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Diana’s Birth Story — Baby Magdalena, born November 3, 2006
Diana discovered that this labour was different from her first (see Diana’s first birth story with baby Antony), and this time around her body demanded privacy and quiet. Her husband Joseph held the space and supported her in movements and breathing, and by doing so Diana’s labour unfolded quickly despite the slow start.

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     Our due date came and went without anything happening and I was starting to worry that I might actually reach our scheduled induction date without going into labour on my own. But a rare sunny day, a morning of running errands and an afternoon of yardwork got things moving. I felt the first cramp at 8pm (and knew right away this was it), went to sleep at 9pm and woke up again just before midnight.

     At 2:30am we called my mother to come over to babysit. The contractions were still irregular (every 5-10 minutes) so I thought it was too soon to go to the hospital. I agreed to play it safe since labour with my son went very quickly and everyone expected this one to come even faster. By 3:30am I was hooked up to a monitor and an IV in the hospital. Ugh. The monitor and IV were minor inconveniences that I could ignore most of the time. The problem was that my bashful uterus would stop contracting every time someone came into the room. The couples workshop was invaluable at this point.

     As soon as the nurse/doctor left, I’d try various positions to try to get the contractions started up again. Walking around and squatting did the trick. It was sometimes hard to force myself into position, knowing that it would bring on a contraction. I really didn’t want any interventions, so I just kept focusing on the fact that strong contractions were doing useful work and this was positive pain. Of course I used my breathing techniques to ride the pain until each contraction was over.

     Because of these interruptions and slowdowns, they felt we weren’t progressing fast enough. I agreed to have my waters broken at 6am because they assured me that this would really speed things up. But now I was wet, leaking, and still not contracting regularly.

     When they came back an hour later and examined me again I hadn’t dilated any further (I was at 6cm and fully effaced, baby really low). The medical team was ready to hook me up to a pitocin drip. They talked about how I was progressing too slowly, that it was really unusual for a second labour, how I was in pain for nothing so why not get the drugs and be in “useful” pain. Blah blah blah.

     I really didn’t want the drugs, but they tell you if you agree, it will be over so quickly, and if you don’t agree it could go on for hours and since you’re in pain anyway, why not make it useful? It all sounds so reasonable and the thought of the pain being over is so seductive that when you’re not thinking clearly you start to believe they might be right. There’s not really much time in between contractions, so I really wasn’t in a good frame of mind to make any kind of decision.

     This is the point where my husband Joseph took over – just as we’d discussed after the Couples Workshop and while reading birth stories and going over our battle plan. He listened to everything they said then told them we needed time to think and discuss and could they leave us alone. He told them we’d let them know when we had reached a decision. So we finally had some peace.

     As soon as everybody left things started to progress. Squatting on the floor wasn’t working for me anymore, but resting my arms and head on the raised head of the bed rocking my pelvis around kept the contractions coming on strongly. I also used an upright kneeling position to really use gravity to help. I was now really in a zone – all I could focus on was breathing through the contractions and nausea. There was a nurse in the room when all of a sudden around 8am I decided I really needed to push. She didn’t believe me at first but just a few seconds later (I guess) she must have beeped for help because all of a sudden the room was full of people.

     I didn’t really notice the people, all I knew is that I needed to push and they were telling me not to because they had to examine me first! On my back! Torture! I managed to roll over onto my side so they could examine me and tell me what I already knew – it was time to push. I somehow managed another quarter turn and ended up on my back (what would have happened had I refused? I guess I’ll find out if there’s a next one…)

     Pushing was fabulous, so positive after all the stress of “not progressing". I barely even noticed the head crowning it all happened so quickly. Two pushes and the relief of the head coming out, then another push and the odd slithery feeling of the rest of the body popping free. “It’s a girl!”, they said. I actually had to ask them again because I was shocked. I was convinced I was having a boy – so much for mother’s intuition!

     I couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband. He has a tough job since although I need him there, I don’t want him to do anything – no massage, no words of encouragement, no touching, just hand me things when I ask for them. He has to sit and watch me in pain without being able to do anything. He did such a great job of being there for me and speaking for me when I couldn’t.

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