My Birth Preparation: Insights from Ashlee …

Birth is amazing! I love working and supporting women and their partners in their birth journey. I had the privilege of supporting Ashlee for the birth of her son Jasper. During a postnatal follow up I chatted to Ashlee about her birth and how she, and her partner James, prepared for birth in their own unique and personal way.

So, Ashlee .. Describe your birth for me ?
“Amazing! It was beautiful and still makes me smile and tear up. I truly believed that I would have a painless birth and it was painless and perfect in every way.”

When did you start to prepare for birth ?
“Around 28 weeks the idea of birth began to play on my mind and I would wake up scared during the night, worrying that it’s going to happen soon. This is when I started reading Ina May Gaskin, ‘Spiritual Midwifery’. The stories helped me so much! I grew to believe in trusting my body, in the power of my body, how i could trust it to know what to do. Using the term ‘rushes’ reduced the fear of pain with contractions. I discovered that my mind controls my responses so I got myself into the most positive place of believing & trusting my body. I didn’t ask anyone questions or for their opinions .. I stuck to my own beliefs.”

 How did you know what you wanted for birth ?
“James and I were both very involved in what we wanted for our birth and in the preparation for it. We talked and planned as though we were both pregnant and invested in working as a couple in having our baby. Together we decided that we would birth in hospital but we wanted a natural birth without intervention.”

 What research did you do ?
“Spiritual Midwifery was such a great resource. I also had heard lots of stories about having the wrong person in the room. How not feeling trust can slow down the labour. I really wanted to have support that I could trust and feel really positive with. Friends stories made the idea of having a Doula sound really nice, it sat well with me, so I researched what to expect from a Doula and realised that this is what would give me the best support. Then we found you, through Sunshine Coast Baby. You also encouraged us to research different birth choices that we wouldn’t have even thought of on our own. Because of this, we made decisions that were right for our baby.”What preparation made the greatest impact on your birth ?
“Perineal massage, could not recommend this highly enough and thanks to you encouraging us to do this I felt that I understood exactly what was happening with my body. It’s confronting and painful but the practice of breathing and relaxing in my mind helped me understand what to do during birth.
Also acupuncture, to encourage natural induction which worked brilliantly for me.”

Is there anything you’d do differently ?
“Yes, I would have more time off work before birth. I had very little rest time. Next time I will plan for more ‘me’ time.
About the author: Deborah Easthope is a mother of two and grandmother of one and a Sunshine Coast Doula. She loves helping parents feel supported, nurtured and educated in their pregnancies and postnatal days. She can be found at www.birdsbeesandbubbas.com.au

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