Story by Maria Lopez
Being a midwife I knew the importance of doing Calmbirth so that my hubby (Roger) and I could be as prepared as possible. We did the weekend course with Karen McClay via zoom and It was fantastic. I actually cannot believe how much we got out of it. Not just me but Roger too, It gave him a purpose and he knew EXACTLY what to do to help me get through. I loved that about the course. Personally, I have always been a bit skeptical of the power of calm breaths and meditation I’ve always thought “it dosent work for me” but during one of Karen’s meditation talks, one minute we were awake and then the next we were both passed out on my couch. Clearly it DOES work.
We had planned a homebirth from the start – I have always known when it was time for us to have children that home was the only place for us to birth. I have always been well aware of how strong women are so I was so excited and determined for the birth I’d always envisioned.
I’d been getting painless Braxton Hicks and losing my plug for the last few days but nothing serious. I actually thought at one stage wow – are these the contractions that make women wild (painless Braxton Hicks) – this is nothing – I can do this easy – That is until I got my first “Real” contraction on the 4/8/20 at 4pm and I thought I was going to die! They were all over the place, some lasting up to 2 minutes and so painful.
I showered – didn’t help, walked – wasn’t helping. Roger tried the Robozo which helped a bit but eventually I got to 8:30pm and PANICKED! I knew I should be breathing but something came over me and I just couldn’t focus. I called my midwife and thought it was time for her to come. She gave me lots of encouragement over the phone and advised me that by the sounds of it I was in early labour.
I started thinking HOLY SHIT how can I do this. I’d been panicking and hadn’t slowed down enough to remember the skills I had learned at Calmbirth.
All of a sudden I remembered Karen talking about this crisis feeling during early labour. It was normal. I knew what was happening and what I had to do. I brought myself back down and started breathing slowly during each contraction listening to Karen’s meditation and focusing while my hubby timed them. Before I knew it I’d taken myself to a zone.
I sent Roger to bed like Karen suggested and got on with it. I used the gym ball, showered, did my calm breathing, meditation, sat on the toilet, walked, laid down calm breaths again. Roger woke and found me sitting on the toilet and decided to call our midwife a little after 1am. He inflated and filled up the birth pool and in I went.
That water was heaven for me. Omg how amazing it felt. Our midwife arrived to my house and examined me and I was 7cm at 2am. I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic.
I knew I was almost there and I was feeling in control. My birth space was so calm. I stayed In the pool And continued my calm breaths as it was the only thing helping. I had many moments of “I can’t do this” and Roger was right there the whole time, holding my space, supporting me, reminding me to breathe. He remembered every single thing he’d learned.
All of a sudden this urge took over me and before i knew it I was pushing and I remember thinking OMG I’m pushing. It really is a feeling that takes over your whole body. Again using those breaths between pushing was a life saver, because I was getting such a nice rest between contractions. I felt like I’d been pushing forever and I didn’t feel much progress. My midwife asked me to hop out of the pool and try sitting on the toilet for a few contractions, this helped bring our babies head down beautifully but I couldn’t stay there, I needed to get back in that pool.
This time I needed roger in there to help give me something to hold onto. I felt I got the hang of pushing and then at 06:03 I heard the most amazing sound in the world – our baby’s cry. Our Elyssa was born. Was like music to my ears.
Calmbirth has helped us with the many challenges that being a new parent brings, meditation and calm breaths are a lifelong skill that have helped with many situations (establishing breastfeeding, my recovery, unsettled baby, sleepless nights etc).
We had the most amazing birth, to this day almost 12 weeks later I still look back and smile. What an experience it was. I am so happy that we put in the effort to prepare for this as I am certain it is why I had the birth I did. Highly highly recommend Calmbirth to EVERYONE! It is 100% necessary for all families about to have a baby. Thank you again Karen.
Photos by Rebecca Lawrence Photography