Today, is Olivia’s story!
“I am pregnant”, these words resonated in my head when I read the test’s results. My heart filled up with joy and love. My husband could not quite believe it. He was going to be a father. But after five minutes, we fell on each other’s arms, showing our teeth. The day unfolded like a dream, everything around me seemed to have changed for the better. Lighter and brighter colours on the tube, people singing and dancing… OK that was just my imagination.
I was determined to look after my weight and eat healthy. I would go back to my size in less than six months after birth (how naïve of me)…
… after birth
Hum… I forgot that essential element of giving birth. Suddenly, all the horror stories I have ever heard, all the atrocities I have ever seen (mostly on TV), came rushing to my mind. My heart filled up with fear. How was I going to survive labour and birth?
You might not believe me, but I was even more afraid of the epidural. Did you see the size of the needle? No way!
I needed to find a mean to help me cope with labour.
At first, I just avoided the thought of it, like skipping a few beats in a drum and base song. After a couple of months and as I gained a lot more weight than expected, the reality of it hit me: avoidance was not an appropriate strategy and would not prevent me from suffering. It was time to search for a mean to cope with labour suffering.
Here came my princess charming, under the name of Kate Middleton. Yes, I was saved by a princess. I read an article about her pregnancy that said she was taking hypnobirthing lessons. Well, if Kate did it, why not me?
So, I searched online information about hypnobirthing and was intrigued. I believe in the mind and body complex working together to achieve incredible results. I convinced a reluctant husband to come along to the hypnobirthing course, as they advised for both parents to attend. I was six months into pregnancy when we went to our first course and after 20 minutes, I knew my labour would be OK. Even, my husband came out very enthusiastic about the prospect of “us” partnering for an optimal birth.
For the last three months of pregnancy, we prepared ourselves for labour. Hypnobirthing suggested to use different terms to contractions to establish a clean slate and forget the negative connotations associated with contractions. Meditations, visualisations and breathing techniques were essential parts of the preparation. At the end of pregnancy, I was ready to welcome my baby.
And my water broke at 1am.
Everything fell into place, according to the plan, my husband and I had panned out. I went into my breathing exercises to manage the pain of the contractions. I remained calm and relaxed, to avoid any extra muscular tension that can increase the pain sensation. My husband was in charge of the environment and made sure that no one or nothing would disturb me. He did an incredible job. The midwife was also on board with the plan, so when we called her she asked to be called again when the contractions would be closer to each other. But the duration between contractions shortened very quickly, to the point where I felt the need to push. About an hour after we called the midwife, we rang her again and this time, she prompted us to go to the clinic.
My parents drove us, while I continued with my breathing exercise, but a slight doubt instilled itself. Would I be able to hold on until delivery? Despite the breathing exercises, this was not a walk in the park. Then, I reminded myself of the size of the needle and I was back on my breathing exercises with renewed motivation.
We stepped into the clinic, and very quickly the midwife announced that she could already see the baby’s hair. Yes, I was almost finished with labour. She let my mother and my husband assist her. With confidence, and also I just want to get this over it, I pushed. I felt a mass coming out, and in a few minutes, my tummy flattened (thank God!). “It’s a boy” my husband sang. He cut the cord and handed the baby to me.
It was a miracle and just like that, I forgot everything, the fear, the labour… incredible how easy it is to forget the bad moments of labour and just remember the magic of it.
Vanessa is a medical student/mother and started Olivia’s New Life blog (www.oliviasnewlife.com), a fictional story based on her life. The main character, Olivia is a 31-year-old mother, turning her back on a corporate career to become a doctor. on a corporate career to become a doctor. If you want to download the first five chapters, just click here.