The Birth of Bodhi by Haley Cotton
A very wise man who I respect dearly said to me, if it exists, it’s possible…. everything that exists now was once imagine, therefore everything that you can imagine is possible.
These words became the mantra for my pregnancy and my birth. My approach to both ironically also reflects how I try to live my live in all other respects… My way, My power, guided by My intuition.
There is one statement that I wished I had heard growing up from women about birth…
Birth CAN be amazing….
Those four words, if spoken by more women, have the power to change not only how we view and approach pregnancy and birth, but contribute to women’s belief in their bodies’ incredible instinctive processes and unleash their true power.
I’m sharing my story because when I fell pregnant I’d never heard a positive birth experience, not one. I’d heard all about the horror, the forceps, the pain, the emergencies, lots of interventions and a lot of drama.
I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences from my own journey into motherhood in the hope that it will inspire other women on their own positive pregnancy and birth journey to experience and show just how beautiful and empowering childbirth can be.
I had a home-birth and a water birth with a Midwife. Present at my birth was my partner Mark, my Primary Midwife and my secondary Midwife who was also my birth photographer.
My birth of our son Bodhi, was definitely the most amazing experience of my life and my biggest achievement. As I predicted, it was also the most exhilarating and spiritual thing I’ve ever gone through and the closest I’ve ever felt to my partner, Mark. Women must birth where they feel most safe and most comfortable. For a lot of people that will be in hospital. But for me, I felt most safe and most comfortable at home.
All women are different and I share my story, not as an attempt to tell you this is how you should birth, but to inspire you to have the confidence and control over your birth to make it what YOU want it to be. I am not saying pregnancy and birth is easy and that there is some magical remedy to make it perfect, but I know that all women can benefit from the knowledge that birth still works and that every woman has her own unique way of bringing her baby into the world. One good way to acquire this precious knowledge is to hear or read the birth stories of many women who have given birth.
I was blessed with a beautiful pregnancy and I believe it’s important that as women, we also hear positive messages of pregnancy and understand that it’s not just possible to feel well, or something that only a few of the “lucky” experience, it’s totally achievable for most of us. We can share and learn from each other and take the initiative to seek out someone who knows how to run a “well” pregnancy to support us to be well and to improve our experience, rather than just accepting the status quo or what others tell us is “normal”.
Bodhi’s birth was intimate and caring. We had our music playing (music was something we put a lot of time and effort into preparing) and his birth playlists have now become treasured music we play to him often. We had an Alter that I had made with so many special and meaningful treasures adorning it, candles flickering by the birthing pool, crystals chosen with intention, a water fountain, salt lamp and a vision board that I made a few weeks earlier. A lot of time was spent preparing not only the physical body and the mind for birth, but also in creating the environment that we wanted our baby to enter the world into.
Then we just let it unfold….
The Sunday afternoon before Bodhi was born when I started to get mild contractions. I knew then that things were moving, but still could be sometime away. I went through the rest of Sunday and Monday with just a few twinges and irregular light contractions. On Monday I went to see my beautiful birth photographer, Emma, and she took a few pictures of me just 48 hours before things really got moving. My early labour was very relaxed, I had contractions all night Tuesday (about every 5 mins) and although I tried to sleep, they were too strong to allow me to rest. I took it easy and tried to keep myself busy. On Wednesday morning I knew that this was the day, I could feel it. Mid-morning contractions were gaining intensity, but they were not what I would describe as painful, rather an interesting sensation that required all of my attention. What I mean by this is that when they would come, I would need to focus on them and my breathing completely and then as they subsided and I was so grateful. The only tool that I used throughout my contractions to help them flow was warm water with lemon to drink and a heat pack (heat packs are so wonderful). At around lunch time I could feel things becoming more intense and we phoned my midwife to come over.
At about 1:30, my midwife arrived. I did start to feel that things were getting more intense and she suggested maybe I try a shower. I did for a while and it was great but I knew I wanted to be in the pool, so I got in at around 2:30 and stayed there for the next 4 hours! With Mark in there with me too, nothing was getting me out of that pool, I felt so warm, safe and protected…the necessary elements for a smooth birth.
I surrendered to my body and guess what? It knew what to do. After about 5 1/2 hours of labour, I birthed an 8 pound, 9 baby boy into the water. I caught him as he was coming out. Mark was in the water with me the entire time, he was amazing. It was gentle, beautiful, and amazing. It was not bloody, it was not a horror show, I was not screaming. He was a few days past his due date and no one forced me to have an induction. I required no drugs during the whole labour and I had no interventions (the only activities performed by my midwife during labour was to check how I was progressing, but this was done with a torch and mirror so I didn’t have to get out of the water and check the babies heart rate). We slept in our own bed as a family that night (and it was just the three of us) and we did all we could to make Bodhi’s first few days as quiet and gentle as we could. No fluorescent lights. No other crying babies, no strangers, no one telling us what to do.
Birth for me was a very spiritual experience. The emotions were overwhelming. What was more overwhelming was the instant bond we shared with Bodhi. He looked straight into my eyes and he exactly who I was and exactly who Mark was.Bodhi’s entry into the world was gentle, loving and beautiful
The best things about my homebirth experience:
1. My partner and I were at the centre of the experience and it was very intimate, we had no distractions or anything that made us feel uncomfortable.
2. I could move around freely. I could walk around my house, the block or the street of I wanted to.
3. I was able to have a water birth.
4. I was in control of what I did during labour.
5. I was able to catch my baby, hold my baby and bond with him for hours after his birth, no one took him from me.
6. We didn’t have to share those precious moments with anyone hurrying to clean him up or weigh and measure him (all of that can wait) or cut his cord right away, we waited to do this until the cord has stopped pulsing before we cut it (this is known as delayed cord clamping)
7. I was able to take natural herbs and homeopathics to help stimulate my labour and support me throughout and post labour… I was in control of what I took
8. My recovery was a lot faster than a hospital birth. I was able to get up and walk around whenever I wanted and not forced to do things that suited me not because of hospital processes.
9. I had no interventions whatsoever.
10. I never felt rushed, pressured, unsafe, or not in complete control of the experience
11. The beautiful woman that did all my prenatal care was the same woman who attended the birth.
12. I didn’t have to stay in the hospital for 2-5 days.
13. No one came in and woke me up in the middle of the night! We were left alone after birth to be with our baby and my midwife was on call if I needed it
14. Not one stranger was involved in my labour, delivery, or postpartum experience, everyone there is a part of Bodhi’s life and will be forever.
15. I felt ABSOLUTELY EMPOWERED
Please feel free to share your experience with anyone who may be fearful about childbirth – I’d love to encourage all women (and men) to expect their birth to be incredible, no matter how it unfolds.
As a holistic health and lifestyle coach, my mission is simply to share what I know about nutrition, connecting with nature, slowing down and developing meaningful self-care and spiritual practice, to help my clients achieve the goals that see them living their most authentic life