Hello and welcome to my Blog. My name is Annalisa and I am a postpartum doula, prenatal yoga teacher and hold Mums and Bubs Yoga classes for new mummas with a focus on baby bonding, restoration, rest and relaxation. I am a Mumma to my beautiful one year old daughter, Sofia and a loving wife to my darling husband, Luke.
I thought I may as well start this blog of mine off with a bang and share my birth story.
I’d had a fairly straightforward pregnancy, with only a small amount of morning sickness and a little bit of dizziness here and there. I was adamant that I wanted a natural, non-medicated water birth. I read all of the natural pregnancy and childbirth books, I had done my research, my husband and I had done our Calm Birth course, I had hired my doula and was under the care of the Midwives at my local hospital. I had been doing Pre-natal Pilates and Yoga and had even done my Doula training. Everything was going so smoothly… Until, I got a call at 30 weeks after a scan and was told that my baby was measuring small for their gestational age.
As time went on, it was clear that my beautiful baby girl was not growing as she should and that an induction at 37 weeks was the safest option. I hated the thought of having an induction and I knew that it could lead to a so- called ‘cascade of interventions’, but I had done my research and I wanted to do what was best for the safety of both me and my girl. The week before I was due to have my induction I tried everything under the sun to naturally induce myself. I had acupuncture with the best guy in the biz, I had two long induction massages, I ate dates and pineapple galore. Nothing! Not even the slightest twinge.
On a warm Sunday night in October, my husband and I checked in to the hospital and I was examined to see if my cervix was dilated. Unfortunately, I wasn’t warned just how uncomfortable having a cervical examination could be and I was in agony. Suffice to say that my cervix was clamped shut without any signs of dilating any time soon. That night I had a foleys catheter inserted and didn’t sleep a wink. But on a positive, one of my best friends came to my room and braided my hair as we ate takeaway and had a laugh, which was so special.
In the morning, a doctor with very large, wide fingers tried to break my waters. All of the deep breathing and positive affirmations in the world were not going to take away the pain of this procedure, no matter how many times he told me to “just relax”. I was sure it wasn’t meant to be this painful but this Doctor was adamant that he was going to break my waters. Thankfully my beautiful Doula reminded me that I did not have to put up with this pain and so I put an abrupt end to this Doctor’s mission. Lesson 1: You ALWAYS have a choice during your birth and you need to choose what is right for you.
After walking to a local reserve with my husband and doula and doing some beautiful yoga (and also seeing a pregnant cat waddling around the neighbourhood, which I found to be very comforting for some reason), I returned to the hospital feeling much brighter. I then had Cervadil inserted and slept for the rest of the day and night, apart from a visit from my Mum and Dad who brought me my favourite chocolate and my wonderful husband who showed up with a delicious organic salad. Little did I know that it was the last full night’s sleep I was going to have in a long while.
The next morning one of the lovely midwives was able to successfully break my waters and the Sintocinon drip was started. I had heard so many horror stories about unbearably painful contractions beginning soon after the drip began, but for me, the contractions were mild (enjoyable even) and I was able to breathe through them. I moved around a lot and used the fit ball in my room. I had beautiful music playing, my husband gently massaged my back and I felt so excited that I was one step closer to meeting my girl.
After about 10 hours of mild contractions and the drip turned up as high as it could possibly go, I was starting to feel really exhausted. It seemed as though nothing was going to help this baby into the world. I knew something wasn’t quite right and the doctors and midwives were perplexed. I asked to be taken off the drip so that I could have a shower and as soon as the medication was switched off my contractions completely stopped. I jumped in the shower and as the warm water swam down my back I turned inwards and asked myself what I needed to bring this baby out into the world. I knew that I needed a caesarean. Lesson number 2: ALWAYS listen to your own inherent maternal wisdom, it will lead you in the right direction.
My midwives and an obstetrician came in and spoke to me and agreed with my decision. So, I was whisked off to surgery, feeling surprisingly calm and collected but at the same time nervous and scarred. I was given a spinal tap and my husband held my hand as I felt a whole heap of tugging and pulling in my lower abdominals. The obstetrician said “are you ready to meet your baby?” to which we replied with a slightly terrified, “YES”! Then, with ‘The Circle of Life’ booming in the background, out came our darling girl. It was the most surreal moment of my life and as I held her in my arms and kissed her tiny head I just remember thinking “fu*k, women are so powerful, we can do anything”.
Although this birth did not turn out the way I had planned, it was the perfect birth for me and my Sofia. We had plenty of skin to skin contact immediately after the birth and while I was in recovery which is where we initiated our very first breastfeed. I felt very loved up!
As they were wheeling me back to my room, I saw another woman in labour pacing the hallways, we locked eyes and smiled at each other knowingly. From maiden to mother. In my humble opinion, there is no life transition more transformative, sacred and special.