By Penny Blaschka
After hearing nothing but good things about the Calmbirth course, it was exciting to know that my chosen hospital, Sutherland Shire was now offering the course. My husband and I completed the course in March of 2019 with the wonderful Alisha who I was also lucky enough to have as my midwife supporting me during my pregnancy.
We were both quite uneducated when it came to knowing what to expect when delivering a baby, in my mind I thought that I would be on my back on a bed in absolute agony. I had convinced myself I had a really low pain threshold and that I wouldn’t be able have the natural birth that I desperately wanted.
There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have had the same incredible lead up and natural delivery if I hadn’t attended Calmbirth. My surges were ten minutes apart from the get go and this lasted for over 63 hours. It was a tiring experience and one that we hadn’t anticipated. Calmbirth continually reiterated that everyone’s birth is completely unique, I had to remind myself this was the way my body and my little man had chosen to enter the world. I had to put my mind to rest and let go.
The role my husband played in the birth was critical, I really can’t thank him enough. He helped remind me of the birth I wanted when the sleep deprivation kicked in and was firm when the obstetrician at the hospital wanted to hurry things along through a variety of medical interventions. He says himself that he wouldn’t have been able to be as supportive to me and firm in his conversations with medical practitioners if he hadn’t of attended the course.
In the lead up to the birth I tried to practice meditation as often as I could and I read the Calmbirth book back to front many times. I decided that I was only going to focus on the positive birth stories and I distinctly remember being in labour, picking up the Calmbirth book and frantically reading the birth stories to remind me that a natural birth was possible for me.
I walked into the birthing suite with one page in front of me, it was an accumulation of the most useful parts of the Calmbirth teachings. As I lent over the hospital bed, swaying back and forth I reread this page a million times over. It helped me focus on what was possible. At one stage I had been 7cm dilated for 3 hours, I was deflated that things weren’t progressing. My husband urged me to jump into the bath and somehow I managed to doze off between contractions in the warm water. I would only wake when my body would float to the surface and begin pushing on its own – it was completely surreal (it’s interesting to note I had dilated 3cm in a matter of 50 minutes by jumping in the bath).
What I found most helpful was the understanding that an epidural was a medical induced version of a state of relaxation – so in my mind I had convinced myself that if I relaxed my muscles and followed the Calmbirth breathing techniques that I would do just fine. I would wriggle my toes during a surge and made my husband ensure my jaw was loose and my arms and hands were limp. I found that if I was doing a combination of these things it was impossible for me to tighten my pelvic region and fight against the surge.
The Calmbirth course and its teachings were nothing short of amazing and my husband and I were both slightly devastated when we attended our last class. I have relived the birth again and again in my head, writing this out again reminds me that it was the most incredible experience of my life. A million thank you’s to Alisha for the support she provided me during the lead up to my birth, without your involvement we wouldn’t have had the confidence to make the choices we did during labour and delivery.