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Rosalie's Birth Story – Baby Jonah, born October 12, 2005
Rosalie allowed natural breathing and movements to freely emerge during her labour, which concluded at St. Mary's with pushing baby Jonah into the world while on all fours!

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     Our son, Jonah Wallace Abraham, was born Oct. 12, 2005 after 4 hours of labour. He was a gorgeous 7 lbs., 20 1/2 inches.

     On Oct. 12th morning (his due date... after weeks of anticipating an earlier birth - like his older sister who arrived 2 weeks early), I settled into finishing my fall gardening around 11 am. Shortly after, I started to feel contractions (approx. 6 - 7 mins. apart) but because I had experienced so many Braxton-Hicks during the last few months, and had started to feel heavier the few days prior to the 12th, I did not take the contractions too seriously. My husband came home from work at about noon, and he and my mom had lunch as I continued puttering around. The contractions at that point were about 1 - 2 mins. apart. As with my first birth, I felt they were sooo close together, that maybe this was not the real thing (experience did not teach me that much!). I told my husband not to call our dr., that I would assess how I felt later in the afternoon. Just before 1 pm, I asked my husband to call the dr. (the wonderful Dr. Ellen Rosenberg), and asked he and my mom to go for a walk so I could be alone (rather than have them go through too much pain with me).

     I lay down shortly afterwards (which I realize in retrospect was my "rest period" in between my stage one and stage three of my labour) and had 2 - 10 minute "rests" before I felt my baby starting to bear down with incredible urgency. I resisted calling my husband but after 2 contractions (which kind of frightened me with their intensity), I paged my husband and he came home within minutes and packed up the car. He called our doctor and she set out to meet us at the hospital. We were off to St. Mary's Hospital just after 2 pm. I was feeling every bump of Montreal's pre-election pothole roads, and feeling the pressure of the baby so extreme on my pelvic wall that I kept my hand on my crotch the whole time to "keep the baby in".

     We got to the hospital at about 2:30pm, my husband parked illegally as there was no space in front, and started the arduous walk up to the hospital, a kind lady saw us on the way and rushed into the hospital to get me a wheel chair.

     My husband got us up to the 6th floor, where 3 nurses immediately got us into a room, and attempted to get the baby heart monitor girdle on me (surely someone who has never experienced child birth designed this form fitting thing) and I told them no way. I got off my clothes with some help, got onto the bed on all 4's and continued dealing with my labour while my husband ran interference with the astounded nurses and waited for our dr. to arrive. Once Dr. Rosenberg arrived, and calmed the nurses, she advised me I was fully dilated, and that anytime I wanted to push, I should. I told her I could not remember how to push. She told me the sooner I pushed the faster the pain would go away. That registered.

     Within a few contractions (in between I turned over onto my back to let Dr. Rosenberg hear the baby's heart beat, which was fine), I started to push, and Jonah was out within 3 contractions. He arrived at 3:10 pm, and has delighted us with his strong, fiery, funny presence since.

     As with my first birth, my "yoga breath" was what carried me through the intensity of the experience of labour. It is an incredibly demanding physical experience, not comparable to anything else that I have gone through in my life. But it is manageable. The focus on breath and allowing the "pain" to pass allows your mind and body to just experience, to let it ride, rather than to clench up and fall prey to the fears that can enter your mind. It also allowed me a few seconds throughout the delivery to connect with my baby and let him know that everything was happening the way it was supposed to be happening, and to come on out whenever he was ready to meet us (well, I wasn't doing that in the car ride...) I especially felt in control during the final "pushing" - partly from experience and partly from allowing my body and the baby to do the work.

     I am always thankful to my yoga breath, yoga classes, and the calmness of all my yoga experiences that I believe have helped me deliver 2 beautiful babies without medical intervention. My yoga practice was helpful not only for the deliveries, but also for the recuperation afterwards.

     One final note: We did experience serious resistance to my giving birth on all 4's (as I did with my first child's birth in less intervention-crazy Australia) at St. Mary's. If not for my husband's intervention on my behalf (a short 20 minutes away from our baby being born), and then my doctor's cool composure in dealing with the somewhat hostile staff, I would have had to have wasted precious energy dealing with 2 of the 3 unsympathetic nurses present at my labour (although the 2nd nurse came around and commented later that it was the most natural birth she had ever experienced). I know that in the weeks leading up to my labour, even sitting with my back at an incline in bed was painful, so that the idea of "getting on my back" - which was said numerous times to me while I stayed labouring on my knees - was like asking me to willingly sign up for more pain. My advice to anyone going to St. Mary's is that your birth partner (or even a 3rd sympathetic person) be with you and who knows your birth plan and be willing to speak on your behalf, firmly on your behalf, so that you are not forced into a position or into any action that you are not wanting to do, save for your own or for your baby's benefit. I did not waver from my labour and yoga breath and thoughts during this episode because I had complete faith in my husband, and in my doctor and was able to concentrate on my job.

     I wish you all peace, safe labours, and healthy babies.

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