Birth Story: Meet baby Art

I’d like to thank you for the wonderful advice and encouragement we received during the Active Birth Yoga classes I attended and Active Birth Workshop I attended with my husband in June 2017. 

My husband enjoyed the workshop as it gave him clarity on what to expect and the knowledge and confidence to support me during the birth we both wanted. Your classes and workshop helped me embrace the power of my body, eliminate all anxiety and filled me with confidence and encouragement that helped make my natural labour a truly positive experience. 

I couldn’t attend any other antenatal classes, so I relied on the information I received in your classes, from my midwife and from the book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. I researched enough to have an "ideal birth intention" written down in bullet points on a page (not a "plan" as nothing ever goes to plan!). And, because my birth centre was 30 mins by ambulance to the nearest hospital, we also had an idea of what we would want if I needed to be transferred or required any medical intervention. 

Having such confidence in my ability meant I was calm and prepared when it all kicked off at 2.00 am on a Sunday morning. 

I used the knowledge and practices from our Active Birth classes to keep moving position at least every 45 mins and to breathe through each contraction. At home I rolled on a yoga ball, showered, walked and swayed around the room, and tried several crouching and floor positions while hubby had a quick nap and got the car ready. My "ahhhhhhh" and "ummmm"-ing helped a lot and my contractions were coming hard and fast by the time we left the house at dawn.

During the 45-minute drive to the birthing centre I was bent over like a moaning cow in the back seat as Hubby calmly navigated the winding country roads. Upon arrival, I was 5cm dilated and able to jump straight into the birthing pool. So, I spent much of the next few hours in the bath, occasionally sucking on the gas and air and trying to relax when I could. Hubby kept me rested and my head wet and cool with a cloth while he fed me water, apple juice and jelly beans for energy.

It took a bit longer than I expected for my cervix to open enough as I was a little too eager and began pushing a little too early. So, I settled back and channelled thoughts about all things that ‘open’. When I was finally in the pushing stage, I had a moment of despair when Midwife Jude said I probably still had half an hour of hard pushing to go. But she expertly guided me through a push-breath-push-breath technique and showed me what was happening with the help of a mirror and a torch. 

After an 11-hour labour, Arthur ("Art") splashed into the world on 20 August at 12.59pm, weighing 3.64kg and measuring 52cm long. 

We had to keep him under water in the bath for a breath and then I pulled him up onto my chest and lay in the bath for a moment, skin-on-skin, while my husband sat on the side of the bath and we waited calmly for the placenta to be birthed and the delayed cord clamping to occur. It was so beautiful to be at peace with our new little family that it took us a moment to remember to check if he was a boy or a girl! 

We left the birthing centre with our plus one just four hours after the birth and made it home in time for dinner. It was wonderful to go to bed in my own bed with our newest addition asleep by our bed that night.

Don’t get me wrong, labour was painful and exhausting in so many ways! And, over the following days my muscles ached in weird places. My butt hurt to sit down, my hamstrings were stiff and my elbows were bruised from pushing so hard against the bath. My throat burned from the "ahhhhh"-ing through contractions and my jaw ached from clamping down on the gas mouthpiece. But, I only had one "I don't want to do this again" moment and, incredibly, only 24 hours later I seemed to be forgetting all about it! 

Jacqui attended our Active Birth Yoga classes, and the Active Birth Workshop for couples with Suzanne.