The Perfect Birth - Mind The Baby

The perfect birth

Around about this time three years ago, I was labouring in my kitchen. It was a beautiful summer’s day and we had thrown open all the windows to let the light and air fill the room. Midsummer poured in on top of us. My husband and midwife were with me. I remember circling around the kitchen island, stopping every now and then to stoop down and support my body during a contraction, while my husband silently applied counter-pressure to my back. I remember being in the birth pool with him at my head breathing me through each surge while my midwife poured warm water on my back. I felt safe, so supported, strong…and happy.

When I thought things were getting too much and had a bit of a wobble, my midwife – who had been mostly a silent, observing and comforting presence in the background – slipped into my focus and brought me back to my concentration and confidence. I remember her reassuring promise that in the next push, my baby would be here and I believed her.

It was an incredible day. I’d never experienced anything like it. Everything was just right. My labour started by itself. I laboured comfortably in my own home with just two people who I trusted. It was completely undisturbed. Our beautiful baby boy was born into my arms. We had immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping and my placenta delivered naturally. He started breastfeeding straight away and when he was ready for a little break, my husband had some lovely skin to skin time, while my midwife helped me shower and change. A couple of hours later, my husband tucked us into bed.

It was perfect. There was not one thing I would change about it. I loved giving birth. In hindsight, I consider myself blessed. I know what it’s like to have a wonderful, positive birth experience when I know a huge number of women have never had that. What I didn’t know at the time was that I only had that one shot. That was my one and only opportunity to have a natural birth and I am so grateful it went as well as it did. If I have another baby, it will be a Caesarean birth.

It took me a long time to get my head around this, that I would never again experience that comforting, rhythmical sensation of mild, warming up contractions. Or the intensity of late labour ones and feeling my body and baby work together. Or the sensation of my baby moving down through my birth canal. Or that incredible feeling of accomplishment as I held my beautiful baby close to me. And I was angry. I felt like I had been robbed. After my son was born, I looked forward to doing it all over again, and maybe again. I wondered if anything would have been different if I knew at the time, it would be my first and last opportunity to do it “my way” but then I realised it didn’t matter. It was a whole experience, complete in itself in that moment that can never be changed.

Life has chosen another path for me and I realise now that I am more than lucky to have these wonderful memories. A good friend said to me that my anger at not being able to have another vaginal birth was testament to what a positive experience I had because she couldn’t think of mother she knew who was looking forward to doing it all again, including herself. I thought that was profoundly sad…and then agreed with her observation.

It was amazing. From my perspective it was the perfect birth. But now I’m ready to redefine what else could make a birth perfect for me and if I’m lucky enough to find myself in the position of welcoming another baby again, it will be perfect too.

photo credit: Rafael Praia via photopin cc

19 thoughts on “The perfect birth”

  1. Your birth experience sounds amazing, it’s no wonder you are devastated that the chance to experience it again has been taken away from you. When I had my twins I really, really wanted a natural birth. But, because it was twins, I always knew that it might not go that way. I ended up with an emergency section, but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was calm and I was relaxed and made my peace with it very quickly. The joy of meeting my babes, no matter how they arrived made up for any of my lost hopes.

    1. Thanks Sadhbh. I’m so glad to hear your experience was one of calm and relaxation. I hear what you’re saying, making peace with the path our births take is the most important part I think. x

  2. I have had to come to terms with several births that were NOTHING like what I had dreamed for (basically your birth above 🙂 ) and have had to deal with that awful feeling of being robbed, of anger, of grief. I don’t think it’s ever goes completely; there will always be a sadness, but almost every birth has the capacity for utter joy, too, and I think it boils down to choosing how you want to remember: the good bits or the bad. I have to say, I do think doing the Gentlebirth course this time kept me sane, and despite the horror of what happened afterwards, I stayed calm, and felt in control -most of the time!-and healed quickly and easily after. Xx

  3. The most important lesson I learned when giving birth the second time around was that there is power in the affirmation “I accept the path my birth takes.” We can’t always control the type of birth we have, but we can control how we approach it. I hope that no matter what happens, your next birth story is a beautiful positive one – it will just follow a different path.

  4. You know my birth story and my birthing dreams well. I do agree with Emily- I don’t think it’ll ever go away and I still find myself thinking ‘maybe if I had of done this…’.

    How very blessed you are to have had this first experience. And I can assure you that a planned c-section is nothing compared to an emergency one. You can still have a gentle, pleasant experience. It’ll never be the same as the perfect birth described above but you make it what you make it. I definitely feel that Gentlebirth helped me through the disappointment of the second c-section and it also helped me make the decision to have one easier, because I knew it was the right decision.

  5. Thank you for your lovely comments and wise words ladies. Thank you also for sharing your experiences, I can’t even begin to understand what you have been through and come out the other side of with such courage and strength. I know I have been absolutely blessed with my first birth. I treasure the memories x

  6. What an amazing birth story.You ve experienced something a lot of women never get to have.I am determined if I ever give birth again to do so at home,away from the cramped,stressful ,chronically short staffed Galway hospital. Wishing you all the best for your next birth journey x

  7. Your story is beautiful, and I agree with your friend – your anger and sadness are a testament to how wonderful your experience was. I had no idea that birth itself could be a positive experience – I thought it was a terrible hurdle to overcome, that the result was all that mattered. Knowing how much you care about this, I am certain that you will find a way to make future births perfect too, just in a different way

  8. Although you have that experience that so many people wish for and don’t get – and that makes what lies ahead so much more of a contrast – what you must remember is your own tenacity and self belief got you that birth. So many of us quash the seedling of a desire for a homebirth because well, that’s not what people do, people go to hospital. But first time round, you knew what you want and you went for it. And no one, and no other birth will take that away from you.

What do you think?