Birth of Huxley
When we fell pregnant last year, we were surprised, scared, excited- the full gamut of emotions. I had always kinda fantasised about having a baby, however the actual giving birth part of the equation was something that had always bothered me and pretty much paralysed me with fear. I knew it was a huge deal, an immense physical and emotional experience, and I was never really sure of my ability to handle it. Despite this, I knew that the time had now come for me to face this challenge head on. We didn't know too much about how we wanted things to unfold, all we knew was that we were aspiring to as normal and natural a birth as possible as I didn't want a whole load of interventions if I could avoid it. With all the info and options out there it was overwhelming trying to navigate, and as a first time mum I felt I'd need some extra support at the birth. I didn't want my options or choices to be taken away or talked into things I wasn't sure about.
When I read up on doulas and the benefits of having one as a birth partner, I felt strongly that this was going to be the right choice for us.
The moment we met with Bethany we knew she was the right fit for us; she was easygoing, affable and passionate about birthing. She put us at ease immediately with her warm, positive and friendly presence and the more we talked the more she filled us with knowledge, wisdom and confidence. She left me infused with the idea that I could do birth and it didn't have to be traumatic or something to be feared.
Every time we met with Bethany she brought us more knowledge and equipped us with the resources and tools we would need to make informed choices and decisions. At the conclusion of each session we felt armed and one step closer to being ready to meet our baby.
As my pregnancy progressed, Bethany not only gave us the gift of her wisdom, but really listened to our needs, hopes and desires for our birth and beyond. She never once judged us or our choices and instead made it known that she would support us in our decision-making and play an important advocacy role as we navigated our way through labour and the hospital system.
In the lead up to our due date Bethany kept herself available and sent gentle messages of support and guidance. I remember her advising me to "trust the process of baby and body knowing when the great shift is to happen". This really helped me to get through the couple of days we went overdue without too much anxiety. Things would unfold when the time was right.
Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long as 3 days after our due date things started happening fairly quickly and on t he 23rd December we found ourselves in labour! I was so excited knowing we would meet our baby in the next few days, and tried to stay focused and relaxed and tune into my body. Hubby and I stayed at home as long as we could, for around 24 hours for the early part of labour. Bethany was on call the whole time and let us know if we needed her she would come to us whenever we needed. My husband stayed in touch with her and let her know what was happening and she offered support and advice at each stage as time went along and we weren't sure where we were at. The next morning we decided it was time to move to hospital just as I was going into active labour. I was pretty much considering an epidural by this point and was ready to cave when Bethany arrived and instantly brought the tense vibe of the room down. She relaxed us and knew all the right things to say and do to bring my fear and tension right down and get me into the zone. She encouraged me to try different positions, helped me with meditation and massage and kept me focused and relaxed. We listened to music all day and just got on with it- it was amazing. The midwives largely left us alone except to perform routine checks and most of my birth plan rolled out as I had wanted- with minimal interruption, in a nice dark, quiet, safe space. Looking back, time flew that day and I very much went into a twilight zone.
Delivery was difficult but Bethany stayed with me the whole time, advising me on different positions and giving constant encouragement to help me connect with my innate birthing power. After 2 hours of pushing and not making a lot of progress, the doctor advised that our babe's head was turned sideways, and I could either keep going or have some help to get him out with forceps. It wasn't originally what we had wanted, but I was exhausted and couldn't bear to be pushing any longer. I was also very impatient and wanted to meet our baby! The procedure was a little scary and overwhelming but I felt empowered that we had been informed of all our options and we knew it would be over quickly. Bethany stayed by my side the whole way through and made me feel really supported in our decision. It was happening so fast and I was so excited and relieved it was about to be over and we could finally meet our little man! The feeling of him coming into the world was indescribable- amazing, intense and euphoric all at once, and I'm so glad that despite the scary stuff at the end, he had arrived, and he was perfect. We had done it!
Bethany stayed with us for a few hours post-birth to support us at a special and sacred time, making sure we were ok, and helping baby and us to get acquainted. Having a doula there in those precious moments really helped us to not worry about everything going on around us, and we could focus on bonding with our little man and riding the hormone high. Bethany's kind and gentle support was unwavering and she made me feel so good about what I had just achieved.
Looking back I know I wouldn't have had such a positive experience had it not been for Bethany. She not only supported me and held that sacred space for me to work through, but she provided immense support to my partner also, allowing him to rest when he needed to, and supporting him to support me. If we hadn't had her there it would have easily got overwhelming, particularly when we were faced with challenging decisions towards the end.
Because of Bethany I had an empowering birth where I felt largely in control. I came out the other side feeling like I had conquered a huge life challenge, and that I was much stronger mentally and physically than I had ever given myself credit for. My birthing experience has allowed me to feel like I can take on anything, and am in the best place to trust my instincts as a new mum. Bethany's support and guidance before, during, and after the birth have been absolutely invaluable and I am so grateful she was there with us throughout our journey.
Bethany, you instilled the gift of confidence within me and I eternally thank you for helping us bring our little boy into the world and for setting me up for motherhood in the best way possible!