We often talk in prenatal yoga about sinking beneath your thinking mind — allowing your breath, focus, and subtle awareness to take over. This is important not only when you’re releasing into Goddess pose, but especially when you’re birthing your baby.
The mama whose birth story we’re sharing today did exactly that.
“I was only in my body, feeling each sensation come, wash over me, and then leave. It was a surreal process,” she writes.
This is what it’s all about mamas! We hope you find as much inspiration in Kat’s story as we have.
Alisa, Sarah & the women of Blooma
I wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that Eero arrived on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. He weighed in at 8 lbs 1oz, and was 20.5 inches long.
Here’s a short version of the story:
On Tuesday I had an appointment with the midwives at Health Foundations and was asked if I wanted to be checked to see if I was dilated at all. I thought about it for a bit and then decided that I wanted to know… turns out I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced.
I knew that labor could still be days away, so I didn’t get my hopes up. But Pete and I decided to walk the levels of the Mall of America for good measure, and that night I went to Greta’s yoga class, still wondering how long I would have to wait to meet my baby.
At 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning I was woken by contractions. The week before I had a day of constant braxton hicks contractions that didn’t amount to anything, so I wasn’t sure if this was the real deal or not.
I woke Pete up and he started timing the contractions. They were coming every 3 minutes, more intense than I had felt before, but not bad. We called the midwives, who said it was still early labor and that I should try to get rest. We rested for a bit, but the intensity picked up and we called back (I was having a lot of back labor), a shower was suggested to help alleviate the back labor.
At this point we let our doula (and Blooma prenatal yoga instructor) Angela Vincent know that she should head down. When she arrived I was in the shower, and after I got out we started trying various positions during contractions.
Angela had me walking the stairs, taking them two at a time, squatting, swaying. The whole time reminding me to use low tones. I was so in my zone throughout the whole labor, one with my body, present in that moment, not thinking about anything else.
After some contractions Angela would ask me what I was thinking during that contraction and I would reply nothing… of course she was skeptical knowing how heady I can be. But it was the truth, there was literally nothing going on in my mind, I was only in my body, feeling each sensation come, wash over me, and then leave. It was a surreal process. Pete was there telling me how amazing I was, and Angela was a constant reminder to stay with my body.
At around 9:30 a.m. our nurse arrived and since I was having so much back labor she gave me 4 injections of saline in my back to help with the pain. Getting those 4 injections was the only painful part of labor. Labor was intense and it was hard work, but it was never painful. After I got the saline injections the back labor subsided considerably, and I finally was able to get more rest between each contraction. At this point I was 8 cm dilated.
Since we were at home, we had rented a birth tub to use during labor. Pete filled it early that morning, following the instructions to only fill it using the hot water. When Jill (our nurse) checked it, it was 140 degrees, way too hot. While I labored the rest of the house was busy with people trying to cool down the birthtub so I could get in it. My mom ran to the store to get ice. Pete and his mom filled bowls with cold water to add to the tub. Jill had to pump some water out of the tub so the cold water could fit in.
From what I hear it was quite the ordeal, but I was not conciously aware of any of this that was happening around me. I was just laboring, allowing everyone else to worry and tend to everything else. The only thing I had to focus on was each sensation and contraction, and knowing that each one was bringing me one step close to meeting my little guy.
At about 11:30 I was able to finally get in the tub. It felt amazing to be in the warm water, and I squatted in the tub with Pete and Angela on the either side of me outside the tub, helping me through each contraction. Our midwife checked me and it was almost time for me to start pushing, but first she had to move the little bit of my cervix that remained to the back, once that was done, I was ready.
The sensation of pushing was totally different than I thought it would be. Throughout my yoga practice I was always reminded to remain open and soft, and I did this with each contraction and between each push, but when you are pushing it’s a whole different game. You push with all your might, with more might than you thought you had in you.
My pushing phase lasted less than 30 minutes, and our nurse said she had never seen a first time mama so determined to get her baby out. And boy was I determined. I knew that when he was crowning that I would feel a burning sensation, and I also knew that once I got his head out that the rest would slide out with the next push.
I was determined to get his head out… I remember at one point pushing once more than I thought I had it in me. From what I hear, it went from seeing about a quarter size of his head, to his head is out, and then his body.
I was told to reach down and grab my baby, and I did, I caught my baby, in the water, in the bedroom of our home, at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, only 11 hours after my labor initially started.
I was in a daze, Pete was sobbing emotionally, together we had done it, we had the amazing birth that we wanted. The day before I had jokingly said to Pete that I was going to make labor look easy, and he said I did. I made it look easy, it wasn’t easy, it was hard work, it was intense, it was like nothing I have ever experienced before, it was amazing!!
I still can’t believe that he is finally here. And I want to thank you and all the other yoga teachers and mamas at Blooma for all that you taught me. You taught me how to be present in the moment, how to move through each sensation, how to breathe deeply, and how to find my strength and power from within. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!! I can’t wait for BYOB yoga with Eero.
The mantra on the mirror in our bedroom that I lived and breathed during labor was “Breathe, Soften, Surrender” and that’s exactly what I did!!
Lots of love to all of you!!!