Trust and let go - a birth story
Actualizado: 29 de abr de 2020
Breathe in, trust... Breathe out, let go... Breathe in, trust... Breathe out, let go... Mindfulness teaches us to be in the present moment, to be with what is. Accepting, instead of reacting to what is happening. We learn to live less in the 'Doing Mode' and more in the 'Being Mode'. I dedicated a lot of time to this practice during my pregnancy, in order to get ready for birth and beyond. I wished for a natural water birth, unmedicated and at the pace my body dictated. But at the same time, I was practicing to be able to accept whatever came. Not becoming attached to the idea of an ideal birth experience was at the front of my practice. Giving birth is an experience full of uncertainty, where the biggest thing we are asked for is letting go of control. A birthing mother must completely surrender to the process, let it be natural or otherwise. My experience was far from what I had wished for, but I can see it was just like it had to be. Five days over my due date I was to go to hospital for some tests. It turned out that the amniotic fluid had completely disappeared: I had to be induced. This was a first setback. Right from the start I was being deprived of my unmedicated experience. We went out of the building and sat in the sun; desolated, I tried to let the news sink in. I could see my mind start doing what minds do best: analyze, predict, fear, judge, despair... At that moment I turned to the breath: "Trust and let go... trust and let go... If this is the way it has to happen, that's what it is. Let's take it from here, one breath at a time." Once in the room where I was to give birth, I was relieved to know that the induction wouldn't be aggressive at all. In fact, the aim was to give a little push so the process would unravel and happen naturally after all. With this new positive perspective, we started the process, which we were told could take up to three days. However, already from the start there were signs that the baby wasn't doing great. His heartbeat went down any time I would stand up or sit down. We tried to regulate it in different ways. I was amazed by all the tricks midwives have for these situations. I was still very positive and believed this was only a little bump at the beginning of the journey. Hours passed, lying down on the hospital bed, in silence, breathing, practicing the body scan, waiting... but, although I didn't feel like there was anything wrong, the prospects weren't good. The heartbeat situation worsened and it was made clear that we had to make a decision. The baby wouldn't be able to continue like this for many hours, let alone days... The only reasonable course of action now was a C-section, before the whole thing turned into an emergency. And just like that the whole idea of my ideal birth experience vanished. Somehow, when hearing the doctor say those words, I found no resistance: "The baby needs help and it makes no sense to wait any longer for him to come out. Breathe in, trust... Breathe out, let go..." I remember thinking how, just minutes from that moment, I would have my baby in my arms. So I kept breathing and repeating the mantra. Trusting, not reacting, no space for disappointment or sadness. Focused on what was now to come. The doctors got things rolling, explained us the procedure and got me ready for surgery. "Breathe in, trust... Breathe out, let go..." We arrived at the operating room and a huge wave of emotion washed all over me. "This is really happening, just breathe, let go of control, take one step at a time, keep breathing, surrender, surrender, surrender..." Once the anesthesia was set, my husband was led into the room and the procedure started. I think I have never ever been more present than at that moment. I felt the cut, how my belly was opened, the pain... Such an intense sensation! I was startled by that pain. I had to wonder if the anesthesia had worked at all! My husband told me later that the table was violently shaking side to side. With every bit deeper they went into my body I let a loud 'aaaaaaaah', just like I had been practicing for birth. Who would have thought that preparing for natural birth would be so helpful for a C- section? The whole thing happened so fast. Suddenly I heard the baby's first cry and I felt my face go from doing the sounding practice to the biggest smile of relief and delight. "He is here!" I saw his face and he was so perfect! The pediatrician quickly checked him and brought him back. From that moment, we weren't separated. I wasn't aware of the rest of the procedure anymore: my new love was on my chest, in my arms, with his blue eyes open, breathing his first breaths... it was magical! In the end, Jannik was born with a very short exposure to medication (from the start of surgery to the moment he was born, only 15 minutes had elapsed), which was the my main wish for natural birth. He was so awake and relaxed. Like the whole thing had been an easy passage. Thanks to the procedure we also discovered why his heartbeat went down so dramatically every time I stood up or the stronger the contractions became: his umbilical cord, apart from going around his neck, was placed under his head and it was being increasingly compressed as the pressure got bigger. When I got these news, I was grateful that my body hadn't gone into labor on its own, although it had been made clear that the baby had been ready for over a week. I couldn't feel that he wasn't doing well with the contractions and he wouldn't have been able to go on like that for hours. Turns out, being in hospital from the start and getting a C-section had saved him. "Thank you universe!" There are times we don't understand why things happen like they do, but we need to TRUST the process and LET GO of our expectations and the stories we build up in our heads. The memories of that day are still very vivid. My initial disappointment for not getting what I had wished for has turned into pure gratitude and surrender. You see, I did get the experience I was wishing for: seeing my son be born. It was his birth, not mine, and he knew how it had to be done. My expectations were just my mind playing its games and I can now really let them go. Now, two months after birth, I can see another lesson this experience has taught me. Recovering from a C-section requires lots of time, patience and help from others. It has been a time to allow myself be vulnerable and accept that I can't and don't have to do everything on my own. It'll still be a while till I am 100% back in shape, but there is no rush. Why should there be? The only thing to do is marvel at this little miracle of life.