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Genevieve’s Birth Story — Baby Antoine, born January 21, 2005
Gen’s story illustrates the power of surrendering to the wisdom of the body in childbirth. She delivered at Lasalle Birthing Center, where she was able to spend most of her labour in the warm waters of the whirlpool.

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     It was Thursday night, and the day had been very normal. I hadn’t felt any different than any other day. Around supper time, I started feeling a little funny, my appetite wasn’t there, although I had hardly eaten since lunch. My husband and I decided to go to bed early for some reason, and I remember thinking that I should get some rest just in case this was “the” night.

     Chad (my husband) went to bed first and I joined him about an hour later. As I started to lie down, I felt a shooting pain in my pelvic area. This was at 10:00 pm. What seemed like a minute later, another pain came along. This did not feel like the menstrual cramp-like pain that everyone compared a contraction to, so I thought that this was probably just pain related to the stripping my doctor had done to my cervix the day before. But when the third pain came along even more intensely again, I decided to get in the tub and start timing them to see how far apart they were. As I thought, they were already very close and very regular: every five minutes and intense enough for me to have to concentrate on my breathing.

     I stayed in the tub for a good hour, monitoring what I was now convinced were contractions. They were still every 5 minutes, so I woke Chad up and he called the hospital to see what they suggested I do. They told me I had to be every 5 minutes for at least two hours before coming in, and to lie on my left side for 20 minutes without moving to see if there would be any fluctuations in the time between the contractions. Those 20 minutes seemed like a million, it felt like torture!!! But as I thought, there was no change at all.

So I stayed home until 1:00am, which is the time we realized the contractions were now every 3 minutes. So Chad took out my clothes, helped me get dressed and we headed to the hospital. The funny part is that I kept hoping the contractions would continue, for some reason I was afraid to get to the hospital and that everything would just stop. I didn’t want to be sent back home! Anyways, the ride seemed to last forever, even if the hospital is only 10 minutes away from our house.

     When we got to the maternity section of the hospital, they plugged me on the monitor and checked my cervix. I was dilated at 3cm+ and almost fully effaced. Good! So this WAS real labor!

     I was then assigned to a room, and I decided to go in the whirlpool right away. What a relief!! Something about the motion of the water, the sound, and the heat made everything more tolerable. It soothed me and helped me concentrate on my breathing. I remember times where I would just sway from side to side, moaning, as if I were part of the waves. It was almost like an out of body experience! Chad was a great help, he breathed me through every contraction and even did some vocal toning with me, although I doubt he was as loud as I was at that point!! He would take a wet cloth and let water trickle on my forehead, on my back. It’s funny how the simplest little things made the greatest difference.

     The only thing I really hated about being in the hospital was that the nurse came to get me every hour in order to plug me on the monitor just for check-up. This means I had to get out of the water. I had to do this for 20 minutes every hour. Arghhh!! It was torture every time. I would totally lose my concentration and wasn’t able to stay put for more than a minute.

The nurse kept telling me not to move because I would unplug the belt that was connected to my belly. After the second or third monitoring, I couldn’t help it; I would get on my hands and knees or literally get up to lean forward or move around. The nurse kept having to move the machine to try to follow me around the room. I know she was doing her job, but at that point I knew that didn’t want to give birth in a hospital ever again. The next time I was supposed to get out for a monitoring, I just stayed in the tub, I refused to get out. Poor nurse, Chad said she was so nervous, she didn’t know what to do!

     Around 5:30am, I started feeling a huge amount of pressure. Oh gosh!! My whole body was pushing the baby out with all it’s might and I couldn’t help it!!! I kept screaming “It’s pushing!! It’s pushing!!! I can’t stop!!” I was in total panic, I didn’t know what was happening, and I didn’t know how to stop it. I was in awe at the strength with which I was pushing, helplessly being a witness to my body’s immense power. I had reached my threshold and that’s when I started asking for drugs, for an epidural, for painkillers - I was ready to take anything!!

     So the nurse checked me and I was at 8cm, but my cervix was very swollen because of the pressure. Without the swelling I would have been a 9. She ended up calling the anesthetist anyways, but when she came back I told her I didn’t want anything anymore since I realized I had only a short way to go from here on. A couple of minutes later, an intern came and told me I would be ready to push, even if my cervix wasn’t fully dilated. The baby was extremely low.

Next thing I remember was that I was lying down on the hospital bed and there were at least 6 or 7 people in the room: nurses, doctors, students, interns. But at that point I couldn’t care less how many people were watching me, I just wanted my baby out. I also remember starting to consciously push even before anyone told me to go ahead. All I heard was someone saying I was ready, so I wasn’t going to wait for anyone! And boy did that feel good! Finally I could stop fighting my urges and help my baby come out.

     I never thought I would have the energy to push so hard, but I guess nature has its ways! After one push I could feel the hair, and twenty minutes later I had baby Antoine on my belly. I didn’t even think to ask if it was a boy or girl, it was Chad who told me minutes later “It’s a boy!” I was so overwhelmed, I felt like I was in a movie. I couldn’t believe it was all over, yet something brand new was about to start. I’m really happy I got through it all as naturally as possible, and it’s true what my mother used to say: Once it’s all over, you forget about the pain. I would do it again in a minute.

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