Real life

Cor­nelia Owens’ sec­ond birth healed the scars and dis­ap­point­ments of her first trau­matic, ex­pe­ri­ence. As told to Marysol Blomerus

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

IMAG­INE BOOK­ING a trip on econ­omy class, and then be­ing up­graded to take a ride on Air Force One. That’s how my birth ex­pe­ri­ence felt the sec­ond time around. I planned the birth of my first-born, Sadie, to aT; I even prayed that it would rain on the day she was born – and it did. But my birth ex­pe­ri­ence was a neg­a­tive one, and it im­pacted on my abil­ity to mother her, as feel­ings of fear, dis­con­nect­ed­ness and dis­ap­point­ment filled my early months of moth­er­hood. Two years later, star­ing at a pos­i­tive preg­nancy test, I knew that this birth would be dif­fer­ent – dif­fer­ent health­care providers, birth set­ting and labour com­pan­ions. My hus­band An­drew and I took the road less trav­elled; one that some might per­ceive as scary or dan­ger­ous – we de­cided to have a home birth. I care­fully re­searched lov­ing and sup­port­ive mid­wives who would be there for me through­out my preg­nancy and birth.


It’s 1am on 9 Oc­to­ber 2014. “Could this be it?” I thought to my­self, af­ter wak­ing up feeling my belly tight­en­ing ev­ery 10 min­utes. “Should I call the mid­wife? What if she drives all the way to my house and it’s false labour?” I’m 40 weeks and three days preg­nant, so de­nial is part of the pack­age. I took a bath to try and ease some dis­com­fort, and it worked! I went back to bed and tried to rest, but I was too ex­cited to sleep. Months of prepa­ra­tion, hypnobirthing classes, and all the tech­niques I re­quired stripped away any fear. I thought about my two won­der­ful mid­wives who took care of me dur­ing my preg­nancy, and my birth pho­tog­ra­pher, Marysol Blomerus, with whom I felt a con­nec­tion from the mo­ment we met. Ev­ery­thing re­ally was pre­fect. At 5am I called Marysol. Per­fect birth pho­tos were more im­por­tant than hav­ing skilled pro­fes­sion­als at­tend the birth of my baby – what was I think­ing? It would take my sec­ond mid­wife Deb­bie around two hours to get to my house, but I didn’t panic. My hus­band began tidy­ing the house and things started heat­ing up. I asked him to fill the pool for me – se­ri­ously, who cares about dirty dishes; I’m about to have a baby! At 6am my mid­wife ar­rived. She checked my baby’s heart­beat, and


it was per­fect. I was do­ing fine, still laugh­ing and jok­ing in be­tween surges (con­trac­tions). They were bear­able, but I re­lied on An­drew to be there for me to sup­port me through them.


At about 8am, Deb­bie sug­gested I get into the wa­ter, and I felt great as soon as I did! My daughter Sadie woke up and joined me in the pool, but she was dis­tract­ing me and I asked An­drew to take her out and get her ready for school. At 8:30am, I sud­denly had the urge to poo! The mid­wife hap­pily ex­claimed, “No, my dear, you don’t need to poo – you need to have a baby.” The pres­sure was im­mense, and the urge to push took over. I re­mem­bered my hypnobirthing in­struc­tor teach­ing me to avoid push­ing, but to breathe baby out. I would pre­vent tear­ing this way. But she also said that if I needed to push, then I should go with what I feel. It was so amaz­ing – the urge to push only came with a surge, and in be­tween I could calmly breathe and rest. I re­mem­ber “push­ing” with Sadie. This time, my body and baby were in com­plete con­trol, and I was the fa­cil­i­ta­tor to the process. Then the un­ex­pected fear came of hav­ing to be trans­ferred to the hospital, while feeling like baby was stuck. I looked up and saw Deb­bie’s eyes. Calm, happy, re­as­sur­ing, and she said, “You’re do­ing great, ev­ery­thing is fine.” Things got loud as I could feel the baby’s head. A few surges and some hard pushes and some gen­tle breath­ing – and there it was, the burn­ing sen­sa­tion. I knew in my mind that this was it! By 8:55am, I felt huge re­lief as I birthed his head. And with one gen­tle push, I felt a slip­pery lit­tle body glide out. I lifted my baby from the wa­ter, and I was only in­ter­ested in find­ing out the gen­der. It’s a boy! I grabbed him and in­stinc­tively wanted to hold him against my chest. When I looked up at Marysol, I said, “I did it.” Com­plete si­lence filled the room. No bright lights and loud voices. I could ac­tu­ally hear my sweet baby breath­ing. I could feel his heart­beat on my chest, I could smell the sweet smell of a new­born.


Deb­bie and An­drew helped me out of the birth pool, and I sat on the edge of my bed. I breast­fed Jor­dan for the first time, and not once did he leave my arms. I still had to birth the pla­centa and Jor­dan was still at­tached to his cord. De­lay­ing the clamp­ing of the cord was very im­por­tant to me. As I was ly­ing in my own bed min­utes af­ter Jor­dan was born, with him in my arms, I felt so blessed to have ex­pe­ri­enced nat­u­ral birth, mov­ing around freely in my own home, only sur­rounded by the peo­ple who love me. YP

Hubby An­drew Owens com­forts Cor­nelia through her labour

Big sis­ter Sadie meets her new baby brother

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