Writing My Birth Story and Visualizing Success
Last week my doula Flora asked me to create a birth plan. We downloaded a semi-ready template from the internet and filled in the blanks. Creating a birth plan is an important step in my journey, since I’m able to specify my personal choices, which are not always aligned to conventional standards.
For those who have never made a birth plan, it’s an outline of your preferences during labor and delivery. For example, your birth plan may include:
- Who you want with you during labor.
- If you want to take pain meds.
- If you want the lights dimmed.
You can include anything you think will make your labor and birth more comfortable for you.
In addition, you can add anything that makes this journey your own, even if it means going against standard protocols. For example, here are a few of my requests:
- No medical intervention in the first hour after delivery. She will be in my arms the entire time.
- No vaccines should be given to her.
- Her vernix will not be removed and there’s no need to shower her.
- Her umbilical cord will not be cut until after it stops pulsing.
While my desires are unconventional, I wrote each of these preferences into my birth plan. After giving birth to my son Jasper, I learned that I don't have to follow old, standardized protocols that are no longer justified.
But in order for you to know what to add to your birth plan, it is important to first understand what these protocols are, why they exist, and study a little about them. It’s important to read some evidence based research, and compare it with your health and pregnancy history.
In my case, the birth plan is a great tool to communicate my wishes to my team. However, it is not enough for me to visualize in detail how I want this birth to happen. In other words, the conventional birth plan doesn't help me build a complete step-by-step picture of everything that will happen.
I then felt the need to write how I want everything to go, including all my most intimate wishes for this special moment. Something to keep me motivated despite any challenges. Just like an athlete preparing for their sporting season, it's important to have a clear vision of a successful journey.
I know that by projecting my desires on paper and visualizing all the details, I am connecting with my deepest intentions before they even happen. It makes me feel safer in the process and relaxed about the choices I've made, leaving doubts behind.
Before I get into my personal process of visualizing my baby girl's birth, I'm going to explain a little bit about how visualization works:
Visualization is the art of mental imagery – where you put your focus entirely on achieving a dream and actualizing it to become true.
So, when you say you believe something and you are applying the art of visualization for it, you are using your mind to portray your dreams already becoming true. So, while in the real world, nothing has changed, in your mind, you are already in the state of mind where you have conquered what you dreamed for. Some people call this manifestation.
And do you know why the art of visualization is important to me? I will explain to you…
Bringing a child safely into this world is a collective event. Not only do we have to deal with our personal worries and fears, we also face the insecurities and fears of those around us.
When I told my father about our choice of a home birth, I felt his concerns even before he said anything (energy travels faster than action, did you know?).
After listening to me, he paused and said, “This idea needs more consideration.” And I explained, “But dad, my team and I have been considering all possibilities for weeks…”
I also let him know that I would have an ambulance at my disposal. But it wasn't enough to allay his worries.
Luckily for me, my husband isn't worried. He just says, "I will support you no matter what." And he does just that, always. On the other hand, since the final decision is mine, when my father worries, it messes with my mind.
Then any unresolved fear in me is awakened, bringing a vibration of insecurity. For a moment, I enter a fear-based reality that doesn't belong to me, nor do I even believe it exists! I end up thinking about worst-case scenarios and what might happen if something goes wrong.
When I notice my body contracting because of this fear, I go into conscious breathing and repeat to myself: “My thoughts are images that I made, they are not real”. I consciously inhale through my nose and out through my mouth, letting go of whatever is bothering me. I do this for a few minutes until my body feels free and my mind clears.
It takes courage to follow our dreams our way. Especially when we decide to take a different path than most. Perhaps, you have to face a lot of people opposing your beliefs, whether in their opinion or in the energy field, but everything they believe comes from fear related to survival and unawareness. The important thing is to remember to observe without absorbing.
Although people have good intentions, they are unaware of science-based information about the safety of a planned home birth for a low-risk pregnancy. They live absorbed in a reality based on the lack of knowledge about the subject and that's why they worry.
And it's exactly in those moments that I realize that practicing the art of visualization helps me reconnect with what's real to me.
Without further ado, I will begin to visualize my daughter's birth story so that I can really feel the emotions and my deepest values being realized. I want to activate my inner motivation, like an athlete preparing for the best season of her life.
Here's how my birth story will play out:
1. Start The Visualization Process At The End
How will it all end?
I'm in my bathtub feeling the contractions come and go. I know it’s all coming to an end. With each contraction, I vocalize my pain, exhale, and allow my body to relax.
I'm focused, and my little girl is in the perfect position. Head down, chin on chest, hands on heart, back to my belly, and umbilical cord floating freely. I feel her head with my hand, which motivates me to let her out.
When the perfect contraction comes, I surrender to the moment. Any fear, doubt or pain leaves my body and I let go completely. As I leave my parallel universe and re-enter earth, I imagine all the women who came before me. I am them, they are me. They fill me with power to finish this task.
I breathe in like I'm inhaling the universe and when I let it out, her head pops up. I inhale again and when I exhale, I see her whole body come out of me. I take her with my bare hands, just like I did with Jasper. She cries for a minute, then relaxes into my arms. She is beautiful, healthy, and everything around us is as it should be, magical.
It’s our golden hour and everyone around us respects this glorious time. Our baby is in my arms, skin to skin. Fulvio is here next to us, but I'm the one holding her. Everyone is silent, in awe and honoring the blessing of witnessing this moment. I'm very happy, I just gave birth to my little girl! Her name comes to my mind as soon as I look at her.
About an hour later, my team takes her from my arms just to weigh her and see how she's doing for a moment, before handing her over to her father. It's time to give birth to my placenta. Just like last time, I pull the umbilical cord and the placenta comes out. I take a quick shower to clean the blood and go to my bed to hug her and begin the breastfeeding process. She easily takes the breast.
I feel so accomplished. My team is proud to have done such a wonderful job. My husband is so happy and Jasper is by our side, admiring the birth of his little sister. While he's excited, he's also kind to his sister.
2. Creating a Complete Scenario, Step by Step
It's mid-end of February, not sure of the day. She will decide when she wants to come, when she is ready, we’ll be waiting.
Can you imagine if she arrives on her actual due date: 02/22/2022?
Her room is ready, by the way, everything is ready for her arrival. Fulvio is here, all her clothes and toys are clean and her maternity bag is ready.
As a rush of adrenaline washes over me, I start to feel contractions. I'm relaxed and any sense of worry disappears as I get excited at the sight of meeting her soon.
I send a message to my team: "Hey guys, it's happening.” As I notice the contractions coming and going, I realize it’s still early in the process so I feel free to maybe rest, sleep, eat, or hang out in my hammock. If I feel like going for a walk, I go. There is no rush.
In the kitchen, my helper Adriana made soup from a freshly slaughtered free-range chicken that the driver brought in earlier. As I smell the soup, I feel the strength it will provide me later in the process. There's coconut water, fruits, and hot delicious foods in case I'm hungry.
Soon after, my doula Flora arrives. She is calm and lets me be. During our consultations, I had explained that I would like her support to be primarily managerial, ensuring that everything we discussed in my birth plan is carried out.
My room is cozy, with the lights dimmed, candles lit, making the place comfortable and welcoming. My playlist, made especially for this moment, is playing and I feel good where I am.
The birth pool is right next to my bed so I can come and go as I please. The water is warm and there's plenty of eucalyptus, bath salts, and lavender oil to add to the tub.
My bed is covered with a mattress protector and disposable underpads for when I start bleeding. My helper Adriana is organizing the house and supporting the team, while the nanny Bya takes care of Jasper. Both ensure that everything is under control. Outside, the ambulance is at my disposal.
I take a warm shower and enjoy the water massaging my back. My husband, Fulvio, is here and helping where he can. The physical therapist Cecília arrives with Larissa, the acupuncturist. While Cecilia is massaging my hip to give me a wider opening, Larissa is working some meridian points with her needles.
It's been about 4 hours since the light contractions started. Juliana, my midwife and Luciana, my obstetrician, are already with me and everything is fine. Juliana checks my belly to see if our little girl is in the right position and she is! She is upright with her head down, tucked in. Everything is going well, we are all relaxed. It's already night, the team leaves and I go to sleep.
I sleep through the night. As I wake up in the morning, contractions get stronger and less spaced out. I trust my body to know what to do. Flora arrives early with Larissa and Cecília. They do their best to help ease any pain I am experiencing. Cecília, whom I have seen several times a week since I arrived in Brazil, guides me in a practical and direct way on what I should do at each stage.
It is already 8 in the morning when Juliana arrives, followed by Luciana. My body is opening up fast and when I least expect it, I'm already 9 cm dilated. My team knows what to prepare for the baby's arrival. Everything is going well, everyone is already here, my mantras are playing and I feel safe despite the discomfort.
It's been about 12-13 hours since the process started and I'm in the second stage of labor. Contractions are coming and going quicker. The muscles in the pelvic floor are thin and almost ready to open up completely. As soon as I reach 10 cm of dilatation, I smile knowing that my daughter can finally pass through the birth canal.
It doesn't take long for the contractions to get even more intense. I arrive at the moment where the pain is so excruciating, I want to die or at least go to the hospital to take the epidural. My team stays strong and they help me move through this moment without any intervention.
As she internally rotates, she centers herself even more with her head tucked in and low. Her arms are free near her heart, she has her back to my belly, and her umbilical cord is floating free. The passage is open and she is in a perfect position. She's ready!
Contractions get stronger. When I put my hand down there, I feel her head, which empowers me to let her out by relaxing my pelvic floor. I ask for chicken soup. As I drink it, I feel it warming my body and giving me strength.
I know exactly what to do. With each contraction, I exhale through my mouth, relaxing my body and pelvic floor. When I least expect it, my pelvic floor opens like a flower.
I breathe as if ever inhaling the universe and as I blow the air out, her head finally comes out. I take another breath in and when I exhale, her little body comes out too. I take her in my hands and say: “Welcome to this world my daughter.” We all smile.