter was born in a hospital. Had planned for it to be a birth centre (as I was a healthy first time mother and "low risk") but when waters broke, there was meconium. I went to the hospital as a result and hind waters were broken to get "things going", syntocinon given, epidural administered, lying on my back for 2 days, narrowly escaping Caesarean section, daughter born by ventouse, after an episiotomy. Then postpartum haemorrhage. End of birth.
Just another woman on the conveyor belts of birth. My Luna was healthy, everyone was happy.... and I was wounded. I felt that my moment to shine was yanked away from me, I felt disempowered, handled like a piece of meat and sad but kept a happy face for the world because my baby was fine....why on earth do I want to be selfish and not appreciate that?.
I remember at some point, legs wide open, my midwife in the room and having about 7 men in white coats barge into the room without permission, telling me what I should and should not be doing with my vagina after shoving their hands inside me. Next thing I know, I was being told I needed to be wheeled off for a C-section because I've been in labour for far too long! and only at 9cm. There was no element of me feeling like I had a choice whatsoever. I remember rising in anger and saying, give me another hour and if I'm not at 10cm by then you can proceed. And in that hour, I prayed and willed my body to please open and that was how I escaped having an abdominal surgery. This took all the strength that I could muster as I was having to stand up for myself. Had we had a doula, she would have advocated for us when we just froze with no idea of what was happening. My husband to the left of me, sat on a chair feeling helpless and not knowing what to do.
So underneath it all, there was a scar and I felt raped and striped of my power as a woman. I thought I was a strong woman and for some reason, here I was legs up in the air and having people telling me what to do with my body. I was under the impression that this was a sacred thing I was doing, but it seems I was the only one with that notion. So I shoved it all to the side and carried on like any "normal" woman would right? Right, except it just ate away at my insides, month after month, year after year. But at the same time, something, beyond any words I can say right now, was awakened. I was unprepared and naive and put my trust outside of myself into the hands of other people who didn't really care about my wellbeing. All that was important was baby and wether I was scarred or not, was quite frankly irrelevant. But now the fire in me knew, if I do this again....It WILL be different. So now, my precious little 3 yr old reminds of all that I DO NOT want to be as a woman,
She reminds me to make my voice heard, not to stand down and follow blindly what others want me to do. She reminds me everyday (well, some days more than others, haa haa) to stay "awake mom!", because the moment you lose trust in yourself, you will be swept away. She is a wild force to be reckoned with in herself and I love and learn from her everyday. My baby, my girl, my goddess.
Now I know for some people, having a baby this way is ok and that's fine as I have supported women in different birthing scenarios. But for me, I wanted to have the opportunity to trust my body totally and marvel at it's awesomeness because well, I knew it was awesome. I wanted to feel the intense power of birth. I needed to birth my baby like our ancestors did and like how millions of women do. For me, personally, this was extremely important
So back to the birth afterthoughts, I saw VERY clearly where the whole event started to go downhill. I realized, I was an over-enthusiastic first timer. I rushed to the birth centre too quickly, I was asking for vaginal examinations all the freaking time. No wonder, I never dilated past 2cm for 3 days and then had to be put on the drip. If you think about it, you're about to have a poo and someone is looking at you and shoving their hands up your ass saying...ahh it's not coming yet, well, that poo ain't gonna come out. Maybe it works for some, but for me, it definitely wasn't working! My body shut down and no matter how hard I thought I tried, my environment was just not right for the kind of birth I wanted.
Anyway, the midwife from the birth afterthougths also mentioned that I will need to go to the hospital for this birth as I had postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and I said, "well we'll see because the reason for PPH could be many things. First, cord traction (ie pulling on the my cord) was performed when my placenta was not ready to detach, I was given an episiotomy so how can one differentiate between blood from the traction and the episiotomy from blood that came from actual haemorrhage? Maybe the haemorrhage started in the first place because someone pulled on my cord? and nobody bothered to write that down on my notes". And she said something along the lines of..."well I know what you mean and I am sorry but "they" will advice that you have baby on the labour word just for safety. I'm sure your midwife will have a consultant talk to you." At this point, I didn't want the conversation to go on any further so I simply said, "we'll see" and bid her goodbye.
I remember feeling VERY emotional and rather pissed after this meeting, I met myself again and it was not pretty. It dawned on me how naive and rather *fluffy* I went into this first birth. I thought I did all the reading and was prepared but it clearly showed me that I wasn't. I put my trust and my body into the hands of people that not necessarily had my best interest at heart. As long as baby was fine...that should be enough for me. I needed to just sit down in the corner and be happy dammit! Except I wasn't and it hurt to know that I just wasn't well informed. And also what the f*3@! did she mean by "they" will not allow me? Who the hell are "they"? Who has the right to tell me how my baby will be delivered apart from me? Who's vagina is this baby coming out of? Isn't it supposed to be my vagina, my birth? Was I wrong in thinking this?
Anyway, the fire was on! I was in the arena again. Oh but this time, it's going to be different. Bring on the books and blogs, I'm ready!
Next week: which book I read first (it was priceless btw), which group I joined on Facebook, meeting the midwife and stating my wishes, did I hire a doula? How I start calling on a fierce gang of feminine energy to hold my hand and journey with me. FYI it involves acrylic and yantras! ;-)
Till next time,