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Leanna’s Birth Story — Baby Luke, born June 28, 2007
This is the story of the birth of Leanna’s second child, baby Luke – and how she integrated yogic breathing, hypnobirthing, affirmations and skilful navigation of the hospital protocols into her positive birthing experience.

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     Looking back on my second birth experience, I couldn’t be happier! With my first child, I had read 20 books, and taken the prenatal CLSC class and prenatal yoga. This time around I got to do other things that I did not have time to do the first time, namely a couples yoga workshop for expectant parents, prenatal massages and hypnobirthing.

     It was a hot June. I loved being pregnant. But I was slightly fearful that because I was so lucky with my first birth experience, that this time around, things won’t go as well. Hypnobirthing taught me to focus my mental energies on planning and dreaming for what will go right, rather than on what might go wrong. To imagine all the positive aspects of my upcoming birth – to dare to believe that it could be just as good or even better than the first. So I practiced my meditative CDs, but there was one worry I just could not shake: As the days of June kept rolling by and my due date whizzed past, would I be induced? And worse, would I miss by first baby’s second birthday (she was born June 28th 2005)?

     Being a psychologist, I decided to use “the Secret” and journal my labour and delivery as though it already happened. I wrote “I am so happy and grateful that ...”, and I wrote down all the events that I wanted to happen, including Luke starting my labour, going through labour and delivery without pain meds, and not getting stitches. It was great to crystallize what I wanted to happen, rather than what I did not want to happen. Everything I wrote was in positive terms. I also went through 2 acupuncture sessions to jump start labour in order to avoid being induced.

     As fate would have it, my induction date happened to be on June 28th – my daughter’s second birthday. I agonized about missing her birthday and wondered if my kids would be angry that they share the same day instead of each having their own. This was the thought that kept running in my mind as I went to sleep on June 27th, 2007.

     At 2:30am, I woke to the sound of thunder and rain. I remembered thinking that my son’s birthday would be very different from my daughter’s because the day she was born it was very hot. Then I realized that today is her birthday and she is already turning 2 years old!

     Just then, I felt some wetness between my legs! Could he be coming on his own? I went back to bed hoping to save my energy. When I woke up, there was nothing much happening as far as contractions or water coming out. I prepared my daughter for daycare, and we sang her Happy Birthday, all the while preparing for going in to the hospital to maybe get induced.

     When I called my doula, Sarah, she said I may be starting labour on my own, so to buy ourselves some time, call the hospital (who expected us there early in the morning) and tell then we are running late. By the time we arrived at the hospital, I had full blown contractions, about every 10 minutes. But even then I still could not admit that I was going into labour naturally, rather than being induced!

     Going in later to the hospital did the trick: They examined me at 10am and said that I was 4cm dilated and contractions were every 2-3 minutes. To get to this point I was walking up and down the hallway, imagining my baby descending down, breathing deeply using some vocal toning, but mostly ocean breath. It was a breeze to get to that point.

     Once I was admitted, they broke my water to “accelerate things” and STILL wanted to induce me! Boy was I shocked. It was as if they had me down for an induction and because the paper said so, that was what they wanted to do! I certainly did not want this, but I also did not want them to get mad at me, so I asked them if I was in labour. They said yes. Then I asked why they would induce if I was already in labour. They explained that the chemical is “all natural” and it mimics what my body is producing anyway, so my labour will go faster. I asked if my labour had stalled or somehow stopped progressing. They said no. Then I told them to hold off on the pitocin until such a point that I NEEDED to accelerate things. By giving them this window, that I was not opposed to it, but just not right now, they were more accepting. Three times the nurse came in, and then the resident to convince me to get hooked up to the IV and get my pitocin. I used the above strategy with everybody. Eventually they saw my logic and left me alone.

     My doula arrived, and after 3 long hours and much comfort measures (ball, hypnobirthing techniques with my husband, and tonal breathing, and walking) I was at 5cm. I thought why I am trying to do this without an epidural? Why be the martyr? At this rate I don’t think I can hang on this intensely for 15 hours!! Just then the nurse, same one who wanted to induce me, said to my husband, this is her second child, so getting to 10cm might be very quick. When I heard that, I thought I could manage if things go quick, so let’s just act as if that is what will happen.

     During the next three hours, I relied heavily on my husband to get me into a deep state of relaxation. At times he did not get me deep enough, so I yelled “deeper” and he touched me again (hypnobirthing technique). The pain was intense, but short lived because I was focused either on relaxing or breathing. I did not fight the contractions, but just let them come and go like waves in the ocean. When my husband had to leave the room, I relied on tonal breathing, and in some ways that was better for me because I was in control of my own breathing, rather than relying on someone else to induce a state of relaxation. My doula was there to help and reassure and was a source of comfort.

     After 3 or 4 hours, my ob-gyn came in and checked me. I was 10cm and we were ready to push! I felt exhilarated and so lucky to be female. I even told the men in the room (my husband, the doctor and a medical student whom I gave permission to stay) that I feel sorry for men because they cannot give birth. I was on a high and felt so great and looking forward to the pushing because the hard part was behind me!

     Once I started pushing, scary things happened. Looking back it wasn’t so bad, but in the moment, I really thought my baby would die. His heart rate was going down when I pushed, so the doctor said to push hard because we had to get him out fast. I really pushed with all my might, but he would crown then go back in. Each time I felt this was getting more and more serious because the doctor kept saying we needed to get him out next push because the cord was tight around his neck. Then he called for pediatrics. That is when I thought I was going to lose my baby. Only later did they tell me that about half the time they call pediatrics just to be safe. If only I knew, I just thought they were calling them because he was dieing inside me! With each push, the doctor would shove him back inside me because it was too tight in the vaginal canal. All of this really did not hurt because I was on adrenaline. Finally, after about 10 pushes in all, and a 12 hour labour, baby Luke was born, with the doctor practically pulling the boy out. He was 11 pounds (5kg) and almost 23 inches long! What a big boy. He fed on the breast right away, and we stayed in the room until we were ready to leave. We had a short but wonderful stay in the postpartum unit.

     I later looked at what I wrote in my journal and everything I wanted came true! The Secret sure did work, and I am so grateful and happy! Cannot wait for a third child, but I first have to convince my husband... ;)

Read Leanna's birth story of her first baby, baby Natasha.

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