Tyla

My healing, unassisted birth story!

It’s hard putting such a sacred event into words. I have written up a detailed version but I’ll try to condense this one…

Just a little background: In 2018 I was a young FTM who had to relearn everything I thought I knew about pregnancy and birth (and beyond!) Growing up in a family and society that views birth as a dangerous, medical event my brain was already hardwired to believe it was the truth. Thankfully I discovered online natural birthing groups. It was then that my brain slowly started to reframe itself. So, I decided to try for a home birth with a midwife and a doula. Little did I know how important the MENTAL preparation part of birth is so I completely overlooked it. I ignored my intuition due to fear mongering from family and friends. I had a traumatic 30+ hour labour at home followed by an even more traumatic government hospital transfer involving obstetric violence which ended in an unnecessary, non-consensual episiotomy, vacuum and harsh manual removal of the placenta. That birth has a whole story of its own and is quite a negative one. I felt deeply wounded by that experience and heavily under supported by friends and family who brushed my trauma off as, “it’s just part of life.” The amount of tears I shed over that birth could fill an ocean. It cracked me wide open. I was absolutely determined to have a healing birth for my next baby and for the next 3 years I manifested hard by reading tons of empowering unassisted birth stories and educating myself on physiological birth. Then in 2021 divine timing blessed me with my second pregnancy. I distanced myself from all those fear-mongers and had a wonderful, peaceful pregnancy focusing on protecting my sacred hormonal balance. Although confident in myself and my capabilities to birth I couldn’t shake off the ‘what-if’s’ so we hired a lovely private midwife Crystal Esau for peace of mind.

The birth:

01 March 2022-40 weeks + 6 days.

It all happened so fast and took me by surprise. I woke up that morning fully convinced I was going to be pregnant for another week even though I noticed my mucous plug had dislodged. Nothing was set up and the house needed to be tidied again. I went about my day as usual with my 3-year-old, ignoring the fact that my Braxton hicks contractions were intensifying. The blow-up pool was still outside with water in it and I thought about draining it but also thought, nah, I still had time. By noon I couldn’t ignore the Braxton’s anymore and had to stand still to get through each one. They were in fact real surges and I was in Early Labour. I sent my partner, Tristan, a message but told him not to worry and to stay at work. After 40 mins I couldn’t manage to get the tidying up done with all those Braxton’s so I told him, alright, I think he should come home now.

I had prepared my daughter long ago for the noises I would make in labour but she was looking a bit worried so I thought it be best for her to go play around the corner at family while I focused on myself. Tris got home around 4pm while I was in the room hunched over the bed, softly moaning through a surge. He took D to family shortly after. I breathed through a few more and slowly started setting up my birth space as it finally clicked: It’s Time. When Tris got back things started to ramp up. I ordered him to get the pool sorted – and quick!!! Shame – he had a lot to do in such a short time. I couldn’t walk around anymore. I stripped into comfortable wear and leaned by the bed through surges. He rubbed my back while I squeezed on a comb – The Comb. I underestimated the coping relief squeezing on a hair comb would bring. I literally used it throughout every surge. It shifted my mind a bit from the sensations of the surges to the digging in of the comb in my hand. Highly recommend.

Tris was in and out of the room trying to set up the pool in the lounge while simultaneously supporting me and my back. Then I became more vocal. I felt nervous about the intensifying surges but reminded myself how hard I had prepared for this and that I could do it. I needed to hear some hypnobirthing guidance so I played my YouTube track and was instantly put in the zone. It helped to hear a woman’s soothing, encouraging voice. Out of all my beautiful affirmations on my wall, ‘deep, low noises’ was the most helpful. I focused on that. Tris brought me coconut water with a straw. Sucking on the straw helped loosen my jaw which in turn loosens the cervix. My mindset remained calm and confident – but I wanted more relief. I needed that pool.

I waddled to the lounge and was confused looking at the pool. I realized it was inside-out!! I was like, “???” It wasn’t keeping structure but — too late now! In his haste to get things set-up Tris forgot to flip the pool the right way. Nevertheless, I got in knowing the water was still cold but I was sweating. Surges started to get really intense. I began roaring and mooing like an angry animal. It helped me get through the intensity of each surge. Then suddenly – pop! “My waters broke!” I said as I saw some membranes float out. Yay! knew I was progressing fast now. But I needed warm water ASAP. Tris filled buckets of hot water from the tap and tossed it in. I felt a bit of relief on my back. MORE HOT WATER!!! The surges kept coming in hard and fast.

RRROOOAAARR!!!

MMMOOOOO!!!

I was LOUD and I loved it. Compared to being rudely pressured to ‘keep quiet’ with my first labour, this time I did not hold back. I didn’t realize it but I was in fact pushing already! I tried to control my breath but the surges kept coming and I was pushing with my body. I felt the head descending. “Tell the midwife…” I managed to pant out. I kept squeezing the comb while T put counter-pressure on my back. I then felt the head crowning so I stood up. Suddenly I felt the ‘ring of fire’. I started panting, remembering the breathing techniques to slow down the pushing to avoid tearing. I steadily kept at it with my body’s urge to push and then the head was out. Then there was a pause.

Next surge I roared the whole body out and T caught it behind me. The cord was tightly wrapped around the neck once and we calmly lifted it over the head. After rubbing her back for a few seconds, she let out a powerful cry. We were so relieved. I went to sit on the floor in the room. After a few minutes it was time to reveal the surprise gender – it’s another little girl! My midwife arrived a few minutes after and was surprised to learn that the baby had already been born. Baby began breastfeeding while my midwife examined me and the baby. She clamped the cord and with a few contractions the placenta came out effortlessly albeit lots of blood. We all bonded with our newborn baby in bed when my first daughter came back home. She was so happy and in awe with her new baby sister.

So, I think active labour was only 2.5 hours?! I had printed a lovely infographic on labour and birth positions that I still wanted to try. Am I crazy for wishing I had some more time to labour?? This time I felt no pain – just really intense pressure that was totally manageable (besides feeling like my butt was going to explode!). What really helped me to surrender this time was by being completely unobserved and in my own space with no access for intruders. This birth was everything I had manifested for and I truly feel that it has healed the wound from my first birth for both my partner and I.